28 February 2013

General Election Cost Per Vote - Updated #nlpoli

Last fall, we looked at cost per vote for provincial general elections.  At the time, Election NL hadn’t released the 2011 general election figures but with those numbers now available, it’s time to update the earlier comparison.

Two things to note:

  • first, these comparisons are only for election period spending by each of the three parties.  Last fall we looked at total spending by the parties throughout the year.
  • second, the chart is a bar instead of a line graph.  This is a better visual presentation since the individual yearly comparisons are still there without implying any connection from one year to the next.

27 February 2013

Some evidence #nlpoli

A few years ago, some people believed that comments left on news stories and in online discussion groups could influence public opinion.

As it turns out, no one took any advice about anything from some person called newfiesexgod27.

Who knew?

26 February 2013

Influence and Manipulation #nlpoli

Public opinion changes.

Individuals don’t hold exactly the same attitudes about things throughout their entire lives.

That’s true of how the typical man or woman feels about clothing styles, cars, movies, books, politics, or just about anything else.

Not surprisingly in a society like ours, there are people who want to try and change opinions and attitudes.  They want to persuade people to buy a product, support a political decision or stop doing something like smoking.

Also not surprisingly, we have some basic ideas about how people should do that.

25 February 2013

Copper-fastened #nlpoli

According to the Telegram editorialist argued last week, this fuss over renovations was nothing at all.
At any rate, renovations planned long in advance — to keep the legislature from falling apart — are hardly a fair target for criticism.
It’s fair to say if the Opposition’s roof was leaking, they’d be singing a different tune.
This conclusions assume one thing not actually disclosed in media reports on the need to relocate three floors of the Confederation Building tower and another thing that’s actually preposterous.

22 February 2013

Some Free Advice for Paul Lane #nlpoli

Paul Lane.




You are embarrassed.

Someone ratted you out and made you look like bad.

You hid out for four days.

Not the smartest strategy ever, but hey.

You got pissy with people on Twitter and your performance on Here and Now was…well…vintage Paul Lane
Just remember:

Politicians have survived far worse scandals than a leak of a few text messages that show you and all your colleagues treat totally irrelevant online polls like they actually mattered.

Politicians have survived acting like far bigger jerks than you could ever be in your wildest dreams.  They have made it through sex scandals, assorted other personal indiscretions, financial shenanigans, electoral irregularities, and a raft of other things infinitely worse than what has happened to you in your very short political career.


once the public starts laughing at you … in public … to your face … well…

you are screwed.


Just sayin’.

A Record of Manipulation #nlpoli

With a tip of the hat to Gerry Rogers and Andrew Parsons, here are some posts from the SRBP archive that all bear on the current political mess in which the provincial Conservatives find themselves.

Playing the Numbers”  (August 2006) One element of the program involves aggressively pushing out their own message, especially when their pollster is in the field.   The first of the original three-part series that described the Conservative media strategy.  There’s a lot more to it than just online polls. Follow the links for the other two.

Freedom from Information  (Various)  Bill 29 was just the latest in a long string of efforts by the Conservatives to restrict what the public knows.  Controlling information is another key element of the government program.

Mark Griffin:  traitor”  (February 2009)  A third element of the program involved efforts to suppress dissent.  Mark Griffin was an especially glaring example. There have been lots of others, reported and presumably unreported.  Write a letter? Get a call

Everything else is advertising”  (December 2009) News is everything they want to keep you from seeing.  There’s no story here.

Deep Throat” (February 2010) Someone inside the provincial Conservative crew leaked the messages about poll goosing. Earlier, someone (else?) dropped a quarter and ratted Danny’s secret heart surgery out to NTV.

The Screaming of the Banshees”  (February 2010)  NTV broke the story.  The Conservatives mount an organized attack on CBC.  Some people still think that the who horde of people saying exactly the same thing arose spontaneously.  Sure it did.

Planted Calls and Personal Threats Against Talk Show Host Revealed”  (August 2010)  Randy Simms, interviewed by Geoff Meeker, included a text-book definition of a planted caller.

Enough of the Political Day-Care” (March 2012) As soon as you read it, you will remember the episode.  What might leap out more for someone of you now than before is the idea that calling Open Line was a threat that struck fear into Tory hearts.


Live from the Orchestra Pit #nlpoli

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians got a vivid example on Thursday of the Orchestra Pit Theory of Political reporting.

For those who don’t know the story, the Orchestra Pit theory goes like this:  two politicians are on the stage.  One announces a cure for cancer.  The other falls into the orchestra pit.  The media will cover the guy in the pit.

Well, the guy in the pit on Thursday was Brad Cabana.

21 February 2013

She’s Got Marty Feldman Eyes #nlpoli

If you want to see a politician under significant stress, take a look at Kathy Dunderdale talking to reporters about her party’s heavily organized effort to goose unscientific, online polls.

Her voice is high pitched.

She’s moving around.

And she’s got Marty Feldman Eyes.

So why did they lie? #nlpoli

CBC’s David Cochrane contacted the public works department*  Premier’s Office and asked about rumours he’d heard of renovations to the Premier’s Office.

As Cochrane reported on Twitter, the public works department Premier’s Office told him that there were no renovations currently happening.

Not exactly true, as it turned out.

20 February 2013

“Doom and gloom” #nlpoli

Seems that finance minister Jerome Kennedy isn’t the only fellow out there conducting the annual budget “consultation” farce this year.

According to the Southern Gazette, justice minister Darin King “acknowledged, as part of a small cabinet committee appointed by Premier Kathy Dunderdale to bring budget recommendations back to government, he was asked to split the pre-budget consultations with Mr. Kennedy.”

Apparently, the idea is to have a bunch of ministers fan out across the province so they can come back with ideas on how to get through a “couple of years” when oil production will be down and things will be tough.

A couple of years.

Only two years?

That’s an interesting way to put it.

What’s more interesting is the way the Southern Gazette led into their story on the Marystown session:

It was largely more ‘doom and gloom’ from Justice Minister Darin King, as he conducted a provincial pre-budget consultation in Marystown Friday afternoon.


King had company at his session.  Education minister Clyde Jackman tagged along.

And that small group King mentioned?  It includes Nick McGrath, the province’s government services minister. 


High-Priced Cow Pats #nlpoli

The Atlantic Provinces Economic Council thinks the provincial government should do something about its spending, what with declining revenues.

Well, you know.

Sort of.


19 February 2013

Who farted? #nlpoli

Finance minister Jerome Kennedy took his budget “consultation” roadshow to Corner Brook the other day.  Former finance minister Tom Marshall showed up to help.  Tom has run more than a few of these farces so he could lend a hand if things got tough.

Well, all that was one thing.

The other thing is the way the video freezes in the online CBC story on the “consultation” in Corner Brook. 

A Commitment to Secrecy #nlpoli

The justice department is the lead department enforcing the provincial access to public information law.

As such, it’s a pretty serious indictment of the government’s commitment to public access when the justice department violates the access law.

From the access commissioner’s summary of his report into the latest complaint against the justice department:

The Applicant submitted two access to information requests to the Department of Justice dated June 15, 2012. … The Applicant received no response to his request for information regarding psychiatric services until November 9, 2012, when the Department responded to both this Office and the Applicant as a result of his Request for Review submitted to this Office in October. This four and half month delay occurred despite the fact that the majority of information was in the custody or control of the Department and required little redaction. The request with respect to payment information was responded to on August 24, 2012, when the Department notified the Applicant that no records existed. There was no communication with the Applicant to explain the reasons for the delay in either case. The Commissioner found that in both cases there was a breach of both sections 9 and 11 of the ATIPPA. …


Who knows the mind of a squid? #nlpoli

[Almost Immediate Update at the bottom]

Why do they do it?

People keep asking why the provincial Conservatives spend so much time and tons of public money goosing the VOCM question of the day in the way that supports whatever the Tories are supporting at the moment.

It is a mystery, gentle readers.

It is inscrutable.

Like the ways of the Lord, it passeth all understanding by those of us who have not touched the hem of Hisself’s garment or who don’t hang around churches chowing down on breakfast, lunch or dinner, like current poll goosing ring-master Paul Lane apparently does.

18 February 2013

Muskrat Falls: delayed dividends, more equity needed #nlpoli

The provincial “mid-year” financial update included a familiar claim about the Muskrat Falls project:

We estimate that the province will see revenues in excess of $20 billion over 50 years beginning in 2017, with average annual revenues of $450 million over this period.

But a new analysis of the project cash flows by JM shows that it will be 2031 before the provincial government will realise any genuine dividends from the project.  What’s more,  it will be sometime around 2048 before the dividends would reach as much as $200 million.

That’s not all.  The provincial government will have to inject upwards of $100 million over and above any amounts described to date in order to maintain the debt-service coverage ratio (DSCR) of 1.4 during the first five years of the project as required by the federal loan guarantee.

When you consider the equity repayment, the required debt service ratio, and include the potential upside from power exports, Muskrat Falls will be in operation for nearly two decades before the net returns to the Government of Newfoundland will match that presently provided by the Upper Churchill. This statement is one which is not fully understood by even the most buoyant supporters or sharpest critics of the Muskrat Falls project. [page 2]

15 February 2013

If the next two years are bad… #nlpoli

[Stick to your Lane Update:  See bottom]

No surprise that on the day after natural resources minister Jerome Kennedy talked about looming deficits of pre-1934 proportions that the ruling Conservatives did two things.

First, backbencher Paul Lane reinterpreted Kennedy’s comments on VOCM Open Line with Randy Simms.  There will only be big deficits, says Lane, if we don’t do anything about it. 

Second, Jerome Kennedy didn’t tell the people at his first pre-budget “consultation” anything of what he planned to do over the next few years. 

14 February 2013

Time to Break the Cycle #nlpoli

Jerome Kennedy told reporters on Wednesday that  he and his officials are forecasting that the provincial government will rack up almost $4.0 billion in deficits over the next three years.

That consists of about $725 million this year, followed by two years in which the government will spend $1.6 billion each year than it will take in.

None of that should come as a surprise to any regular SRBP readers.  This corner has been warning about the current administration’s spending practices since 2006. 

So now what?

13 February 2013

Water, water, everywhere…#nlpoli

Before they took office in 2003 – an election year -  the province’s Conservatives pounded the incumbent Liberals for the poor quality of drinking water across the province.

Danny Williams thought the whole thing was such a big problem that he promised to make drinking water a key part of the Conservative agenda after the 2003 election.

Once in office, the Conservatives did nothing about drinking water at all.

12 February 2013

Newfoundland Act, 1949 (Terms of Union)

Newfoundland Act

12 & 13 Geo. VI, c. 22 (U.K.)

An Act to confirm and give effect to Terms of Union agreed between Canada and Newfoundland.

[23rd March 1949.]

Whereas by means of a referendum the people of Newfoundland have by a majority signified their wish to enter into confederation with Canada;

And whereas the Agreement containing Terms of Union between Canada and Newfoundland set out in the Schedule to this Act has been duly approved by the Parliament of Canada and by the Government of Newfoundland;

And whereas Canada has requested, and consented to, the enactment of an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom to confirm and give effect to the said Agreement, and the Senate and House of Commons of Canada in Parliament assembled have submitted an address to His Majesty praying that His Majesty may graciously be pleased to cause a Bill to be laid before the Parliament of the United Kingdom for that purpose;

Be it therefore enacted by the King's Most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:--

1. The Agreement containing Terms of Union between Canada and Newfoundland set out in the Schedule to this Act is hereby confirmed and shall have the force of law notwithstanding anything in the Constitution Acts, 1867 to 1940.

2. In accordance with the preceding section the provisions of the Newfoundland Act, 1933, other than section three thereof (which relates to guarantee of certain securities of Newfoundland) shall be repealed as from the coming into force of the said Terms of Union.

3.This Act may be cited as the Newfoundland Act.

Letters Patent (1934)

Letters Patent

Passed under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom, constituting the Office of Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Island of Newfoundland and its Dependencies.

[Dated January 30th, 1934]

GEORGE THE FIFTH, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, Ireland, and the British Dominions beyond the Seas, King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India: To all to whom these Presents shall come, Greeting:

WHEREAS, by certain Letters Patent under the Great Seal bearing date at Westminster the Twenty-eight day of March, 1876, Her Majesty Queen Victoria did constitute the Office of Governor and Commander-in-Chief in and over Our Island of Newfoundland and its Dependencies;

And Whereas, by further Letters Patent bearing date at Westminster the Seventeenth day of July, 1905, His Late Majesty King Edward the Seventh did amend the aforesaid Letters Patent;

And Whereas We have received an Address from the Legislative Council and House of Assembly of the said Island praying that We may be graciously pleased to suspend the aforesaid Letters Patent and to issue new Letters Patent which would provide for the administration of the said Island, until such time as it may become self-supporting again, on the basis of the recommendations which are contained in the Report of the Royal Commission appointed by Us on the Seventeenth day of February, 1933, and of which a summary is set out in the annex to the said Address;

And Whereas by an Act of the Parliament of Our United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland entitled the Newfoundland Act, 1933, it was provided that it should be lawful for Us by any Letters Patent under the Great Seal to make provision for the suspension of the operation of the aforesaid Letters Patent of the Twenty-eight March, 1876, and the Seventeenth July, 1905, and to make provision for the administration of Newfoundland during the period whilst the operation of the aforesaid Letters Patent is suspended;

Now know ye that We do hereby declare Our will and pleasure to be that as from the coming into effect of these Our Letters Patent, the operation of the aforesaid Letters Patent of the Twenty-eight March, 1876,, and the Seventeenth July, 1905, shall be suspended pending the further declaration of Our pleasure, without prejudice to anything lawfully done thereunder: and We do further ordain that during the period whilst the operation of the aforesaid Letters Patent is suspended, the following provisions shall be made for the administration of Our Island of Newfoundland and its Dependencies:--

I. We do by these presents order and declare that there shall be a Governor and Commander in Chief (hereinafter called Our said Governor) in and over Our Island of Newfoundland; and the Islands adjacent; and all the Coast of Labrador from a line drawn due North from the eastern boundary of the bay or harbour of Anse Sablon on the said Coast to the Fifty-second Degree of North Latitude, and from thence westward along that parallel until it reaches the Romaine River and then northward along the left or east bank of that river and its headwaters to their source and from thence due north to the crest of the watershed or height of land there and from thence westward and northward along the crest of the watershed of the rivers flowing into the Atlantic Ocean until it reaches Cape Chidley; and all the islands adjacent to that said part of the Coast of Labrador; and also of all Forts and Garrisons erected and established, or which shall be erected or established; within or on the Islands and Coast aforesaid (which said Islands and Coast, together with the Island of Newfoundland, are hereinafter referred to as Our said Island), and that the person who shall fill the said Office of Governor shall be, from time to time, appointed by Commission under Our Sign Manual and Signet. And We do hereby authorise and command Our said Governor to do and execute in due manner all things that shall belong to his said Command, and to the trust We have reposed in him, according to the several Powers and Authorities granted or appointed by virtue of these Present Letters Patent, or any Letters Patent amending the same, and of such Commission as may be or may have been issued to him under Our Sign Manual and Signet, and according to such Instructions as may from time to time be given to him under Our Sign Manual and Signet, or by Us through one of Our Principal Secretaries of State, and according to such Laws and Ordinances as are or shall hereafter be in force in Our Said Island.

II. And We do hereby declare Our pleasure to be that there shall be a Commission of Government for Our said Island (hereinafter called the said Commission) and that the said Commission shall consist of six persons ordinarily resident in Our said Island and three shall be persons ordinarily resident without Our said Island. Every such person shall hold his place in the Commission during Our pleasure.

III. Whenever any Member of the said Commission shall by writing under his hand resign his place in the said Commission or shall die or be suspended from the exercise of his functions as a Member of the said Commission or be absent from Our said Island or be declared by the Governor to be incapable of exercising his functions as a Member of the said Commission, the Governor may, by an Instrument under the Public Seal, appoint some person to be provisionally a Member of the said Commission, in the place of the Member so resigning or dying or being suspended or being absent or declared incapable. Such person shall forthwith cease to be a Member of the said Commission if his appointment if disallowed by Us or if the Member in whose place he was appointed shall be release from suspension or, as the case may be, shall return to Our said Island or shall be declared by the Governor capable of again discharging his functions in the said Commission. The Governor shall without delay report to Us, for Our confirmation or disallowance, through one of Our Principal Secretaries of State, every provisional appointment of any person as a Member of the said Commission during Our pleasure and the Governor may, by an Instrument under the Public Seal, revoke any such appointment.

IV. And We do hereby direct and enjoin that the said Commission of Government shall not proceed to the despatch of business unless duly summoned by authority of Our said Governor, and unless three Members at the least (exclusive of himself or the Member presiding) be present and assisting throughout the whole of the meetings at which any such business shall be despatched.

V. And We do further direct and enjoin that Our said Governor do attend and preside at the meetings of the said Commission of Government, unless when prevented by some necessary or reasonable cause; and that in his absence such Member as may be elected to be Vice-Chairman by the said Commission from among the Members of the said Commission who are persons ordinarily resident in Our said Island shall preside at all such meetings.

VI. And We do further direct and enjoin that a full and exact Journal or Minutes be kept of all the deliberations, acts, proceedings, votes and resolutions of the said Commission and that at each meeting of the said Commission the Minutes of the last meeting be read over, confirmed, or amended, as the case may require, before proceeding to the despatch of any other business. And We do further direct that twice in each year a full transcript of all the Minutes of the said Commission for the preceding half year be transmitted to Us through one of Our Principal Secretaries of State.

VII. And We do further authorize and empower Our said Governor, with the advice and consent of the said Commission, to make laws for the peace, welfare and good government of Our said Island, and any such Law may amend, add to, alter or repeal any law passed by the Legislature heretofore subsisting in Our said Island.

VIII. And We do further direct and enjoin that the style of such laws shall be by "the Governor, by and with the advice of the Commission of Government" and no other.

IX. And We do further direct and enjoin that no Bill. Vote, Resolution or Address for the appropriation of any part of the public revenue or for imposing any tax or impost shall be passed or adopted by the said Commission unless such Bill, Vote, Resolution or Address have first been recommended by Our said Governor.

X. And We do further direct and enjoin that all laws shall be enacted and all other matters coming before the said Commission shall be decided by unanimity or, if on any matter there be not unanimity, by a majority of the votes given, and in the latter event Our said Governor and each Member of the Commission actually present shall each exercise one vote.

XI. And We do further direct and enjoin that no law made by Our said Governor with the advice and consent of the said Commission shall take effect until Our said Governor shall have assented thereto in Our name and shall have signed the same in token of such assent.

XII. It shall be lawful for Us, Our heirs and successors, by Order of Our or Their Privy Council laws to disallow any law within one year from the date of the Governor's assent thereto and such disallowance, on being made known by the Governor by Proclamation in the Gazette, shall annul the law from the day when the disallowance is so made known.

XIII. And We do further authorize and empower Our said Governor to keep and use the Public Seal of Our said Island for sealing all things whatsoever that shall pass the said Public Seal.

XIV. And We do further authorize and empower Our said Governor, in Our name and on Our behalf, to make and execute, under the said Seal, grants and dispositions of any lands which may be lawfully granted or disposed of by Us within Our said Island.

XV. And We do further authorize and empower Our said Governor to constitute and appoint all such Judges, Justices of the Peace, and other necessary Officers in Our said Island as may be lawfully constituted or appointed by Us.

XVI. And We do further authorize and empower Our said Governor, as he shall see occasion in Our name and on Our behalf, when any crime has been committed within Our said Island, or for which the offender may be tried therein, to grant a pardon to any accomplice, not being the actual perpetrator of such crime, who shall give such information and evidence as shall lead to the apprehension and conviction of the principal offender; and further, to grant to any offender convicted of any crime in any Court, or before any Judge, Justice, or Magistrate, within Our said Island, a pardon, either free or subject to lawful conditions, or any respite of the execution of the sentence of any such offender, for such period as to Our said Governor may seem fit, and to remit any fines, penalties, or forfeitures, which may become due and payable to Us. Provided always that Our said Governor shall in no case make it a condition of any pardon or remission of sentence that the offender shall be banished from, or absent himself from Our said Island.

XVII. And We do further authorize and empower Our said Governor, so far as We lawfully may, to remove from his office, or to suspend from the exercise of the same, any person exercising any such office of place within Our said Island, under or by virtue of any Commission or Warrant granted, or which may be granted, by Us in Our name, or under Our authority.

XVIII. If the Governor shall be unable to administer the Government of Our said Island by reason of any of the following causes, namely, death, incapacity, removal or departure from the Island, Our Lieutenant-Governor or if there shall be no such Officer in Our said Island or if such Officer shall be unable to administer the Government of the Island by reason of any of the causes aforesaid, then such person or persons as We may appoint, under Our Sign Manual and Signet, shall, during Our pleasure, administer the Government of the Island, with all the powers and authorities vested in Our said Governor by these Our Letters Patent according to the tenour of these Our Letters Patent and according to Our Instructions as aforesaid and the laws of Our said Island.

XIX. In the event of Our said Governor having occasion to be temporarily absent for a short period from the seat of Government, or from Our said Island for the purpose of visiting Our Dominion of Canada on public business, he may in every such case by an Instrument under the Public Seal of Our said Island, constitute and appoint Our Lieutenant-Governor, or if there be no such Officer, or if such Officer be absent or unable to act, then any other person, to be his Deputy during such temporary absence, and in that capacity to exercise, perform, and execute for and on his behalf during such absence, but no longer, all such powers and authorities vested in Our said Governor, by these Our Letters Patent, as shall in and by such Instrument be specified and limited, but no others.

Every such Deputy shall conform to and observe all such instructions as Our said Governor shall from time to time address to him for his guidance.

Provided, nevertheless, that by the appointment of a Deputy as aforesaid, the power and authority of Our said Governor shall not be abridged, altered, or in any way affected, otherwise than We may at any time hereafter think proper to direct.

Provided further that if any such Deputy shall have been duly appointed it shall not be necessary during the continuance in office of such Deputy for any person to assume the Government of Our said Island as Administrator thereof.

XX. And We do hereby require and command all Our Officers, Civil and Military, and all other inhabitants of Our said Island, to be obedient, aiding, and assisting unto Our said Governor, or in the event of his death, incapacity, or absence, to such person or persons as may from time to time, under the provisions of these Our Letters Patent, administer the Government of Our said Island.

XXI. In the construction of these Our Letters Patent the term "Governor" shall, unless inconsistent with the context, include every person for the time being administering the Government of Our said Island.

XXII. And We do hereby reserve to Ourselves, Our heirs and successors, full power and authority from time to time to revoke, alter, or amend these Our Letters Patent as to Us or Them shall seem meet.

XXIII. And We do further direct and enjoin that these Our Letters Patent shall be read and proclaimed at such place or places as Our said Governor shall think fit within Our said Island of Newfoundland, and shall come into operation on a day fixed by Our said Governor by Proclamation in the Official Gazette.

In Witness whereof We have caused these Our Letters to be made Patent. Witness Ourself at Westminster, the Thirtieth day of January in the Twenty-fourth year of Our Reign.

By Warrant under the King's Sign Manual.




11 February 2013

The road not taken #nlpoli

Word that the Town of Badger is having problems with flooding – again – is a reminder of a couple of small hydro projects at Badger Chute and Red Indian Falls that would have helped relieve the flooding threat.



The Latest Candidate Who Never Was #nlpoli

CBC news reported last week that Scott Simms won;t be pursuing the provincial Liberal leadership.

That’s no surprise because the federal member of parliament was never really thinking about becoming a candidate.

If you look at the story in late January and now you cans ee something else.

08 February 2013

Score Two for the Telly #nlpoli

James McLeod’s Telegram front-pager – above the masthead no less – on John Noseworthy’s $150,000 contract with the provincial government got all the facts right.

He nailed it all, in detail.

Plus he provided the complete explanation offered by Joan Shea, the minister of the department that gave Noseworthy the contract.

That was one.

Muskrat Mania #nlpoli

Effects on the George River herd

Generally speaking, the proponent’s optimism with respect to the effects of the project on caribou cannot be justified merely by its very selective description of the effects on certain herds.

The George River herd was arbitrarily excluded from the impact study:

“More recently, the GRH has wintered west of the northern end of the Study Area in Central and Southeastern Labrador. Since the Study Area receives inconsistent seasonal use by this herd, any use of the area is likely to be by individuals or small groups rather than thousands of caribou. Due to the limited nature of any likely Project interaction with the GRH, it has not been carried forward in this assessment.” (EIS, p. 12-102)

It is arbitrary to exclude the herd since in its EIS, Nalcor recognized that the herd had recently been present in the study area chosen by the proponent:

“Migratory caribou are typically tundra dwelling and are characterized by their extensive seasonal migrations between winter and calving grounds (Bergerud et al. 2008). Currently, the 15 province recognizes the George River Herd (GRH) as the migratory ecotype. This herd has recently wintered in the vicinity of the Study Area in Labrador (such as observed by the Study Team in the winter of 2009 to 2010).” EIS, p. 10-93

In its addendum to the EIS however, Nalcor makes no mention of the George River herd.

Yet according to the results of an aerial survey conducted jointly by the Quebec Department of Natural Resources and Wildlife (MRNF) and Newfoundland Department of Environment and Conservation, together with the Institut pour la recherche et la surveillance environnementale (of which the Council of the Innu of Ekuanitshit is a member) and the Torngat Wildlife, Plants and Fisheries Secretariat, the George River herd population declined from 74,000 in October 2010 to 27,600 in July 2012.[1]

The Joint Review Panel, which studied Nalcor’s proposed hydroelectric generating facilities at Gull Island and Muskrat Falls, had recommended (7.10) that the proponent “monitor interactions of the George River caribou herd with Project activities and facilities and identify any impacts”: Joint Review Panel Report, p. 31.

It is surprising, to say the least, that given the urgent situation of the George River herd, the proponent could deliberately exclude the potential effects of the transmission lines from the environmental assessment. Nalcor has indicated no intention of monitoring “interactions of the herd” with this phase of the project.

[1] http://www.mrn.gouv.qc.ca/presse/communiques-detail.jsp?id=9880


07 February 2013

A Celebration of Excellence #nlpoli

For the second day in a row, CBC Radio’s On the Go had a go at Frank Fagan, the newly appointed Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador.  Or as host Ted Blades described him on Tuesday, another old, white guy.

In Wednesday Blades decided to interview NDP leader Lorraine Michael.  Blades started out by asking if he had been right to bring “gender” into the discussion.

Michael responded by referring back to the Premier’s recent Ovations event.

There are at least a couple of things you can take out of the interview and the mini-flap that has erupted the Fagan appointment.

06 February 2013

An Unwavering Commitment to Inaction, Indecision, and Extra Pork #nlpoli

In 2010, the provincial government appointed Captain Mark Turner to look at the “province’s offshore oil spill prevention and response capabilities.”

He produced the 273 page report and the provincial government dutifully released it along with a lovely news release.

Then-natural resources minister Shawn Skinner committed that the provincial government  would “study the report, and consult with the responsible stakeholders to ensure all recommendations are considered.”

05 February 2013

Stranger than fiction: gaseous emissions #nlpoli

According to Voice of the Cabinet Minister, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro is looking for back-up electricity generation in case another one of the oil-fired generators at Holyrood goes down.

Among the alternative fuels under consideration:  natural gas.

Here’s the online story, since it will soon be disappeared:

Newfoundland Hydro is exploring generation supply options should it lose another generating unit like the one at the Holyrood plant that was damaged in last month's storm. The manager of system operations and integration support, Rob Henderson, says they're looking at a number of gas, diesel, and combustion mobile generating units that can be used where needed if something catastrophic should happen.


The Importance of Framing #nlpoli

What you see depends on what people show you.

Take a news story that ran on Monday trumpeting the fact that 30% of motor vehicle accidents involving deaths investigated by the RCMP in the province were caused by drunk driving.


Holy crap.

What should we do about it, the Ceeb asked.

They interviewed someone from Mother’s Against Drunk Driving who talked about putting breath analysing devices on cars to stop drunks from driving.  She talked about copying British Columbia where the government impounds cars for people who blow point zero five on the breathalyser.

Tough stuff. 

04 February 2013

Gerry, Scott, and a Player to Be Named Later #nlpoli

If you believe what you hear on the news, federal members of parliament Gerry Byrne and Scott Simms are both thinking about running to be leader of the provincial Liberal Party.

Byrne’s named had been kicked around before.  In fact, in an earlier version of it, Gerry planned to announce his intentions by the end of January.  Now he has put off his decision until March.

Simms was a new entrant to the speculation race, largely because he hasn’t been in Ottawa very long and is pretty tight with Justin Trudeau and his leadership team.  If Trudeau takes the top federal party job, Simms would stand to play a more important role there than he currently has.

01 February 2013

Tories at 30% #nlpoli

Local pollster MQO released some previously confidential polling data on Thursday that showed the ruling Conservatives were getting about 25% of public support in July and August and only slightly better than that until November.

The Tories got a bump up in December to about 35%, likely from the Muskrat Falls announcement.

But that vanished the next month.  Current Tory support is around 30% of all respondents.