Monday, 9 November 2015


Guest Post written by "Agent 13"

We have all heard of “The Dirty Dozen”, the D-day British pre-invasion team, glorified in the 1967 film, of the same name.  The “Dirty Nineteen” are nothing like them and have earned no glory.

Let me introduce them.

Back in June 14th 2012, the Provincial PC Government was in the final stages of voting on Bill 29. The Bill amended the province’s access to information legislation.  The changes constituted a massive step backwards for democracy, having permitted a level of governmental secrecy never before seen in Newfoundland and Labrador or Canada.

Much of the secrecy around the Muskrat Falls Project was afforded by these amendments.

At the time the Bill was passed, comments like this one were ubiquitous: “Bill 29 goes too far. Sadly the Government did not see fit to allow a reasonable debate to unfold, instead using closure to push the legislation through so fast that many access advocates across the country barely knew of its existence”.  

The Government invoked Closure; a measure to cut off debate of the Bill in the House of Assembly. It was was passed after three days of filibuster, by the Opposition. 

31 members of the PC Government used their majority to pass Bill 29.

People, from journalism professors to press associations, condemned the measures.

It took a massive public outcry to force an arrogant and unbowed Administration to reconsider and to finally appoint a Commission, led by former Chief Justice Clyde Wells, to propose changes, which are now law.
Also by "Agent 13":

Some of the questions that will follow me into the Polling booth on November 
are these: can we trust the same people who voted for Bill 29?  Are they really the best people we can send to the Legislature to ensure transparency in government operations, in the expenditure of public money and, otherwise, to protect the public interest?

As of today, the PC’s have 33 candidates running in the upcoming provincial election.  By my count 17 of them voted for Bill 29, in 2012. Two others are running for the Liberals.

Let’s make them accountable. Here they are:

 1.       Baie Verte – Green Bay – Candidate:  Kevin Pollard
 2.       Bonavista – Candidate:  Glen Little
 3.       Cape St. Francis – Candidate: Kevin Parsons
 4.       Ferryland – Candidate:  Keith Hutchings
 5.       Fogo Island – Cape Freels – Candidate: Eli Cross
 6.       Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune – Candidate: Tracey Perry
 7.       Harbour Grace – Port de Grave – Candidate: Glen Littlejohn
 8.       Labrador West – Candidate: Nick McGrath
 9.       Lake Melville – Candidate: Keith Russell
10.      Lewisporte – Twillingate – Candidate: Derrick Daley
11.      Mount Pearl North – Candidate: Steve Kent
12.      Placentia West – Bellevue – Candidate: Calvin Peach
13.      St. George’s – Humber – Candidate: 
14.      St. John’s West – Candidate: Dan Crummell
15.      Stephenville – Port au Port – Candidate: Tony Cornect
16.      Terra Nova – Candidate: Sandy Collins
17.      Topsail – Paradise – Candidate:  Paul Davis

And, running for the Liberals:

18.      St. John’s south - Tom Osborne
19.      Mount Pearl South - Paul Lane

So, if any of the “Dirty 19” makes their rounds in the media and on your doorsteps looking for your vote, you might want to ask them what they were doing on June 14, 2012. Ask them why they worked against you, not for you.

The “Dirty Dozen” are renowned for their bravery. But the “Dirty 19”, from where I sit, are just cowards of Closure.
Editor's Note: 
Most readers will know "Agent 13" as one of the good guys, a support for 
"Agent 86" (Max) on the 70s TV Series, “Get Smart”.  Our "Agent 
13" is an active professional with a keen interest in public policy issues. 
Having adopted "Agent 13" as his pseudonym, he has chosen only to reveal 
his humourous side. On public policy matters, as his "reports" confirm, he 
has a serious side, too.