The word that comes to mind when you look at the new provincial Conservative party website or the davis165.ca site isn’t fresh, new, rebounding, or even trying.
It is “alone”.
You see lots of pictures of Paul Davis.
The New England governors and eastern Canadian premiers were in town on Monday for a quick meeting.
The only thing that seemed to make local news was talk about electricity sales. This is old hat for regular readers, but it is worth going over again.
New England wants to buy electricity. They can get lots of it very cheaply thanks to shale gas lately. How cheaply, you may wonder? Well, in August it was running around four to five cents a kilowatt hour wholesale, not including transportation.
To put that in Muskrat Falls perspective, it is less than half the cost of making electricity according to the estimate five years ago. Where the price is these days is anybody’s guess.
There are times when you have to wonder if provincial cabinet ministers actually realise how moronic they sound to everyone else.
David Brazil is the transportation minister. By his own admission, a company in Romania could build ferries for the ferry system in Newfoundland and Labrador for a better price than anyone else.
That better price included – by his own claim – if the provincial government had to pay a multi-million penalty on the project under federal tariff law.
NDP leader Earle McCurdy called the province’s major open line show on Thursday and by the sounds of things he hasn’t backed off the position that the size of the government’s financial problems will mean more cuts.
Sure he said he was opposed to austerity, but what Earle did say was that the government will have to cut jobs, lay people off and slash spending to cope with its financial problems.
Potato, potato, Earle.
“All options are going to have to be considered I guess, from both the revenue and the expenditure side, to make the best of a challenging situation,” NDP leader Earle McCurdy told CBC on Wednesday.
“All options” includes more job cuts, spending reductions, and public sector layoffs in addition to higher taxes.
That endorsement of “austerity” as a serious option is a radical change of direction for the provincial Dippers,. Up to now, they’ve been adamantly opposed to any cuts to public spending no matter how bad things got.
There’s something a bit surreal about the news this week.
Well, not really the news itself, so much as the way people are reacting to it.
The drop in oil prices and the forecast decline of jobs in Newfoundland and Labrador are not anything people haven;t heard before.
And yet people seem genuinely shocked.
Let’s understand, there is absolutely nothing – not a single thing – about any of this information that didn’t come with plenty of warning.
Does anyone really take Wade Locke seriously anymore?
Go back to last October to see why.
The next time reporters have Wade on camera, give him a spoon to bend with his psychic ability.
Wade might just be able to do it. God knows he sure can’t figure out energy pricing and sound economic policy..
Most of you have probably never heard of a fellow named Alonzo John Gallishaw.
John Gallishaw is best remembered in his native land for his brief service in the Newfoundland regiment during the Great War. Wounded at Gallipoli, Gallishaw was invalided out of service and eventually went back to the United States. Born in St. John’s in 1890, Gallishaw had been in the United States at the time war broke out. He was studying English at Harvard University, of all places.
He took up a teaching appointment and after the Americans entered the war, Gallishaw enlisted in the American Army in January 1918. He took a commission and went to France as part of the American expeditionary force That was Gallishaw’s hat-trick since he had enlisted briefly in the Canadian army on the war to Newfoundland in 1915.
A couple of years after his war with one prime minister, Danny Williams was locked in another war with another federal first minister.
Williams was demanding compensation for yet another supposed injustice.
“What I said before and I said going in, this is about principles,” Williams told reporters in November 2007 “but it's also about money as well. At the end of the day, the promise and the principle converts to cash for the bottom line ….”
The pattern set in 2004 was repeating itself.
The story of the 2004 war with Ottawa is the story of disconnects, mismatches, incongruities, of things that just didn't add up.
October 2004 is a good example. In the middle of the month, Loyola Sullivan, the provincial lead negotiator, went to Ottawa for a meeting with federal finance minister, Ralph Goodale. he headed the negotiations for the federal government in the effort to find a draft agreement.
Sullivan told reporters the chances of a deal looked good. The two governments were talking about something that would last eight years and bring the provincial government between $1.4 and $2.0 billion depending on the price of oil.
At exactly the same time, Premier Danny Williams was telling reporters the provincial position had not changed. "There are no movements from the government of Newfoundland and Labrador,” Williams told Rob Antle of the Telegram on October 16. “There's no doubt about.that. We have no intention of moving.”
On June 4, 2004, Danny Williams delivered a keynote speech to delegates at the oil and gas conference organized annual by the association that represented offshore service and supply companies.
“Newfoundlanders and Labradorians should not support any candidate or any party in the upcoming federal election” he said, “that does not clearly and unequivocally provide us with a commitment to keep 100 per cent of our provincial revenues under the Atlantic Accord.”
The day after Williams’ speech, Martin was in St. John’s as part of his election tour of Eastern Canada. Martin told the CBC that in an early morning conversation with Williams, “I have made it very clear that the proposal that he has put forth is a proposal that we accept."
New Democratic party candidate Linda McQuaig caused a bit of a stir in the first week of the federal election campaign when she said that in order to meet the national carbon emission reduction targets, we’d likely have to leave most of the oil sands oil in the ground, undeveloped.
Writing in the Toronto Star on Tuesday, Seth Klein of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives said the reaction to what he called McQuaig’s “innocuous and true statement” is just further evidence that “our politics do not allow for serious — and truly honest — discussion of the most pressing issues of our time.”
Klein then decries the fact that all sorts of politicians from all sorts of parties are not embracing all sorts of policies that Klein thinks are not just good ideas but absolutely correct ones. Therefore, our politics is bad.
Well, it isn’t actually.
The 2004 “war” with Ottawa over a version of federal Equalization payments to Newfoundland and Labrador is an early episode in the provincial Conservative administration.
The confrontation helped propel Premier Danny Williams to unprecedented heights of popularity. This, in turn, affected the rest of his tenure as Premier. It was a critical element in his quest for political hegemony in the province during his first term.
In SRBP’s review of Ray Blake’s new book on federal provincial relations, there are some comments about Blake’s chapter on Danny Williams and the war with Ottawa in 2004. The review wasn’t the place to get into that. The subject is too big.
This post will explain the problems with Blake’s accounts and with other accounts of the period.
Labrador economy must diversify to survive, say opposition parties.
There is a CBC headline to conjure with.
Pure political magic for the two parties promising something different from what has gone on before.
Liberal leader Dwight Ball told CBC that we “must look at the other advantages that we would have available to us, things like power.”
"This government talks a lot about the export of power. I want to talk about using that power as a competitive advantage for us."
Lorraine Michael, for the New Democratic Party, said that "Government has to have long term plans that will deal with helping communities and workers when the issues arise." Michael thinks that we have been too dependent on private sector corporations in Labrador.
No one has ever heard those ideas before