02 June 2011

Give Danny the money

Your humble e-scribbler is no fan of handing public cash to private sector companies for any reason.

And make no mistake: when Danny Williams claims the provincial government would make its money back 20 fold on the hockey team, he is as full of shite as he has ever been.

But here’s the thing:  giving taxpayer cash to private business is what Danny and his crew love to do. It is not new government policy but since 2003, the Conservatives have handed out money hand over fist in a way the province hasn’t seen in maybe 50 years or more. 

Few project, if any, have been unworthy of their dole and more often than not the cash goes with no strings attached.

The provincial Conservatives have been generous with everyone’s money:

  • A boot company pocketed $8 million on a promise to expand its production and hire more people in the province.  They chopped workers instead and so far there’s no word on whether or not they will have to pay any of the cash back.
  • A bankrupt paper company that government was still willing to talk to even after their financial state made the news.
  • How about half a million in cash, free, for setting up a marine engine service centre in a land-locked city?
  • Cash and tax breaks for a television show.
  • Cash and grants totalling $4 million for a shelter-making business on the Burin Peninsula.
  • The provincial government stepped in to pay $30 million so AbitibiBowater didn’t have to pay their pensioners in this province.
  • Emera and Muskrat Falls:  free power up front and a huge discount on any extra power they buy.
  • Any place other than Newfoundland and Labrador will be able to get Muskrat Falls power for less than cost:  Dunderdale said so.
  • A software company got an interest free loan for $325,000 on the promise it would create work.  18 months later the company shut its local office.
  • SAC Manufacturing:  $675,000 four months before the company closed.

With that litany of give-aways a half million for Danny Williams is absolutely nothing.  Surely Williams or one of his companies can qualify for programs under Williams’ old business department or the aptly-named InTRD crowd Dunderdale used to run.  There are so many pots of cash with so many vague or non-existent rules that the provincial government could actually underwrite a substantial part of Danny’s plan.

The only serious question is why Dunderdale won’t do give Danny the cash he wants.

- srbp -