31 July 2013

Relative Costs #nlpoli

Leave entirely to one side the spectacle of the guy who gets paid as the consumer advocate sitting there on the CBC flailing his arms around explaining Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro’s latest rate request.

Tom Johnson sounded like a Hydro spokesperson as he went on about things called “puts” and how this sort of cost was up, and this was offset by something else.  Prices on the island would go down, therefore, while in Labrador, where the issues are different, costs would go up.

Johnson did a better job of defending Nalcor than he did during Muskrat Falls.

Leave that to one side.

30 July 2013

The Cabana Cases #nlpoli

For those who want to read them, here are two decisions related to Brad Cabana’s recent Muskrat Falls case.

The first is the decision on his application to have the judge remove herself from the case:

Voids and Spatter #nlpoli

Watch too many crime shows and after a while a few of the ideas start to sing into your skull.

Take blood spatter for example.  In some kinds of violent death, lots of blood will fly around.  The drops leave a distinctive spray pattern that can tell you lots about what went on. 

And then there is sometimes the bits of the pattern that are missing.  There is sometimes a void, a gap where something that the blood spattered on is missing.

The void – the missing stuff  - sometimes tells much more than what is there.

29 July 2013

Yakabuski nails it… again. #nlpoli

Konrad Yakabuski warned in 2006 that Newfoundland and Labrador would probably get a huge financial shock  trying to develop the Lower Churchill on its own.

Now, the knowledgeable Globe and Mail correspondent is back again with the observation that revenge motive behind Muskrat Falls is not a very successful business strategy… for Newfoundland and Labrador.

Consider this a public service for all those people who tweeted his commentary over the weekend thinking that he was chastising Hydro-Quebec.

Guess again.

-srbp-

More Gil Bennett nuttiness #nlpoli

Gill Bennett is a smart guy.  That’s why he is in charge of a project as large as Muskrat Falls.

So when Gil Bennett says something that obviously is not true, it looks a lot more suspicious than when he dodges the important question and answers the question no one asked.

27 July 2013

Look to Quebec courts, not prov gov for disclosure: Marshall #nlpoli

The people of Newfoundland and Labrador won;t get information on Muskrat falls water management from the provincial government or its energy corporation.

They should wait to hear about things in Quebec courts, according to Tom Marshall, the Newfoundland and Labrador energy minister.

Marshall was responding to a call by former Premier Brian Peckford for the provincial government to release information about the province’s position on a recent Hydro-Quebec lawsuit against Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation.

Here’s a bit of the Telegram story:

Marshall said that citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador can absolutely know what the government’s case is, as long as they pay close attention to the Quebec court system.

“They will know in court,” he said. “They’re going to hear the whole thing. They’ll see it. They’ll follow it all.”

In other news, the provincial Conservatives are still wondering why their popularity is at record low levels for an incumbent government in Newfoundland and Labrador…

-srbp-

Dunder-Dex offside with Emera #nlpoli #nspoli #cdnpoli

Premiers Kathy Dunderdale and Darrell Dexter may be telling everyone that the Maritime Link can;t be stopped but the private sector company involved in the project said in June there is no plan on what to do if the Nova Scotia utilities regulatory ultimate turns thumbs down on the Link proposal.

26 July 2013

The price of a dam #nlpoli

If crap was electricity,  Nalcor would have the market cornered.

Da byes running the Muskrat falls project are very good at spewing words but very bad at saying things that have meaning.

Case in point: last fall in the controversy over the water management agreement, chief Muskrat Falls guy Gil Bennett was always ready to insist Nalcor was lily white and had no bad intentions. 

The lawyers in the 2041 Group suggested it would be prudent to confirm the Nalcor interpretation with a legal reference.   After all, there was always the possibility Hydro-Quebec had another view and might take action. Bennett the engineer blew off any thoughts of any legal problem with everything but a contemptuous pfft.

The thing is that Bennett kept avoiding the simple question and answering the irrelevant one. The post in which your humble e-scribbler pointed out this problem has been the most popular post here – bar none – since last November.

And now we can see how much the engineer knew about the law.

Like water for muskrats #nlpoli

Wednesday it was Kathy Dunderdale.

Thursday, they sent Tom Marshall to chat with Bill Rowe on Open Line to do damage control in the wake of two huge setbacks for the Muskrat Falls project.

Some people think Tom is a good spokesperson because he talks in soft tones.  But truth be told, Tom’s really a bit of a train wreck.

25 July 2013

Bubbles and the Politics of Neener-Neener-Neener #nlpoli

Kathy Dunderdale called Bill Rowe on Wednesday [via daveadey] to have one of her periodic core dumps on what is going on in the universe.

When the talk turns to Muskrat Falls, there’s this truly bizarre moment. She told Rowe about having a chat at some provincial premiers’ gathering with Dalton McGuinty and Jean Charest about how they might work together to bring Gull Island power to Ontario, through Quebec. 

According to Dunderdale, Charest lamented the cost of the 1969 power contract on the relationship between Quebec and its neighbour Newfoundland and Labrador.  Charest warned their fellow premiers against the sort of bickering that had gone on for decades.  Given that Charest died a horrible political death shortly after, the story has eerie echoes of Yul Brynner after he’d died of lung cancer coming back to life in a film clip to warn people against the evils of smoking.

As freaky as that story is,  that’s not the weird thing.

24 July 2013

The Hydro-Quebec Statement of Claim #nlpoli

Via labradore, the statement of claim filed on behalf of Hydro-Quebec earlier this week.

You can search it and read it in English.  Those of you using Chrome will find the translation very simple.

If the text here is too small, then click on the title - Hydro-Quebec Statement of Claim by labradore – and go straight to Scribd.

-srbp-

A party like the others #nlpoli

Among the oldest of old Canadian political jokes is that you went to the Tory conventions to drink, the Liberal conventions to get laid, and the NDP ones to pick up pamphlets.

Well, as it turns out the NDP have now joined the ranks of the old parties.  The Ottawa Citizen reported last Thursday that the NDP national director and deputy director have written a formal apology to a young staffer after she was – allegedly – on the receiving end of of unwanted attention from a donor at a fundraising event, whom the paper identifies as subjected to Jack Layton’s former communications director.

The Citizen also reported that junior staffers helping to run the were left to fend for themselves after the people in charge left the venue without notice.  The paper describes the unnamed individuals as “sloppy drunk”.

There’s desperate and then there’s Dunderdale #nlpoli

Take away the bluster:  “The agenda won’t be set by Quebec in terms of how we do our work, how we develop our resources, and how we access markets.”

Take away the old fairy tales :  “I would characterize this as a desperate move by a company that’s been trying one way or the other to thwart development on the lower Churchill for a number of years, unless it was clearly in the best interests of the people of Quebec.”

Dispose of all the crap and what’s left of Premier Kathy Dunderdale’s comments on the Hydro-Quebec legal challenge about the 1969 is very few words that reveal much.

23 July 2013

UARB: “substantial uncertainty” about Nalcor supply of market-priced energy #nlpoli

You can read the full decision by the UARB (pdf) but here are some points to note.

Right off the bat, you will see in the full report that Nova Scotia consumers had the benefit of reviews by several consultants all of which are included in the UARB report.  This stands in stark contrast to the rigged reviews conducted in Newfoundland and Labrador before the final approval by the provincial government. 

Right off that the bat, that means that the public interest was far better served in Nova Scotia than it was at any point during the past decade in dealing with the Lower Churchill.

Pride goeth, more undisclosed risk, and all that #nlpoli

There are so many ways that Ed Martin, his crew at Nalcor, and the provincial Conservatives and all their supporters have screwed themselves and local ratepayers it is getting harder to tell which one is worse.

On Monday, the Nova Scotia regulator approved the Maritime Link but only condition that Emera secure enough extra electricity at market rates to make the project the lowest cost option.  Meanwhile in Quebec, Hydro-Quebec announced it was seeking a court opinion on its right to access virtually all the output from Churchill Falls.

The interplay of the two things could work together to deliver a horrible result for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

22 July 2013

Hydro-Quebec to seek clarity on contract rights #nlpoli

From Hydro-Quebec:

MONTREAL, July 22, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Hydro-Québec is filing a motion today with the Québec Superior Court to obtain a declaratory judgment. The company is asking the Court to confirm that two recent positions taken by CF(L)Co with respect to the Churchill Falls Contract (the Contract) are ill-founded. The Québec Superior Court has exclusive jurisdiction to rule on any dispute arising out of the Contract. It should be noted that the Contract will be automatically renewed in 2016, for a 25-year period ending in 2041.

1 - Energy deliveries to which Hydro-Québec is entitled
Under the terms of the Contract which Hydro-Québec and CF(L)Co concluded in 1969, Hydro-Québec has certain essential rights, including:

• The exclusive right to purchase virtually all of the power and energy produced by Churchill Falls Generating Station until August 31, 2041;

• The right to benefit from operational flexibility.
According to the recent positions taken by CF(L)Co, Hydro-Québec would, for the entire Contract renewal period (2016 to 2041), be entitled only to fixed monthly blocks of energy. This position would deprive Hydro-Québec of the operational flexibility to determine the quantities of energy it can request from CF(L)Co. This operational flexibility enables Hydro-Québec to coordinate the operation of Churchill Falls with its entire generating fleet, and to do so both on a seasonal and a multi-year basis.

In Hydro-Québec's opinion, CF(L)Co's position is incompatible with several provisions of the Contract. Hydro-Québec wishes to have the Court confirm that it will not be obliged to limit its requests for energy deliveries to fixed monthly blocks from 2016 to 2041.

2 - Sale of quantities exceeding 300 MW by CF(L)Co
Under the Contract, until 2041, CF(L)Co has the right to recapture a 300-MW block of power and energy and sell it to a third party. However, this right has limitations: CF(L)Co may not, under any circumstances, sell quantities exceeding 300 MW to a third party, until expiry of the Contract. Yet, since June of 2012, CF(L)Co has sold quantities of more than 300 MW to Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro (NLH), a related provincial Crown corporation, causing the interruption of deliveries scheduled by Hydro-Québec under the Contract.

Hydro-Québec therefore wishes to confirm that, as long as the Contract is in effect, namely until August 31, 2041, CF(L)Co may not sell quantities of power and energy exceeding 300 MW to a third party, including NLH.

For further information:
Gary Sutherland,   Hydro-Québec,  514 289-4418,

-srbp-


sutherland.gary@hydro.qc.ca

So what’s Kathy’s problem? #nlpoli

So if Stephen Harper’s staffing problem is that “all the good ones quit”,  what is the story on the staffing problems in Kathy Dunderdale’s office?

-srbp-

The Imaginary Nation #nlpoli

Look at the shelves in any bookstore around town these days and you will likely see endless copies of Greg Malone’s book Don’t tell the Newfoundlanders

The piles of books show that few people are actually interested in Malone’s malarkey.   Well, very few people beyond the crowd who – like Malone and open line regular Agnes – already had swallowed the load already, without question.  Malone’s book contains the sort of crap Malone and others have been getting on with for years.  Back in 2009, for example, the Canadian Press gave their  fact checker a day off and asked Greg some stuff about Confederation in time for a piece for the 60th anniversary of the momentous event. 

Drew Brown, he of the recent paper and public talk on nationalism, has a piece in The Scope this month that has a go at the conspiracy theory.  Not surprisingly, he trashes the notion completely. 

19 July 2013

History’s Bitch #nlpoli

A half century ago, a bunch of very smart fellows – some of the smartest fellows of any generation ever – wanted to build a massive  plant in the middle of Labrador to make electricity.

One of the problems the project faced was a combination of costs and markets.  As Philip Smith recounts in Brinco:  the story of Churchill Falls,  the very smart men were concerned right from the start that nuclear power offered an almost unbeatable alternative to hydroelectricity for generating large amounts of electricity at relatively low cost.  The markets needed power and nuclear could do it cheaper.

Nuclear power also had a huge advantage hydro couldn’t match:  you can turn the plant on and off when you wish.  With hydro, you can make power only when you have the water.  Even with a massive reservoir, the generating output of the plant will go up and down during the year depending on how much water is available.

18 July 2013

You got cash? They’ve got a party. #nlpoli

The party that brought the province its first and only election finance law in 1991 is currently in the midst of a campaign to select its own leader, but the race has absolutely no rules of any kind on campaign financing.
The Liberal Party’s constitution and 2013 leadership rules are absolutely silent on campaign finances except for setting the $20,000 entrance fee every candidate had to offer up to enter the race.

Candidates are free to spend as much as they want in any way they want without any rules requiring disclosure to anyone. 

And any potential donor – individual or corporation – from anywhere on the planet can give as much as they want to the person who will lead the party after the election and who could well wind up running the province in 2015.

17 July 2013

Nut up or shut up #nlpoli

The Liberal leadership is not even a couple of weeks old and already reporters are getting inundated with the suggestions from anonymous turd-mongers wondering why they are not covering this angle or that aspect of one candidate

The Telegram’s James McLeod wrote a blog post about it on Tuesday, rattling off some examples of the stuff he’s been getting.  McLeod offers a few simple explanations of why reporters don’t cover the sort of crap that these tidbits of excrement.

In the process, he actually gives publicity to the stuff he says wouldn’t be covered for journalistic so there is a bit of a contradiction in there.  For the most part, what you can see are the sort of small-minded points offered up by people who have nothing much to say and on top of that don;t even have the stones to identify themselves.  The world is full of those sorts of sorry specimens of humanity;  politics just makes it seems like there are more of them attached to political parties.

16 July 2013

On change #nlpoli

One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen might change the world, as Malala Yousefzai says.

The pen and book are of no use, though,  if the student and the teacher are not interested in finding things out. The horror of the Taliban is the same horror one finds in religious fanatics of any sort, or political zealots for that matter.  They do not wish to know anything.  They believe they have already been handed the complete set of answers to everything.  They fancy the information comes from God or from some local manifestation of some god but the root of their brand of evil is their belief that they already know everything.

They lack inquisitiveness.

What holds us collectively from changing the world is not the absence of a pen or a book. 

We are held back by a lack of inquisitiveness.

"The only reason people do not know much is because they do not care to know,” wrote Stephen Fry in the second volume of his autobiography, titled The Fry Chronicles.  “They are incurious. Incuriosity is the oddest and most foolish failing there is."

-srbp-

Learn Now. Pay Later. #nlpoli

A college or university education has an undeniable value both to the student and to the society as a whole.

But should either party bear a disproportionate share of the cost of the education? 

Of course not.  The challenge for policy makers in the provincial government and at the university and the colleges in the province is how to strike a balance between the two. The one that’s been in place for the past decade works extremely well for students whose representatives  – not surprisingly – are pushing for an even sweeter and sweeter deal regardless of the financial implications to the university and the provincial government. 

Free tuition is fundamentally unworkable.  There’s no reason to believe that free tuition would improve participation rates,  successful completion rates, or any other desirable outcome for society.  By the same token, forcing students to bear the full cost of tuition up front would likely serve as a powerful deterrent since few individuals and families could afford the hundreds of thousands of dollars post-secondary education costs these days.

There might be an alternative.

15 July 2013

Antle changes dynamics of Liberal leadership race #nlpoli

Last November, it was easy to dismiss Paul Antle as another potential Liberal leadership candidate who lots of people talked about but who sounded more like he had better things to do.

Two things in July changed that.

First, Antle raced around at the last minute and joined the leadership race.

Second, and more importantly, Antle delivered the best campaign kick-off of the lot.

13 July 2013

Telly exclusive on SNC Lavalin???? #nlpoli

Screaming headline across the top of the front page of the Saturday Telly:

SNC-Lavalin shut out of Hydro-Quebec projects

And right underneath,  the claim that it is a Telegram exclusive.

That would be right except for the fact someone else reported it months ago.

The problems first surfaced in April, as reported by Radio-Canada.

And La presse had the specific Muskrat Falls angle in early May. The recent decision on the Romaine project reported on Saturday by the Telly is just the same as the La Presse story…only much later.

Where’s the exclusive?

-srbp-

12 July 2013

Yvonne - math #nlpoli

Liberal member of parliament Yvonne Jones is pissed off.

She told VOCM that “there are 1,016 people that are payrolled  [sic]under the Muskrat Falls project. 201 of those are Labradorians. So we have less than 10 per cent of Labrador people employed as part of that project.”

She said that was unacceptable.

Someone forgot to point out to the mathematically challenged politician that 201 is a teensy bit shy of 20% of 1,016.

Not less than 10%.

But about double that.

19.7% to be super-accurate.

So if someone pointed out to Jones that there are twice as many Labradorians working at Muskrat Falls as she thought, would she be only half as pissed off?

-srbp-

Jerome Kennedy: ace hole digger #nlpoli

Score another one for the Telegram’s James McLeod.

He interviewed finance minister Jerome Kennedy and wrote a story that centred on Kennedy’s contention that his party’s 2011 election promises weren’t really promises at all but a general blueprint or platform intend to implement depending on the cash available.

The story caused Kennedy such problems that he took to the Thursday morning open line show to claim he was misquoted and that the comments were taken out of context.  Later on he issued a news release that claimed the Conservatives had actually delivered on 43% of their promises.  The short release include a long list that someone apparently cut and pasted from the original list of Conservative not-promises.

Kennedy just made a bad situation worse.

11 July 2013

Highly Diffused Government #nlpoli

By now, plenty of people in Newfoundland and Labrador have likely heard finance minister Jerome Kennedy’s comments about his party’s last election platform.

“You used the word promise,”  Kennedy said to the Telegram’s James McLeod.  “I’m not sure that the Blue Book can be described as a promise.”  Kennedy said that the platform contained a bunch of what he called “initiatives” that his party planned to implement between 2011 and 2015.  Everyone had to bear in mind that “there’s always the caveat that the commitments will be made having regard to the fiscal situation of the province.”

Make out of that what you want.  Some people have already made fun or harrumpfed through the odd Tweet or two.  McLeod noted in an story on Wednesday that Kennedy’s new warning about calling them “promises” is at odds with the Conservative during the election.

What’s more interesting thing to what McLeod might call a political uber-nerd is what the transcript reveals about how the Conservatives operate.

10 July 2013

Autonomy for Memorial University #nlpoli

One of the things about writing SRBP is that posts sometimes show changes in thinking as your humble e-scribbler gains more information.

Over the last few posts and on Twitter, some of you may have seen a comment to the effect that you could replace the government subsidy to the university with a tuition hike and be cash to the good.  Well, that just is’;t the case.  As Tuesday’s post showed, the government grant covers about 71% of the university’s operating revenue every year.  Tuition covered about the same percentage (11%) as it did in 1977.

Taking a hard look at the current numbers showed that tuition and fees from the 18,700 graduate, undergraduate, and distance students  at the university, full- and part-time brings in slightly less than $60 million annually.

What hasn’t changed, though, is the starting point of this mini series from last Friday:  the university needs cash.  The question is how to get it.

09 July 2013

Paul Antle’s Opening Shot #nlpoli

Here’s the e-mail that’s making the rounds:

I am running for Leader of the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador. I have no confidence in the current government. We've come too far to go backwards. I love this place and I understand its DNA. Our province has no leadership. That's about to change.

Please join me for the launch of my Liberal Leadership Campaign on Thursday, July 11th, 12:00 noon.

Manuels River Hibernia Interpretation Centre//7 Conception Bay Highway//Conception Bay South, Newfoundland [sic]//A1W 3A2

Paul

-srbp-

“China is already so yesterday” #nlpoli

Memorial University’s dean of graduate studies wasn’t so keen on China as a source of students in February 2011.  In a post on her blog Postcards from the edge, Noreen Golfman wrote;

The point is that Memorial, if it is to play seriously in the realm of international recruitment, cannot afford merely to be part of the bandwagon. It has to get ahead of it. China is already so yesterday.

The academics even invented a word for the trend – surprise, surprise  - at universities to seek more and more of their student population from other countries.  They call it “internationalization”.

The motivation is simple:  money.  Golfman acknowledged that point up front in the same blog post.  The available pool of young people is getting smaller, thanks to the fact that birthrates are dropping off in the developed world.  As a result, universities have to go on a hunt for students to keep everything operating:

And, so, yes, the motivation has been, in the first instance, largely economic.

None of that is a surprise.  Nor would anyone be surprised to find that by November 2011, Golfman was in China on a student-hunting safari. She was back there again in 2012.

08 July 2013

Some inconvenient truths: goring some educational sacred cows #nlpoli

Friday turned out to be Post-Secondary Education Day with a post here on the impact of the freeze on tuition fees and a fascinating Telegram article on the Conservatives’ 2011 campaign pledge to replace student loans with needs-based grants.

Tuition was a bit of an issue in the 2001 provincial general election.  The Tory pledge is basically a variation on the New Democrat campaign platform plank in the same election to make wipe out tuition altogether. 

Supporters of the low or free tuition argument claim that by charging a tuition fee at all, “we are basically discriminating against poor people and the middle class.”  The Canadian Federation of Students likes the current tuition freeze and is loving up the idea of grants that would make tuition even cheaper or free.  The local rep commented in the Friday story that the Telegram that the current system “is the envy of people across the country.”

Really? 

07 July 2013

VOCM more like Fox and Sun #nlpoli

VOCM’s newsroom is taking a massive step downward with a headline on the Liberal leadership.  On Friday, Dwight Ball stepped down as interim leader.  The caucus will decide his replace – officially – at a meeting they’ll hold in a couple of weeks.

The entire VO story consists of these few sentences under the headline “Liberal Party Leaderless”:

Dwight Ball has submitted his resignation as lnterim Leader of the Liberal Party.  Ball is joining business leaders Paul Antle and Cathy Bennett, MHA Jim Bennett, and former MHA Danny Dumaresque in the race. Party president Judy Morrow says the process should ensure a strong, united party in the next general election.  Voting will take place in November.

So either VO is now openly employing the Sun and Fox News stylebook in the newsroom or someone at VOCM is applying for a job as a government communications director. 

-srbp-

05 July 2013

Great Political Quotes: Tax Shelter edition #nlpoli

“We lost, but that passion for fighting the injustice of a retroactive law change — that passion I will bring to the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador, and to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador…”

Liberal leadership hopeful Paul Antle

CBC reported on Friday that a “Federal Court of Appeal judge ruled in 2010 that a trust set up in the Caribbean by the wife of Liberal leadership candidate Paul Antle was a ‘sham’ used to incorrectly shield [sic] more than $1 million from capital gains taxes.”

That sounds like a great campaign slogan:

Paul Antle:  fighting for tax shelters

His team has their work cut out for them.

facepalm

-srbp-

The price of subsidy – MUN Tuition

In early June, a CBC investigation revealed that Memorial University is charging special fees for some international graduates students. That was just one of a series of problems with the international student programs noted in the report. 

Some of the students were Chinese.  As it turns out, 36% of [all] Memorial’s grad [international] students are from China.*  That’s a figure that turned up in a news release on June 27 that came out of the recent junket by the Premier, a couple of her retiring ministers, Ed Martin from Nalcor and Memorial president Gary Kachinowski.

One agreement signed on the trip set up “the China Scholarship Council and Memorial University of Newfoundland Joint Funding Program, which will support up to 20 qualified doctoral students who will be jointly funded by Memorial University and the CSC to pursue doctoral studies.”

04 July 2013

A long way from best in class #nlpoli

Cathy Bennett’s leadership launch event was organized as one would expect.  Her speech was scripted and, hand gestures and all, well rehearsed.

From the start there was the flush of jargon that one expects these days from business people getting into politics.  A “decision process’ had led her to this spot.  The province must be “best in class”.  Things must be “actioned”.  We must “start a conversation.”  Energy, passion and fire -  especially passion – occurred in the speech with  as much frequency as “strong voice” used to turn up with others.

She pledged to be “open and accountable” as well as honest and persuasive.”

Bennett didn’t offer much beyond stock phrases on anything, though,  except on three points:  increased immigration,  full-day kindergarten, and Muskrat Falls.

03 July 2013

The Campaign Starts… #nlpoli

Okay anyone who believed Cathy Bennett was “thinking about it” over the weekend know that she was already getting her Liberal leadership campaign in gear.  She’ll be launching later on Wednesday morning.

You see, as much as some people might fancy that her media line was true, you just can’t get a campaign website organized and a leadership launch event with all the bells and whistles done in two days.  Well, you can.  The problem is that it would look like Jim Bennett’s announcement in Corner Brook on the Friday before the Canada Day long weekend: not a serious or well financed contender.

Cathy Bennett is the opposite.  She’s serious and she’ll have money. Most likely, Cathy will wind up sparring directly with Dwight Ball for the job. Danny Dumaresque  - who launched on Tuesday - will give a brave show but both he and Jim will drop off after the first ballot come November.

For all that, at the start of the campaign, each one of the contenders will face some common issues, problems, or challenges. Here are a few.

02 July 2013

The Politics of Fashion #nlpoli

As it turns out, Corporate Research Associates president Don Mills had lots to say to the St. John’s Board of Trade besides a few guesses.

Newfoundland and Labrador can’t create economic booms in every nook and cranny.  Instead, we should focus on growth centres where people are moving anyway.

Such radical - dare one say revolutionary  - ideas. How blessed the Board of Trade members were to hear these comments the likes of which they have never heard before.

Surely.

Never heard the likes of it before, except for the 1992 Strategic Economic Plan.

01 July 2013

The Great War and Newfoundland Nationalism #nlpoli

This is a revised version of post that originally appeared on July 4, 2012.
___________________________________

Mark Humphries is an historian at Memorial University.  He spoke with CBC’s Chris O’Neill-Yates on July 1, 2012 about the impact of Beaumont Hamel on Newfoundland and Labrador.

Humphries does an interesting job of putting the 700 dead and wounded on that day into a larger context.  He likened it to 161,000 Canadian males between 19 and 45 years of age dying in 20 minutes today.

Then, in response to a question from Chris, Humphries turned it into a unifying event for the country.

Commemoration Day, 2013 #nlpoli

Tread softly here! Go reverently and slow!
You let your soul go down upon its knees
And with bowed head, and heart abased strive hard
To grasp the future gain in the sore loss!
For not one foot of this dank sod but drank
Its surfeit of the blood of gallant men.
Who for their faith their hope – for life and liberty
Here made the sacrifice – here gave their lives
And gave right willingly – for you and me.

-srbp-