All aboard the Happy Train! (Not so fast, Ray.)
One of the lead Ministers in this year’s July Parade of Funding Love is Susan Sullivan, leading a parade of local PC MHAs in (re)announcing health-care funding for a variety of projects from Corner Brook to St. Lawrence.
(The timing of the parade, just days before CRA goes back into the field for its summer quarterly, is purely coincidental, of course.)
On the 17th, it’s Kevin Pollard announcing funding for Springdale, Baie Verte and La Scie.
On the 18th, Sullivan, with her Local MHA shirt on, announces happiness for Buchans, and along with Fairity O’Brien, another dose of money for Gander.
On the 20th, it’s Clayton Forsey’s turn for the good people of Exploits, on the 23rd, it’s the entire greater Humber PC caucus making nice in Corner Brook, and on the 24th, Derrick Dalley joins the Minister for an announcement in The Isles of Notre Dame.
On the 25th, it’s former HealthMin Ross Wiseman spreading the joy in Clarenville, followed a few hours later by Glen Little in Bonavista.
And today, it took all three Burin Peninsula MHAs to help Sullivan announce $800,000 — that’s $200,000 worth of positive PR for each elected official — with a special one-off HappyTalk for Dr. Darin King. He’s a doctor.
But amid all the happy happy, there’s the $3.4-million blockbuster for Grand Falls-Windsor, the largest so far on the tour. O happy circumstance, it just happens to be in the health minister’s own back yard.
It was announced on the 20th by herself. Alone.
For the record there are two PC MHAs representing the town of Grand Falls-Windsor.
Surely the explanation is entirely innocent; the other MHA, whatever the devil his or her name is, was travelling on holidays at his or her own expense.
But it’s not as if it’s difficult to insert a “quote” into one of these boilerplate HappyTalks.
And if physically participating in one of these announcements is a prerequisite for getting worked into the release — in almost every instance, the Minister was, just like the release states, actually joined by the other named MHAs when the good news was delivered… you have to wonder what this means for the Directive from On High to stop all the expensive discretionary travel.
You know, to help achieve the savings of “tens of millions” on a budget that is billions of dollars larger than it was just a few short years ago.
By now, the austerity message, such as it was, must be thoroughly mixed.