Monday, 25 February 2013


Speaker: Order Please, Order Please, The Honourable Member for Blustery Bay.

Honourable Member: Thank You, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today on a point of personal privilege.

Mr. Speaker, a few days ago, the Member for Windy River South rose in his seat to decry the recent appointments, to the C-NLOPB.   
What did the Honourable Member say, Mr. Speaker?  He stated that neither of them know a ‘cod from a sculpin’! 

As if, Sir, ‘knowing a cod from a sculpin’ is some important induction or even a precondition for senior management positions of this government and its Agencies.  I will demonstrate that, not knowing a cod from a sculpin, is neither important nor even desired within this Administration.
Sir, I harbour the strongest suspicion that most Honourable Members, including the Honourable Member for Windy River South, wouldn’t know a ‘cod from a sculpin’. 

Some Honourable Members: Hear, Hear.

Member for Blustery Bay:  Indeed, Sir, if I might speak plainly and without any disrespect, I expect you, too, Mr. Speaker, would make the same claim.
The Speaker: I would, indeed.

Some Honourable Members:  Hear, Hear.                                                                                     
Member for Blustery Bay:  In so doing, Mr. Speaker, I am certain you believe you suffer no deficit of character or any deficiency of intellectual thought or of education.    

The Speaker:  You are correct.

Member for Blustery Bay:  Mr. Speaker, let me offer another example. 

The former Minister of Finance has proven he knows neither a cod from a sculpin, nor even a penny from a pound, having piled up a $725 million deficit on the public treasury, this year.  
The new Finance Minister, Mr. Speaker, in a bit of sporting competition, plans to outdo the former Minister, in announcing he will more than double that figure for, at least, the next two years.  In so doing, he gives foundation to his own suitability, much as did in his capacity as the Minister of Natural Resources. 

Afterall, Mr. Speaker, how often can one boast the ability to pursue 30 cent per KWh Muskrat Falls power, offer to sell it for 5 cents per KWh (except to the people who will pay for it) and give every assurance that a profit will result?  Clearly, Sir, the Minister is ideally suited to his role. I submit, these are special men; both boasting as much enthusiasm as a Greek bond!

But, Sir, it is our very own Premier who is the supreme example of what is a new world order being shaped right here in NL.
During the final days of ‘Williams-the-Spender’, an appellation, Sir, I have personally coined to honor the great man, that Premier cast about our Caucus and settled upon the current Premier as the one possessing the necessary deficits; deficits, Sir, that run from inarticulation to indecision.  This Premier holds the Office with the certainty that, if she was not destined to lead, she was entitled to do so.  In addition, Sir, we know, based upon her performance, she does not know a cod from a sculpin, either; completing a preponderance of evidence that she is eminently qualified to act as our First Minister. 

Now, Sir, to be fair, the Honourable Member for Lake Melville might have been in the running for this weighty responsibility.  Unfortunately, he had begun to read Government’s greatly redacted Publications and thereby became afflicted with symptoms of ‘Mumbo Jumbo’. While the condition eliminated him from becoming Premier, it does place him in direct line to the Cabinet. 
And, Sir, did not the people endorse ‘Williams-the-Spender’s’ personal choice of our great Premier?  They did, with resounding approval, in the general election.
No matter, Mr. Speaker, what we may consider appropriate in the circumstance, we must never be out of step, just as we must never be out of favour, with the people who elect us. 

Our constituents possess no greater expectation of us!
Now, Mr. Speaker, to the point of privilege, regarding the Member’s Statement that the two appointees do not know a ‘cod from a sculpin’: 

Sir, this Government screened hundreds, if not thousands, of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and, having found many who did know the difference, was forced to disqualify them. 
Mr. Speaker, the Member for Windy River South must alter his views.     

He knows that important Agencies are no place for our best and brightest.  The C-NLOPB is a fine example.  That Agency is engaged in complex matters of offshore safety and the management of our oil wells.  The Board gives our Province a front row seat to deal with international oil companies.  Many of them are larger and possess more financial and management resources than does our own Government, more even than many national Governments.  Mr. Speaker, this is no place for our best trained and brightest minds. 
Did the Honourable Member forget that ‘Williams-the-Spender’ put forward his very own Communications Director for one of these top jobs?  What ensued? Notwithstanding her excellent partisan credentials, the Opposition Parties rebelled over her Nomination.  The Government, Mr. Speaker, acknowledged, too, that it had made a mistake, giving credence to the notion that perhaps she knew a cod from a sculpin and was, therefore, not qualified. 

What happened next, Mr. Speaker?  Premier Dunderdale put forward the name of the former Premier’s very own brother, whom we affectionately call ‘Special Ed’; we are certain he cannot distinguish the aforesaid marine species, and, to prove as much, Sir, there has been not a whimper of public dissent.   In addition, our Federal Government gave its approval to the new Chair of this Agency, confirming, Sir, that even the PM has a discerning eye, not necessarily for the best, but for the most suitable.  And, good on him, I say.
Mr. Speaker, this Government will steadfastly adhere to a policy under which our best and brightest will not have to face the burden of high level decision making.  For far too long this group have been the recipients of the most demanding positions and we have come to realize, Sir, that as a society, we are none the better for having pursued that course.

Afterall, Sir, there is a tendency, among them, to question the Government, to obstruct its agenda, to thwart its most fundamental need for secrecy.  In time, other governments, yea, other nations, will emulate this approach.
What is our destiny, you may well ask?  And, you should. It is, Sir, the achievement of a completely egalitarian society; a society in which those Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who fail to possess the highest skills, whether due to their own negligence or, as is often the case, their skills have become mismatched with the high paying rewards of political appointments; those people need never fear, ever again, being relegated to lesser jobs.  Under our new open, egalitarian regime, we will build not just a single Agency, we will create an entire public service in which the inability to distinguish a cod from a sculpin will be manifest.   

Mr. Speaker, our Premier does place one requirement upon these fine men and there are women, too, equally deserving.  What would that requirement be, Mr. Speaker?  It is, simply, that they will continue to support our great Party.    
Afterall, Sir, when all other citizens go home at the usual time each day, these people canvass polls, they collect the charitable donations our great Party needs from the businesspeople who, in turn, seek succor from our capital works; they groom the candidates with whom the voters have an expectation to rub shoulders at election time.  They are the people, Mr. Speaker, who strategize and who organize.   

They may not know a cod from a sculpin but, they are partisan, sincere, honest and dedicated.  Then, too, Sir, because they are directly on the public payroll, we are assured of their continued service.   
Finally, I state my case in the complete assurance that, should the great and generous people of this Province ever permit the Honourable Members opposite to form a government, this very same policy will be inviolate, sacrosanct and untouchable, notwithstanding whether such appointments are made immediately prior to a long weekend, the day after the House has prorogued, or upon some other equally convenient, expedient or opportunistic occasion.

And, Sir, I do beseech all the Members of this Honourable House to applaud the new Government Men. They are two lucky Newfoundlanders!
Thank You, Mr. Speaker.

Visitor sitting in the Gallery: (Barely audible).  Let us hope there will be no accidents on their watch.