Wednesday, 16 April 2014

NALCOR’S NATTERING NEANDERTHAL


The last straw for an angry public was former Premier Kathy Dunderdale’s boldfaced support for Nalcor following the January 2014 ‘black-outs’, an event now inscribed in history as Dark NL.

Dunderdale played defense for three years in an effort to bolster Muskrat Falls.  She explained Nalcor’s secrecy as a triumph of transparency though it was anything but.  Her abuse of the PUB process and fumbling of basic facts about the project constituted a gross subversion of the truth.

Her integrity in tatters, Premier Dunderdale was forced to resign.

Against this background Ken Marshall, the new Chairman of the Nalcor Board, still thought it a great idea to publish a piece in the Weekend Telegram entitled "Responsible development and oversight go hand in hand".  In  content and style it is reminiscent of Dunderdale.

His exhibition of uncommonly bad judgement could only have been exhibited because he is assured impunity by a timid and ineffective Premier Tom Marshall.  But it speaks volumes of Ed Martin, too, without whose permission the item would not have been submitted for publication. 

How far does Nalcor’s arrogance extend?  How impervious to a soured public can they be?  Is there no rehabilitation for Nalcor’s nattering Neanderthals?    Perhaps they confuse morons and electrons.

Monday, 14 April 2014

P.C. LEADERSHIP RACE NOT CATCHING FIRE

The two contenders for the P.C Leadership are having a tough time finding their footing. Bill Barry and Frank Coleman, two successful businessmen, have not quite grasped the challenge for which they have signed on.

As business people, they understand the principles and challenges of team-building and organization, financing, management effectiveness, and marketing. These skills are as relevant to winning the Office of Premier as they are perquisites to running profitable enterprises. Given their backgrounds, who should be more capable of defining goals, conjuring strategies and demonstrating success? 

So far neither Candidate, especially Coleman, has demonstrated he understands the elements of a province-wide campaign or the capability to draw all of them together.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

VIRGINIA WATERS SENDS AN UNMISTAKEABLE MESSAGE


No one expected the District of Virginia Waters to be a cakewalk for any of the Candidates and it wasn’t.   Still, a 40 vote margin of victory by Liberal Cathy Bennett must feel like Everest climbed.  In so doing, she has executed an almost miraculous repetition of the Harbour Grace-Carbonear byelection.  She has proven beyond a doubt there are no safe Tory seats in the Province.

It is a tough loss for Danny Breen; he deserves our congratulations, as does Sheilagh O’Leary.

But it is the Liberal Party’s and Cathy Bennett’s victory.  She has confirmed that a quiet political revolution, one insistent and possibly inexorable, is working its way through the political fabric of the Province.  The Liberals are coming!

Still, there is finality to every democratic vote.  Likely, the Tories long ago forgot that it is also within the purview of the voters to be arbitrary.

Many people will want to read the entrails of this byelection.  I have the following observations:

Monday, 7 April 2014

READING THE TEA LEAVES IN VIRGINIA WATERS

Many people, and not just pundits, are salivating in anticipation of the results of the Virginia Waters byelection.  Perhaps, as its ‘bellwether’ history suggests, the outcome will confirm the winner of the next general election.  Of course, a multitude of signals are sought.  In particular, the Government wants to know if its free-falling popular support has been arrested with Dunderdale's banishment. 

A ‘bellwether’ riding is a term used to denote a single electoral district or region which reflects, with consistency, a larger political trend.  The District of Virginia Waters qualifies; but don’t bet your last dime on the accuracy of this gauge.

Province-wide Polls suggest the Liberals are the Party with momentum; the Tories and the NDP have crashed.  
Still, the outcome of the byelection is not a forgone conclusion.    

Thursday, 3 April 2014

COLEMAN: BORING AS A EULOGY AT FILLATRE'S

My decennial vacation forced me to rely on reports for what Frank Coleman said when he announced he was seeking the leadership of the P.C. Party.  This Blogger confirmed six weeks ago that the “fix” was in; Danny had recruited Coleman and the Caucus had fallen in line, just as it had for Dunderdale.  Still, rumours of Coleman’s wobbling abounded until the decision became official. 

Minutes before sitting in a kayak to navigate the warm waters of the Baja Peninsula the internet confirmed Coleman’s move.    It reported a story, too, that Steve Kent, John Ottenheimer and Shawn Skinner had contracted a case of weak-knees.  Williams had given them the evil eye, it seems, a look evidently so malevolent that it melted their already half-completed nomination forms.  They know they must never shag with the dark forces.  But, what of it, if deference is their strong point.

Back on Terra Nova, I asked one wit how Coleman’s Press Conference had turned out.  He replied: “B’y it was as boring as a eulogy at Fillatre’s”.   (Fillatre operates Funeral Homes on the West Coast).  That seemed an odd if not depressing characterization of Coleman’s coming out.

Monday, 31 March 2014

BUDGET 2014-15: FISCAL PRUDENCE vs. IRRESPONSIBILITY

Budget 2014 has been handed down. Taxpayers’ money has been liberally sprinkled by a Tory Government determined to avoid a repeat of last year's Budget fiasco. 

The media describes it an “election budget”.  That is an all too familiar code for fiscal irresponsibility.  Boosters of full-time kindergarten, student grants, lower small business tax and a plethora of other programs and initiatives have been placated. 

Everyone got something; a new Premier will arrive soon, too.  Why would anyone speak of ‘change’ when the good times are rolling again?  Why would anyone expect Tom Marshall or Frank Coleman to represent better government?

What about the awful government that has been upsetting voters? 

Why would anyone ask?  Don’t you understand that was Dunderdale’s fault.  It was not her policies either; it was simply her inability to communicate. And, besides, the wicked witch is dead! 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

WHY MUSKRAT “OVERSIGHT” COMMITTEE IS A FARCE

When Premier Tom Marshall announced his Administration’s intention to establish an “Oversight” Committee for the Muskrat Falls construction project skepticism abounded. 

Afterall, the Premier eschewed demands for project reviews when he was both Minister of Finance and Natural Resources. He supported Premier Dunderdale’s position on ‘oversight’ even as he watched his colleague, Jerome Kennedy, bolt the Cabinet over the issue.

With Dunderdale gone, it was natural to wonder whether it was really possible that Premier Marshall, now possessed of the power to arbitrarily cause a reversal of policy, might actually do so.

It was left to the Natural Resources Minister Derrick Dally to announce the details of Government’s plan.  He confirmed was most suspected.  

The Oversight Committee will be completely internal to the Government and consist of the Deputy Ministers of Finance, Natural Resources and Justice and Chaired by the Clerk of the Executive Council. The Minister says the Committee will focus on project costs, scheduling and overall performance.