23 February 2008

A mixed reaction

On the one hand, it's an awesome local-boy-made good story whereby a  - well - local boy created the largest helicopter company in the world.

It's rags-to-riches.

It's all sorts of other stuff that is worth celebrating and holding out as an example of what can be done when you put your mind to it.

Then, after his death, his family sold it and made a mint.

The family contributed mightily to the community in many ways and selling the company is as sound a business decision as the family made in building it.  CHC stands as an example of what local entrepreneurs can do.

But then on the other hand, it's kinda hard not to notice that the guy heralded as a "patriot" packed up his company and relocated it out of Newfoundland and Labrador. As a result, he deprived the provincial treasury of  untold millions in corporate tax revenue, personal income taxes of the headquarters employees and likely a few other bits of miscellaneous revenue.

There was nary a boo about it from the provincial banker at the time, Loyola Sullivan.  Nor was there boo from Sullivan's boss. 


But when a supposedly evil telephone company, not previously owned by Danny Williams, did something supposedly evil to the provincial treasury, now that was another story.  Loyola Sullivan issued a news release about the impact Aliant's income trust restructure would have on the bank accounts of a province then only three years away from "have" status.

If we banned hypocrisy, some politicians would have nothing to say.

So bravo, progeny of Craig Dobbin and the share-holders of the now publicly traded CHC, for making a mint.

So bravo Craig for building a company up from nothing but a few provincial government contracts and parlaying it into being the largest helicopter outfit on the planet, bar none.

Look down from heaven and likely wince at the irony John Crosbie was right after all:  you can tell the Newfoundlanders in Heaven;  they're the only one's complaining what a crime it is they have to be "here" instead of "home". 

Yes, the hallmark of the great "patriot".  Discuss the glories of Newfoundland while you earn a living out west.

And as a last note in this rambling Saturday morning opener, let's try some trivia:

  1. What was the name of Craig Dobbin's helicopter company, the one that started it all?
  2. Where did he get the inspiration for the name?
  3. What's the connection between that name and the Danny Williams logo (which the provincial government still thinks is a "brand")?

There are no prizes, yet but we'll likely soon start a serious set of contests with bondpapers giveaways.