Thursday, 11 February 2016

MEMO TO BOB HALLETT (AND TO THE MAYOR OF ST. JOHN'S)

A letter written to the Editor of the Telegram on January 9th, by downtown St. John’s business owner, Bob Hallett, was more than a thoughtful message about a group frequently taken for granted.

It was a reminder that commerce, however small, is serious business; that fiscal prudence, in an economy in which government is the largest player, is at great risk especially when there is, according City Councillor, Art Puddester, “a vacuum of leadership”.

At the provincial level this is an all too familiar theme. In recent years, fiscal drunkenness has reduced the travails of entrepreneurship to the mantra: “I believe in Newfoundland and Labrador”. Except, in the real world, this is the empty bravado of ‘cheerleaders’. And it doesn’t pay the bills.

Bob Hallett spoke of many challenges, stating “…we persist — because we love this city, and the old downtown, and we believe in it”.

Monday, 8 February 2016

WHY IS NAPE JERRY EARLE WAVING GOOD-BYE?

The public, especially public servants, will pay a big price for the last decade of recklessness.

It is fine for the NAPE Head, Jerry Earle, to have reminded Anthony Germain on the CBC Morning Show recently, "this is a government that said there would be no layoffs". But such lamentations are meaningless when it is clear deficits and the growing public debt are unsustainable. The howling will not have much currency with fired workers, either. 

Jerry Earle has a big problem. And it is not just about a bloated public service. Issues, other than labour costs, also affect labour.

That is what he fails to see.

Friday, 5 February 2016

SIOBHAN COADY: SO FAR, WE ARE NOT IMPRESSED

Natural Resources minister Siobhan Coady said she is very concerned about the continuing problems at the Holyrood generating plant.

The new Minister of Natural Resources is sounding a lot like the former Tory Minister, Derrick Dalley. And that’s not a tag synonymous with political success. 

The Minister told the CBC  that “the Holyrood plant breaks down too often. I'm concerned that we have an aging asset, that we have an old furnace in our house." The CBC reported the Minister stating “the only solution is to find another way to generate electricity.”

The Minister would only be right if you agreed all the facts should be ignored.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

HYDRO ENGINEER REFUSES BRIEFING. WANTS NALCOR TO CONDUCT INDEPENDENT REVIEW

Canadian Hydro Engineer, James L. Gordon has refused a one-on-one briefing proposed by Nalcor’s Engineering Manager on the Muskrat Falls project. The invitation to Gordon came from Muskrat Falls Manager of engineering, Greg Snyder.

Nalcor proposed to hold the meeting at SNC Offices in Montreal.

Gordon has been an outspoken critic who insists the remediation plans for the North Spur require assessment by a competent Review Board

In turning down his offer, Gordon told Snyder "there are many others that need assurance from an independent Review Board that the North Spur dam design is correct."

Gordon has worked on 113 hydro projects throughout the world and is the recipient of several awards for “excellence in design”. He fears that Nalcor’s remediation plans have not been designed by experts who have extensive experience in marine clays.

Monday, 1 February 2016

THE DITHERERING DARLING OF DEER LAKE

The Government of Dwight Ball risks putting the financial underpinnings of the Province in even greater peril than it is already, having failed to take early action to remedy the fiscal crisis.

With political leadership so obviously missing, there is bemusement that a Premier, one given an overwhelming mandate, wants the public to go first!

He should worry bemusement will become derision, and that laughter will follow.

Liberal partisans excuse Premier Ball’s attraction to the photo-op as he eschews the role of Chairman of the Board. They watch, some without enthusiasm, as Paul Davis saddles him with a problem the Tories created.  

Inexplicably, Ball seems incapable of fighting back. Turning the other cheek may be fine for "church-goers" but, in politics, it means you are either weak or you are taking advice from someone who wants your job.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

A DECADE OF SQUANDERED OPPORTUNITY by JM

JM’s Budget Colloquy comprises a series of Posts which ran during the summer, 2015. The Colloquy traces the origins of the Province’s current fiscal crisis and offers suggestions as to how we might address a situation threatening our society’s economic viability.

Using a decade of Budget data, readers are treated to an explanation of the exigencies of our financial woes through careful explanation, graphs, and exhibits.  The “numbers” are digested in a way intended to assist the lay person to comprehend what is often an obscure and arcane subject.

The seven "summer" Posts have been combined with JM’s two most recent; giving both preface and postscript to this extraordinary work. The title “A Decade of Squandered Opportunity” serves as a warning, as much as conclusion.

Monday, 25 January 2016

"PERFECT STORM" NOT SOLVED BY INDECISION

There’s no joy to be found in poking fun at the new Liberal Government’s dithering over the province’s fiscal crisis. See Budget Consultations: Wait for the Colouring Books.

There is only worry that they are not up to the challenge, or don’t fully understand it.

That we are in the midst of an ill-timed and poorly conceived public relations/consultation campaign is particularly troubling, and not just because weighty decisions are delayed.

The idea of asking people to participate in an exercise, in the first place, without offering them the tools (and I don’t mean colouring books) perquisite to a meaningful discussion of ideas to deal with the problem, is inconsistent with a legitimate claim to and desire for public engagement.

The perilous state of our finances should have been met with a Stage I, the "no brainer" list of decisions; crisis needs an immediate response.