This just in!
From VOCM on Saturday, the shocking and surprising news that Premier Kathy Dunderdale is pleased with Premier Kathy Dunderdale's cabinet:
Labels: media monitoring
"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.
From VOCM on Saturday, the shocking and surprising news that Premier Kathy Dunderdale is pleased with Premier Kathy Dunderdale's cabinet:
Labels: media monitoring
Somewhat belatedly, here is the map of the final Alberta PC leadership election, district-by-district, after the redistribution of Horner's preferences to the final two candidates.
A special for all of Tom Osborne's many friends on the internet, who are entirely spontaneously expressing their outrage that the only St. John's minister in Kathy Dunderdale's cabinet is Kathy Dunderdale:
You can't have it both ways. If you're going to cut the cabinet back then obviously certain portions of the province, minute portions of the province, can be left out.The Word of Our Dan. (Glory Be to Him.)
Further to the previous, there's some wonkiness in the provincial budget estimates for FY 2005-06. However, here's a different measure of provgov spending, based on Public Accounts data, going back to FY 2003-04, the last budget under the former provincial Liberal government.
[Data source: Fiscal Reference Tables]
Labels: pretty charts
A really strange comment from Premier Dunderdale, quoted by Steve Bartlett in Saturday's Telegram:
Dunderdale doesn’t agree with those who suggest government spending is out of control. In last year’s budget, she notes, new spending was around two per cent.In order to reduce something further, don't you have to be reducing it in the first place?
“We’re going to try to reduce it even further,” she says.
Labels: pretty charts
Quebec's Commission de la représentation électorale tabled its final report this past week, setting out the new electoral boundaries by which the next provincial election will be fought in the province (unless it is called before January 21st).
A wise elf notes that some provincial legislatures, including the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly, reconstitute themselves post-election by having a mostly-ceremonial sitting to swear in the members (and usually also elect a Speaker), followed, not necessarily in short order, by a Throne Speech, which may be many weeks later.
Dean MacDonald wants to talk about leadership. He started to talk about that subject in a speech yesterday. James McLeod The Telegram reports:
In the speech, MacDonald took several shots at Premier Kathy Dunderdale, saying she basically bought votes with “a truckload of money” in the days leading up to the provincial election.It is not entirely clear from the context how much money is in a "truckload". Are we talking a Mack truckload or a metric truckload? Meh, it doesn't matter.
“The House of Assembly isn’t a pit stop on the race around the track,” he said. “It’s arrogant. It’s disrespectful.”Where was his concern about disrespect when Danny Williams called the House of Assembly "wasted time"?
On the divide between rural and urban portions of the province, he called it cheap politics, and destructive.Presumably, it was also the worst kind of politics back in 2006, when its practitioner was a guy named Danny Williams. Without a time machine to go back and figure out Dean MacDonald's whereabouts at that epoch, we will never know.
“It’s politics at its worst,” he said. “It’s not about the townies versus the baymen — we all know the baymen are going to win that one.”
But Macdonald also took aim at several of the Liberal party’s sacred cows — namely, Muskrat Falls and the divide between rural and urban Newfoundland and Labrador.A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a guy who shared Dean MacDonald's name, who melodramatically bailed from the board of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro over his principled opposition to a different proposed Lower Churchill project.
The Liberal Party has aggressively attacked the plan to build a hydroelectric dam at Muskrat Falls in Labrador. But MacDonald said he’s convinced it’s basically a good idea, and a good deal.
“While the debate will focus on the immediate, we have to think long-term again. If we build that thing, it’s there for 100 years,” he said. “When we think about a $6-billion investment in the Lower Churchill is expensive, well, talk to someone in 50 years.
Mr. MacDonald said Newfoundland and Labrador should not sign the proposed agreement because it doesn't provide for significant amounts of electrical power to be diverted from the main transmission lines to proposed economic development in Labrador.Where is the modern Dean MacDonald's concern about the marginalizationof Labrador, or the affordability of power?
"Labrador is being marginalized by this deal," Mr. MacDonald said. "They would never have a steady stream of affordable power."
Labels: Deanny Williams
This chart compares the gap between election and recall of the legislature, after the most recent election in each of the ten provinces. (This fall's elections are not included, as legislatures have not reconvened yet.)
All the elections are aligned on "E" day (for election). The bar to the left of "E" shows the duration of the election campaign. The election campaigns are colour-coded by season; brown for fall, green for spring, and Alberta's late-winter election in blue. An elections which resulted in the change of government is marked with an asterisk.
The election campaigns are also portrayed proportionate to their length. Newfoundland and Labrador provincial elections are the shortest in the country by about eight days; and, no, the fixed election date is no excuse either, given that most of the other provincial elections were also run under fixed date legislation.
The peach-coloured bar represents the break between the election and the resumption of legislative activity, with the length of that gap indicated. The legislature sat during some or all of the time-period rendered in pale blue.
After the 2007 election, the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly did no reconvene for five months. Only British Columbia's break topped 100 days.
Re-elected or newly-elected governments in the nine provinces west of the Cabot Strait averaged 41 days after the election before reconvening the legislature. Excluding BC, the average drops to 33 days.
Premier Dunderdale uses the excuse that she has to shuffle her cabinet, get everyone briefed, and come up with some legislation to bring before the House. Almost her entire incumbent caucus and cabinet was re-elected last Tuesday. The last four newly-elected provincial governments (PEI, NS, NB, and SK), with completely new cabinets and legislative agendas, averaged just under 30 days before the legislature was back in session. Working forward from October 11, 2011, would allow MHAs a break until after Remembrance Day activities back in their districts, and a fall session of historically-typical length before heading back for the Christmas break.
So much for Excuse No. 1.
Then there's the alternative explanation that all the hard, busy work of shuffling minister and briefing them (presumably, as in the good ol' days of 2009 and 2010, with as little ATIPpable paper trail as possible) will take us into Christmas. And we can't have that.
The four most recent fall provincial elections (other than in NL) saw legislatures resume after an average of 37 days. Two of those were also change-of-government elections. Again, a break of this length would allow the House of Assembly to return in mid-October, after Remembrance Day events, with an easy three sitting weeks thereafter slotting comfortable into just about any calendar anywhere else in the country.
So much for Excuse No. 2.
Any other excuses?
The following two charts show the pattern of corporate and business contributions to provincial political parties in Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia, made by donors in each province's respective capital city region. Colour-coding is per the traditional colour scheme for the three main parties. (There is also a small amount showing for the Nova Scotia Greens in 2009.)
Last Thursday, VOCM reported:
NL Leading Country in GDP Growth: BMOBMO's full monitor, in fact, goes on to state:
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Despite the fact growth in the province's economy is cooling, Newfoundland and Labrador will still lead the country in GDP growth according to BMO. Economist Robert Kavcic says our economy will grow by 3.5 percent thanks to construction and offshore oil projects. He says the biggest economic driver is construction, with government spending expected to total more than one billion dollars in the current fiscal year. Kavcic predicts growth will decelerate next year as fiscal stimulus winds down.
Atlantic Canada should see growth below 2% through 2012. ... Newfoundland & Labrador is an exception, as it is expected to grow a robust 3.5% this year,
thanks to energy-sector investment and a continued commitment to aggressive capital spending by the Province. But, that pace will also cool by 2012 as some projects begin to wind down.
Saskatchewan is one of only two provinces (the other is Newfoundland and Labrador) on track to be in the black this fiscal year, and the only one projected to be there persistently in the future.
Newfoundland and Labrador’s Public Accounts for FY10/11 and midyear fiscal update for FY11/12 are pending. In this spring’s Budget, the Province projected a $59 mln surplus for FY11/12 (0.2% of GDP), after an estimated $485 mln surplus in FY10/11 (1.6%). Budget balances were projected to switch to deficits in FY12/13 and FY13/14 ($496 mln and $310 mln, respectively), before returning to surplus in FY14/15.
In response to a sudden blurst of interest in the subject on the twitters earlier today, here is a canonical listing of political contributions made by local governments since the dawn of time in 1996.
Year Donor Candidate/Party Amount
1996 COMMUNITY OF GREEN ISLAND BROOK COATES, Dennis $353.41
1996 SANDY COVE COMMUNITY COATES, Dennis $111.00
1998 Town of Musgravetown Lib $150.00
2001 Town of Cottlesville Lib $150.00
2001 Town of Cottlesville Lib $ 50.00
2004 Town of Stephenville PC $750.00
2005 City of Corner Brook PC $750.00
2005 Town of Stephenville PC $750.00
2006 City of Corner Brook PC $750.00
2007 City of Corner Brook PC $750.00
2008 City of Corner Brook PC $750.00
2009 Town of Carbonear PC $400.00
2009 Town of Harbour Grace PC $160.00
2009 Town of Marystown PC $375.00
2010 Town of Badger Incorporated PC $400.00
2010 Town of Carbonear Incorporated PC $150.00
2010 Town of Carbonear Incorporated PC $100.00
An interesting bit of commentary from Craig Westcott, via Polemic and Paradox:
Examine the record if you’re in doubt that the provincial Tories have shifted several leagues to the left. Since taking office under Danny Williams in 2003, the current administration has grown the cost of government by 82 per cent in eight years. Most of the growth occurred in the last six years. In February 2010, Statistics Canada reported that the provincial government had 54,761 people on the payroll. That includes nurses, teachers, wardens and police officers, along with the direct line civil servants at Confederation Building. The number has increased substantially since then.Indeed.
In a province with a fit and willing workforce of just over 150,000, a civil service of that size is clearly not sustainable. But add to that figure the demographic implosion already under way and the looming drop in oil production and the approaching crash promises to be potentially cataclysmic. In just nine years, 26 per cent of the population of Newfoundland and Labrador will be 65 years of age or older. That’s more than one quarter of our citizens who will be retired and needing increased levels of health care and social supports.
This graying of our citizenry is taking place after oil production has peaked and is already winding down. Essentially, the province has about 20 years of reserves left and they are declining. There will be a bump in production when Hebron comes on stream in six years time, but it will be short-lived. The trend of diminishing oil revenues for government coffers is clear for anyone who cares to look.
Unfortunately, very few among us, including leaders in the business community and the House of Assembly, have cared, or should that be dared, to look.
Economist Wade Locke has predicted a decade of provincial government deficits ranging between half a billion and a billion-and-a-half dollars annually starting next fiscal year.
What has our so-called ‘conservative’ government done to prepare for and mitigate the repercussions of this looming fiscal blow? Led first by Danny Williams and now Kathy Dunderdale, they have been shovelling oil dollars into the ever growing maw of government, all for the purpose of staying popular and getting re-elected. Until the ascendance last year of Jo Mark Zurel to the presidency of the St. John’s Board of Trade, the leaders of our local business community lustily cheered them on.
[Data source: Elections NL financial disclosures. Figures for a handful of minor parties and independent candidates excluded. Data does not incorporate the still-unpublished financial returns for the two by-elections held in 2010.]
From the proceedings of the House of Assembly on May 16, 2001.
MR. OTTENHEIMER: Yesterday in the House, the Deputy Premier was asked directly whether the government would make a commitment that before a Voisey’s Bay deal is signed, final and binding, that the government will bring it to this Legislature for debate and put it before the people of the Province so they can see and comment on what is in the deal. Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Premier answered quite simply by saying: Yes, Mr. Speaker.
The Premier, while he was Minister of Mines and Energy, on November 29 and November 30, and again on December 6, 1999, was asked the very same question here in this House and all three times he said, Mr. Speaker, no.
I would like to ask the Premier to tell the people of the Province, for the record today, Mr. Premier: Will you make a commitment that before the government signs a final and binding Voisey’s Bay development deal, the government will put that deal before the people of the Province for scrutiny and input and bring it to this Legislature for debate?
PREMIER GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, let me say this: I know he is particularly sensitive today. He is not having a good day and he should read the bill. Bill 10 would be the real answer, Mr. Speaker.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!
PREMIER GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, I would ask that the critic for Mines and Energy maybe check with the Leader of the Opposition, based upon what he said today about wanting to debate outside the Legislature, whether he really wants to ask the question he just asked. Do you want the debate in the Legislature or not? Because on Bill 10 he wants to have the debate outside the Legislature, Mr. Speaker.
MR. OTTENHEIMER: The Premier reminds me of the question: Are you an indecisive person? And the response being: Well, Sir, yes and no.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!
MR. OTTENHEIMER: I ask the Premier, Mr. Speaker: What is it? Is it the position that his Minister of Mines and Energy has alluded to? Is it the position of yesterday, of the Deputy Premier? Or, is it his position of 1999? What is it, Premier? How will this issue be determined once and for all? Will the people of this Province be a part of this very significant public issue?
PREMIER GRIMES: I commend the hon. member on his perfect and very apt description of the Opposition today -
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!
PREMIER GRIMES: - because they do not know which particular view they want to take.
Mr. Speaker, let the record be very clear on this issue. With respect to Voisey’s Bay or any other issue of significance and importance in Newfoundland and Labrador, this government’s insistence is that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador will know the details of anything that is done; and they will be convinced by knowing the details, Mr. Speaker, in every public, possible way, whether it is inside or outside of the Legislature, whatever is most appropriate at the time. They will be convinced because they will see the details. We want them to know the details because then the fearmongering and the criticism of the Opposition will be exposed for what it is. They are frightened to death to see something that is good for Newfoundland and Labrador happen. They do not want it to happen. The people of Newfoundland and Labrador will see the details inside or outside the Legislature, and we will insist upon it because we know that when they see the details in a deal that is good for Newfoundland and Labrador they will fully endorse and support the initiatives that government takes on their behalf.
On Tuesday, the Progressive Conservatives under Kathy Dunderdale won 37 seats on 56% of the vote. By any standards a smashing electoral success.
PC Lib NDPThe NDP gains in votes, and seats, came almost entirely at the expense of the Tories. The Liberals stubbornly refused to believe their own obituaries.
2007 69.6 21.7 8.5
2011 56.1 19.1 24.6
Change -13.5 -2.6 +16.1
Even in opposition, the Tories have always had a battle-hardened political redoubt in the capital city. During the Smallwood years, before electoral map-drawing process was semi-professionalized, the PC party always at least split the difference with Smallwood's Liberals. Other than in 1949, the PC caucus was always weighted towards St. John's. (In 1949 the Tories also carried several of their traditional rural Avalon chateaux-forts.) In 1959, the St. John's vote was further split by the schismatic United Newfoundland faction (in green). As with the previous chart, the problem case of Bell Island, more integrated with St. John's now than it was then, is shown in a paler shade. Once again, the grey bar represents the metaphorical overpass:
The elections of 1989 and 1993 show just how unusual, historically-speaking, was the electoral coalition built by the Clyde Wells Liberals. They were very successful in the city and suburbs, while the Tories showed a remarkable resilience in rural areas even during Liberal-won elections. The two Tobin-era elections showed the Tories gaining ground in the city, while reverting to the historical pattern of having a caucus comprised half or more of urban and suburban MHAs, even though the electoral map favours non-metro areas almost three to one.
St. John's, in short, has always been the Progressive Conservative citadel. It is the core to which they retreat in bad elections, and the base from which they rebuild to have good ones.
So, for them, seeing the NDP surge to four seats in the city, take out a cabinet minister and two other incumbents, and fend of what ended up being a weak challenge by a "star" candidate, was bad enough.
Seeing the NDP surge to over 1000 votes in every metro district but one — Mount Pearl North, where Kurtis Coombs, of all candidates, still got 994 — is another.
Seeing the NDP come to within realistic striking distance in three more districts — Conception Bay East–Bell Island, Mount Pearl South, and St. John's West — now you're talking nervous tics.
Then to have the Dippers winning polls in suburban Cape St. Francis and elsewhere across Town?
Couple that with the surprising (to some people) Liberal resilience in rural areas, especially the further you get from St. John's, where the Liberal vote actually increased in eighteen districts, and you may just be gazing into something of a crystal ball that foretells the scenario by which the PC party will, eventually, fall from grace with voters.
A rural flank under pressure from the other "traditional" party. An urban core where some seats are won, and others "spoiled" by vote-splits from the NDP.
Sound vaguely familiar?
With the colours red and blue swapping positions, this is exactly the pincer move that has been pursued over the four federal elections of 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2011, by the federal Conservatives.
The rural party failed to die on cue, and actually ended up making gains. The governing party's urban fortress is under siege by an NDP that snuck in through the aqueducts.
A PC defeat wasn't in the cards in 2011.
But for anyone with a little imagination, regardless of political stripe, that eventual defeat isn't nearly as hard to imagine this week as it was seven days ago.
Premier Kathy Dunderdale — just like her predecessor — doesn't think much of the body that she volunteered to be elected to:
From the proceedings of the Bow-Wow Parliament on May 15, 2001, here's former PC leader Ed Byrne asking sharply-pointed questions about the Voisey's Bay project:
MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact that this government, and in particular the Premier, has articulated a position on the export of ore prior to a finished processing of that product that explicitly defies the mandate the government received in 1999, I would like to ask the Deputy Premier: Will government make a commitment that before a deal is signed, final and binding that puts in place a deal that is final, that the people have to live with forever and a day, that you will bring it to this Legislature for debate and that you will bring it before the people of the Province so they can see and comment on what is in that deal?
MR. TULK: Yes, Mr. Speaker.
MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to hear the Deputy Premier’s answer because Hansard will show that the Premier’s answer - I will get to the question if you will give me a moment, I say to the Government House Leader - to me on this question is different.
I want to ask this question. It is now government policy, supported by your Premier, that if you negotiate a deal, before you sign it you will bring it before the Legislature for debate and you will bring it before the public so they may have their opportunity to debate it as well. Is that what you are saying, Deputy Premier?
MR. TULK: Let me say to the hon. gentleman that this government will not hide anything that it signs or does, and that it will be debated fully in this Legislature.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!
MR. TULK: What’s the problem? Are you trying to suggest to us that we should hide something? Are you afraid there is going to be a deal there? What’s the problem?
MR. E. BYRNE: Government members asked: What are we afraid of? The government members say it will be out in the open. I can only say, are they aware - I will ask this question, you must be aware, or are you aware that the Premier of the Province, in this Legislature, said no to the question that I asked, that he would not make that commitment.
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!
MR. E. BYRNE: I am asking again, Mr. Speaker: Before this deal is final and binding upon the people of the Province, that it will be debated fully in this Legislature and that government will provide an opportunity to have it fully debated outside this Legislature in public. Is that the commitment that government is making?
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!
MR. TULK: My answer to that repetitive question is the same as it was before.
It was so delightful to see the ever-vigilant Duff Conacher of Democracy Watch weigh in on the issue of voter turnout and the extended Christmas break that the newly re-elected PC government have given themselves. As VOCM reported Thursday:
Democracy Watch Weighs in on ElectionFor the record, here are some of the other democracy-related issues that the very busy Democracy Watchers failed to notice during the past eight years:
Thursday , October 13 2011
Democracy Watch says there are a number of ways to improve voter turnout and make the electorate more engaged in the process. Spokesman Duff Conacher was responding to low voter turnout in this week's provincial election. Just under 58 percent of the province's eligible voters cast their ballots this time around, the lowest turnout in recent memory. Conacher says there have poor voter turnouts in other provinces and in recent federal elections as well. He says the electorate are fed up with politicians and want to see measures put in place to ensure honesty and real change. He says sometimes all it takes is a clear outline of party policy.
Meanwhile, Premier Kathy Dunderdale has already announced that the Legislature will not open for the fall session. Conacher calls that decision an "undemocratic move".
A truly extraordinary story today from VOCM:
Sour Grapes?If by any chance you were inclined to tell Clyde Jackman, Paul Oram, or Dr. Darin Luther King to "stay classy", just remember — you can't stay classy if you ain't classy in the first place.
Friday , October 14 2011
Someone might want to remind the two PC MHAs on the Burin Peninsula that they won. People are starting to notice the sour grapes being expressed by some successful candidates in the recent provincial election. Clyde Jackman, who squeaked past New Democratic Party candidate Julie Mitchell, is disappointed that Fish, Food and Allied Workers union local president Allan Moulton and Marystown Mayor Sam Synard campaigned against him. Now, Education Minister Darin King, who ran and won in the nearby district of Grand Bank, is complaining about Liberal MP Judy Foote. Quoted in the Southern Gazette, King expressed his disgruntlement with Foote for supporting the Liberal candidate Carol Anne Haley, who worked as her constituency assistant. King is quoted as saying that he "was not going to be as nice as he used to be" toward Foote.
On VOCM Backtalk with Paddy Daly Thursday, caller Ben from Grand Bank expressed his surprise at the reaction. He said the only people expressing bitterness are the winners. He called the matter "childish".
On VOCM Niteline with Bill Rowe, Judy Foote said King used bullying language in criticizing her, even though he won the seat. She said he had to campaign against two politicians, and he said that she picked a "fight" and he would see it through.
Liberal MP Gerry Byrne, who campaigned during the provincial election, says it's a case of the pot calling the kettle black. He says less than six months ago, nine provincial cabinet ministers campaigned against him.
Meanwhile, Marystown Mayor Sam Synard told VOCM Niteline with Bill Rowe that Jackman has indicated he doesn't want to work with him or Allan Moulton. Synard says the only campaigning he did with NDP candidate Julie Mitchell, with whom he worked on council, was in his home town of Parker's Cove, where he introduced her to his elderly aunt and an uncle. Synard said he was very surprised by Jackman's comments about Allan Moulton.
A former Progressive Conservative cabinet minister, Paul Oram, has weighed in on the provincial election and wasted no time in castigating Synard for allegedly campaigning against Jackman. Oram said bitterness and resentment, in this case, goes both ways.
ST. JOHN'S, February 18, 2000 — Opposition Mines and Energy critic John Ottenheimer says if the province is close to a deal with Québec on developing the Lower Churchill River's hydro potential, then it's time many questions were addressed.
Ottenheimer said it is of the utmost importance the public see what's in any agreement with Québec before the deal is signed. "Let's not repeat the Upper Churchill fiasco where our people were left in the dark only to discover the agreement was to the detriment of this province," he said. "Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have been promised updates since the premiers of this province and Québec announced a framework for negotiations to develop the Lower Churchill in March 1998."
"It's almost two years later and we're still hearing a memorandum of understanding to proceed with the Lower Churchill development is close, possibly within weeks. It's time the premier stopped the charade and made some concrete statements and answered the many unanswered questions that rest in the minds of people in this province."
Ottenheimer said before any deal is signed, the province's people need to know about: the status of river diversion; development at Gull Island; potential development of Muskrat Falls; and if the development of a transmission line between Labrador and the Island portion of the province is a part of the deal.
"The province's chief negotiator and the premier have made it clear that the transmission line is an important component - an essential condition - in signing a memorandum of understanding with Québec to develop the Lower Churchill," Ottenheimer said. "The premier appears, however, to be softening on the transmission line commitment by trying to switch the public's attention over to a pipeline dream, specifically the construction of a natural gas pipeline to our province from offshore oil fields."
Ottenheimer said if the province has a moral conscience and is sincere about not repeating the Upper Churchill contract, then it will take any potential deal with Québec before the House of Assembly for debate to ensure full transparency. "It would also be wise for the province to hold public hearings and update the people on any deal before it's signed," he said.
With a nod to Nain Bay for highlighing this interesting fact, the district of Torngat Mountains had its largest-ever absolute vote turnout on Tuesday. In fact, it has set new high-water marks for total vote in each of the past three elections:
Total % turnoutWhile highest in absolute numbers, it wasn't the highest in relative turnout as expressed as a share of eligible electors. Still, Torngat Mountains has a long history of consistently high turnout. In eight provincial elections since 1985 inclusive, Torngat Mountains has had higher-than-provincial-average turnout in all but two of them, and was only off by 0.6% in 1993. Remarkably, in four of the past five elections, turnout in Torngat has been 10% or more above the provincial average.
1979 848 ?
1982 1139 ?
1985 1151 81.7%
1989 1327 90.4%
1993 1218 83.0%
1996 1134 84.6%
1999 1223 80.2%
2003 1368 67.6%
2007 1480 71.2%
2011 1516 71.2%* (unofficial)
Labels: pretty tables
The Premier went before the mics on Wednesday and attempted to justify the abolition of the fall semester of the legislature that she and the other 36 members of her caucus were just elected to:
You can't go into the House without legislation. There's a purpose to the House. And the purpose of the House is to enact legislation. And that takes time to prepare. So by the time we get back, it's gonna be — before we get a cabinet sworn in we're gonna be talking at least two weeks or more. And then, time you prepare legislation, get it all written up, get it through its various processes, cause they are stringent, you know, we're talking mid-December.Indeed.
Labels: bow-wow parliament
This pretty chart shows the average age of partisan Canadian second-order governments in power since 1900. Click to enlarge:
The source data is the age of all partisan provincial (and one territorial, plus pre-Confederation Newfoundland) governments, calculated by assigning an age of "1" at the end of the calendar year in which the party took office.
Some provinces which had non-overtly partisan legislatures early in their history, as well as the two "consensus" territories, are excluded, as is the federal Parliament.
Transitions from one party leader to another do not impact the calculation of age. For example, the PQ government in Quebec keeps "aging" from Parizeau through Bouchard to Landry.
Several notable historical trends are obviously visible. By the mid-1930s, the Great Depression had cleaned the clocks of incumbents right across the country. (Along with other episods of government-replacement, the bar for 1936 is shown in dark green). Their replacements benefitted from lingering resentment of governments that got blamed for tough times, then the War years and post-War boom, to set records in many provinces for long-lived administrations. This was the era of Smallwood, Duplessis, Angus L., Ernest Manning, Tommy Douglas, Wacky Bennett, and the birth of Ontario's Big Blue Machine.
There was a bit of a "correction" in the late 1950s, bringing the average age of incumbent governments back to the long-term historical average of just under 10 years, followed by another period of stable incumbencies through the 1960s. However, from about 1968 to 1972, voters in every province except PEI and Ontario turfed incumbent parties, and nearly did so at the federal level in the minority election of 1972. This episode has been called by some wag, "the Great Housecleaning." There then followed another period of incumbency advantage, ending with a bunch of turnovers in the mid-1980s, most notably in Ontario and Quebec. This also coincided with the era of the 1984 Mulroney federal PC landslide.
Through the rest of the 1980s, incumbents continued to lose advantage, including the defeat of the ex-Peckford and Hatfield PCs in Atlantic Canada. After the huge federal turnover election of 1993, incumbency advantage began to grow again, and has trended mostly upwards ever since.
At the far right of the chart, the columns in yellow show what the incumbency situation would putatively be out to the end of 2014, assuming that:
Labels: pretty charts
In an interview with CBC Newsworld earlier today, Premier Dunderdale speaks again of her plans for the proposed Muskrat Falls project "as we move towards sanction, hopefully in the spring."
To ensure this project has every opportunity to move forward, the Provincial Government is leading its development through the Energy Corporation. The Energy Corporation has established a comprehensive and clearly-defined project execution plan and will continue to advance the project on multiple fronts, including engineering and the environmental assessment process, analysis of market access options and market destinations, and a financing strategy. The project is targeting sanction in 2009, with in-service of Gull Island in 2015.The Word of Our Dan. (Glory be.)
Labels: Lowered Churchill expectations
This map shows the change in turnout in 47 districts between the general elections of 2007 and 2011. (Bonavista South can't be compared, since it was filled by acclamation in 2007.)
This map shows a tale of two provinces.
Here are the provision results of tonight's Newfoundland and Labrador election, cleverly mapped by party which carried each district, and further colour-coded by the strength of the candidate's victory. The results are divided into vote shares of less than 40%, 40-50%, 50-60%, and greater than 60%. The number of seats carried by each vote share is also indicated in the legend.
A letter from Colonial Secretary Glenelg, to Newfoundland Governor Prescott, in response to an 1835 petition from residents and merchants in Ivucktoke and Sandwich Bays, Labrador. Originally published as one of the exhibits in the Labrador Boundary case joint appendix of exhibits, it has been digitized by MUN library.
Imitation is the sincerest form of hilarity. Here are the splash pages on the websites for the Dunderdale (the party seems to have dropped the "2011" portion of the branding after making their candidates deploy it):
An ad from Torngat Mountains PC candidate Patty Pottle which appears on p. A3 of the latest edition of The Labradorian:
226.1 (1) A registered party or candidate, and a person, corporation or trade union acting with its or his or her knowledge and consent shall not, after the issue of a writ for an election and before the day immediately following the polling day, except during the period of 21 days immediately preceding the day before polling day,(a) advertise on the facilities of a broadcasting undertaking; orfor the purpose of promoting or opposing a political party or the election of a candidate.
(b) procure for publication, publish or consent to the publication of, except during that period, an advertisement in a newspaper, magazine or other periodical publication,
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply(a) to advertising of public meetings in districts;if the advertisements, announcements and other matters are done in accordance with the guidelines of the Chief Electoral Officer.
(b) to advertising through the use of outdoor advertising facilities;
(c) to announcing political parties' headquarters locations;
(d) to announcing services for electors by political parties respecting enumeration and revision of lists of electors; or
(e) to another matter respecting administrative functions of political parties,
(3) A person who broadcasts or publishes an advertisement contrary to this section is guilty of an offence.
A few days ago, this corner posed a question, asking you to identify the provincial governments in this chart, which shows the growth rate of the provincial public sector in various provinces, under various party stripes, over the past thirty years:
An excerpt from Saturday's letter to the Telegram by Richard Cashin, Ed Hearn, and Dennis Browne, one of a flurry of lengthy Muskrat Falls-related letters which, sadly, do not make it to the paper's public web site:
All this comes at a time in which our population growth is declining and aging. The burden of Muskrat Falls will be heavy on our taxpayers as well as our ratepayers. Here are some population figures.It's not entirely clear where1989.......................576,000
2011.......................513,000As this corner has previously noted even these figures are already over-optimistic and out of date: the latest Statistics Canada estimate pegs the population of the entire province at under 511,000. The truly relevant population — that of the Island Interconnected service area — is even smaller, excluding, as it does, 25- to 30,000 in Labrador, plus several thousand more living in isolated diesel communities in Newfoundland.
A most interesting pattern emerges in canvassing the local community papers (and the Western Star) for PC candidates' campaign advertising.
A bit of a strange, passively-voiced conclusion to a CBC election commentary by Doug Letto:
How many of us have asked these questions:
- What would happen if oil production was interrupted because of technical problems or an environmental catastrophe?
- What if oil prices plummeted?
- What "other revenue sources" could we reasonably and quickly marshal to take the place of offshore royalties?
There has not been much talk of any of those scenarios in this election. Only a determination to exercise prudence and care in spending the income generated by oil. Perhaps, in the midst of plenty, this is a debate politicians can't stomach right now.
But it’s a talk that needs to happen once the campaign buses have been parked and the placards put away.
In the 2006 federal election, there were collectively 17,727 federal electors on the federal list in the city of Corner Brook.
A fascinating little report Tuesday on Radio-Canada's eastern Quebec regional news site:
La Romaine n'est pas rentable, maintient Jean-Thomas BernardRough translation:
Hydro-Québec avance que le coût de l'électricité lié au projet se situe autour de 6,4 ¢ le kilowattheure. M. Bernard se demande comment Hydro-Québec peut en arriver à ce chiffre.
« Lors de la première annonce sur le projet, Hydro-Québec estimait un coût de l'ordre de 10 ¢ le kWh. Et là, elle arrive avec ce nouveau chiffre de 6,4. Pendant ce temps, le seul changement réel, ça a été la baisse du taux d'intérêt », affirme-t-il.
Selon son calcul, la baisse des taux sur les emprunts d'Hydro-Québec permet une réduction d'un demi-cent sur le coût du kWh, pas davantage.
D'après lui, le coût réel du projet avoisinerait davantage les 8,6 ¢ du kWh.
« Même avec un coût de 6,4 ¢ le kWh, c'est supérieur au prix [de vente] de 5,8 ¢ qu'on a convenu avec le Vermont pour 500 mégawatts au cours de la dernière année. L'argument principal de la Société est que le prix de l'électricité va augmenter. Mais on ne sait pas quel sera le prix dans 20-25 ans. Tout au plus, on sait que pour 5-10 prochaines années, le prix de l'électricité sera dominé par le prix du gaz et que ce prix a fléchi énormément et n'est pas sur le point de se redresser », avance-t-il.
La Romaine is not profitable, maintains Jean-Thomas Bernard
Hydro-Québec argues that the cost of electricity associated with the project is around 6.4 cents per kilowatt hour. Bernard wonders how Hydro-Québec arrives at this figure.
"When the project was first announce, Hydro-Québec estimated a cost of about 10 cents per kWh. And here they come with this new figure of 6.4. Meanwhile, the only real change, it was lower interest rates," he said.
According to his calculation, the lower rates on loans from Hydro-Québec allows a reduction of half a percent on the cost per kWh, and no more.
According to him, the real cost of the project would approach around 8.6 cents per kWh.
"Even with a cost of 6.4 cents per kWh, it's higher than the [sale] price of 5.8 cents they reached with the Vermont for 500 megawatts over the past year. The company's main argument is that the price of electricity will increase. But we do not know what the price will be in 20-25 years. At most, we know that for 5-10 years, the price of electricity will be dominated by gas prices and the price dropped a lot and is not about to pick up," he said.