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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Delete delete delete

In its entirety, page 5 of the NS-NL Memorandum of Understanding, as published yesterday by Nova Scotia, six hours before Newfoundland and Labrador did the same:

And, in its entirety, page 5 as it appears today:

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One more thing

BondPapers deconstructs yesterday's latest Muskrat McGuffin.

To which, he could have added this curiosity: the much-fuller version of the document released by the Nova Scotians (pdf link) bore the following signature block — since removed — when it was posted to teh intertubes yesterday.

Note the date.

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Monday, November 28, 2011


For the record, Term 19 of the Terms Sheet which constitutes the entiret of the Muskrat Falls "deal". (Underlining emphasis added.)
Original, massively and unneccessarily bloated, PDF version of the document available here.


All across the province

The Hebron Public Review is busy holding public sessions all across the province.

Here's a map:


Thursday, November 24, 2011



At a campaign stop in Carbonear Oct. 6 [2007], Williams pledged that his government would implement whistleblower laws in the first session of the legislature after the election.

"We'll get that on at the very earliest opportunity," Williams said in response to questions from reporters last October.

"The very first session of the House that we have, that's something we'll have a look at. As a matter of fact, there'd be no reason why we wouldn't get it on (the agenda)."

Newfoundland and Labrador's justice minister says Whistleblower legislation - which former premier Danny Williams promised to create in 2008 - won't be introduced this year.

"This is a significant piece of legislation. A lot of work has been done on it," said Felix Collins responding in the provincial legislature to a question from Liberal opposition MHA Kelvin Parsons.

"The provinces that have it are undergoing the regular growing pains of new legislation. We are monitoring that to see what best practices come out of it. So when we produce our legislation it will be the best piece of legislation that we can possible come up with."
Now, from a James McLeod report in today's Telegram (sadly not on the public intertubes):

Legislation to protect whistleblowers was first promised by then-premier Danny Williams in 2007.

More than four years later, it has yet to be enacted, and Justice Minister Felix Collins wouldn’t commit to doing so at any time in the next four years.

“You’re not going to get a commitment from me on any timelines on that,” he said. “Not only whistleblower legislation, but on anything. It’s difficult to speculate and lay a date because if you don’t follow the date, then someone calls back and tells you you didn’t stick to your date.”

However, Collins said they’re working on it by reviewing legislation in other provinces and checking monthly to see how the implementation is working.
Surely, if Collins and his shop are working so very diligently on this file, there's a small mountain of ATIPpable paper on it.


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Monday, November 21, 2011

Getting things done

Dave Bartlett reports for today's Telegram:

While provincial regulations state a town or city must review its municipal plan every five years, St. John's defered its review of the 2003 plan in March 2008 until the province had completed its regional plan for the Northeast Avalon.

However, council voted in May of this year to rescind that decision and to begin work on a new plan, as it's still unclear when the province will complete its regional plan.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Vancouver votes

Here, via the City of Vancouver elections office, is a map by voting division showing the results of yesterday's mayoral election:

By way of comparison, here are the regular poll-by-poll results of the 2009 British Columbia provincial election, with colour-grading of poll-winning party's share of the vote. Tie polls are in grey, white polls within the city of Vancouver were merged with neighbouring apartment polls, which are not shown. Vancouver has many, many, many apartment polls:

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The forecast (III)

Finance Minister Whoever It Is This Year makes a confession. CP's Sue Bailey reports:
Newfoundland and Labrador's fiscal update is an eye-popping revision that projects a surplus of almost $756 million — up from $59.1 million forecast in April's provincial budget.

But Finance Minister Tom Marshall deflected any suggestion of low-balling, citing rising oil prices and higher than expected offshore production.


"We're trying to guess what the average price of oil's going to be, per barrel, for 12 months. Well, I'm no good at it. And you're no good at it," he told reporters.
On the other hand, we can confidently predict the price of oil for decades to come:
MR. MARSHALL: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question, which is a very important one.

Our government believes very strongly that we want to keep hydro rates for the people of this Province down. We do not want them to rise; we want them to go down.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MARSHALL: If we do not get off oil, if we do not get off Holyrood, which produces electricity based on oil, which is going higher and higher and higher, people in this Province are going to have to pay higher electricity. The way to stop that is to get off Holyrood and to go to the Lower Churchill River. When we are ready to go we are going to get the guarantee from the federal Government of Canada, which is going to reduce our costs by 2 per cent on the debt.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

A political short story

During the 1996 provincial election campaign, a Dean McDonald in St. John's contributed $250.00 to Liberal candidate Julie Bettney's local campaign in Mount Pearl.

During the 1999 provincial election campaign, a Dean MacDonald in St. John's contributed $1000 to Liberal candidates Paul Dicks in Humber West, $250 to Julie Bettney in Mount Pearl, $250 to Pete Soucy in Signal Hill–Quidi Vidi, and $250 to Tom McGrath in St. John's East.

The End.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Odd map out

Britain, Canada, Australia, and the United States share much in their political systems, including bicameralism, federalism in the case of the latter three, single-member electoral districts for national-level elections, and, with the wonderful wrinkle of Australia's preferential balloting system, first-past-the-post voting for elections to the lower house of the national-level legislature.

Still, one of these things is decidedly not like the others. Here are the national-level electoral maps of the largest cities in each of the four countries, starting with the central urban portion of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia:

Toronto, Ontario, Canada:

London, England, United Kingdom:

And New York, New York, U.S.A.:

The truly scary thing: New York's not even the worst. Try Miami. Or Chicago.

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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Rolling in dough

Our Dear Economist has crunched the numbers on Hebron, as Barb Sweet reports for The Telegram:
Although $20 billion is the expected spinoff, variables including the price of oil and the value of the Canadian dollar against the U.S., put the Hebron project’s potential taxes and royalties to the province at a range of $11 billion to $34 billion over its lifespan, depending on the worst and best case scenarios.
Between 2004 and 2010, the "Conservative" government of Danny Williams increased provincial program expenditures by a nudge under $2.7-billion.

Without taking into account inflation, the Hebron payoff can be re-expressed thusly:
Although 7.4 years worth of Williams Government program spending increases is the expected spinoff, variables including the price of oil and the value of the Canadian dollar against the U.S., put the Hebron project’s potential taxes and royalties to the province at a range of 4.1 to 12.6 years worth of Williams Government program spending increases over its lifespan, depending on the worst and best case scenarios.



Back in the spring, then-Natural Resources Minister, and Mastermind of Muskrat Falls, Shawn Skinner, told the House of Assembly that there would be no Muskrat Falls sales job:

MR. SKINNER: One thing we are not trying to do, or certainly I am not trying to do as minister, is to try to convince people. What I am trying to do is inform people. I believe my job is to inform people, not to convince people. I have enough respect for the people on the opposite side of the House and for the rest of the people in this Province that once they have the information, they will make up their own minds as to what it is they believe should or should not happen. I am not here to try to convince people; I am not here to try to sell people. I am here to try to inform people and we have done that. We have put a lot of information out there.
This was scant weeks before Nalcor itself embarked on yet another round of Definitely Not a Sales Job.

Unfortunately for Mastermind, the burghers of St. John's Centre decided in October that it was time for him to try new challenges. Thus, Mastermind's successor in office is going into sales.


Tuesday, November 01, 2011

All just a little bitta history repeating (VII)

From the St. John's Public Ledger of March 27, 1877, a pseudonymous letter defending the Carter government. More information on the public figures referred to can be found via the hotlinks.

Some of the letter-writer's arguments seem awfully familiar; timeless, even.


Considerable feeling having been manifested in the Outports with reference to the contemplated employment by the Government of Professor Hind, on a survey on the Labrador coast, I think I might send to you an excerp [sic] of the expressions made use of from a conversation I had with one of our leading men in this locality. With some things I cordially agree with my opponent, but if the Government have done wrong in this matter, it is simply the result of acting too hastily in their over-zeal to conserve the interests of the public. I fully believe that it was from a pure motive, and a desire to advance the welfare of the country generally that prompted the action on the part of the Government, and therefore they should not be condemned in their laudable endeavours to benefit the people. Who of us does not commit an error once in a while? and an enterprise such as this is entirely an experiment, which may result in much good. Who amongst use would like to see the Government fold their hands and do nothing? I mean those of us who support the present Government. Ask yourselves what evil have they done? You say, “they have increased their own salaries.”

What Government ever came into power that would not have done the same?

But I ask you as a man, what injury have the present Government done yourself.

“None; but they have not looked after their friends.”

“But you must remember that the way to make lasting friends is by endeavouring to do what is right.”

“But they did not turn out Major Renouf.”

“In that I agree with you; but they will see that he will do what is right, and will be ready to be informed of the fact if he does not do so.”

“They have appointed a light-house keeper at Capt St. Francis from St. John's.”

“You must remember that it is in the Eastern District of St. John's, and that I think is a good reason why the appointment should be so chosen; although I agree with you that amidst the agitation that was kept up so long by the Conception Bay people about that light-house, these people should have been consulted in the matter.”

“Do you know anything that the general public does not know, of the so-called wrong-doing of the present Government; if so, I should like to hear from you. But if it is such fault-finding as comes from the Opposition in the House of Asembly, I must tell you that that is all the Opposition care for, to find all the fault they can, justly or unjustly, as long as they can pick a fault to complain of. This fault-finding on their part is absolutely necessary in order to strengthen their position with their constituents, at the next general election.”

“But the pensions will take the most of our earnings to support them in future.”

“I am opposed to pensions myself, as it is at present; but you must know that this matter did not originate with the present government. It will be for you to ask what questions and get what pledges you require at the next elections; and I am convinced that these pledges will be faithfully carried out if the present party be again returned to power; and of this I have not the slightest doubt. It is useless to expect utter impossibilities; and it can be plainly seen what is the intention of the Opposition in the course of their perpetual fault-finding. I, for one, would be the first to find fault with, and expose any Government who would attempt to blind-fold the people in any way, and I am free to admit that the contemplated employment of Professor Hind, is not as satisfactory to me was I would wish it to be; still there is nothing unasked in the matter; and if an error has been committed, it is simply an error in judgment, and one error committed with the purest of motives, and having in view the future welfare of our colony. And if I agree with you that governmental officers ought to look better than they do look, you must certainly coincide with me that under another government they might have looked far worse. As matters stand now, we can boast of peace in our outharbors, and that is what we could not procure before.”

An Outharbor Man,
Who seeks neither office nor pay.