12 June 2009

We’re more than a bit sceptical too, Jerome.

Finance minister Jerome Kennedy, quoted in the Friday Telegram:

"I'm have to tell you, I'm a bit skeptical, (Prime Minister Stephen Harper) indicates that 3,000 infrastructure projects across the country are underway," he said.

"Really, at the end of the day, there may be commitments on the part of the federal government, but what's taking place in this province is as a result of our government aggressively pursuing and accelerating this infrastructure strategy."


By accelerating, that would mean finishing off stuff either started or promised up to four years ago, Jerome?

Like say half the stuff Kennedy listed in his blockbuster update which in no way insulted the premier’s sensibilities about announcing and re-announcing money that had been announced upwards of seven times before in some cases?

Or would that be taking credit for more than the government was really doing, another thing Provincial Conservative Kennedy accused the federal Conservatives of doing?

Like $800 million in new infrastructure spending  - on top of the $800 million already committed for this year – some of which is cost-shared with Ottawa. That would be stuff that isn’t budgeted even though it is supposed to go out before the end of the current fiscal year.

Presumably that acceleration would be what provincial transportation minister Trevor Taylor was talking about yesterday:

"So this year, when the Federal Government offered economic stimulus money, we already had our priority list identified. We had been proactive and our sound strategic planning allowed us to move forward with a series of significant projects very smoothly.


So we know Jerome, Trevor and da b’ys really weren’t ahead of the game since half of what they tossed out has been in the works for years.  One project committed in 2007 and promised to be delivered in 2009 just went to tender the other day.

Not really ahead of the game, are we, hmmm?

But with that to one side, surely Trevor and Jerome already inked the deal with the feds for that new money set to flow later this year.

Apparently not.

Federal finance leprechaun Jim Flaherty told CTV’s Jane Taber the other day that:

We have agreements with almost everybody, not yet with Newfoundland and Labrador.

But if Newfoundland and Labrador already had their list together, why didn’t they sign the agreement yet?

Maybe Jerome  - the guy who didn’t know what the Clerk of the legislature did – was just too busy doing something else to read his infrastructure stimulus briefing notes on the new agreement so he could sign the thing. 

Jerome was right about one thing, though:  all the talk of commitments without actually getting anything built would make anyone sceptical.