31 December 2012

The Perpetual Talking Point Disaster #nlpoli

Premier Kathy Dunderdale’s year-end talking points for 2012 were pretty grim. 

As she told CBC’s David Cochrane, the provincial government is facing an enormous deficit.  The deficit is the result not of government spending but of the up-and-down nature of the commodities on which government revenues depend. 

The result is that government will have to raise taxes or cut jobs or some combination of both in order to cope with the deficit next year.

This should sound awfully familiar to people.

Talking Point Politics #nlpoli

The Telegram’s Saturday front page story on Tory efforts to manipulate online polls and comments garnered two equal and opposite reactions over the weekend in that political echo chamber called Twitter.  [The story isn’t free.  it’s in the online subscriber edition]

Some people got into a lather over it.

Some other people tried to blow it off as something we’ve known all along, something everyone does everywhere, and no big thing.

Equal and opposite, if you will, but the big issue here is in the middle of these two opinion poles.

28 December 2012

Creating a Baby Boom. Not. #nlpoli

Flip over to the Occupy NL blog and you’ll see a critique of some recent SRBP posts on the provincial government’s bonus cash for live babies program.

Let’s summarise the critique and then go from there.  While this summary will get you through this post, to be fair and to make sure that nothing gets missed, go read the full post with all the charts included at Occupy NL.

The author takes issue with the SRBP approach in the initial post in the December series, which looked at the total number of births. He contends that we should look at “the average number of live births a woman can expect in her lifetime based on age-specific fertility rates in a given year.  Secondly, his analysis doesn't acknowledge that declining birth rates is a trend nation-wide and that provincial rates should be compared to what is happening in other provinces.”

27 December 2012

Middle Earth Safety Briefing

Air New Zealand capitalizes on Peter Jackson and his love of Tolkien:


Attitudes to Guns #nlpoli

Her pistol is concealable with any outfit choice.


Top 10 Posts for 2012 #2012

Here they are, folks, the 10 most-read posts of 2012 at SRBP.

  1. When will she quit?  Now that Muskrat Falls is sanctioned, how long will it be before Kathy Dunderdale resigns?
  2. Labrador mining and Muskrat Falls  JM’s commentary on the relationship between Muskrat Falls and mining projects in Labrador.
  3. S-92 Incident – March 2012  CNLOPB reported an incident offshore with a Cougar S-92.  SRBP pointed out what the incident was about.  Three days later, Cougar decided to replace the gearboxes.
  4. Disappeared Deputy Hired in 2011 as deputy minister of natural resources, Diana Dalton vanished in 2012 without a mention from the provincial government.  What happened to her? 
  5. Up her nose, sideways  Kathy Dunderdale doesn’t like someone named JM who has been cutting the guts out of Muskrat Falls.
  6. Brian Peckford’s memoir now on sale
  7. Gil  Bennett won’t re-tweet this post  The water management agreement controversy
  8. Tone, standards and political suicide Since 2003, the provincial Conservatives have operated an American style of attack politics.  “If the Tories don’t change the tone, if they keep the same low standards for politics that [Paul] Lane keeps displaying, then they can expect to keep suffering the death by a thousand and one self-inflicted cuts.”
  9. 10 reasons to oppose Muskrat Falls  Simon Lono tweeted ‘em.  SRBP reprinted ‘em.  Readers loved ‘em.
  10. Sex and the cabinet  “In Kathy Dunderdale’s cabinet, men run all the big economic portfolios while women run the big social policy portfolios.”


26 December 2012

Mars Attacks!


Add this one to the New Year’s wish list:  coming in 2013 from Moebius.


24 December 2012

Fertility Rates: a different perspective #nlpoli

Via Occupy Newfoundland and Labrador,  a different take on the success of the bootie call from the one presented in this corner recently.


If you’re serious about ideas… #nlpoli

then get serious about blogging.

From the Harvard Business Review:

Writing is still the clearest and most definitive medium for demonstrating expertise on the web. But as thought leaders like Gary Vaynerchuk have shown with video blogging and fellow HBR blogger Mitch Joel with podcasting (i.e., audio blogging), as long as your content is rich and thoughtful, you can still build up a massive following and reputation regardless of your channel. In an information-hungry world, there will always be a need for expert content. And there will always be more readers and "retweeters" than there will be creators.

If you want to have an impact, you might as well be the one setting the agenda by blogging your ideas.


Not with a bang, but a whimper #nlpoli

mcleodsgreatquestionThe longest filibuster in Newfoundland and Labrador legislative history ended quietly Saturday morning.

This was the second filibuster this year and the  Telegram’s legislative reported posed a simple question via Twitter before the House closed.

What does it say about current Newfoundland and Labrador political culture that we’ve had two such filibusters in a single year?

Normally a filibuster is an opposition tactic to hold up a government proposal the opposition doesn’t like.  That was the case with the Bill 29 filibuster in the spring.

As it turns out, the Muskrat Falls filibuster was different things for different parties.

21 December 2012

JM 6 - Two Variants of the Interconnected Option

Volume 6 - 2 Variants

The Teens and 40s #nlpoli

As the last instalment in our survey of birth rates, let’s take a look at the group 15 to 19 and the other end of the scale for statistics, women aged 40-44 at the time of the child’s birth.


The blue line is the number of births to mothers between ages 15 and 19.  From 810 births in 1991 down to 321 in 2010.  Note, though that the low point on the blue line is 2005 at 254.  Since then the number of births to mothers between 15 and 19 has risen steadily.  The rate is lower, though:  one in 32 in 1991 compared to one in 46 in 2010.

The numbers of babies born to women between 40 and 45 remains relatively very low.  Still, it has doubled in the past two decades from the 52 births in 1991 to the 100 that occurred in 2010.

The red line is the births for mothers aged 35 to 39.  It’s there for comparison.  In 1991, women in their late 30s gave birth to 387 babies.  That is just less than half the number of children born to mothers 19 and under.  Two decades later the teenagers are not having as many babies and the older women are having more.  Notice, however, that the 2010 moms  in the 35 to 39 category still were not having as many babies as the teenagers 20 years earlier.

20 December 2012

The West Wing: the Stackhouse Filibuster #nlpoli



The Dam Filibuster - Mr. Smith goes to Washington #nlpoli


The 30-Something Birth Rates #nlpoli

[Note: This is a revised version of the original post.  The earlier one  was based on the wrong tables]

The 2007 provincial government bounty on live births appears to have had little impact on trends in birth rates among the 20-somethings in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The same is true for the 30-somethings.

The 20-Something Birth Rates #nlpoli

As we told you a couple of weeks ago, it doesn’t look like the provincial government’s policy of paying cash for live births produced any improvement in the birthrate in the province except for the year they announced the bonus cash.

When you look at the birth rate by age of mother some other interesting things appear.

Let’s start with the 20-somethings.  Note:  this is a revised version of the post.  The original post was based on the wrong Statistics Canada tables.

19 December 2012

Your future is in their hands: Filibuster edition #nlpoli #scoutsdishonour

Government House Leader @King_Darin  doesn't think the standard of debate during the current filibuster over the Muskrat Falls bills comes up to his high standards.

Maybe he's right.

Here's King's fellow Conservative Steve Kent in a picture taken in the House during debate last night.  Kent  was tweeting the crap out of his claim than another member had "taken the Lord's name in vain."  He snapped this picture, tweeted it and then disappeared it faster than a ministerial briefing note under Bill 29.

If Kent was sincerely upset about the remark he should have raised a question of privilege in the House.  Instead, he went to Twitter to fart around and generally make a mockery of the legislature.

Well, Kent wasn't quick enough, as it seems:

The Internet never forgets.

h/t to IP Freely

JM 7 - Bill 61: a relapse of the free market society #nlpoli

Bill 61 Relapse

Perspective #nlpoli

Premier Kathy Dunderdale likes to pretend that the critics haven’t been able to find a problem with Muskrat Falls.

Well, that’s simply not true. 

They’ve found tons of problems with the project that Kathy Dunderdale is finishing on behalf of Danny Williams.  Dunderdale either doesn’t understand the project at all on any level,  has deluded herself into believing what she says is true even when it obviously isn’t (the PUB loves Muskrat Falls!),  or she just doesn’t give a rat’s bollocks about anything. 

That’s pretty much what it comes down to.  Take your pick but that’s it:  one of those three

Regardless of any of that, though, you can be assured of one thing.  Muskrat Falls is not a very good idea.  It is not the lowest cost option for taxpayers. 


Without question. 

Not the lowest cost option.

18 December 2012

A closed market #nlpoli

The provincial Conservatives will guarantee that taxpayers in Newfoundland and Labrador will be forced to pay for Muskrat Falls no matter what happens to oil prices or with new technology.  They are closing the electrical markets on the island portion of the province so that consumers and businesses in Newfoundland can only buy electricity from Nalcor.

Under  changes to the Electrical Power Control Act, 1994 currently being debated in the House of Assembly, the same provincial Conservatives who fought for years for open access to markets outside the province will close the electricity markets on the island portion of the province to competition.

Section 14.1 (1) of the new bill allows that Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro – a Nalcor subsidiary – will have the exclusive right to “supply, distribute and sell electrical power or energy to a retailer or industrial customer in the province.”

Retailers or industrial customers will only be allowed to purchase electrical power or energy from NL Hydro.  Another clause of the bill prohibits companies from developing electrical power on their own land for their own use.

17 December 2012

Anticlimax #nlpoli

So it turns out the provincial government is going to build the Muskrat Falls project.

There’s a total shock.

The one thing that came screaming out of Monday night’s extravaganza was the desperate intensity of it all.  The longer the thing has dragged on the more extreme the rhetoric has become, the grander the claim of spectacle, and the shorter the relevance of the language to what is going on in the province.

If they say it often enough, the government and its backers might just believe half of it.


Dundercast tonight #nlpoli

The Premier will announce something this evening at 6 PM.

If she announces that cabinet has already sanctioned the project, no one will be surprised.

If she announces that the project is already sanctioned, then the odds rocket up that this post from a couple of weeks ago will become the big story of the coming weeks and months. 

Think of the post as a bit premature, that’s all.

Tom Marshall already confirmed he’s leaving.

And they are talking cuts and layoffs again.

When will she go?


14 December 2012

Where the Money Comes From #nlpoli

Just to put the provincial government budget in perspective, here are the top five sources of cash that come into the treasury from what are considered the province’s own sources.

This table is based on the Estimates for Budget 2012.  Oil royalties are the major source of revenue by quite a margin.  They make up 40% of the province;’s own revenues.

All federal revenues added up to about $600 million in the 2012 Estimates.  If you listed the revenue sources by dollar amount, federal revenues would go into the list below right after corporate income tax.

The last column in the table indicates whether the revenue is up or down in the latest forecast compared to the original budget.

Provincial Sources




Share of Provincial


Oil Royalties



Personal Income Tax



Retail Sales Tax



Corporate Income Tax



Mining Royalties




$#*! Jerome says, in living colour version #nlpoli

With a hat tip to IP Freely.


A Crisis. Or Not. #nlpoli

“Muskrat Falls is a project that will not impact net debt by a single dollar,” finance minister Tom Marshall said in a provincial government news release.

Unfortunately for taxpayers, they won’t pay the net debt.  That’s an accountant’s calculation of what the provincial government owes less any assets they could theoretically sell off if they had to clew up business in a hurry. 

What taxpayers will have to contend with is the total liabilities and Tom plans to make those liabilities get a whole lot bigger than they are today.  On the day that Tom Marshall predicted that his current budget will have a deficit three times what he forecast in the spring, Marshall also forecast billions more in borrowing to pay for Muskrat Falls and to pay for the government’s day-to-day expenses.

You’d think that a finance minister would understand that. 

Evidently, Tom Marshall doesn’t.

Either that or he thinks the rest of us are so stupid that they would accept his ridiculous comments as if they were true.

13 December 2012

Revenue Streams and Not-so-Captive Markets #nlpoli

Natural resources minister Jerome Kennedy was in an exceptionally candid mood in the House of Assembly on Tuesday.

He explained that under legislation that will pass before Christmas,  Nalcor would be setting electricity rates for industrial users in Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, we need a guaranteed revenue stream in order to assure the bond rating agencies and the federal government that there is going to be monies to satisfy the requirements of paying the project. It is as simple as that. So, therefore, there has to be a restricted role of the PUB.

The interesting thing, though, is that Jerome couldn’t explain later on during debate in the House how the policy for Labrador would guarantee a revenue stream when the whole idea was to compete to Quebec so they couldn’t undercut Nalcor on price.

Combine the two of them, [generation, set by Nalcor,  and transmission, set by the PUB] …, and that is where we will come up then with the approximately $56 or $57 [per megawatt hour]  rate that will be charged. Again, it is very competitive and comparative to Quebec. However, if there is a process where Quebec either drops their rate to try to get business or increases their rate, Mr. Speaker, there will be a review mechanism in place whereby that can also be done by the minister.

The guaranteed revenue stream is actually somewhere other than in the industrial rates.  The guaranteed revenue stream is coming from the consumers on the island. 

Some people might be getting confused on how all the prices compare, what with the talk of megawatt hours and kilowatt hours.  Well,  industrial users in Labrador will be paying 5.6 or 5.7 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity that will come from Churchill Falls and from Muskrat Falls.  Consumers on the island will pay a blended price for electricity that includes Muskrat Falls electricity at 20 cents per kilowatt hour according to the most recent estimate Kennedy gave the House.

To switch to megawatt hours, for a second, that would be $56 per megawatt hour for industrial consumers.  Muskrat Falls delivered at Soldier’s Pond would be $200 per megawatt hour.



Revenue Streams: Sure Thing edition #nlpoli

Premier Kathy Dunderdale on where the money will come from to pay for Muskrat Falls, from the House Assembly on Monday:

So, unless there is some catastrophe in Newfoundland and Labrador and everybody decides not to pay their light bills, Mr. Speaker, in that circumstance we might lose the generation facility. I cannot imagine who will buy it with nobody paying their light bills, Mr. Speaker.


$#*! the Premier says: PUB review edition #nlpoli

Premier Kathy Dunderdale on the PUB and its review of Muskrat Falls (November 21, 2012):
Mr. Speaker, when the PUB produced its report it concurred with Nalcor – and it is in the executive summary right in the front so you might want to read it. It concurred with Nalcor and MHI that based on Decision Gate 2 numbers that we did need the power and indeed it was the least-cost alternative. [Muskrat Falls]
Premier Kathy Dunderdale on the PUB and its review of Muskrat Falls [December 11, 2012]
We did try to bring this project under the scrutiny of the PUB. Over nine months and over $2 million later, they would not give us a recommendation.
Incidentally, what the Premier said on December 11 is correct.

What she said on November 21 is just dead wrong.


$#*! Jerome Says: federal loan guarantee not firmly in place yet #nlpoli

In the House of Assembly on Tuesday, natural resources minister Jerome Kennedy was pretty clear about the sanction process:

“What we have done … [is ] we have slowed down the process in terms of the sanction.”

Asked about slowing down the sanction process on Wednesday, natural resources minister Jerome Kennedy told the House of Assembly:

“I could be wrong; I do not remember saying anything about slowing down the process.”

Interesting.  And an Interesting choice of words.

12 December 2012

Still Ready for a Better Tomorrow #nlpoli

Natural resources minister Jerome Kennedy on the financial typhoon of glorious benefits he and his colleagues are about to unleash via called Muskrat Falls:

The Province will make a lot of money off this project at some future point in order to not only to pay for the project but to pay for social programs and to allow us to transition from a non-renewable resource economy to a renewable resource economy. [Emphasis added]

We are always ready for a better tomorrow, Jerome.  Too bad no one can tell us when that day will come.


Government Delaying Muskrat Falls Sanction: Kennedy #nlpoli

“What we have done,” natural resources minister Jerome Kennedy told the House of Assembly on Tuesday, “[is] we have slowed down the process in terms of the sanction.”

Kennedy offered no explanation why.

11 December 2012

Times are tough all over

But apparently they are so tough in the United Kingdom that the Prime Minister has resorted to a version of the Nigerian scam.
From the SRBP e-mail inbox:

Our ref: ATM/13470/IDR
Your ref:...Date: 29/11/2012
I am The Rt Hon David Cameron MP,Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service British Government.
This letter is to officially inform you that (ATM Card Number 5454 7168XXX1 0640) has been accredited with your favor.[<---bit of a grammatical give-away] Your Personal Identification Number is 1090.The VISA Card Value is 2,000,000.00(Two Million, Great British Pounds Sterling).
This office will send to you an Visa Card/ATM CARD that you will use to
withdraw your funds in any ATM MACHINE CENTER or Visa card outlet in the world with a maximum of ?5000 GBP daily. Further more,You will be required tore-confirm the following information to enable; The Rt Hon William Hague MP First Secretary of State for British Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs. begin in processing of your ATM Card.
(1)Full names: (2)Address: (3)Country: (4)Nationality: (5)Phone #: (6)Age: (7)Occupation: (8) Post Codes
Rt Hon .William Hague MP
First Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
other person(s) or office(s) different from the staff of the State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to avoid hitches in receiving your payment.

TAKE NOTICE: That you are warned to stop further communications with any

Rt Hon David Cameron MP
Prime Minister

Take notice indeed. Count the spelling mistakes and assorted other grammatical errors in this little piece of Nigerian shite.


Dunderdale adds more churn #nlpoli

Not content to rest on her laurels for changes in senior public sector management, Premier Kathy Dunderdale announced two more changes on Monday.

That brings the total for 2012 to 47, not including the two other changes implicit in the November 01 announcement.

Based on previous announcements, there would typically be at least one more announcement of senior management changes before the end of the year.

Dunderdale is on track to make 49 changes to the senior management in 2012.


Corporate Welfare Bum-wipe #nlpoli

People who supported the December 2008 expropriation bill had a very hard time on Monday justifying the mess they created in which taxpayers of the province are now responsible for hundreds of millions in environmental clean-up.

One of the more common explanations is that the people of the province would have wound up in the same spot anyway since Abitibi was on the verge of bankruptcy anyway.

Finance minister Tom Marshall tried it on Friday [via the Telegram]:
“If we hadn’t expropriated, the company still would have gone into double-C double-A protection or into bankruptcy protection, and we would have been left with nothing but the contaminated assets,” Marshall said.
And federation of labour boss Lana Payne [@Lanampayne] tried the same thing via Twitter:
[In my opinion] expropriation was right decision. Otherwise we'd be left with clean-up and no assets.

As the saying goes, can't get blood from a turnip. AB was restructured under bankruptcy law. Because of restructuring, NL would be where it is today: one of many parties in a long line.
The only problem with this argument is that is it more supposition and rationalization than fact.

Dunderdale admits to hasty asset grab #nlpoli

In the House of Assembly on Monday, Premier Kathy Dunderdale said that the provincial government decided to seize assets of three companies in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2008 because it knew that one of the companies – AbitibiBowater  - was working on a sale of some assets to other parties.

When we took a decision to expropriate Abitibi, it was something we had to do quickly, Mr. Speaker, because we knew the intention of the company was to sell the assets.

we decided that we would move quickly. We only had the weekend to prepare, but we all agreed that whatever risks were ensued…that it was the right thing to do and that our legislation should protect us

10 December 2012

Toward a fair and just society #nlpoli

The December 2008 expropriation bill was not the right thing for the provincial government and the House of Assembly to do.

The expropriation was wrong.

It was wrong, but not because it didn’t work.

It was wrong, but not because the provincial government accidentally expropriated a contaminated mill site.

The December 2008 expropriation was wrong because it was a violation of the fundamental principles on which our society is supposed to operate.

Nottawa Repost: Legislative oversight in an era of "patriotic correctness" #nlpoli

The following originally appeared at nottawa on September 2, 2009 as a comment on the emergency session of the legislature to deal with changes to legislation about the Churchill River.

It includes a mention of an earlier political controversy, the December 2008 expropriation bill.  The two are linked and in light of Friday’s ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada in case related to the expropriation,  Mark Watton’s observations at the time are worth reading again.

Danny Williams, thee Premier at the time of both these incidents, may be gone from the political scene but the ministers who were integral parts of the policies remain in positions of power.  One of them - Kathy Dunderdale – is William’s hand-picked successor. 

The policies and the attitudes that bred them remain in place, as finance minister Tom Marshall  made plain on Friday.

Nothing has changed in Newfoundland and Labrador. And that is why these comments from three years ago still resonate:

08 December 2012

The Pattern Proved #nlpoli

Consider the latest failure of a lawsuit launched by the Greatest Legal Mind and Premier Ever in light of another case, Henley v. Cable Atlantic, a post that originally appeared in August 2006.

“Forgive us for believing NalCor, Premier,” about the Abitibi expropriation former Liberal leader Yvonne Jones pleads on Twitter, in the wake of the latest court decision against a Williams scheme.

“No!” comes the reply shouted from every rooftop in the province.

It’s not like the good reasons to doubt Williams and Nalcor weren’t right in front of our faces in December 2008.


07 December 2012

Selling Nalcor #nlpoli

New Democratic party leader Lorraine Michael raised a touchy question in the House of Assembly on Thursday.

It was about selling Nalcor.

Only problem for Lorraine was that she got it buggered up.

Why False Beliefs Persist #nlpoli

If the Brothers Grimm  were alive today in Newfoundland and Labrador, they’d be politicians.

That’s because so much of politics these days is about fairy tales.

To be fair this isn’t a new phenomenon, it’s just that since 2003, the chief purveyors of fairy tales – the nationalists – have predominated.  Danny Williams, the former Premier, used to say lots of things that just weren’t true and some of his biggest fans believed stuff that just never happened.

Tuba Noel!!!!


Tuba Noel - Click for full sized poster

06 December 2012

Who’d a thunk it? #nlpoli #cdnpoli

There is something truly frigged up in a world where the Premier who has admitted to fiscal mismanagement by she and her colleagues for years and hasn’t done anything to correct the problem can be named the best fiscal manager among provincial Premier’s in Canada.

In her current budget, Kathy Dunderdale calls for a billion dollar cash shortfall.

And the Fraser Institute wasn’t being sarcastic when they issued a news release that began with these word’s:

Premier Kathy Dunderdale of Newfoundland and Labrador has governed with the best fiscal policy among 10 provincial premiers, according to a new report released today by the Fraser Institute, Canada’s leading public policy think-tank.

Clearly, Canada’s leading public policy think-tank has some serious thinking to do.

Conservative Rorschach Test: Part Five #nlpoli




There's a reason...

An eagle-eyed reader pointed out a huge problem with the 11:00 AM post on CRA polls that will require a re-write.

SRBP apologies for the error.  We'll repost later, with an explanation appended.

Paying Attention to Details #nlpoli

Gabriella Sabau is an economics professor at Memorial University's Grenfell campus out in Corner Brook.

Sabau thinks Muskrat Falls is wonderful idea for three reasons.

For one thing, it’s green.  For another thing, the electricity rates for consumers are supposedly low.

And for a third thing, "there will eventually be affordable power that will help attract business and investment." 

Sabau noted the overall cost, though:

“The initial cost of the infrastructure is really high and those initial costs need to be paid up front,” she said.


Paid up front.

And "eventually" the power will be affordable for consumers.

As it seems, Professor Sabau doesn't know much about Muskrat Falls.  If she did, the economics professor would know that the project costs won't be paid up front. In fact, the project financing is deliberately set up to push the costs off to the distant future.

And it is consumers in the province who will be passing those costs later rather than sooner.  “Eventually” will be a long time for consumers.

On the affordability thing, Sabau will evidently be quite happy.  Business will find the power eminently affordable up front. Because consumers are paying all the costs plus profit, business and export customers get a gigantic deal right at the beginning.

"Eventually" comes quickly for them.   In fact you could say that businesses and export customers will get the huge benefit  immediately.

And those consumers for whom “eventually” really means eventually?  Well, they won’t likely see profit from their considerable investment during the current century.

"Eventually" for the people paying the bills really will be "eventually" as in some undefined point in the far distant, almost incomprehensibly far away future.

You really have to love economists who pay attention before they offer opinions.


05 December 2012

Conservative Rorschach Test: Part Four #nlpoli


“Pegasus Flying From Quebec”



Your Future is in Their Hands: impacted poller #nlpoli

David Brazil,  member for Conception Bay East-Bell Island, on how he and his political colleagues approach the task of governing:

Mr. Speaker, we do not govern by polls. We want to know what the people really think.

Someone forgot to tell Brazil that public opinion polls do exactly that:  they tell you what people really think.

Maybe Brazil just doesn’t like what the polls have been saying lately.


So much for Danny’s Bootie Bonus #nlpoli

During the 2007 general election, the provincial Conservatives announced a policy under which they would pay $1000 to any woman in the province who gave birth to a live baby or or adopted one.

SRBP called it the bootie call.  Danny Williams tried to claim the idea was similar to an idea Hilary Clinton announced in the United States while she was trying to get the Democratic Party presidential nomination.  It wasn’t and SRBP explained the difference between the two and why the Bootie Call was unlikely to work.  It wouldn’t work because it hadn’t really worked in any of the other xenophobic places where they’d tried it.

Williams famously told reporters at the announcement in Corner Brook that “we can’t be a dying race.”

You don’t hear much about the Bootie Call from the Conservatives these days, but a look at the birth statistics will tell you what happened after the the provincial government started handing out the breeding bucks in 2008.

04 December 2012

Calgary Liberal takes top political blog spot

Thanks to everyone who voted SRBP!


Conservative Rorschach Test: Part Three #nlpoli


“Two Quebeckers”



The Prisoners of Their Own Delusions #nlpoli


Another part of the Premier’s Office assault on reality Monday was a puff piece by Paul McLeod in the Chronicle Herald on Kathy Dunderdale.  In some respects, the timing is a coincidence but the thing has been in the works since last month, at least.

“She won’t make Joey’s mistake” was the title, with a subhead that Kathy Dunderdale “is leading the charge” of a Newfoundland and Labrador that is now in a power position in the country.

The focus, as you can gather from the title is a presentation of recent history in Newfoundland and Labrador centred on the 1969 Churchill Falls power contract.

History holds powerful political totems in Newfoundland and Labrador and none is more potent than the contract between Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation and Hydro-Quebec signed in 1969.

The Chronicle Herald piece is a fascinating bit of insight into the mindset behind Muskrat Falls. it shows the extent to which the Churchill Falls totem is based more on fiction than fact.

Jerome’s Grim Fairy Tale #nlpoli

Last week, some people wondered if Premier Kathy Dunderdale was out of the loop on negotiations over a federal loan guarantee when she seemed to say she did not know anything about an announcement in Labrador.

Some other people wondered if perhaps she knew about the talks but for some reason opted to claim she didn’t know what the Prime Minister would be announcing. If you want an example of the media reaction, take a look at the first story on the Here and Now broadcast on Thursday.

Reporters found her comments on Thursday afternoon so odd that one of them raised the issue with Prime Minister Stephen Harper during his news conference after the announcement.  Harper replied that he did not believe the Premier was unaware of the talks and the announcement but that she was being a wily politician.

That was just part of the confusion.  Later on Thursday, the announcement seemed to be off.  But almost as quickly, things were back on.  A story in the Chronicle Herald on Friday credited Nalcor boss Ed Martin with salvaging the deal.

How interesting, then, on Monday morning that a an entirely different story appeared, apparently from the Premier’s Office.

03 December 2012

Conservative Rorschach Test: Part Two #nlpoli



“The NDP”



New Politics, Polls and the Media #nlpoli

Given that the local media missed the single major story of the 2011 provincial general election until after it was over,  the editors and journalists in the province might want to think about how they can better cover the next provincial election.

The Risks Just Got Even Bigger #nlpoli #nspoli

While lots of people were busily cheering Friday’s announcement of a federal loan guarantee for Muskrat Falls, they probably noticed a small but very significant detail.

The loan guarantee doesn’t exist until Emera decides to sanction the Maritime Link.  Under the agreements announced earlier this year,  Emera has until July 2014 to opt in to the Maritime Link.  Until that happens, there is no loan guarantee for anyone.

That doesn’t mean that Newfoundland and Labrador will will put everything on hold until then.  Nosirreee.

02 December 2012

2041 Group calls for release of loan guarantee term sheet #nlpoli #cdnpoli #nspoli

From the Group’s new release issued December 2:

Muskrat Falls Term Sheet Must Be Released For Public Scrutiny

“The term sheet for the federal loan guarantee for Muskrat Falls must be released for public scrutiny," say lawyers for 2041 Group.

Prime Minister Harper made it clear that the term sheet he signed is not a loan guarantee. No such guarantee yet exists for the Muskrat Falls project.

Prime Minister Harper also said that if Emera decides not to build the Maritime Link there will be no federal loan guarantee. Emera has until July 2014 to decide whether it will do so.

Group 2041 says: “Premier Dunderdale has said her government will not sanction the project without a federal loan guarantee. There is now plenty of time for the Dunderdale Government to finally commit to due diligence and a full regulatory review."

Group 2041 concludes: "It is clear that: 'No Nova Scotia' means 'No federal loan guarantee.' The November 30th term sheet must be made public immediately.”

Let’s see if the governments release anything.


30 November 2012

Conservative Rorschach Test: Part One #nlpoli





When will she quit? #nlpoli

Now that Muskrat Falls is sanctioned, it is only a matter of time before Kathy Dunderdale quits politics. 

How long will we wait?

Adding the technical to the legal on the WMA #nlpoli

“We are potentially paying 6.4 Billion for 170 MW of firm power, which will just be enough to meet the Emera commitment,”  notes JM in discussing one scenario in his latest commentary The Water Management Agreement and Peak Load Delivery to the Island

The scenario JM is referring to involves irregular production by Churchill Falls of 20 days at full capacity and 11 days at a minimum level. Nalcor laid it out in one of its presentations to the PUB:


This adds a significant new technical dimension to the ongoing water management agreement controversy.

29 November 2012

10 Reasons to Oppose Muskrat Falls #nlpoli

For posterity, here are Simon Lono’s 10 reasons to oppose Muskrat Falls. He tweeted them on Wednesday, November 28.

Your humble e-scribbler buggered up the list from Twitter so Simon sent along the correct versions, now updated (4 December)

Oh for God’s sake, just get a room #nlpoli

If you want to read a strongly worded condemnation of a provincial politician, take a gander at the Telegram’s editorial on Yvonne Jones from Tuesday’s paper.

Jones told the provincial government last week that her vote in the House of Assembly on Muskrat Falls was up for sale. Word got around the province pretty quickly.  And the Telegram dutifully pointed out that Jones’ pork-barrelling was from another time, a time perhaps best left behind.

The editorial tuts the appropriate tuts at Jones’ style of retail politics, but there are a few other points the Telegram didn’t make about the episode that are worth laying out.

28 November 2012

Save yourself a bundle #nlpoli

A couple of decades ago, Greg Malone made a living lampooning an actor who decided to get into politics.

Now the actor and comedian has decided to try his hand at history writing.

No small irony.

There is not a single thing – not a single, solitary, living thing – in Greg Malone’s book on the supposed Confederation conspiracy that professional Jeff Webb didn’t write about  - and dismiss - already.

For those who may have missed the post and links from last April on Malone’s book, here’s the link to Webb’s piece

Save yourself a bundle.


The Steve Kent Rule #nlpoli

The MFers seem to be testy these days.

They like to challenge people who aren’t keen on Muskrat Falls about something called facts.

Facts, as you will quickly discover, are what the MFers call anything Nalcor has used in its marketing campaign to sell the project.

Things that Nalcor doesn’t include in its marketing are not “facts” for the people who love Muskrat Falls.

Small problem

10 Things for First Time Blog Writers #nlpoli

So you are thinking about starting a blog.


Before you go any further, go vote for SRBP as the Best Political Blog in Canada.  There are a couple of days left in the final voting. Go back again tomorrow and the day after.

Lives could depend on it.

When you’ve done voting, come back and read the rest of this post.

27 November 2012

Jerome’s Jawbone of an Ass #nlpoli

Last week Premier Kathy Dunderdale told the House of Assembly something that was patently not true.

She said that the public utilities board had endorsed the Muskrat Falls project.

She did not mislead the House, as some suggested.  To do that, Kathy would have had to know something the rest of the members didn’t.

In this case, they all knew the rights of it.  Kathy just frigged up.


Controlling Our Own Resources #nlpoli

A chance re-read of the Labrador Hydro Project Exemption Order last week led your humble e-scribbler to a surprising discovery.

The powers granted under the Electrical Power Control Act, 1994 to the public utilities board to manage electricity production in the province are intact.

That means that the lowest cost source of electricity for the province is readily available at Churchill Falls.

26 November 2012

Harper pushing for larger DND role at Goose Bay #nlpoli

According to the Ottawa Citizen’s David Pugliese, the prime minister’s office  directed defence minister Peter MacKay to “find a new role for the Canadian Forces at Goose Bay”.

The PMO sent letters to MacKay in January and again in June.

“As part of this process, you will need to include options and recommendations to establish a clear sovereignty protection mandate for 5 Wing Goose Bay,” Harper told MacKay in his June letter.


Cabot Martin’s paper on Natural Gas #nlpoli

Few people have the depth of experience in the province’s energy policy and history than does Cabot Martin.

From the mind-1970s until the early 1990s Martin was a senior advisor to the provincial government.  He was part of the team that negotiated the 1985 Atlantic Accord and negotiated the Hibernia agreement.  Since leaving government Martin has continued to be heavily involved in the province’s oil and gas industry.

Martin released commentary on Friday on the provincial government’s recent paper that dismissed natural gas as a viable alternative to Muskrat Falls.  For those who want to go back a bit, Martin also delivered a presentation to the public utilities board. 

It got some media coverage – CBC, the Telegram, NTV, and VOCM – but no one linked to the actual paper Martin wrote. The four reports are an interesting study in contrasts in and of themselves.


23 November 2012

Gil Bennett won’t re-tweet this post #nlpoli

After a few weeks’ break, Telegram editor Peter Jackson had another go Thursday at the water management controversy involving Nalcor and the 2041 Group.

Jackson wrote about it in his Hallowe’en column. After digging up some additional information, he went back at it again.

Jackson comes to the same conclusion as before, namely that the lawyers are wrong:  there’s no issue.  Jackson quotes Nalcor vice president, the engineer who is running the Lower Churchill project.  What’s interesting though is that after more research, Jackson still missed a crucial – albeit maybe subtle – detail.

Who Does Number Two Work For? #nlpoli

The House of Assembly on Thursday was sounding a wee bit like a cheesy remake of Austin Powers.

Liberal leader Dwight Ball asked for an updated cost of Muskrat Falls electricity delivered at Soldier’s Pond.  He asked twice in a row.

Twice Ball asked for the new number and twice natural resources minister Jerome Kennedy refused to answer.

22 November 2012

Standing up for what he believes in #nlpoli #cdnpoli

In this photo, beleaguered federal Conservative cabinet minister Peter Penashue rises to vote against a Liberal bill that would strengthen penalties for violations of the Canada Elections Act.


For those who can’t quite make him out, that’s Penashue slightly to the right of the clerk calling out the names of members as they stand to vote.

Penashue is currently embroiled in a controversy over irregularities in his election expense filings.


It’s a Comprehension Thing #nlpoli

Kathy Dunderdale told the House of Assembly on Wednesday something rather curious about the public utilities board review of Muskrat falls last spring:

Mr. Speaker, we did refer the question to the Public Utilities Board. The questions we asked: Do we need the power; is Muskrat Falls the least-cost alternative? Mr. Speaker, when the PUB produced its report it concurred with Nalcor – and it is in the executive summary right in the front so you might want to read it. It concurred with Nalcor and MHI that based on Decision Gate 2 numbers that we did need the power and indeed it was the least-cost alternative.

The PUB said that Muskrat Falls was the least cost option and that the province needed the electricity.

It’s in the executive summary.

Go read it, she said.

Okay, let’s do just that.

Lobsters and rules #nlpoli

Seems that the post about the recreational lobster fishery got Jamie Baker over at the Navigator thinking about a bunch of things.

The biggest one was the idea that maybe the fishery around these parts is regulated too heavily:

It all raises the question: Is the industry in this province too tightly controlled? There cannot be anywhere else where the fishing industry at sea and on land is so strictly controlled and loaded with rules and regulations. There’s just can’t. It’s at a point now where fishermen almost have to take a logbook to the bathroom with them to record the colour and consistency of their urine.

Federal regulations.  Provincial regulations.

So what do you think?  There’s a spot for comments on Jamie’s post at The Navigator blog.


It’s a Confidence Thing #nlpoli

The public utilities board is good.

The public utilities board is bad.

She said..

He said.

Confused aren’t you?

Well, there’s no surprise when Premier Kathy Dunderdale and natural resources minister Jerome Kennedy say two completely different things about the same PUB on the same issue.

The Secret of Their Distress #nlpoli

Not content with just one round of fascinating public opinion information, NTV decided to unleash a second evening of news about how the public feels about Muskrat Falls.

The responses are based on the same panel conducted for NTV by MQO and first reported on Tuesday.

Let’s take a look at the results, as reported, and then make some observations.

21 November 2012

If it’s on the Intertubes… #nlpoli

Keith Hutchings is the Minister of Twitter.

At least that is what the Wikipedia entry for the Newfoundland and Labrador cabinet minister said on November 21:


In GovSpeak, he would be the TwitMin.


If NOIA advocated for offshore development… #nlpoli

Bob Cadigan is president of the association that represents the province’s offshore supply and service companies.

He thinks that there’s more interest in exploring offshore Nova Scotia than Newfoundland and Labrador because of the way the Nova Scotia offshore regulator handles exploration data.

As the Telegram reported on Tuesday,

Cadigan said the data — like geochemistry and seismic testing results — is more difficult for curious companies to access in this province. For example, much of the seismic data here is only available on paper and not digitally, he said.

In other cases, individual oil companies completed the testing and keep the results to themselves for as long as they are allowed. 

Difficulty in obtaining information about an area can limit interest in making a bid and committing to exploration work in the area, Cadigan suggested.

Okay.  That could be the problem.

And then again, maybe not.

Support but lacking sufficient information - the NTV/MQO Poll #nlpoli

The more questions you ask, the more information you get. The more information you have, the more accurate a picture you can draw of anything.

In this case, it’s public opinion.

On Monday, the provincial government/Nalcor front group released the results of a single poll question put by Corporate Research Associates to a random sample of residents of Newfoundland and Labrador.

It showed 66% of respondents supported the Muskrat Falls project.

But on Tuesday, NTV News released the results of a poll it had commissioned from MQO.  More questions.  More information and a much different picture from Monday.

20 November 2012

Kennedy’s Krazy Kost Kalculations #nlpoli

One of the hardest things to do is keep track of the numbers the provincial government uses to justify their plan to double the province’s debt and force taxpayers to pay it down through their electricity rates.

Muskrat Math is unlike any other type of math because the numbers the government uses never add up.

Take events in the House of Assembly on Monday as a good example.

Your future is in his hands: Russell again #nlpoli

Provincial Conservative Keith Russell is at it again, back in the news over allegations about his behaviour.

As CBC reports, Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador is considering a multi-game suspension for Russell for a couple of incidents on November 10 and 11. 

Russell was reportedly coaching a team in a children’s tournament on the 10th when he got into a verbal altercation with officials.  They punted him from the game.

Russell came back the next day and again berated officials, according to the CBC report:

A woman who was there said Russell used foul language and upset children who were playing hockey.

The game had to be stopped twice before Russell was escorted out of the building.

In September, Russell displayed great sensitivity – not – when he dismissed Muskrat Falls protestors during a call to Labrador Morning:

I don’t buy into the mumbo jumbo about the trail leading to the Muskrat Falls site as being sacred ground. You can romanticize and sensationalize that particular piece of land all you want, but it is a resource.

In 2011, the Nunatsiavut government punted Russell from his position:

Quite simply, Mr. Russell was not fulfilling his duties and responsibilities as a minister. The matter was raised with him previously, on several occasions, and I was assured by him that he would make a more concerted effort to work co-operatively with officials within his department and with the Nunatsiavut Executive Council. It is incumbent on all ministers to be actively involved on a regular basis with their respective departments, and to work with other members of the Executive Council to ensure the Nunatsiavut Government functions efficiently and effectively. By his own admission, Mr. Russell was not actively involved in the functions and operations of the Department of Health and Social Development, and had very little to no contact with senior officials within the department. He made that fact known to me and the First Minister, as well as other members of the Nunatsiavut Assembly and numerous officials. I had taken the liberty of raising the issue with Mr. Russell in hopes that the situation would change. Unfortunately, it did not, and we were forced to take action accordingly.


19 November 2012

Final Round of Voting for Best Political Blog in Canada #nlpoli

SRBP is in the race for the Best Political Blog in Canada for 2012.

Please take a moment and show your support.

Final Round of Voting Started Nov. 1/12   Vote Now!!!!!!

Just click the pick to go to the Canadian Blog Awards voting page.

Vote early.

Tell your friends.

And thanks for your support.


On the value of legislative hearings #nlpoli

United States senator John McCain (Republican – Arizona) thinks that Parliament should hold hearings into the prospective purchase by the Chinese national oil company of Alberta-based Nexen.

“I think it’s also a role for the legislative body to hold hearings, to get witnesses and say, ‘OK what is this all about?’”

Two benefits that come with public hearings are media coverage and public education -- but when cabinet makes the decision behind closed doors, that exposure is lost, he said.

That pretty much says it all.


18 November 2012

He’s not that into you, either #nlpoli

Some reporter decided to ask Paul Antle if he was interested in the Liberal leadership now that Dean MacDonald has decided he had better things to do that try and become Premier of the province.

Sure, says Paul. Love to. But gee, the timing on this whole voting thing is not good for me.  Could we postpone this whole politics deal until like say a couple of years from now when it’s a tad more convenient for me?

That’s a paraphrase, but it pretty much captures the essence of Antle’s remarks.

17 November 2012

The 2011 Muskrat Falls Referendum #nlpoli

Some people want a referendum on Muskrat Falls.

In an enthusiastic support of democracy, some other people don’t want to have a referendum on Muskrat Falls because the punters are not sufficiently enlightened as to the details of this major issue to make an intelligent-enough choice.

Those same punters are able to pick governments in general elections, though.



What does Kathy Dunderdale think?

16 November 2012

A friendly audience #nlpoli

Kathy Dunderdale defended the Muskrat Falls project at a speech on Wednesday night, according to cbc.ca/nl’s story.

That’s an odd phrase given that Dunderdale was speaking to a Tory party fundraiser, as the headline noted.  That would be the textbook definition of a friendly audience for any talk about Muskrat Falls.

But if you look at the record of political donations you can see some rather interesting things.

15 November 2012

The Original Nalcor Technical Briefing #nlpoli

After all this time, some of you will find it interesting to go back and look at some slides from the original Nalcor “technical briefing” on Muskrat Falls delivered in November 2010.

The ”last saved” date on the deck is 25 November 2010

Compare it to the briefing Nalcor gave to the public utilities board, for example, in July 2011.  Notice how much changed.

14 November 2012

Time to Rescind the Pork Appointment #nlpoli

Last December, the federal cabinet appointed intergovernmental affairs minister Peter Penashue’s campaign manager in the 2011 to a plum seat on the joint federal-provincial board that regulates the province’s offshore oil industry.

It was a pure pork-barrel appointment since Reg Bowers has absolutely no background that might have made him  qualified to sit on the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board.  A series of appointments by his provincial Conservative friends doesn’t count.

Bowers landed a sweet gig:  six years, subject to reappointment.  Hob-knobbing with international oil industry types.

Flip ahead a year and Penashue has tried to distance himself from the controversy.  A letter from Penashue to constituents released on Tuesday notes that Bowers was responsible for campaign administration.  Penashue says he made it clear that the campaign would follow Elections Canada rules.

“No one is more surprised than I am at the allegations that have arisen since the campaign,” wrote Penashue.  “No one is more disappointed. That’s why there is a new Official Agent in place to examine all of the paperwork and to work with Elections Canada to correct any mistakes.”

There have been enough questions about Penashue’s campaign finances since last summer for him to have relinquished his cabinet job until Elections Canada finished its probe into the campaign. The fact he hasn’t done so is one thing.

But In his letter to constituents, Penashue pointed to his official agent during the campaign and his responsibility, as a function of the position he occupied, for the state of Penashue’s campaign accounts, finances and documentation.

Something was clearly amiss in Penashue’s campaign.  The problems with Penashue’s campaign may well have resulted from nothing more exotic than incompetence.  But that incompetence should be seen plainly enough by now, on the face of it, to cause the federal cabinet to request Mr. Bowers’ resignation from the offshore board.  If he doesn’t to leave voluntarily, then he can be removed. 

Peter Penashue’s letter laid the groundwork for it.

Let’s just get on with it.


13 November 2012

Politics and Misinformation #nlpoli

If you haven’t done so, take a few minutes and listen an interview CBC’s David Cochrane did with Mark Dobbin for this week’s edition of On Point with David Cochrane.

As Cochrane notes at the start of the show, Dobbin is the other director who quit the board of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro a decade ago over another deal to develop both Gull Island and Muskrat Falls entirely for export. [correction]

Watch the interview – it’s about half way into the clip – and notice how the misinformation and false information starts right at the beginning in David Cochrane’s question.

12 November 2012

Your Future is in Their Hands: Political Definition #nlpoli

Voters in Newfoundland and Labrador have a new political definition:
to crummell:  to have one's opinion completely reversed in a nanosecond by the whim of another.

There may well be others that will turn up in the wake of Tory Dan Crummell’s 180 degree reversal on Peter Penashue on Friday.

But no matter what witticisms crop up, Dan Crummell defined himself rather neatly, if unflatteringly, last week.

Some Thoughts on Politics, Myth, and Identity #nlpoli

Your humble e-scribbler saw a couple of comments last week that said the NDP town hall on Muskrat Falls was a good argument against having a referendum on the megaproject.  Some people were quite badly misinformed, so the commentary went, not just about Muskrat Falls itself but about the province’s electricity supply and demand.

Those observations are surprising.  They are surprising because we’ve had two whole years of relentless marketing by Nalcor about their project.  They are surprising because the provincial government has been trying to develop the Lower Churchill continuously since 1998.  There isn’t a single year since then when the provincial government, Nalcor and before that Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro have not been trying to find some way to get this thing done.

That’s almost 15 years of relentless public discussion.  And still people don’t know basic information.

Absolutely gobsmacking, that is.  Unless you think about public discussions over the past decade or so.

11 November 2012

Remembrance Day 2012


Master Corporal Darrell Jason Priede, killed in a helicopter crash at approximately 2100 hrs 30 May 2007 near Kajaki, Helmand Province, Afghanistan

- Veritas -

10 November 2012

Self-massaging the message #nlpoli

The Telegram’s Pam Frampton has a neat column this weekend on Jerome Kennedy, Muskrat Falls, and the provincial government’s problems with explaining to people in simple terms why Muskrat falls is a good idea.

Frampton nails the biggest problem simply enough: 

The problem with the government’s Muskrat Falls message till now is that it has been a moving target. One week the project was all about clean energy, the next it was job creation, then it was all about being an affordable energy source, then it was a means of foiling Quebec, then it was a lure for mining companies.

Then she notes the critic’s arguments and the fact they they were,as Frampton, puts it often “shrilly spun” by government officials and others.

Kennedy tried to put a new face on government’s messaging during his appearance at the Telegram’s editorial board. as much as Kennedy seemed to change both his tone and his content, none of that stopped Kennedy from spinning  - to use Frampton’s word - either his own position or that of the critics. 

How surprising.

09 November 2012

Recreational Lobster Fishery #nlpoli

Lots of people in Newfoundland and Labrador fought for and continue to bitch about the recreational cod fishery.

They bitch because they cannot fish anytime they like.  They bitch because other people in other parts of Canada don’t have the same restrictions on their recreational fishery.

Well, take a look at another place on the eastern seaboard where marine species are under heavy pressure both from commercial fishermen and, as it turns out, the recreational types as well.

08 November 2012

How Darin Could Have Succeeded on the Debate #nlpoli

Darin King failed miserably in his first encounter with the opposition parties.

He didn’t have to.

We get the message just fine, Jerome #nlpoli

“No, I don’t think that we have done a great job of communicating this,” natural resources minister Jerome Kennedy told the Telegram editorial board last week.
“I can give you a couple of examples myself that I’ve done. One is, ‘No debate! No debate!’ Then a week later, ‘OK, let’s have a debate now.’ That’s not good communication.”
The Telegram editorial on Wednesday then mentioned the provincial government’s general message to critics of the Muskrat falls project.  The editorial paraphrased it as “You’re all idiots, you don’t know what you’re talking about and you’re all wrong.”


A bit of an exaggeration, but not much of one.

With all due respect to the newer, calmer Jerome Kennedy, the provincial government doesn’t have a communications problem.

Muskrat Falls propaganda a no-brainer #nlpoli

From the latest issue of the Irish Loop Post, Craig Westcott’s editorial “You won’t strain your brain reading government’s last minute batch of Muskrat Falls propaganda.”

There is more to read in a Victoria’s Secret catalogue than Nalcor’s electricity demand forecast, according to Craig.

07 November 2012

Numbers and stuff #nlpoli

Most of you are likely dissecting the American presidential election or hopped up to talk about the House of Assembly.  Well, there’s plenty of time for that.

Consider this post a minor diversion, more about the backstory than about the discussion of what just happened.  We’ll get back to some new and more involved subjects on Thursday.

06 November 2012

Thy Redeemer Liveth #nlpoli

Tuckamore Capital made a single political donation during the 2011 general election.

The company gave $1500 to Keith Hutchings, who ran for the Conservatives in Ferryland.

Dean MacDonald is president and chief executive officer of Tuckamore Capital.

In 2011,  MacDonald was being courted behind the scenes to take over the leadership of the Liberal Party from an ailing Yvonne Jones. 

At the time, Jones denied it publicly, as reported by CBC.  The same CBC story quoted MacDonald as saying that “as a Liberal I will be helping Yvonne in any way I can in terms of candidates, fundraising and all the things that go on with an election.”

The Tuckamore donation occurred during the campaign. 


Cost Per Vote: General Election Years #nlpoli

Last winter we took a look at the idea of cost per vote.  Basically, you compare the amount of money a campaign spent with the number of votes it got.

It’s a way of measuring the efficiency of a political campaign.  The lower the number, the more efficient the campaign is.

Here’s a chart showing the cost per vote for the three major parties in Newfoundland and Labrador in the four general election years 1996, 1999, 2003, and 2007.  The calculations added the annual contributions for each party and the specific contributions for each general election during the year of the general election and divided the sum by the number of votes cast for each party.

The chart doesn’t include 2011 since Elections NL hasn’t released the annual contribution figures for that year yet.

05 November 2012

The Mystical Lords of Mu’skr’at Fa’alls #nlpoli

The water management controversy flared briefly at the end of last week thanks to Geoff Meeker’s blog at the Telegram and a couple of interviews by the 2041 Group and Nalcor’s Gil Bennett.

This is one of those issues where a lot of people either tune out early on because it appears highly technical and complicated.  Actually it isn’t.  The topic only appears complicated.

It only appears complicated because of the very convoluted, long-winded, and very unhelpful way the cats at Nalcor talk about the water management agreement.  They go all techie.

Once you get a handle on the whole water management thing, it’s quite easy to understand and it’s quite easy to see where the possible problems are.

Kathy Dunderdale, give-aways, and the resource curse #nlpoli

Ontario has been interested in Gull Island since at least the 1990s.  We didn’t need Kathy Dunderdale to say that again as part of the advertising show she is mounting before finally admitting Muskrat Falls is a done deal.

As recently as 2005, Dunderdale and her friends turned up their noses at Ontario’s offer to help develop the Lower Churchill at no cost to local taxpayers.  The result: No development.

Instead of building the Lower Churchill for export  - profit for taxpayers -Dunderdale and her friends are forcing taxpayers to empty out their public bank accounts of billions in oil savings and then borrowing billions more in order to give cheap electricity to multi-billion dollar mining companies. Then those same taxpayers will pay themselves back through their electricity rates over the course of 50 years.

Whoever could imagine such a ridiculous idea?  Especially in a province where the overwhelming majority of the population pays very little, if any, tax.  

The Fifth of November returns once more #nlpoli

“I know why you did it.

I know you were afraid.

Who wouldn't be?

… There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, … .

He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent.”


04 November 2012

The Disney Empire Strikes Back #nlpoli

Lots of anguish and lots of humour attend the news that George Lucas has sold out to Disney.

A sample of the fun:

And another:

disney star wars meme


02 November 2012

Water Management Controversy Hits Nova Scotia #nlpoli

Okay so the locals might call it Information Boring, but CBC’s morning Halifax radio show took a look at Muskrat Falls this week.

The interviewed Dennis Browne from Group 2041 on Wednesday.  The next day they came back with a discussion of the water management controversy.

Here are links to the audio files:

Windy #nlpoli

Anyone with half a clue knows that you cannot develop a reliable, efficient electricity system built on type of generation only.

You need a mix so that the advantages of one type offset the weaknesses of another.  All hydro is hard to do if you need steady supply because it tends to vary with the water flow.  Wind is even worse for that.  Oil and coal are good for steady supplies but they tend to be expensive, dirty or both.  Natural gas is very cool, especially these days, because not only is there lots of it but it is very inexpensive and can deliver electricity pretty much on demand. 

Only in Newfoundland and Labrador do we have access to trillions of cubic feet of natural gas already found, trillions more likely to be discovered, and a provincial government that doesn’t want to develop it because the natural gas is not expensive enough to use. 

Labrador Mines and Muskrat Falls #nlpoli

One of the things everyone is learning this week is that a consultant who accepts all the assumptions Nalcor used to arrive at its conclusion in the first place will -  inevitably -  reach the same conclusions.

Some people will think that the second report proves that the first conclusion was right.

Unfortunately, such is not the case.  It merely means that – inevitably –such an approach will repeat the same mistakes, errors, and flaws just as readily as it might get something right.

Think of it as a case of GIGO:  garbage in, garbage out.

01 November 2012

Creature from the Black Lagoon and other stuff

creatureOh, man they have got a Creature from the Black Lagoon in development at Moebius.

It might not hit the shelves until January 2013, though.