"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Monday, September 05, 2011

The power of ridicule

Traditionally during Fire Truck Season, the Williams Provincial Dunderdale2011 have been eager to squeeze as much credit as possible, both political and financial, out of the firetrucky goodness.

So, for example, from 2008:
The Town of St. Anthony will receive a new fire truck, valued at $250,000, through funding from the Provincial Government.
Or from 2009:
The St. Joseph’s Fire Department will receive a new tanker truck, with the Provincial Government contributing 90 per cent of the cost.


The new truck will be cost-shared at a 90/10 ratio between the province and the town. The Provincial Government will contribute $206,443, while the municipality will add $22,938. Including the utilization of a GST rebate of $10,619, the total cost of the truck is approximately $240,000.
Not only do you find out which community is getting the shiny red truck, you get to know how much it cost. Or, as Premier Dunderdale might put it, they are telling people how their money is being spent.

In 2010, however, there was just the One Big Announcement in August. Odd, that.

But in 2011, it was back to telling the people how their money is being spent. A $220,000 fire truck for Hampden; a $232,240 one for Bell Island; a $197,734 job for Buchans; two priced collectively at over $400,000 for Smith Sound and Trinity Bay North; and finally, on June 13, a $197,000 number for Marystown.

Then, on June 15th, the Telegram masthead published a cutting editorial:
Hopefully, Jackman isn’t taking the same kind of pride in taking part in the annual “we’re giving you a fire truck” political dog-and-pony show. Sure, this is a provincial election year, and sure, we’re going to hear plenty about any political announcement that can be trotted out to squeeze in a few more votes.

But not on the backs of this province’s firefighters, the vast majority of whom are volunteers sacrificing their own time doing dangerous work.


It’s hard to believe that politicians want praise for providing the sort of equipment that constitutes basic fire protection in North America.

They should be ashamed of turning a necessary service into a self-serving political football — and ashamed of making firefighters say “thank you” for basic tools.

Provide the necessary equipment, thank your lucky stars there are people out there willing to risk their lives, and get the heck off the podium.
On June 16th, the fire-truck rollout continued, this time for Labrador City and North West River, but, oddly, the individual dollar amounts were conspicuously absent. Only the big-pictureboilerplate, common to all the releases, remained:
Budget 2011 Standing Strong: For Prosperity. For Our Future. For Newfoundland and Labrador provides a historic investment in the municipal fire service. An investment of $3.9 million has been allocated for new firefighting vehicles, as well as a continued $1 million allocation to fund equipment needs to assist communities. With the addition of a new Provincial Volunteer Firefighter Tax Credit to acknowledge the commitment of the men and women in the volunteer fire service, the Provincial Government has allocated more than $6 million towards the municipal fire service this year.
On June 20th, another release squeaked out the individual dollar amount for Carmanville's fire truck, but every subsequent firetruckiness release, starting with a dual jobby on June 30th, have omitted the invidual costs of any given fire truck funding.

How very odd.

Odder still, when you consider that Kevin O'Brien's shop are still cranking out individual dollar amounts for the much-smaller funding rollouts for more basic pieces of firefighting kit, like this, this, this, or this.

Why, it's almost as if they are as thin-skinned as ever.

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At 9:23 AM, September 05, 2011 , Blogger Edward Hollett said...

Someone should point out to Kevin that there is no fairity in changing the releases like that.

We want fairity!


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