It could be that traditional media does not readily seek out our MPs for public policy comment. Or that MPs prefer the non-confrontational media presence afforded on social media platforms. Possibly the whole lot are better suited to images than words anyway. Either way, the seven MPs are seldom part of the narrative of political life in this province. And that is too bad.
Monday, 28 May 2018
Go ahead. See how quickly you can name the Province’s seven Federal MPs. Can you name even just the one in your riding? If you are having difficulty, it might not be due to memory loss.
Thursday, 24 May 2018
First Progress Report from Muskrat Falls Concerned Citizens Coalition
Some people have been asking what is happening with the Inquiry into the Muskrat Falls project. This is our first update. Next time, a web site, which is under development, will be ready. Future updates will be found there and that platform is expected to offer timely communication throughout the period of the Inquiry.
What's Been Happening?
The Coalition was created to serve as an intervenor in the Muskrat Falls Inquiry. Upon invitation of the Commissioner the group submitted our interpretation of the TOR, as did a number of others. It can be found here. The goals of the Inquiry are set out on the Inquiry Website, particularly in the Commissioner’s Interpretation of his Terms of Reference (TOR) here.
Monday, 21 May 2018
It seems that Memorial University President Gary Kachanoski is frustrated with the Government, though it is a bit late to express that sentiment. Memorial largely ignored the warning signals about debt and risk to civil society from a decade of overspending by successive government Administrations. When the University ought to have sounded the alarm, it instead finds itself in the same boat as every other institution.
Memorial was forced to cut $8.9 million from the University's operating budget this year. In addition, the Government threatened to cut the subsidy to the University by a commensurate value of the increase if tuition fees were hiked for local students. Said a clearly disappointed University President, the province has to decide what kind of university it wants.
Saturday, 19 May 2018
Pre-school kids could replace the Assembly on the Hill:
A childlike raucous racket, big hum in air to fill.
Loud bickering and bullying that does little to instill
Confidence in leaders who know no leading skill.
Introducing rules-of-conduct to regulate ill will,
To change a human’s nature from decency near nil.
Is distraction from the urgency to lower living bills,
And all the while attention strays from frills at the till.
May 16, 2018
Monday, 14 May 2018
Written with copious notes from PlanetNL
Few members of the public seem concerned that Hydro is pursuing two rate hikes, the equivalent of 18.6%, to be applied over the next two years. In addition, Hydro wants the PUB to charge for Upper Churchill Recall power on the same basis as if it were generated by oil at Holyrood. Hydro wants a “deferral account” for “rate mitigation” which, for reasons described by PlanetNL, may turn out to be small dollars anyway.
Public quiet over the Hydro rate application suggests they may have already become numbed to it all. Having been deceived by their own government(s) since 2010, and having perhaps learned that fake news is not just an American concept, it is possible that, rather than get mad, they plan to get even. Installers of heat pumps have a bright future in this Province.
Thursday, 10 May 2018
Guest Post by David Vardy
This is the sequel to my post of March 19, 2018 on the financing of Muskrat Falls called The Impossible Dream Part I: Financing The Labrador Transmission Link. In this post I measure the increased costs associated with Muskrat Falls and discuss the impact on rates and the potential for rate mitigation.
A recent Telegram article (“Power Rate Options Still Unclear”, Telegram, May 5, 2018) . refers to “$60 million to $70 million required to decrease customer rates by one cent per kilowatt hour”. This suggests that, if rates were increased from 12 cents to 17 cents, revenues would rise by $300 million to $420 million. This is highly unrealistic.
Monday, 7 May 2018
A former Cabinet Minister suggested recently that when partisan politics comes in contact with any issue, it becomes distorted. I thought of the comment’s applicability to the current furor about bullying in the Ball Liberal Caucus, especially the case of Cathy Bennett. Is politics a motivator in how it is being disclosed? How pervasive is the problem? Is it endemic to political office anyway? Who must take responsibility? What “fixes” if any are required?
Those questions beg one more: if the allegations are proven true, what fixes are required, that is to say what effect should the outcome have on public policies?
Bullying is complicated even in the words and context used to describe it. Now that vile behaviours have joined the day-to-day experiences of Ministers and MHAs, and are increasingly part of the political lexicon, commentators and the public have an obligation to include them in debate — as fraught with risk as such a polarizing issue may seem.
Thursday, 3 May 2018
If new Tory leader Ches Crosbie had hoped to wear the moniker “Landslide” after last weekend’s vote, the Party had no qualms denying him any such expression of unanimity.
The contest was a straight two-way leadership race. With Crosbie winning 57% of the vote against 43% for Tony Wakeham, according to the media, the outcome was respectable but hardly overwhelming.
Wakeham came into the race late and with a communications plan that didn’t include the general public. He exhibited little knowledge of public policy issues, too.
In contrast, Crosbie demonstrated preparedness and a willingness to engage people on the ground and on social media. His legal experience shone through the process; his speech was thoughtful and careful.