Thursday, 26 November 2020

THE BARD THINKS ABOUT COVID SPREAD

 The Waiting Room

She coughs and sneezes - virus strews,
Says got it from the jab for flu?
As patients patiently wait
For doctor- or procedure-date.

Her story’s but a tale of woe,
She catches all that’s on the go,
Waiting room’s a second home
For her and family-ills to moan.

Monday, 23 November 2020

"NAYSAYERS" AND "BOTTOM FEEDERS": OUR DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT NEEDS REMEDY (Part II)

Guest Post by Ron Penney

The following segment is the third of three containing speaking notes from my presentation to the Wessex Society on October 14, 2020. The presentation is available at the Wessex Society of Newfoundland, wessexsociety.ca - Ron Penney

The Democratic Deficit

While the Commissioner declined to get into the broader issues which we urged him to consider he did have a short chapter titled “Dealing with Opposition to the Project” which focused on the reaction of project proponents to the critics and naysayers, or, as my brother Neil, described us - the Muskrateers! 

The Commissioner described the project proponents response to the critics as “at times unbalanced and disproportionate to the commentary.” 

In particular he referenced Mr. Williams characterization of us as “bottom feeders”. 

Thursday, 19 November 2020

PENNEY REFLECTS ON "NAYSAYER" STATUS AND THE MUSKRAT INQUIRY (Part I)

Guest Post by Ron Penney 

The following are two segments containing speaking notes from my presentation to the Wessex Society on October 14, 2020. A third part, dealing with the Province's democratic deficit, will be posted on Monday, November 23. The presentation is available at the Wessex Society of Newfoundland, wessexsociety.ca

Part 1 

Setting the Stage:

Unfortunately the delayed release of the Muskrat Falls Inquiry Report on March 5 of this year coincided with the worst public health crisis since the Spanish flue of 1918, which had the effect of dampening public interest in the report and its conclusions. So aside from a few interviews in March this is the first opportunity given to me to comment on the report in some depth. 

The main thrust of my lecture is to deal with a fundamental issue which the Commissioner declined to examine, which is what democratic deficits in our society allowed “a Misguided Project”, to proceed.

Monday, 9 November 2020

ON THE TRAIL OF THE "REAL" PROVINCIAL DEBT (OR) WHEN THE FIGHT BROKE OUT

An auspicious start to a new career on the global lecture circuit recently occurred, your scribe having answered in the affirmative an invitation to address a small public policy group, called Ballicatters. The venue was a well-established local Pub, a perfect place to soberly test new and old material, in preparation for the big leagues. Naturally, I selected a barnburner of a title: “Fiscal Crisis: Will ‘hope’ repair a mess too deep?” Pretty catchy, eh? In pursuit of not just their heads but their hearts, too, I even added a subtitle and chose this one: “The Inevitability of Death by a Thousand Cuts”.

Soon after, the fight broke out.

(That’s not actually what happened, but it is as true as the Government’s accounting of the public debt I had planned to discuss.)

Thursday, 29 October 2020

THE VIRUS TROLLS

The Virus Trolls
Pandemic care for years to bear, a quick-fix card is but a prayer.
Isolated, some despair, we’re not to hug our loved-ones dear, 
Life on slow won’t course the same, self-indulgence much to blame, 
In touring, travel, pubs, games, people touching to boost inflame.
Frenzied lifestyles could be waived, to slow the rush to early grave,
Cutting travel to be new norm, consumer culture: shave the slave.

Focus is all on companies, and corporate profits led,
The virus bred: many with long-Covid bed, and many dead.
We could be vaccined twice a year to bay the Covid storm,
And as it spreads, dread mutations, to a more fatal toxic form.
It’s on a roll, out of control, and each day, numbers higher toll. 
Oblivious to the human social role, the virus mankind trolls.

John Tuach 
October 29, 2020

Monday, 26 October 2020

MOYA GREENE’S BIG MISTAKE

Chair of the “Premier’s Economic Recovery Team”, Moya Greene, is the last person I would have expected to be duped by the politicos on the 8th Floor. Yet, for all her experience, she managed to be taken in, placing at risk an urgent requirement to deal with our large and immediate fiscal crisis.

No one can argue that the Team is composed of talented and successful people. Among the group is David Vardy who has been a frequent – and valuable - contributor on this Blog. That said, the expertise appointed for the purpose is terribly lopsided, especially considering the expertise required to examine a Government “broke” - unless the exclusively financial people  on the Team are weighed.

The Premier’s mandate letter requires the team to create a “comprehensive plan to address [the province’s] ballooning debt, deficit, and expenditures”. It ought to have been the sole requirement.

Monday, 19 October 2020

WAITING, WISHING, AND HOPING

Sometimes an easy “fix” to a problem is wanted so badly that people will delude themselves with the sheer mention by partisans of the next best thing. 

One recent example. The Federal Throne Speech announced the “Atlantic Loop”, an expansion of electricity transmission capability entering New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. 

Immediately, it was embraced by Newfoundland worthies as one of the long-awaited answers to the Muskrat Falls debacle. Yet, it contained not a shred of evidence that this Province has a role to play. 

The word “Atlantic” has historically enabled locals to distinguish the four most easterly provinces from the “Maritimes”. The inclusion of “Quebec” would naturally assume nomenclature like the “Eastern Canadian Loop”. Presumably, that would have allowed too much transparency to a plan in which the Government of Canada is involved. 

Still, what is it that inspires locals to think that the “Loop” is about them and to give it an air of credibility in which the truth is missing?