Monday, 6 July 2020

COVID-19: THE NEW COVER FOR DELAY AND OVERRUNS AT MUSKRAT

It took a Commission of Inquiry to uncloak the deceit that flowed from the Offices of former Nalcor CEO Ed Martin, who thought he should be the one to define the “lowest cost” option and the extent of “cost overruns”.

It seems Stan Marshall is finding some of the tools of deception that Ed Martin left behind.

The Muskrat shutdown — a precaution amidst the COVID-19 pandemic — is now to blame for Marshall’s failure to “finish strong”. “The end is in sight, even through the fog of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the CBC quoted the blustery Stan, neither the CBC nor the CEO willing to measure the fog of incompetence that still inhabits the Crown Corporation.

Thursday, 2 July 2020

BUBBLE TROUBLE: WHY ATLANTIC PROVINCES TRAVEL IS A TERRIBLE IDEA


Guest Post by Ron Penney

Why having an Atlantic Provinces travel bubble is a terrible idea and an imminent threat to public health.

Tomorrow, July 3rd, travel restrictions will be lifted for the Atlantic Provinces and residents of the Maritimes can visit us without the necessity of self isolation for two weeks. For the time being travel restrictions for other provinces remain the same, but the Premier has mused that they will be lifted in mid-July.

The agreement to have an Atlantic Provinces travel bubble, with no requirement to self isolate for two weeks is a risky and foolhardy decision for Newfoundland and Labrador, with little potential economic upside.

Sunday, 28 June 2020

JOHN ABBOTT: OUTLIER IN A PARTISAN TENT?


In contrast to his Liberal leadership rival, John Abbott may be a heavyweight in the public policy arena but policy-wonk, alone, will not count with the Liberal Party or in the high office of political leadership. Then, too, what constitutes timely, affordable, and sensible policy alternatives is moot.

Leaders need to be capable of “selling” their ideas to an electorate and of “winning” their support. Individuals afraid of change — because it may hurt — will look for leadership which offers glib solutions. Others, who see change as inevitable and necessary, will prefer someone who has the courage to follow through, provided any such plan is not dysfunctional.

Monday, 22 June 2020

ANDREW FUREY THINKS RHETORIC AND IDEAS ARE THE SAME


This is Andrew Furey at the kick-off to his Liberal Leadership bid: “I want to make a difference. I know the province is facing some tough times right now… I think I have something to offer.”

The Address, attended by all but one Member of the provincial Liberal Caucus, continued with this assertion: “I think everyone realizes the budget crunch that we’re under. My top priority is going to be to get in there, get fully up to speed on the fiscal situation… get a better understanding of the economic pressures, upward or downward, and the levers that have been pulled or not pulled.” What codswallop! “Upward or downward”… “pulled or not pulled”. This is a Premier-in-waiting who is not “up to speed” in more ways than one.

Thursday, 18 June 2020

HOW TO REOPEN SAFELY: THE BALANCE BETWEEN PUBLIC HEALTH AND ECONOMICS

Guest Post by David Vardy

Are We Ready?
The pandemic has become the biggest public policy issue which we face. It poses a threat to our public health and to our economic and fiscal sustainability. Yet government has hesitated to engage in a systematic consultation process as had been recommended or to establish advisory councils to seek guidance from concerned citizens on governing in the age of coronavirus.

How far should we go in locking down our economy? Should we protect only the vulnerable and the elderly or lock down the full economy? GNL is being pressed to reopen the economy, particularly by the tourism industry and various business people who recently wrote to the Premier. Are we now ready to reopen fully and to invite tourists to the province? The letter to the Premier asked for “an immediate end to the State of Medical Emergency and a return of the governance of the province to our elected officials.

Monday, 15 June 2020

THE JOY OF THIS SUMMER MAY NOT BE WHAT YOU THINK

After nearly three months of listening, on an almost daily basis, to Premier Ball’s continuous string of innocuous and unfinished sentences, presumably intended — who would know — to safeguard the province from a largely non-existent local pandemic, some happenings are worth noting.

People have started back to work, the sun has come out, the Liberal Leadership contest is back on, and a group of business people — Hall of Famers no less — have weighed in on Government’s determination to kill the economy. Then, too, a pulse — though still weak — has been discovered in the two Opposition Parties who now oppose a second Interim Supply.

This is not normally the stuff of great rejoicing; dancing in the streets still being de rigeur in the era of pandemic. But in a place such as this, starved for leadership, the equivalent of even watery gruel can seem a time of feast.

Monday, 8 June 2020

WHY THE TELEGRAM’S BRIAN JONES CAN’T RIVAL “GO-BAG”.

The decision by the management of The Telegram to disembowel the editorial pen of columnist Brian Jones signals more than just evidence of continued decline in the idea of freedom of the press. His dismissal from the role exposes the extent to which special interest groups — and their petit leadership — will stoop to assuage the fragile egos of those paid from the public purse.

“Real” independent journalism has a spotty history in Newfoundland and Labrador anyway. It is a fact of life not exclusive to here, but this should give us no comfort. 

Our story is simply that of a small homogeneous population far too ready to embrace political, business, social and institutional networks that are inward-looking, and who thrive on nepotism, partisanship, insecurity, and perpetual deference to authority. It is an environment more likely to perpetuate pettiness than self-confidence, or that is likely to magnify perceived insult, when all that is required to matters about which we disagree is the barely cerebral retort: “we beg to differ.”