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

Friday, June 28, 2013


Bill Westcott of Clarke's Beach writes in the Telegram:
Here we go again. According to CTV’s “Canada AM” program Thursday, we should all celebrate Canada Day with wine and cheese parties. In the process, the program suggests we all raise a glass or two of Nova Scotia, Ontario or British Columbia wines. 
There are two inferences here, in my view. One is that, like so often, Canada begins in Nova Scotia (likely Cape Breton). The other is that we have no wines of any distinction here on this “quaint little rock” in the North Atlantic. 
We Newfoundlanders should demand more respect and insist that more attention to these national references be made with a view to having them stopped once and for all. 
How often do national weather forecasters, particularly on CBC and CTV, refer to weather outlooks from “right across the country” while meteorology graphics on their computer-generated weather maps end at Nova Scotia. We should fire off emails and tweets in protest to these program producers and hosts.
Bill Westcott of Clarke's Beach might want to get in touch with Bill Westcott of Clarke's Beach:
Just imagine not blowing 'ere wide open eh Clar, and having a great time for ourselves right across her eh, from St. John's to Port aux Basques. [The Compass, April 21, 2009]

Ever since I was nine years old Newfoundland has been considered to be the poor cousin of Canada. Premier after Premier, beginning with Joey in 1949 fought and clawed their way trying to make this island home a have province. [The Compass, December 15, 2009]

Herber McGurk's letter to The Compass May 21, headlined "The SS Kyle deserves better," brought up a very important subject that needs addressing by the Dunderdale Government, namely the shameful condition of, not only this magnificent historical ship that's rusting away abandoned in the waters off Harbour Grace, but of many other Newfoundland and Labrador historic sites, buildings, monuments and artifacts. 
We live on an island in the North Atlantic that has one of the most incredible histories anyone anywhere will ever study. [The Compass, June 14, 2013]


Monday, June 17, 2013

On general deterrence

Amendments to the Highway Traffic Act will enhance enforcement against impaired driving, speeding in school zones and distracted driving. Bill 27 is now before the House of Assembly as part of the Provincial Government’s on-going commitment to raising awareness of unsafe driving habits and preventing vehicle collisions and injuries on the province’s roadways.

“Enhanced enforcement will act as a deterrent against impaired driving, by increasing the likelihood of detection by authorities and raising the penalties for offences,” said the Honourable Felix Collins, Minister of Justice and Attorney General. “These legislative changes will enable the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to further protect the public from impaired drivers. Both police forces will be in a better position to identify and deal with impaired drivers whose actions continue to be a serious concern for this province, despite the widespread opinion that drinking or taking drugs and then driving is just not acceptable.”


Through changes to the Buildings Accessibility Regulations and the Designated Impaired Mobility Regulations, Service NL is increasing the fines for illegally parking in blue zone parking spaces. In addition, these changes will strengthen the requirement that signs identifying spaces designated for persons with physical disabilities be clearly identified, permanent and kept in good repair.

“The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador takes these types of violations very seriously,” said the Honourable Paul Davis, Minister of Service NL. “As a result of our review of the regulations, we have more than doubled fines in an effort to create a greater deterrent against illegal parking by those who are not entitled to park in these spaces. With these new fines in place, law enforcement officials will have a much stronger tool to use when targeting these offenders.”


“From my perspective it’s a far stretch to even remotely suggest that this act, or any other particular piece of legislation, could have stopped a crime or deterred behaviour,” [Darin King] said. “It’s really hard to combat crime when people want to be criminals.”

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Say, have you guys met?

CBC comment from "GodGuardTheeNL", June 10th at 11:40 a.m.:
What gets me is how can people back a party that never puts forth a position, or a policy? The Liberals and the NDP are constantly whineing and complaining about anything the government tries to do...yet we never hear about how they would do it better, or how much it would cost. It is so easy to govern...when you don't have to make any decisions. Let's hear from the Liberals, who don't have a leader and are a million dollars in debt...let's hear their plan to make the province a better place...let's hear from the NDP....nothing but silence...I would say this poll is more about the 20,000 disgruntled civil service workers than anything else....God help us if the Liberals or the NDP ever get will be a very, very sad day for this province....

Telegram comment from "John Smith", June 10th at 1:17 p.m.:
What is funny is how people can make up their mind about who to support without any indication of the policies, or vision of that party. The Liberals and the NDP have yet to come out with one idea, or policy that would tell us what they plan to do to make out lot here better...yet people think that they should support these parties? The liberals, who are leaderless, and a million dollars in debt? Really? maybe these opposition parties do have all the answers...I don't know. But we will never know untill they tell us what their plan is...until now, I have heard nothing but whining and complaining. It's so easy to govern when all you have to do is point fingers, and make baseless accusations....God help us all if the NDP or Liberals ever take over in this province....we will all suffer greatly for it...

Why, you'd almost think the talking-point-spouting PC shills were worried or something.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Uncontrolled flight into terrain

The long-term trendline of the voter-intent figures in Newfoundland and Labrador, per Corporate Research Associates' quarterly (and occasional extraordinary) poll reports.

So, yeah, when does floor-crossing season start again?

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Show your work - 2013 update

[The main body of this post was originally published on September 14, 2012.]

On June 11th, the totally independent Information Commissioner issued this cautionary note about his views on Bill 29, the Williams-Dunderdale Memorial Freedom from Information Act:
Proposed amendments to the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (ATIPPA) are before the House of Assembly for debate. This is part of the democratic process of lawmaking, and those charged with making statute law are the elected representatives of the House of Assembly.

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) is an independent Office of the House of Assembly and the Commissioner an appointed officer of the House of Assembly. Independence of the OIPC is paramount. It is its independent nature that ensures it can carry out its statutory function of information and privacy protection on behalf of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. Given this role, it is not appropriate for the Commissioner to provide commentary on the process while the proposed ATIPPA amendments are before the House.

Commissioner Ed Ring comments further, “I will not be in a position to engage in discussion on the amendments until I am fully briefed and read-in. It will be necessary to take some time for in-house analysis and discussion to fully explore the long term effects and implications of the changes before speaking about them. The scope, extent and complexity of the amendments will dictate how long our consideration will take. The bottom line here, is that I am reluctant to make comments prematurely until the appropriate study and analytical work by my Office is completed.”
A week later, the Commissioner is reported to have told reporters at a conference of his peers:
"I still maintain, based on my review, that the legislation remains robust, and that people's right to access information will be protected," Ring told reporters Monday, after he spoke at a St. John's conference on public access to government information.

While he acknowledged that "it's going to be a work in progress" as Bill 29 is implemented, Ring said he was heartened to see that individuals can still appeal government rejections of their requests to the courts.

"There are opportunities for judicial review," he said.

"Will there be oversight? And so the answer is yes, there will be."
On June 21st, Ed Ring was re-appointed as Access to Information Commissioner for a further two-year term.

On June 27th, Bill 29, the Williams-Dunderdale Memorial Freedom from Information Act, received Royal Assent.

There is still no sign of that "appropriate study and analytical work" on Bill 29 over at the Commissioner's website.

* * *

2013 update: There is still no sign of the "appropriate study and analytical work" on Bill 29 over at the Commissioner's website. If the OIPC has carried out any such work, whether before or after enthusiastically endorsing Bill 29, it has not been published.

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Stand by your plan

Jerome Kennedy, Minister of Whatever Jerome Kennedy is this month, went before the cameras on Monday, and in reaction to the latest CRA poll, with a perfectly straight face, said:
So, what I take from this poll is a message that we have to now re-examine the way we're doing things. Not the decisions, because whether it be Muskrat Falls or the budget, those are decisions that we stand by, those are big decisions that define the future of this province.
On Thursday, his colleague, the eternally gormless Darin King, himself stood firmly by one of those big, provincial-future-defining decisions... by reversing it.

What's the hashtag that the Tory Twitter Three like to toss around so often, again?

Ah yes, right: #NoPlan

Monday, June 10, 2013

Blue funk

When Corporate Research Associates were last heard from in March, the notional result of their vote-intent figures would have been a seriously hobbled PC minority government.

Three months later, and the picture has continued to evolve along the recent trend-lines… only more so. On today’s CRA numbers, using reliable swing models to project a province-wide district-by-district result, either of the opposition parties would be poised to form a minority government of between 19 and 21 seats, with a slight statistical edge to the NDP.

The incumbent PCs would be humiliated into a distant third-place showing of seven to ten seats – Virginia Waters not being among them.

The humiliation would be tempered only by the possibility that, unless the NDP and Liberals formed a working coalition government to begin the hard work of dedannification, the PCs might be called upon to hold the balance of power in a minority legislature.

The February CRA figures, reported in early March, would have notionally resulted in 15 to 17 Tory seats changing hands, mostly to the NDP, and mostly in Labrador and the metro St. John’s area.

The May figures, reported today, would add another 10 to 13 districts to the notional PC bleed, and, with their impressive one-quarter surge, most of the new losses would be to the Liberals in coastal Newfoundland and the Trans-Canada Highway shire towns. Darin King, Susan Sullivan, Ray Hunter, Vaughn Granter, Wade Verge, Tony Cornect, Glenn Littlejohn, Derrick Dalley, Charlene Johnson and Ross Wiseman would be among the new notional casualties of a general election where the popular vote was identical to today’s poll release. Terry French, Keith Hutchings and Paul Davis would also be expected to be in tight races, too close to call.

Interestingly, the incumbent Tories are bleeding support not only to both the opposition parties, but, in a rapidly-developing worst-case scenario for the PCs, are bleeding to the different parties in geographically distinct areas of the province. The NDP is best placed to take advantage of the PC implosion in the northeast Avalon, portions of eastern Newfoundland, and urban Labrador. The Liberals are position to pick the Tory carcass in much of rural Newfoundland. Only a handful of districts, including The Straits—White Bay North (here too close to call), would see head-to-head or three-way races in which both the Liberals and NDP are in notional competition.

Worse for the incumbents, at 27% – barely over a quarter of the decided vote – not only would the PC party be crushed at the polls, most of their rump caucus would notionally squeak in with a margin of victory of less than 10%.

Here’s the notional district-by-district map.* For the opposition parties, dark colours indicate holds and pale colours are pickups. For the incumbent PCs, dark blue is a hold, while paler blue is a hold by less than a notional 10% margin of victory. Light grey indicates a district where the projection models are in disagreement about the notional winner.

* To be taken with a grain of salt – the overall seat totals in swing models are more accurate than district-by-district projects, as the errors in the latter tend to cancel one another out.

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Friday, June 07, 2013

Touchy, touchy (III)

Continued from here.
So, when it comes to using their totally non-partisan, professional civil-service communications staff for partisan sniping, which Ministers are the worst offenders?
Since the nominal change of Premiership in 2011, Susan Sullivan and Clyde Jackman have accounted for just over half of all the partisan snot-o-grams issued by provincial government departments:

And who have been the targets? The two opposition parties are almost evenly matched, though with a slight shift of late towards the NDP. Twenty-seven snot-o-grams have been directed at the Liberal caucus generally, or a Liberal MHA particularly; 24 have been aimed at the NDP or an individual NDP Member, and seven have been aimed at legislative "opposition" generally, without names or party identifiers. (Not included here are a very small handful of partisan snipes at federal political actors.)
Broken down further, there were thirteen totally non-partisan civil-servant missives directed at the Liberal caucus generally, and ten at MHA Jim Bennett. On the NDP side of the chart, twelve were directed at the NDP, often with sneering, government-professional impartial references to the "third party", with St. John's North MHA Dale Kirby taking most of the individually-named fire.

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Saturday, June 01, 2013

Touchy, touchy (II)

A quick reminder that, a few weeks ago, Jerome Kennedy, Minister of Whatever Jerome Kennedy is Minister of, reminded the sad-sack provincial legislature:
I do not think I need to remind the member opposite that communications personnel in government are not political staff; they are members of the public service. They are not involved in political events such as fundraisers, and they are not involved in political speeches.
Public servants are politically neutral and non-partisan.

As per the Billy Hickey Rule, government communications staff are public servants.

Politically neutral, non-partisan, public servants.

You can stop laughing now.

On Thursday, Susan Sullivan, who is rapidly revealing herself to be among the most viciously partisan members of an utterly talentless provincial cabinet, issued yet another press release, via her devoted, politically neutral, non-partisan public servant, Scott Barfoot, which took a pointed and partisan swipe at an individual opposition MHA.

This was the eighth such partisan jibe issued by a politically neutral, non-partisan public servant for the month of May, and the twenty-fifth so far this calendar year.

May is the fifth month of the year. In all of 2012, there were "just" 31 partisan snot-o-grams issued by politically neutral, non-partisan public servants against named opposition MHAs, named opposition parties, or the opposition in general. And 2012 was the all-time record year for such hair-trigger defensive partisan buffoonery.

Why, you'd almost think the crumbling, talentless, directionless Progressive Conservative government of lame-duck Premier Kathy Dunderdale was worried about something.

Or something.

For the record, the year-over-year tally of partisan snot-o-grams, current for 2013 to the end of May, now stands as shown in this chart:

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