12 September 2011

Word Clues

According to the St. John’s Board of Trade, “Newfoundland and Labrador’s considerable assets include …[a] captive consumer market worth over $10 billion annually.”

Interesting choice of words that.

“Captive”.

Prisoner.

Hostage.

As in can’t go anywhere else or do anything else.

At the mercy of others.

Take a look at a survey the Board did of a four member panel that they included with that news release.  Now bear in mind the panel is four members of the Board of Trade and only four. But still, if you look at the responses, you get another curious bit of information.

Top federal/provincial priorities:  “Building the Lower Churchill” got a vote from one of the four as the top priority.  But two others put “Building the Lower Churchill” as their second choice.

Not surprising really, that the Lower Churchill would be the favourite in this question and in another one later on about what the federal government needs to do for the province.

Many members of the Board of Trade have done very well as a result of the enormous increase in public spending over the past four years.  it may be fiscally unsound for the province, but for the Board of Trade members it’s been boom times.  The Lower Churchill would guarantee those booms for another decade.

Makes sense.

Makes sense too that the party currently in power is pushing something that means they can trumpet the jobs and the growth that will flow.  There’s a wonderful meeting of mutual interest, political and commercial. 

This alignment of interests is easily seen in the pattern of political giving in the province last year.  80% of donations come from corporations.  Most of that is focused on the northeast Avalon. Individual contributions make up a mere 20% and in some districts nobody  - other than the local member of the legislature - contributed anything at all to any political party.

Not surprisingly, either, the companies who have been doing perhaps the most phenomenally well from capital works spending have given in huge gobs to the Conservatives.

Nothing sinister or criminal.  Just a matter of common interests.

Meanwhile, the average ratepayer, err consumer,  err taxpayer in the province isn’t quite so positive about Muskrat Falls and the Lower Churchill.  In polls done by Corporate Research Associates for the provincial government over the past year, Muskrat is the top priority of a mere four percent of the population.

Consistently four percent.

Health care and jobs are way out in front as the major concern of 20-odd and 30-odd percent of the people surveyed.

Huge difference.

Now look at that word “captive” again.

Interesting choice.

Almost Freudian in its implications when you consider that having a captive market is the entire basis for Muskrat Falls.

The local consumers will be forced to pay for it all, carry the whole debt load and make sure that the companies directly involved don’t lose a copper.

They have no choice.

They are captive.

- srbp -

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