28 September 2007

Campaign Notes: End of Week 2

1. Contrast in travel. From the Friday Telegram.

In an out-of-the-way hangar at St. John's airport, a handful of journalists are sitting comfortably in overstuffed leather chairs, gazing into their laptops or staring wide-eyed at the day's travel itinerary.
There's coffee, tea and an assortment of breakfast snacks.

And judging by the decor, this place is accustomed to well-heeled visitors.

Parked less than 10 metres away is a sleek private jet valued at about $2 million. Its two pilots wait patiently for their VIP passenger - Premier Danny Williams - and his entourage.

Then there's the Liberal bus-bound travel and the NDP's minivan.

2. Heard that one before, sorta. From Danny Williams in Marystown:

"My goal is to get the husbands and the fathers and the sons and the daughters and the mothers who have gone away to work, gone away to Alberta, gone across this country and get 'em back home," Williams told the crowd.

When Clyde Wells uttered the famous "every mother's son" line in Cox's Cove in 1989, he was talking about creating an economy and society where people could make a choice to live in Newfoundland and Labrador or pursue their own goals wherever they wanted. There's a big difference between individual choice and getting people back just because it fits some other imperative. Like say the demeaning "homing pigeon" nonsense Danny Williams likes to spout.

3. The Ghosts of Peckford. Interesting to see Peckford-era cabinet ministers Glenn Tobin (Social Services, Government Services) and Bob Aylward (Rural, Agricultural and Northern Development, Forest Resources and finally Municipal Affairs) advancing for Danny Williams at a rally in Marystown.

old handsTobin represented Burin-Placentia West from 1982 to 1996. He's currently the chair of the provincial government's liquor corporation.

Aylward represented the district of Kilbride from 1979 to 1993. Most recently he was vice-chair of the electoral boundaries commission.

Eons ago, Tobin was interviewed in a television report on the provincial government's make-work schemes. These would let people work on provincially funded projects long enough to qualify for federal unemployment insurance benefits. The whole policy was known as Lotto 10-42, a play on a popular gambling game combined with the formula that 10 weeks of make-work earned 42 weeks of federal benefits. The interview lurks in the archives at CBC most likely, but the one part that stuck with your humble e-scribbler all these years was pretty simple: Tobin denied there was such a policy. But if there was, he said, it wouldn't matter since oil would be flowing shortly and all would be fine.

4. Curiouser and curiouser. labradore, noticed something very interesting from Danny Williams speech in Corner Brook this week. The Tory campaign song was apparently written in 2004, or as Williams described it, just after the offshore deal victory. Problem: the deal came in 2005. Maybe there was a reason why Danny Williams didn't want to release poll results from his first 18 months in office. Makes you wonder what was in the polls, though, since they were eventually released to the Telegram but the Telly did nothing with them. Maybe the Telly missed something, aside from the research on adopting the green, white and pink native flag as the new provincial emblem. Maybe there was something curious in there after all, like discovering how much of a disaster the flag flap was, as revealed by the Premier's own polling.

5. You'll get the files, manana. The Indy is reporting this weekend that Diane Whelan promised to release details of her constituency allowance spending, particularly the donations. You may recall that, of the 115 legislators subjected to a review by the Auditor General, Whelan handed out the largest percentage of her allowance as cash gifts. The day after saying she'd cough up the details, Whelan told the Indy she'd dig the information out. But we'd have to wait until after the election to see where the money went. The story might be online next week.