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.