26 January 2007

Friday quickies

1. Williams and Calvert seek clarification of PM's Equalization comments. From the Star Phoenix.

2. Uncertainty in the NL oilpatch.

3. Williams wants to hug Alberta's job boom. Most revealing quote: "I'd love to have them all home," he [Williams] said. "However, the projects and the jobs are not there yet. We're building our economy."

Any word on when we might start trying to get "there"?

4. Terra Nova back online; provincial revenues drop temporarily. The provincial government will collect 5% royalties until the costs of the recent refit to the Terra Nova FPSO have been recovered. The lower royalty period should last through the first quarter of 2007, depending on oil prices. After that, it's back to 30%.

5. "Hibernia not only project for PetroCan". From the Financial Post's Claudia Cattaneo. Most interesting quote: "It's hard to say whether this is an opening gambit on some other negotiations or what," [PetroCan CEO] Mr. [Ron] Brenneman said. "We have not been very good at predicting responses in that arena."

Ron might find it prudent to start with assuming a "No", irrespective of what the companies put on the table. Everything after that is a pleasant surprise. Basically the Premier's negotiating position is the same as with Ottawa in 2004:

DW: "I am not happy. Make me happy."

The Other Guy: "Well, what would make you happy?"

DW: "Well, I don't know. Suggest something."

TOG: "Ok. Well how about this? That's what you have said in the past."

DW: "Yeah well, that makes me happy, but I am just not happy enough. Make me happier."

TOG: "Sheesh."

Seriously though, it is exactly that uncertainty - caused totally by policy confusion/inaction within the current provincial government - that brands Newfoundland and Labrador as place where it is difficult if not impossible to do business.

Well, at least until 2010 when the premier is expected to pack it in.

6. "Premier's messages misses mark". Editorial from the Friday Telegram. Not exactly as powerful as the Star Phoenix columnist's critique of his own Premier, but for local media, almost a humble suggestion that the Premier might maybe possibly think about considering - at least just for a second, and only if he has the time given all the problems others are causing him - that he might theoretically, but only if he really wants to, maybe changing a teensy bit of his way of doing business.

But only if he wants. Otherwise, never mind.

7. Spittle in the wind. Fish processing rep Derek Butler offers what elsewhere would be readily accepted as reasonable, but here is likely to be condemned out-of-hand as treason: run the fishery like a business, not as a social welfare program.