19 June 2012

Shit the Premier says: law and democracy edition #nlpoli

Last week the gang at the Center for Law and Democracy were, in the words of justice minister Felix Collins, a “two-bit outfit.”

This week, things are different.

Now the Premier has decided that this two-bit outfit is peachy keen.  In the House of Assembly on Monday, she thought the Center’s rankings for the province were just wonderful:
Mr. Speaker, Newfoundland and Labrador was the first Province in this country to introduce legislation on access to information. We were rated number one in the country. The Centre for Law and Democracy does rankings of provinces that have this legislation, Mr. Speaker. Five provinces and the federal government have this legislation. Mr. Speaker, Newfoundland and Labrador is ranked second in the country, next to BC, on openness and access to information in this Province. [emphasis added]
And once Bill 29 comes along, the rankings are still wonderful, according to the Premier:
Mr. Speaker, all I can say to the Leader of the Third Party through you is wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong. Mr. Speaker, this is spin coming from the Leader of the Third Party. She says: You have the ranking of second highest in the country before the amendments – no, after the amendments, Mr. Speaker. When your first piece of information is wrong, you can pretty much assume, Mr. Speaker, that the rest of it is wrong as well.
Just to be sure, the Premier’s communications director tweeted her boss’ comments.

For those who may have forgotten, the rest of the country didn’t rank too well on the Center for Law and Democracy’s assessment of access to information laws.  Newfoundland and Labrador’s ranking is now worse than it was before - rather than better - but Kathy Dunderdale is still happy with that.

Leave aside the massive flip flop in attitude from one week to the next. That’s bad enough. Let’s just focus on what the Premier thinks is the way to think about adopting an access law that is demonstrably worse than the one we had before. 

We were good.  Rather than get better.  Kathy Dunderdale and her pals made it worse.

So in her view, we should note our new position and think something along these lines:  we don’t suck as much as the rest of the country.



Maybe this strikes you then:  we’re the second least miserable province when it comes letting people find out what their government is up to.

It’s like the two political commentators a few years ago who were talking on the Ceeb about allegations that a cabinet minister and his staff and family had taken bribes.  Even if the allegations were true, concluded the brain trust, we were nowhere near as corrupt as that crowd in Nova Scotia.  Slap that on a tee shirt and we’ll make a fortune.

Well friends, if Kathy Dunderdale’s take on things is your idea of  visionary leadership, then you have your champion. We don’t strive to be the best.  We strive to be relatively less backward-assed than the others.  Just thinking about our province that way sends shivers down your spine, doesn’t it?

Regular readers will find in Kathy’s attitude a familiar notion.  Her crowd used it a couple of weeks ago when Corporate Research Associates released their latest poll results.  On the same day,   Angus-Reid released a poll that showed as many people liked Dunderdale’s leadership as didn’t like it. 

Her polling numbers have plummeted across the board over the past few months, but her own fan club was keen to play up the positives. Highest rated of all Atlantic Canadian premiers, they said on Open Line and on da Twitter.  Yes friends,  as your humble e-scribbler noted, that’s like saying Kathy doesn’t suck as much as Darrel Dexter or that fella Alward in New Brunswick.  we do not measure ourselves against the best and aim to capture that crown.  we are just content not to stink up the joint too badly.

And just for extra burst if humour, Kathy Dunderdale decided to try and insult Lorraine Michael’s grasp of facts and detail.

You could not – repeat N-O-T – make this stuff up.

And she and her associates think that this is the stuff of genius.



rod said...

It has been said, by the premier on more than one occasion that persons critical of government policies "didn't have all the facts, and therefore couldn't speak to the issue."

With the changes to the access to info regulations, we will be prevented from having useful facts and information to form an opinion, or make any argument.

I for one am getting sick of this arrogance. Abolish political parties, and run the province like a municipality.

Edward Hollett said...

Two things, Rod:

First, the problem for the premier and her colleagues since 2003 is not that her critics do not have the facts. The problem is that we have them and we, more often than not, turn out to be right in our criticisms or warnings.

Second, we are already run like a tiny town. That is one of the problems we have, as opposed to the problems the Premier and her associates have.

We need to change how we look on the provincial government, not continue the current trends.

rod said...

When I say run the province like a municipality I mean devoid of partisan politics. Liberalism works in some situations, and conservatism works in others. I don't think it is realistic to try to apply one philosophy to all situations. We chuck out one bunch, give them a pension, and put in place a different group, who have their own political cronies to pay off with plum appointments.It has to stop.

This new era of secrecy and arrogance is frightening. A recipe for disaster, and in the end, we all lose.

Edward Hollett said...

Rod, you already have that in the sense that there are no real distinctions among the parties on issues these days anyways.

In another sense, you already have town councils and city councils that are most definitely elected and run along party lines.

The NDP didn't start that in St. John's for example. They just followed the example set for them by the crowd that trained them in the last campaign.