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

Friday, May 16, 2014


From the memory hole... thirteen years ago today.

Opposition resolution urges Premier to call an election

ST. JOHN'S, May 16, 2001 — Following is the Private Member's Resolution put forward in the House of Assembly today by Opposition Leader Ed Byrne. Government members voted down the resolution.

WHEREAS the current Premier ascended to that post by being elected leader of his Party on February 3, 2001 by 638 delegates to his Party's leadership convention;

AND WHEREAS it is reasonable and proper to demand that a new Premier overseeing a new administration, unless merely filling a caretaker role in continuation of the mandate of his predecessor, should move swiftly to seek a new mandate directly from the people, whom the Premier presumes to govern;

AND WHEREAS on every other occasion in this province when there has been a change in leadership of the governing Party, a general election has followed within 100 days;*

AND WHEREAS the current Premier, during the first 100 days of his administration, has stated and demonstrated his desire to take his administration in policy directions that deviate significantly from those of his predecessor;

AND WHEREAS on the bulk water export issue in particular, the current Premier has stated publicly he now prefers to pursue a policy that defies not only the policy but indeed the legislation that was drafted, passed unanimously and enacted under the administration of his predecessor, with the current Premier's support at the time, and that is now the law of the province;

AND WHEREAS on the Voisey's Bay development issue in particular, the current Premier has articulated a position on the export of nickel ore prior to finished processing that explicitly defies the position that was published and provided to voters in the Liberal Party's 1999 election ‘red book', on the basis of which the voters of the province gave the current Premier's predecessor his mandate;

AND WHEREAS at least two prominent Members of the Cabinet of the current Premier's predecessor have, publicly and repeatedly, expressed grave concern and opposition with respect to the approach of the current Premier on the Voisey's Bay development issue;

AND WHEREAS the current Premier has stated in this House that he is willing to sign a binding contract on Voisey's Bay development without first bringing it directly to the people of the province and their elected representatives in the House of Assembly for scrutiny and approval, thereby shackling the people of the province to a deal on which they have had no input;

AND WHEREAS the current Premier has failed to articulate a strategic plan for the province's fishing industry as a principal means of fostering the economic development that rural Newfoundland and Labrador desperately needs;

AND WHEREAS numerous other significant public policy issues with enormous long-term implications for Newfoundland and Labrador and its people – including energy supply, Churchill Falls development, oil and gas development, forest management, infrastructure management, federal-provincial agreements and others – are now before the provincial government for decisions, yet the people of the province have been given no clear articulation and no direct opportunity to approve or disapprove of the direction the current Premier intends to take on these vital issues;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this Honourable House urge the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador to promptly ask His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor to dissolve the General Assembly and to issue a writ of general election.

- 30 -
For more information:
Ed Byrne, MHA Kilbride
(709) 729-XXXX

* Note: In this province, there have been four changes of leadership in a governing party. In the case of three of those, a general election followed within 100 days. Brian Peckford succeeded Frank Moores as Party Leader on March 17, 1979 and as Premier on March 26, 1979, and a general election was held on June 18, 1979. Tom Rideout succeeded Brian Peckford as Party Leader on March 11, 1989 and as Premier on March 22, 1989, and a general election was held April 20, 1989. Brian Tobin succeeded Clyde Wells as Party Leader on January 17, 1996 and as Premier on January 26, 1996, and a general election was held on February 22, 1996. Roger Grimes succeeded Brian Tobin as Party Leader on February 3, 2001 and as Premier on February 13, 2001.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Sign o' the times

The Telegram's intrepid boy-reporter @TelegramJames captured this list of donors/attendees at the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador fundraising dinner tonight (click to enlarge):

The corporate donors listed, or their predecessor companies or subsidiaries, have contributed a total of nearly $1.2-million to the PC Party of Newfoundland and Labrador or its candidates since calendar year 2004 — the first full year that the moribund PC regime was in power — to 2012, the most recent year for which Elections Newfoundland and Labrador has published data. (Some donor data for 2011 may or may not be missing; the sheer incompetence of Elections NL makes it impossible to say for certain.)

Over the same period, the same set of donors have collectively given approximately $288,000 to the opposition Liberals. (They have contributed just over $4,000 to the NDP and $400 to Labrador Party candidates.)

That history is summarized in this cleverly colour-coded chart:

Not only have these donors been more generous to the incumbent PCs in the aggregate, their individual donations have also heavily favoured the Tories: 630 individual contributions to the PC Party or candidates have averaged $1904 a pop, compared to 274 contributions averaging $1047 to Liberals... an amount inflated slightly by the inclusion of 14 contributions to Dwight Ball's leadership campaign, disclosed voluntarily outside the operation of the Elections Act.

It is especially fascinating to observe, on a very close reading, the number of donors who, since 2004, did not give a single red copper to any party other than the governing, moribund, Progressive Conservatives.


Friday, May 02, 2014

Counting is hard

On April 7th, there was a provincial general election in Quebec.

Quebecers collectively cast 4,232,262 valid ballots in 18,658 polling stations (plus special and advance polls) across 125 provincial electoral districts.

Just 25 days later, the Quebec electoral office has published the detailed poll-by-poll breakdown of the election results, and in machine-readable .csv format.

In the Former Republic of Dannystan, the provincial elections act gives the Chief Electoral Officer nine months to publish a "book" of detailed poll-by-poll election results. And you bet your sweet bippy, the Chief Electoral Office takes every single one of those nine months before "publishing" those results by depositing a copy at the legislative library, then, some days later, after prodding, posting the document on-line, in the form of a bloated, non-manipulatable PDF.

This same pattern of extreme hesitancy to publish election results has obtained for decades in the FRD, even as every other electoral agency in the country has moved towards quicker and quicker publishing of election results, and in formats that lend themselves to GIS and other data applications.

By way of comparison, in the 2011 election, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians collectively cast 222,842 valid ballots in 1563 polling stations across 48 provincial electoral districts. The task of tallying the 2011 NL provincial election was equal to tallying about 6.5 Quebec electoral districts in 2014.

There is something fundamentally wrong with Elections Newfoundland and Labrador. Fundamentally, profoundly, inexplicably wrong.

But what?