09 May 2013

Kremlinology 44: the 2009 Rift in Cabinet #nlpoli

Trevor Taylor left politics in 2009 in an unseemly hurry.

One minute he was there. 

Next minute?  Gone from cabinet and the House of Assembly.

Very odd.

Then right on his heels went Paul Oram, who muttered something about unsound financial management by the Conservatives as he ran from the Confederation Building.

A very big clue to what was going on at the time turned up on Tuesday in Trevor Taylor’s column in the Telegram.

Taylor claims that by 2009 the unfunded pension liability had been largely solved by huge cash injections by the provincial government, as well as a $2.0 billion cheque from Ottawa.

Then it all came apart, says Taylor.  In 2009, there “was the settling of the public sector union contracts that saw public sector workers get a substantial, well-deserved pay increase.”  The problem – according to Taylor – is that at the same time they didn’t fix the “fundamental, unsustainable, underfunded, oversubscribed nature of the pension plans.”

Taylor doesn’t even come close to hinting at what that means, let alone explain it clearly, but the timing he mentions stands out like a sore thumb.


The Year of the Panic.

The date’s wrong, by the way.

The year Trev is looking for is actually 2007.  That’s when Danny unilaterally handed over a 20-odd percent increase to the province’s public servants over four years.  But if you go back and listen to Trev’s interviews at the time, it sounded like he had been pissed off for some months before he walked out.  The actual timeline fits better with events as we know them than Trev’s memory seems to.

Then there were his protests in 2009 that everything was peachy and his departure had nothing to do with a rift in the caucus.  Sounded a wee bit contrived at the time – a pre-emptive denial – and in hindsight it definitely sounds like a load of offal.