31 October 2013

Liberals gain from NDP crisis. Tories no change. #nlpoli

The headline is as dramatic as NTV could make it:

Leadership crisis sends NDP tumbling to third place in NTV/MQO poll

The numbers looked bad for the Dippers:  Grits at 52% of decideds.  Tories at 29% and the NDP in the basement at 18%.

Then you take a closer look and you see something else entirely.

30 October 2013

Delusional Hat Trick: Lorraine, Trevor, and Ryan #nlpoli

No sooner had Lorraine Michael pronounced the New Democratic caucus back together again than two of its members announced that they would leave and sit in the House of Assembly as independent New Democrat members of the legislature.

Dale Kirby and Christopher Mitchelmore made the announcement in separate media statements on Tuesday morning.

This latest twist didn’t actually end anything, of course.  It’s merely another step in a drama that will play out for another year or more. Let’s take a look at 10 observations about the whole ferkakta tale

29 October 2013

Oil and Gas Update: 2013 edition #nlpoli

First, the oil.

Regular readers will recall the Article 82 issue that will affect how much money the provincial government collects from oil and gas development outside the 200 mile exclusive economic zone.  Article 82 of the Law of the Sea Convention requires the coastal state to put up to seven percent of royalties from offshore oil and gas into a fund that will go to other countries.

CBC reported on Monday that neither the federal nor provincial governments have figure out how they’ll deal with it.  The federal government may have legal jurisdiction but the 1985 Atlantic Accord gives the provincial government the same ability to set revenues from offshore resources as if they were on land.

28 October 2013

Opposition Syndrome #nlpoli

Politics is often about compromise.

Compromises are great when they work.

They suck when they don’t.

The provincial New Democrats spent a week in a leadership crisis that climaxed with a two-day caucus retreat complete with a hired, professional meeting facilitator.

The result is the worst possible solution for the New Democrats if they are interested in being a viable competitor in the next provincial general election.

25 October 2013

Where there’s smoke… #nlpoli

Four members of a political caucus don’t usually demand their leader’s resignation unless they had a reason... or a bunch of reasons that built up over time.

As it turns out, the number of people unhappy with Lorraine Michael’s leadership style is a lot more than a small faction.


24 October 2013

Socially-responsible reporting trumps irresponsible government every time #nlpoli

For starters, the messenger the provincial government comms geniuses selected to scold CBC wasn’t their best possible choice.

Well, not if demonstrated credibility was the goal.

Charlene Johnson has a long history of bungling as well as a rep for coming off as condescending and arrogant without even the slightest possible justification for being so.  

She is, as SRBP put it before, Nicola Murray but without the political oomph.

23 October 2013

The New Undemocratic Party #nlpoli

At the end of the first full day of the political crisis inside the New Democratic Party, the people of Newfoundland and Labrador learned more about the party than anyone likely imagined they’d ever know.

Two members of caucus – George Murphy and Gerry Rogers -  showed they are freaks of nature:  they have even less backbone than the average provincial Conservative cabinet minister.  Well, either that or they cannot read plain English. 

That’s about the only choices you have once the pair of them tried to claim the letter they signed to leader Lorraine Michael wasn’t a request for a leadership  review but just a request for a meeting.

The most striking, and in many ways the most startling news, is about Lorraine Michael and the cabal running the provincial NDP.

22 October 2013

The Night of the Pen Knives #nlpoli

Sometimes political party leaders get to chose how they leave the job.

Other times they don’t.

The Liberals punted Leo Barry out of the leadership in 1987.  The entire caucus handed him a letter demanding his resignation after her went off to the States on a trip.  Now the truth be told, the trip wasn’t the cause of the caucus revolt.  The trip just brought everything to a head.

In Lorraine Michael’s case, the New Democratic Party leader came back from a holiday to find an e-mail from her four caucus mates demanding she take a hike in 2014 so that the party can “renew” before the next provincial general election.

Commentary – After the election #nlpoli nspoli

Following is a commentary by Don Mills of Corporate Research Associates in response to the post “CRA, Abacus, and the 2013 Nova Scotia General Election”. – EGH

Don Mills’ commentary is available two ways:  via Scribd and underneath the Scribd insert, as a post within SRBP.  The Scribd version is Mills’ original submission complete with the tables as originally submitted.


21 October 2013

Vale delays Long Harbour smelter… again #nlpoli

Earlier this year,  mining giant Vale was saying they’d start production at the new Long Harbour smelter in 2013, but after a meeting with Premier Kathy Dunderdale in Brazil,  the company won’t be ramping up until 2015.

That’s the news from VOCM on the weekend, although they didn’t report the actual news about the delay at Long Harbour.  VO just reported that Dunderdale met with Vale officials and that the start-up date was 2015, as if it had always been two years away.

The premier says she went down a few days early to meet specifically with Vale officials to get an update on the Long Harbour development and the Voisey's Bay mine site.

She says Vale officials indicated that Long Harbour will start to ramp up in 2015, while they're looking to go underground at Voisey's Bay.

According to VOCM, the company officials are concerned about power supplies “in the area”. But the story isn’t clear if the power supply problems are in Labrador or at Long Harbour.

18 October 2013

The Gnarley Saga #nlpoli

In case you missed it, flip over to Des Sullivan’s blog Uncle Gnarley and look at the tale Des has put together about why Jerome Kennedy quit politics so abruptly a couple of weeks ago:

“1. Over the last number of months Kennedy had grown weary of Nalcor’s secrecy. He was frustrated that his own officials could not get sufficient information to confirm Nalcor’s numbers or perform their own analysis. His Department was expected to accept Nalcor’s information entirely on its face.

2. Mr. Kennedy wanted his own staff, supplemented by outside experts, to comprise an “Oversight Committee” for the purpose of conducting the Finance Department’s independent analysis of Muskrat Falls Project costs. Evidently, he was no longer prepared to defend the Muskrat Falls Project without the verification of independent scrutiny.

3. Mr. Kennedy went to the Premier with two demands: firstly, that she order Nalcor to release the information referred to and, secondly, that his Department of Finance be permitted to assemble a “Muskrat Falls Oversight Committee”.

The Premier and Kennedy apparently had several “dust-ups” or serious confrontations over these issues, in the Confederation Building as well as in China, from where Mr. Kennedy was reported to have left the Delegation and returned to the Province, only a day or so after their arrival in that Country.

The Premier evidently steadfastly rejected both Mr. Kennedy’s demands and following the final “dust-up” with the Premier, Kennedy informed her that he would tender his resignation from Cabinet.”

There’s more to the tale than that little taste so your little trip won’t be wasted. What’s really intriguing about this is that . Sullivan has the kind of political contacts that make you take this sort of piece pretty seriously.  There’s nothing that confirms the story but you really have to wonder how much of it true.

When you’ve finished that post, check out “Oversight, trust, and the province’s reputation”.  It’s even better:

Nevertheless, at the risk of seeming repetitious, the Premier’s acceptance of Nalcor’s counsel, alone, is so unwise that it still shocks. “Oversight” is fundamental, in Government, just as it is in private business.

When you have considered all the reasons why it is necessary, including the public interest, you still have to return to the fact that it involves personal responsibility, personal liability and plain ass-covering. Rejecting oversight, on a multi-billion dollar project, is worse than mad. It is a dereliction of duty.


17 October 2013

CRA, Abacus, and the 2013 Nova Scotia General Election #nlpoli #nspoli

In the recent Nova Scotia General election, Corporate Research Associates and the Halifax Chronicle Herald teamed up to provide readers with a daily tracking poll.

CRA was quick off the mark after the election to issue a news release defending its own polling, complete with the screaming headline that claimed CRA polls had “nailed It”.

A closer looks at polling during the lection and election results tells a different story.

16 October 2013

2013 Model Show and Exhibition

The St. John’s chapter of the International Plastic Modellers Society (IPMS) will hold an open plastic model exhibition and competition from 10L00 Am to 4:00 PM, Sunday,  October 20, 2013, at the second floor of the former provincial art gallery space at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Center.

cansoThe exhibition by local modellers is open to the public and free of charge.

Local modellers can enter the competition for an entry fee of two dollars for each completed model enter.  Registration will be at the welcome desk in the display area on the day of the exhibition and competition. Registration ends at 1:30PM.

Prizes will be awarded for  Best in Show, Honorable Mention and People’s Choice.  Certificates will be awarded in individual categories such as, but not limited to, Aircraft, Automobiles, Ships, Sci-Fi, and Military.

The St. John’s chapter acknowledges and appreciates Signal Hobbies (http://www.signalhobbies.com) support in presenting our the IPMS 2013 Model Show - Exhibition and Competition.

For more information please contact the chapter at ipmssj@gmail.com


15 October 2013

How not to promote immigration #nlpoli

The provincial Conservatives currently running the place have finally discovered what pretty well everyone else in government knew 20 years ago.

The population is getting older, on average.   That’s not good for a whole bunch of reasons.

They decided to create something called a population growth strategy, which is supposed to do exactly what it says:  make the number of people in the province get larger.


And there are really a whole lot of other “d’uh” moments when you read their background paper on how to get more people in the province.

14 October 2013

Conservative Confusion #nlpoli

When they were high in the polls it was because they were making the right decisions.

Now that they are in the political polling basement it is because they are making the right decisions.

That doesn’t make sense but that’s pretty much the only way to describe Conservative Party leader Kathy Dunderdale’s speech to the party faithful in Gander a few weeks ago.


11 October 2013

So the photo ops were a deception? #nlpoli

Reporters asked the premier on Wednesday about comments by Nova Scotia premier-elect Stephen McNeil about Muskrat Falls. 

Here’s what CBC reported:

"Our contract — our agreement — is with Emera. They're going to sell the power to Nova Scotia," she said.

The Telegram had an extra bit along the same lines:

“I just want to remind people again that the agreement between Newfoundland and Labrador — Nalcor specifically — is with Emera. Emera is a publicly traded company,” she said.

She also told reporters that the agreements with Nova Scotia covered off every possible outcome so everything was just fine.


10 October 2013

Leading the World #nlpoli

In your otherwise dull Thursday,  take a look at an article in The Atlantic about an army of paid Internet commenters from Russia.

This paragraph leaped out:

Paid, pro-government commenters aren't a new phenomenon in Russia, and similar practices are widespread in countless countries. In their Freedom on the Net report released last week, the NGO Freedom House said the strategy has been on the rise over the past two years, and is now rampant in 22 of the 60 countries the group examined. China, Bahrain, and Russia are at the forefront of this practice, Freedom House wrote.

The links are in the original. 

Now think about this province over the past decade.  Seems we’ve been leading the world in another area of endeavour, but not one that is really all that worthwhile.




And the former Republic of Dannystan now doing business as Dunderville.


Government Abandons Energy Plan … quietly #nlpoli

These days, you have to hunt around the government website to find the provincial energy plan.  That’s despite the claim on the website – once you’ve found it – that the 2007 document “guides and defines Newfoundland and Labrador’s vision for energy resource development”.

The first pillar of that policy is something called “equity ownership.”  It’s right there on page 18:

Taking equity ownership in projects to ensure first-hand knowledge of how resources are managed, to share in that management, to foster closer government/industry alignment of interests and to provide an additional source of revenue.

Pretty clear?

The Ode to Newfoundland #nlpoli


09 October 2013

Self-reliance versus Dependence #nlpoli

In both Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador, the local media will report when a town gets a new fire truck.

The difference between the two ends there.

08 October 2013

Much media ado about not very much #nlpoli

On the face of it, anyone even passingly familiar with political events in Newfoundland and Labrador for the past decade would look with some justifiable scepticism on an announcement from justice minister Darin King on Monday that the provincial government was going to have another look at building a new provincial prison to replace one built in 1859.

After all,  this project has been on the go for a lot longer than 2008, the year mentioned in the news release. The current crowd running the place have been trying to get the federal government to pay for the prison pretty much since they took office.

The favoured location for the new prison for most of past decade has been Harbour Grace.  That’s in the district recently vacated by Jerome Kennedy.

There’s another reason to be on your guard with this announcement.

07 October 2013

The real Liberal Renewal #nlpoli

Cathy Bennett launched a 48-day tour of the province last week as part of her bid for the Liberal leadership.

The local media dutifully attended but the story didn’t make the news in any major way.  That’s partly because Bennett and the other Liberal candidates have been traveling around the province pretty much since Day One of the campaign.  That’s also partly because Bennett launched the same day the story broke of Jerome Kennedy’s imminent resignation.

All the same, the launch event was news not in itself, necessarily, but for what it means in a wider context.

04 October 2013

Collins on Muskrat Falls #nlpoli

In Quebec, Jacques Parizeau has turned on the Parti Quebecois’ values charter.  It made national news.

In Newfoundland and Labrador last week, former Conservative finance minister John Collins took another swipe at Muskrat Falls in a letter to the editor of the Telegram.  Not many likely read it and no other media reported on it.

But they should have. 

03 October 2013

Truth and Fiction #nlpoli

If you take Jerome Kennedy at his word on Wednesday, here’s what is going on.

Since he wasn’t planning to run in 2015, he decided that he would leave politics on Thursday, go back to practicing law in November and then start a master’s degree in law in January.

Nothing going on.  No other story.  Nothing pressing.

Just good bye.

Now watch the video of the scrum.

Look at his body language.

And then realise how utterly preposterous Wednesday’s news conference really was.\

02 October 2013

The Elizabeth Towers Fire Inquiry #nlpoli

Enough of you have found the introduction to the Elizabeth Towers fire investigation report to drive it into the Top 10 list.

To make it easier to find, here is a post that links all the bits of the report serialized here back in 2010.

Some of you might be searching for more details since this fascinating tale now that Bill Rowe has printed his volume of reminiscences and anecdotes titled The Premiers:  Frank and Joey – Greed,  Power, and Lust.

Jerome leaves at last #nlpoli

For anyone even halfway clued in to local politics, the rumours have been thick for months that Jerome Kennedy was about to bail from provincial politics.

Now it seems the time has come.  The latest media reports have him going as early as today (Wednesday) while the versions reported Monday had the departure coming next week.

There are three things about Kennedy’s resignation that stand out.

01 October 2013

Politics and car mirrors #nlpoli

So not the same thing.

If the party releases the numbers, we’ll know the actual number of people who have signed up to vote in the Liberal leadership once the party has gone through all the forms and deleted the duplicates, triplicates, and the various fakes.  We’ll also know how many signed up as supporters – with no financial or other real ties to the party – and how many signed on as members.

In the meantime, a couple of the campaigns released their own numbers on how many people they signed up.  The Paul Antle camp is claiming around 10,500, while presumptive front-runner Dwight Ball’s team is claiming 15,000. 

At a staged media event, Cathy Bennett didn’t offer reporters any numbers of her own to reporters.  Bennett just said she wasn’t worried about 10,000 or more supposedly signed by her rivals.  Ok.  She’s focused on launching a tour that was in no way just more of the same travelling around thing she’s been doing since July but this time dolled up for a staged media event.  Fair enough.