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

Friday, August 30, 2013

From the MemoryHole, X

From the long-since bit-bucketted opposition-era PC Party web site:

Ross Wiseman resigns from the Liberal Caucus,
accepts invitation to join the PC Caucus

CLARENVILLE, September 7, 2001 — Trinity North MHA Ross Wiseman issued a statement at a news conference at 10:00 a.m. today at St. Jude Hotel in Clarenville.The following text may vary from the delivered version.

Today I have written Premier Roger Grimes and advised him I am resigning from the Liberal Caucus and have been invited to sit as a Member of the P.C. Caucus in the House of Assembly. This is not a decision made in haste nor was it an easy decision. My message today is for the residents of Trinity North.

On April 25th, 2000 you elected me to represent you in the House of Assembly. At that time I made a personal commitment to:
  • be available to constituents;
  • be responsive to the district; and
  • be a strong voice for the interest of the district.
I have worked extremely hard to honour these commitments; I have made the interest of my constituents my #1 priority. I will continue to speak out on your behalf.

It is because of my concern for the district and for the entire province that I can no longer support the Liberal Government. The people of Trinity North and the rest of Newfoundland and Labrador deserve a government that has a vision for the future and a plan of action to ensure the prosperity of all regions of the province, especially rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

Our province is in desperate need of: strong leadership, improvements in our health system, greater benefits from our oil, gas and mineral resources, better management of our fishery, greater financial accountability and fiscally responsible spending. We also need a government that will insist on negotiating better financial arrangements with the Government of Canada. I have lost complete confidence in the current government's ability to lead us into the future; they do not have a plan but rather are reacting to issues as they arise. We need an action not a reaction oriented government. The actions that a Government take should be based on a plan and that plan should reflect a vision for the future. This vision is formed by understanding the potential for our Province and our people and understanding the issues that are important to our Province.

I am especially concerned about the approach the current government has taken with respect to Voisey's Bay. The political parties and people of the province had reached a strong consensus on Voisey's Bay development. We had drawn a line in the sand saying, on this resource, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians would be the principal beneficiaries. The government was elected in 1999 on a mandate that no Voisey's Bay nickel ore would be shipped from the province and that there would be a proven processing facility established in this province. That was still the government's position when I was elected last year. But Mr. Grimes, since becoming Premier, has abandoned that position. I have seen the direction he is taking on Voisey's Bay development and I don't support it.

I am also very concerned about the serious fiscal problems facing our province and the growing expectation that the government will miss its financial target this year by a wide margin. It is becoming increasingly apparent that this year's budget rests on very shaky ground, and that worries me greatly.

I am afraid for the future of our district, particularly our smaller communities. While the current government jumps aimlessly from issue to issue, Danny Williams has a vision for a strong, more prosperous Newfoundland and Labrador and he has the strength and the leadership skills to make that vision a reality. I am convinced that the people of Trinity North will be better served by his vision and his plan. My decision to join his team is intended to send a strong message to this government and to the people of the province. I have lost confidence in this government's ability to deal with the critical issues that face our people and it is time to go to the people of the province and ask them to choose who they feel is better prepared to represent us on the many critical issues facing our province.

Many people throughout my district share my concerns and my frustrations with the current government. I will be seeking the nomination for the PC Party in the next election whenever it is held, and I will be asking for the support of Progressive Conservatives as well as those who stood by me in the last election as we fight for the best interest of Trinity North and of Newfoundland and Labrador.

- 30 -

For more information:
Ross Wiseman, MHA Trinity North
(709) 729-3391


Monday, August 26, 2013

Third Party

Well, now.

The worst-kept secret in Newfoundland and Labrador politics was finally revealed over the weekend, when CBC's On Point published the latest MQO party support figures that were handed around from person to person last week like a Soviet-era underground newspaper.

One @JeffMarshallNL helpfully tweeted an old-school screen-photo of the horse-race slide:

Despite the brave faces that will be in evidence on VOCM and social media in the coming days, even the most pollyanna-ish yellow-dog Tory knows the dire implication of numbers like those... especially when viewed in the context of the recent trends.

Here’s the notional district-by-district results 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 two projection models are in disagreement about the notional winner.

Of the eleven grey tossup seats, the Tories would have a notional chance of winning just five, all on the Avalon: Topsail, Conception Bay South, Harbour Main, Carbonear–Harbour Grace, and Ferryland. The rest of the notional tossups, including tranches of seats in eastern Newfoundland, urban Labrador, and Virginia Waters, would be battles between the two current opposition parties.

In neither forecast model do the Tories end up with a caucus larger than six members. None of the notional PC victories would be by a margin of more than 10%. Most of them would be nail-biters with a 5% margin or less.

It's not all bad news for the current PC caucus: at least Steve Kent would be a step closer to his life-long dream of leading the Third Party.

Say, is it floor-crossing season yet?

* 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.
** Boilerplate language from previous map posts. There is no dark blue.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Echoes of last summer

Via a remarkable Access to Information request, one of many similar emails received by the Premier's office in the wake of last year's Bill 29 fiasco:
A disclaimer that the author is a (formerly) loyal Progressive Conservative is a motif common to many of the emails.

The example shown above is on p. 17 of the 74-page, 7 MB PDF version of the ATI release, available for viewing and download here.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

The slope

Herewith, a graph of Newfoundland and Labrador provincial vote-intent figures over the past three years, cobbled together from a number of sources, including publicly reported CRA, MQO, Telelink, and Environics polls.

The graph shows each party's share of decided voters. The thick lines are the rolling three-poll averages, with the raw data as faint background lines. The colour scheme reflects the traditional party identifying colours.

The horizontal lines on the right half of the chart show the level of support that each of the three parties received in the October 2011 general election.

The governing Progressive Conservatives have steadily lost about 5% of their popular support per quarter, or more than 1% a month, since the start of 2011. They have lost well over half of the supporters who showed up to vote for them less than two years ago.

Other than a very brief post-election honeymoon, and a slight coming-up for air in late 2012, there is virtually no sign that the free-fall is coming to an end.

Labels: ,

Thursday, August 15, 2013

In other news, CRA is in the field

This cute little VOCM news story:

Money Re-Commited to Housing Projects

Thursday , August 15 2013      
The Provincial Government has re-committed $3.9 million for supportive living projects across the province. It's money which was previously announced in the provincial budget. VOCM's Katie Thompson reported from Stella's Circle.

(Over 26 community based organizations have received funding from the Newfoudland and Labrador Housing Corporation's Supportive Living Program. The Minister of Transportation and Works, Paul Davis, says it's important that government support the province's most vulnerable citizens. Among those receiving funding are Marguerite Place and the Brian Martin Housing Resource Centre in St. John's, Homes Helping Homes in Grand-Falls Windsor and the Mokami Status Of Women Council in Happy Valley Goose Bay.)
immediately calls to mind the eternal wisdom of Dear Leader (May His Preternaturally Thick Hair Always Be Perfectly Parted):
But to come in and, y’know, double- and triple-announce money that, that’s given the appearance of being new money, that’s just, that’s misleading.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Terra Nova Irridenta

When last Tom Careen was heard from, he was spouting the old Newfoundland-nationalist canard that "Canada" was only ever interested in Newfoundland for Labrador.

He's outdone himself.

In a letter in Saturday's Telegram, briefly revisits his Labrador theme, but continues his territorial imperative in its northward march:
Our offshore, comprising five coasts, should have been enough to keep him or anyone busy. (If we had the guts and foresight, there is a sixth — the coast of Baffin Island on Davis Strait and Baffin Bay.)
Shades of Joey Smallwood — "If we are not big enough, if we are not daring enough to colonize Labrador, then somebody else will, and we won’t deserve to own it" — except that, in fairness to Joey, he at least confined his irredentism to territory which was actually under his government's jurisdiction.

For those who are a little rusty with their Arctic geography, let this map serve as a refresher (click to enlarge):

What would Nunavummiut think of Mr. Careen's "sixth coast" proposition?

And do the people of the Azores, Bermuda, or Iceland, which are as "close" to Placentia as Baffin Bay, now have to worry about becoming the seventh, eighth, and ninth coasts in his strange irredentist universe?


Friday, August 09, 2013

About that population strategy

The latest shuffling of the deck chairs takes Ross Reid out of his full(ish) time responsibility for Our Dear Population Strategy and into the Premier's office, a move which the Premier says won't hurt Our Dear Focus on Strategic Population. The CBC reports:
Dunderdale says Reid will continue to head the program, in addition to his new job as her chief of staff. 
"The strategy continues — we'll move it into executive council. Population growth is extremely important to us," the premier said. 
The strategy is designed to figure out a way to reverse the declining population of the province and bring more young families in. 
"We're finally seeing numbers move in a positive direction, but we have a long way to go. And if we're going to prosper as a province, our birth rate has to go up, we have to do more immigration," Dunderdale said.
It's unclear which numbers are moving in a "positive direction". In terms of natural demography — births and deaths — Newfoundland and Labrador is on the edge of a demographic precipice, with the rate of deaths about to start exceeding the replacement value of births.

This chart shows the birth and death numbers as the trailing sum of the preceding four quarters over the past decade or so, up to and including the first quarter of 2013. (Annualizing the data this way serves to smooth out the significant seasonality in birth and death figures, which would otherwise mask the longer-term trends.)

The eagle-eyed may note the uptick in the number of births starting in 2007 or 2008, and think "aha! Progressive Conservative Family Growth Benefit!"

Not so fast, pronatalists: the uptick actually began before the DannyDollars program rolled out, and both the uptick, and the subsequent plateau and decline in births, are consistent with Atlantic-wide demographic trends. This chart shows the comparative change in the number of births for the three largest Atlantic provinces, indexed to 2004 values. The trends in all three provinces follow similar lines and are nearly synchronous:

On the interprovincial migration front, outmigration has fallen in the past year, which might be a positive demographic and economic indicator. However, there is little sign of an increase in interprovincial in-migration, which is unusual behavior for an economy that is supposedly booming and suffering a labour shortage. In-migration rates were higher in 2008-2009, which is a typical pattern for Newfoundland and Labrador whenever there is, as there then was, a North American recession. (As above, this chart shows four-quarter rolling sums, not individual quarterly figures.)
The curious lack of evidence of economic and demographic attraction is also borne out in the international immigration figures. Not only does international immigration (including returning emigrants) show little sign of the increase that  you'd expect of a booming economy, lousy with "world-class" energy megaprojects, the most recent figures show a noticeable down-tick. The annual sum for the most recent quarter is the lowest in three years. (The raw quarterly immigration figure for 2013 Q1 is the lowest in a decade.)

Labels: ,