11 February 2008

He'll be "environmentally efficient"

Premier Danny Williams was confronted today with another question about his plan to appoint Andy Wells to head the public utilities board at an annual salary of $175,000 and let him also keep his mayor's job for another $100K or so.

This time the question came from reporters about Wells' view that this whole global warming thing is a crock of hooey resulting from junk science.

In an odd twist from his threats to sue people and remove free speech from the legislature last February, this February the Premier is endorsing contrarianism and the presentation of unpopular views as the hallmark of a free and democratic society.

There was a funny moment when - in the heat of the scrum - Williams said he was confident that Wells would be "environmentally efficient" in his new role.

Yes, but not fiscally efficient, given that he will suck down two salaries and likely not be able to fulfill the duties of both jobs full-time. No human being could, especially when the public utilities board is short two commissioners. No human being could when, as CBC television news pointed out this evening, there are a raft of issues the PUB will deal with that will force Wells to excuse himself. That would include excuse himself from managing, as the chairman is supposed to do in his capacity as chief executive officer. Hard to keep hands off a situation where there's a conflict of interest when you have to assign work responsibilities.

No matter what, though, we can bet the Premier won't be taking Wells as his date to the 21st annual testimonial dinner sponsored by the Public Policy Forum. The Premier is co-chairing the event and one of the honorees is Sheila Watt-Cloutier. She's a noted environmental activist and the event is likely to draw a crowd from people who actually understand what junk science is.

Junk science.

That would be the stuff Wells likes to quote.