30 January 2017

Duff in the hole encore #nlpoli

Oh dear.

The CBC has gone off to the mainland to get Duff Conacher to make a comment about the need for political finance reform in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Three observations:

1.  There is a desperate need for campaign finance reform in Newfoundland and Labrador.  SRBP has been writing about it relentlessly for a dozen years.  By comparison, the conventional media simply couldn't be arsed to cover the subject more often than not.

When they did notice something was amiss, as in 2006,  they were inclined to follow the line set by the government-of-the-day rather than have a look at the facts for themselves. What they would have discovered in the massive patronage scheme that ran here between 1996 and 2006, for example, was that the the level of misuse of public funds went *up* after 2003.

And after that they'd have found all sorts of other odd things.  Donations by companies getting hefty contracts from government?  Absolutely, a problem. Tired of writing about it.  Finance minister and later premier Tom Marshall financed his entire election campaign in 2011 out of a series of seven cheques from construction companies all of which did work for the government as Marshall shovelled cash into capital works at an unprecedented - and unsustainable - rate.

But what about political donations by town councils and the police?  Or what about a politician who ran a charity while he was in office that was funded by his government salary)?

2,  Conacher knows shag-all about what is happening here, as some of his previous comments have shown.  That actually weakens the case for campaign finance reform here since he is going to miss more than he hits.

Duff's good for the penetrating insights into the obvious - we need reform because it lends itself to corruption - but as with the CBC story his ignorance of the particulars makes him look like a bit of a goof at best or a blind nob at worst.  You see, Duff's been stonily silent on far worse things between 2003 and 2015 than anything he said before 2003 or since 2015.

3.  Stunned as me arse or what?  You really have to shake your head in disbelief at Dwight Ball's comments in the CBC story.  His election platform included a promise to change the campaign finance laws.  Instead of playing that up, Ball goes on the defensive making he look like he opposes finance reform.

That's the kind of stuff that must leave everyone outside of the Premier's Office banging their heads on the wall in frustration.  Inside the office, it's likely high-fives all around as the boss nailed another one to the wall.

Nailed his thumb more like it.