11 June 2009

“Old money” from Williams cabinet called “stimulus”

Danny Williams may not like it when federal cabinet ministers recycle announcements, but of  the 52 specific projects listed in the provincial government “economic stimulus” update news release issued on Thursday, almost half - 21 projects - were already announced, some as long ago as 2005. 

Some of the recycled old news slipped out earlier but the announcement on Thursday made the whole thing plain.

The Corner Brook long-term care facility project listed among the stimulus projects has been underway since March 2005. The Corner Brook court house, health facilities in Lewisporte and Labrador west  and renovations to the James Paton hospital in Gander date back to March 2006.

Many of those in the “old news” category were announced in 2007 in the Summer of Love spending commitment frenzy leading up to the last provincial general election. 

One project - the St. Alban’s aquaculture veterinary facility  - was announced in 2007 with a commitment the place would open in 2009.  Instead, the project has just been tendered.

There’s more to it than just the inclusion of old announcements that predate the ‘stimulus’ news conference pulled together as part of the February poll-goosing frenzy; some of the projects seem to include contributions of federal money as if the whole thing was provincial government spending.

The Torbay and CBS by-pass roads, for example, were announced in 2007 and 2008 respectively.  They’re cost-shared 50/50 with the federal government but the provincial news release shows the total cost without indicating it is only ponying up half the total. 

And while the Premier may sneer when his federal cousins announce announcements previously announced, that didn’t stop his own team from discussing projects, some of which have been included in as many as seven separate government news releases.

They are:

College of the North Atlantic campus, Labrador West:

Francophone school, HVGB:

Port Hope Simpson school:

L’Anse au Loup:

Labrador West hospital:

Here’s the list of the 21 Old Announcements from the “stimulus” update: