07 July 2011

Skinner throws AG under bus

[Updated in another post]

Natural resources minister Shawn Skinner threw outgoing Auditor General John Noseworthy under the bus on Wednesday as he contradicted the AG’s claim he can’t get access to some of the offshore regulatory board’s records.

Voice of the Cabinet Minister ran a story based on Skinner’s comments with the afternoon call-in show’s new host Pete Soucy.  Here’s the whole thing in case the disappear it:

The government is refuting claims by a talk show caller that the auditor general cannot gain access to the books from the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board. The A.G. complained recently that he was unable to obtain the information he was looking for.

However, the minister of natural resources, Shawn Skinner, replied on VOCM Backtalk with Pete Soucy that that claim is untrue. He said there is a provision for the auditor general to review commercially sensitive information.

That’s pretty odd considering Noseworthy has been very friendly to the current administration on so many occasions.  Even the timing of his initial attack on the offshore board in 2008 could be seen as a way to help the incumbent Conservatives out in their efforts to put negotiating pressure on the oil companies or to poke at the guy who embarrassed Danny Williams so badly in Williams’ bizarro struggle to make Andy Wells the board boss.

So what gives?

Well, it could be the rumour Noseworthy will be running for the Liberals in the fall.  There doesn’t appear to be any substance to it at the moment but the rumour is strong.  Maybe Skinner wanted to start a pre-emptive strike on Noseworthy’s credibility.

And – as with the bullshit about Dean MacDonald being a long-time Liberal – rumours have a way of being accepted unquestioningly as fact by some in this town, if enough people repeat the same fairy tale often enough. well, that or if the right people say so.

That doesn’t mean Noseworthy won’t run in the fall. It just means there are no signs at the moment – even behind the scenes – that Noseworthy will be a candidate.  Now odds are that the opposition parties are both falling over themselves to get Noseworthy as a candidate just because someone said the guy would be a good catch.  See those rumours at work again? 

But there’s a difference between that and the idea Skinner is about to announce or that he is already locked in.  If Skinner was trying to undermine Noseworthy, he was acting on the basis of shite intel.

That isn’t the only plausible explanation for Skinner’s comment.  Now this is Voice of the Cabinet Minister after all, so there is a possibility they just misunderstood what Skinner said.

And, it could also be that Skinner is just wrong, again.

After all, it isn’t like he has never said things that are patently, obviously and demonstrably false before.

Who knows?  Lots of strange things are turning up in the news these days as the political world slowly twists itself in a whole new bunch of shapes.

- srbp -