20 January 2017

Another premier... same health care facility #nlpoli

A gaggle of provincial politicians representing districts along the west coast of Newfoundland turned up in Corner Brook on Friday for another one of the set-piece media events that government's uncommunications bureaucracy loves if only for their mind-numbing sameness.

The headline on the news release is simple:  "Premier announces New Long-Term Care Facility for Corner Brook".  Construction will start this fall, according to the very first sentence.

120 beds for long-term care.  15 beds for palliative (end-of-life) care.  Another 10 beds for rehabilitative care.

The second paragraph - all in bold according to the template so folks know it is a quote from the most important person - starts with the obligatory statement that every action of government and its employees from bowel movements to budgets is guided by the latest Roadmap to Salvation announced last fall in  hideously expensive media event.   As polls showed, no one was impressed by it.

In keeping with standard government practice of burying meaningful information below platitudes and bumpf,  you have to get to the third paragraph to find out what is actually happening. The government crowd are asking for companies to line up to get on a list of people to eventually submit proposals on the project.

You have to wade through another paragraph from the guy running the department running this lengthy process to find out that once they get everyone in a line,  they'll go looking for actual proposals to build the home.

Second bit of hard information - the actual news - is that one sentence in Paragraph 5.

Then there's a paragraph of  platitudes from the health minister, followed by an entirely needless paragraph describing the unprecedented brilliance of the latest Roadmap to Salvation.

And then come three "quick facts" that aren't really facts at all and certainly don't include the two bits of actual news in the entire news release.

None one would blame the fine folks in Corner Brook for being just a wee bit sceptical about this government announcement. After all, this is just the latest in a long string of announcements that government was building some kind of health care facility on a piece of ground in Corner Brook.  It began 10 years ago with Danny Williams and Tom Marshall making an election pledge for a new hospital. By 2008, they managed to hire a company to look at a site. By 2013, there was no hospital but the government planners had come up with a scheme for five buildings on a site with a total of 230-odd beds.

April 2016:  still nada. Not enough planning work done to go ahead.  That's despite an announcement in 2014 from the crowd that used to run this place stating construction of the long-term care facility would start in 2015, with the hospital starting the year after.

10 years.

No one knows how many announcements.

And in this latest one the truth - compile a list and then ask the people on the list to submit bids - is buried in favour of a promise of imminent construction that is unlikely to be kept, if experience is any guide.

You really do have to wonder if the people involved in all this really think anyone believes this stuff.