20 February 2017

CBC confused by repetition of decade-old hospital promise #nlpoli

Maybe the poor folks at CBC were just confused.

Heaven knows it can be confusing with all the announcements of the hospital in Corner Brook since 2007.

"Price tag missing,"  the headline screamed, "as Corner Brook hospital finally gets green light."

The price tag should be missing because... wait for it... the government didn't give the hospital the green light.

Read the very first sentence of the official news release.

Premier Dwight Ball "confirmed the government's commitment" to build a hospital in Corner Brook.

That's it.

No green light.

Ball couldn't tell you how much it will cost because they haven't seen the proposals that are going to come in response to the request for proposals.  Issue a request for proposals is really all that Ball and his colleagues did on Friday.   Everything after that, ranging from what will be in the new facility to when somebody will start building the bloody thing is up in the air.

By contrast, NTV got the story bang-on correct, by the way. "The promise to build a new hospital in Corner Brook has been made again (by zombies)."

Cringe-worthy passive voice sentence, and all, but factually correct. All Dwight Ball did was promise to build a new hospital just as Danny Williams and Tom Marshall did a decade ago and as every Premier since has promised.

It's not as though reporters have not seen precisely this same thing less than 30 days ago, either. That's why the CBC's massive shag-up of a story is a bit odd.  Ball and a similar gaggle of politicians turned in Corner Brook at the end of January to announce a new long-term care home. Actually, they just announced a request for proposals, which would put them a couple of steps away from starting construction.

A couple of steps, at least. Frankly, if the last crowd are any guide,  issuing a request for proposals is like 15 steps away from another announcement affirming government's commitment to eventually building something.


Now given the size of the province,  the way the population is distributed, the age of Western Memorial, and so on, they will have to build some sort of health centre in Corner Brook. Eventually.  At some point.  They've needed to replace it for more than 25 years.

But saying you will eventually build something - confirming a commitment to build the hospital - isn't the same as actually approving the construction.  After all, if you measure something as approved the day the politician announces it, folks in the conventional media would say Muskrat Falls started in November 2010 and not counted it from the entirely artificial date in November 2012 made up by Nalcor.