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

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

VOCM Open Lies

On Tuesday morning's VOCM Open Line, Premier Danny Williams told the following lies:

Randy Simms: “A little bit for everybody” [in the budget] is kind of the thought.

Premier Williams: No, you know, there is a lot for a lot of groups. I mean, we went into Labrador, and spent over $50 million, and then the criticism that comes out of there. “Oh that’s old money, that’s federal money. $40 million of that money is federal money.” Well, that is absolutely incorrect.[1] The money that is being spent in Labrador is from the Labrador Transportation Initiative fund which is provincial money,[2] which is money that is there because we have assumed the responsibility for the ferry services in the area. So you know, we take on responsibility, we take on liability and downloading from the federal government.[3] They transfer funds over to us but it is never enough[4] because the federal government continues[5] to download, as you are well aware, responsibility. We put that there.[6]

Lie #1: The money in the $56-million announcement, back in the first week of May is almost entirely “old”, and almost entirely from federal-sourced revenues. $31-million of the total consists of carry-over projects, previously announced and budgeted last year, on Phase III of the Trans-Labrador Highway. The remaning $9-million is the sum total of new TLH commitments, but the ENTIRE $40-million total comes from the Labrador Transportation Initiative Fund (LTIF). As much as Danny Williams and Tom Rideout would like to legalistically twist words to make it out as if the LTIF is provincial money, it isn’t. The province may now own the money, but the province did not supply it: every cent, every copper, every sous, came out of federal government revenues. None from the province. This, even though Brian Tobin promised, back in 1997, that Phase III would be paid for out of provincial coffers.

Large swaths, although in the obscure world of provincial government funding re-re-re-announcements, it’s hard to tell exactly how much, of the other $16-million re-re-re-announced on Danny’s $56-million day, comes from other federal or cost-shared sources as well, including the federal-provincial infrastructure fund, and last fall’s health care accord.

Lie #2: As discussed above, the entire LTIF consists of a fund transferred to the province, by the federal government, money which originated solely in revenues collected in right of Canada, not in right of Newfoundland and Labrador. Tom Rideout, you might own the money, but you didn’t pay the money; play with words all you want, but we did go to the same law school.

Lie #3: The Labrador Transportation Initiative, in which the province took over responsibility for the Labrador coastal marine services and the Strait of Belle Isle ferry, in no way constitutes “downloading”. The agreement was freely entered into, a voluntary agreement between the two orders of government, made on terms which both sides freely signed, and which was made at the instigation of the provincial government of Brian Tobin.

Lie #4: Well, it’s true that the federal government transfers to the province are “never enough”, but it’s true of all provinces, for all time, because once the federal government transfers a set amount to a given province for a specified purpose, the definition of “enough” immediately changes. Upwards. In 1997, the provincial government’s definition of “enough” was $340-million. How do we know this? That’s what they agreed to. Case closed.

Lie #5: The federal government does not “continue” to download anything. The transfer of responsibility was a one-off. It does not “continue”; the action is perfective, not imperfective or progressive. In fact, the provincial government is on the hook for less, in respect of Labrador marine transportation, in 2005, than they were eight years ago. Why? Because the construction of “Phase II” of the Trans-Labrador Highway has done exactly what it was intended to do: eliminated the need for publicly-subsidized coastal marine services to six of the south coast ports. If anything, the burden that has been downloaded has been reduced; it would be reduced even further if Lewisporte could get over itself.

Lie #6: Not sure of the antecedent of the “that” in this sentence, but, assuming it refers back to the LTIF money, no, Danny, you did not put “that” there, or do anything else with “that”. Not your government, and before your time.

Oh yes, "the criticism that comes out of there". Ungrateful little buggers, won't take our candy.

Maybe, Danny, if you'd stop re-re-re-recycling financial and political credit, people might give you credit where credit is due, instead of where it isn't. Who do you think you are? Brian Tobin? Joe Smallwood?

If you're not willing to earn your own praise, then learn to the perfectly fair "criticism that comes out of there", wherever "there" happens to be on any given day.


At 8:32 AM, August 26, 2005 , Blogger NL-ExPatriate said...


The Voice Of the Common Man!

It doesn't translate into french! Separatist.

At 1:14 AM, September 18, 2006 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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