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Monday 29 March 2021


 First, we should extend congratulations to Premier Furey on his election victory and wish his new Administration every success. It remains to be seen if he is ready for the challenge that awaits. This is a matter to which we will return.

Opposition leader Ches Crosbie and NDP leader Alison Coffin, both having lost their Seats, deserve our appreciation for the important work of Opposition, too. It is the end of the road for Mr. Crosbie’s undistinguished political career. As to Ms. Coffin, the loss of a “core” NDP Seat must hurt. Other pundits may wish to analyse why the “rubber booters” voted heavily Liberal this time, but the Party might also want to reflect on their relevancy in a Province with three left-wing Parties, a situation — for the other two — born less out of ideology than opportunism.

Premier Furey told reporters that the election is about “Who you want to lead the province through the pandemic. Who you want to lead it through the economic challenge. Who you want to sit at the table with the federal Liberal government…” His election call disregarded the pandemic and gave little reference to the debt crisis. That left only the “Feds”.

From this perspective, it isn’t so much that Furey won more Seats than either Ches or Alison. In the end, it was “hope” that prevailed. Having failed to offer a “hundred days of decision”, the electorate were content with another four years of dither, not that Crosbie had a different agenda.

Monday 22 March 2021


Premier’s Furey’s claim that he had a window of opportunity to call a General Election when “the (Covid) numbers were low” and that “no one could have predicted the outbreak that occurred” simply does not square with the facts.

The two leaders of the Opposition and the media are right in calling on the Premier to release the probabilistic modelling data “from different jurisdictions” that he says helped him make the call. 

At this point, the issue is less about an ill-timed election than it is about the Premier’s integrity. Furey could have said that the Covid numbers in this province were low – and they were – and that he took a gamble - and lost the bet. That is not what he claims, however. He has  fabricated an argument around evidence of “modelling” for which no known agency has claimed ownership. The knock-on implications of his assertion should not be dismissed either.

Monday 15 March 2021


 Guest Post by Ron Penney

“If something seems to be good to be true, it usually is.” 

The Sale of Mile One. 

I’ve been following with interest the continuing war of words between Dean MacDonald and the City about his wish to “purchase” Mile One, add additions to the building, and eliminate the public subsidy. 

I’ve been often asked about my thoughts on this given my involvement with the building of Mile One and the Convention Centre and its operations, during my tenure as the City Manager with the City of St. John’s. 

Most people think that the sale of Mile One is a no-brainer. What’s not to like about it? Getting rid of a “white elephant”, eliminating the subsidy and revitalizing the building. Who could be opposed to that? As I will demonstrate it is a lot more complicated than it appears at first and it shouldn’t be sold. 

Thursday 11 March 2021



Maritime tradition points the way
To vaccine priorities in our day,
Long-covid threats to be nursed:
Save the women and children first!

Those that tend and care and treat
And serve the sick in noble feat -
Selfless work earns approbation,
Should top a list for vaccination.

Politicians, bureaucrats, very last,
That let the covid spread to cast
Its pall upon earth’s population
With ignorance and obfuscation.

Monday 8 March 2021

THE "MYTH" OF DEFICIT (It's "reality" PERT can't face)

Hark! The People’s Economic Recovery Team (PERT) have spoken. This is the self-styled group of academics, labour organizations and non-profits who present themselves as an “alternative” to Moya Greene’s economic recovery committee. Based on news reports, they are supported not just by the Federation of Labour, but also by the doyen of moonlighting consultants, the Memorial University of Newfoundland Faculty Association (MUNFA).

PERT does their group — and the Province — a disservice, having delivered what amounts to a "tract" on taxation that doesn't even reflect the details contained in the Budget Estimates. PERT states: "The premier has noted that (the deficit is) about $800 million; others have put it at about $1 billion." This is their idea of research? Furey might have said that the deficit is $300 million, had it helped win the election. Presumably PERT would have agreed. 

The correct figure is $1.84 billion. A group ostensibly engaged in research can't even open up the "Budget Estimates". 

Monday 1 March 2021

An Election in the time of Covid: Is a special ballot election legal and legitimate?

Guest Post by Ron Penney

For part of my public service career I drafted legislation for a living. It sounds boring I know,  but it has proven very useful as I learned how to draft a statute and also how to read one. Not something we were taught in Law School. 

In my younger years I participated in elections as a campaign manager, all successful I might add! So I learned the practical side of elections and election law. I also participated in the famous judicial recount in 1971 when it was discovered that the ballot box for Sally’s Cove contained no ballots, as it turned out that in accordance with local tradition they had been burned! 

The 1971 election had lots of interesting twists and turns and the 2021 one has already had them even before the votes have been cast and results announced. 

The resurgence of the virus just before the election date is the proximate cause of the election delay and the change of voting methods but the risk was always there. Should it have been anticipated as a possible impediment to the holding of an election and should have there been contingency plans.  The answer has to be yes.