18 July 2007

SOL Day 22: Cash and Pictures and some Hickey-ups with facts

On this, the 22nd day of the Summer of Love campaign, the provincial government issued no fewer than six cash announcements.

The biggie was Premier Danny Williams and finance minister Tom Marshall handing out cheques in their own districts to support the 2008 Newfoundland and Labrador Summer Games and an ironman competition. The cheques came complete with grip-and-grin photos distributed by the provincial government information service.

Also announced:

- Funding for the Baccalieu Trail tourism industry;

- $575,000 in funding for medical student bursaries;

- Tender award for construction of a new courthouse in Corner Brook; and,

- Another announcement on the Nicholsville bridge in Deer Lake in which transportation minister John Hickey shows a Rideout-esque propensity for saying things that are not backupable. Would that make them Hickey-ups?

In the release Hickey claims that "[t]he Williams Government assured the people of the Nicholsville area from day one that we would replace their bridge in a timely fashion and we have delivered."

What Hickey actually said on Day One - October 30, 2006 - was that the bridge was closed.

What Hickey actually said on Day Two was this:
If we look at the whole Humber Valley district here, there are a number of bridges … that need work," Hickey told CBC News.

"Many of those locations only have one bridge in and out of the community or location, so it will be something we'll be putting on our list of priorities for review when budget time comes."
What the provincial government actually said on Day 19 was that they were working on some solution but that they would look at all the choices before deciding:
"Government’s primary concern regarding the Nicholsville Bridge was the safety of the general public. We addressed that by closing the bridge," said Minister Hickey.

"We are aware of the anxiety of residents regarding the future of the link and we began reviewing our options immediately after we made the decision to close the bridge. However, we want to ensure due diligence before making any pronouncements."
Hickey didn't announce funding for the bridge formally until May 11, 2007; that would be Day 195 or thereabouts.

What a Hickey-up that release was.