28 August 2009


Get a load of this little bit of ministerial bafflegab. It’s Ross Wiseman, lately the business minister talking about the issue of air service to the southeast coast of Labrador:

We were working on this overall strategy piece. Work has been pretty well advanced. What we do in Labrador is a response to the unique circumstance in Labrador, yes, but at the same time we do it in the context of a provincial strategy. It’s difficult sometimes to go into one region of our province and develop a policy framework, or develop a strategy, or provide a response, without giving some consideration to what impact that might have on an entire province, and how that might fit into a broader strategy, so we’re cognizant of what we’re trying to do in the bigger piece.

There’s something even stranger about this.

Wiseman is not the minister responsible for transportation, in whose lap this issue falls.

That would be Trevor Taylor.

Nor is he the minister of Labrador affairs.

That would be John “The Shoveller” Hickey.

Nor is Wiseman likely the alternative minister for any of those portfolios. Not only has Ross had no experience with them, there is no connection - logical or otherwise – among them.

Wiseman used to be the health minister. Now he is the minister responsible for figuring out how much money he should take from the most indebted taxpayers in Canada in order to give it to give some rich foreigner in order to get them to come here and make work.

So on the whole, Wiseman’s face on this story of a domestic company – Air Labrador – is peculiar.

It’s not even odd that the airline in question has let slip this little story long before they actually intend to cut the service.

And it’s not the least bit peculiar that the local member of the provincial legislature - Liberal leader Yvonne Jones - wants government to think about funnelling cash into this local private sector company. That’s what local MHAs do in Newfoundland and Labrador, regardless of any political affiliations involved.

Nor is it odd that Jones has no problem with pouring public cash into a local airline but doesn’t like pouring public cash into the oil and gas exploration business.

And it’s not odd that Jones wants to make sure there is good air medical service in the large Labrador, one of the services the airline provides. In fact, Air Labrador made $3.4 million in 2007-2008 flying medical patients around the nearby health region along the north shore of the St. Lawrence.

That would be the health region in Quebec, for those whose Labrador geography is a bit dodgy.

But that cash came for providing an essential service, not just for having planes flying into and out of a community carrying passengers or – as the company decision suggests not carrying passengers - just for the sake of saying there is a plane coming into the local airport.

That idea is as wacky as the utterings by the jabberwock about the whole issue in the first place.