"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Comms advice

PREMIER WILLIAMS: If we could only keep the Quebec lovers quiet, Mr. Speaker, it would be nice.

PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, we are in the process, and we are in the process, of course, of estimating exactly what those liabilities are. As I indicated in a previous question from Mademoiselle, the Leader of the Opposition...

"It's really unfortunate when one of our own comes out and betrays us like that."

WILLIAMS: Mark your "X" for "Eddiot"! Good luck to ya.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

On free votes

(Private to Sandy Collins.)

Herewith, a cleverly colour-coded table showing how each MHA voted in each final budget vote of the PC era, 2004 to 2015 inclusive. (Click to embiggen.)

Incredibly, in seven of those twelve years, the budget was adopted on a voice vote only, three members having failed to force a recorded division. Those voice votes are indicated in pale yellow.

To repeat: in seven of the twelve Danny Williams, Kathy Dunderdale, Tom Marshall and Paul Davis years, the multi-billion-dollar provincial budget was adopted without a recorded vote.

In the other five years, unsurprisingly, the recorded vote broke down entirely along party lines. PC MHAs present for the vote, voted yea. Opposition MHAs voted nay. Blanks indicate either that the member was absent, or was the Speaker or acting as Speaker for that vote. An asterisk draws your attention to the fact that that member was present for the vote, but in a different caucus, having changed affiliation.

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Wednesday, February 03, 2016

You can run it through a scanner, but you can't hide

A four-month old report containing recommendations on beefing up St. John's City Council's conflict of interest rules was finally posted on Wednesday, deep within the bowels of the City's website, and without any obvious link near the top of that site's navigation, after it was leaked.

Volume I — where's Volume II? — of the report by former Premier and Chief Justice Clyde Wells is intitled "Report to St. John's City Council on Recommended Adjustments to The City's Existing Ethical Conduct Legislation".

The report is fairly hefty and, for those interested in such matters, quite fascinating and eye-opening.

The reaction of City Council, of course, is to freak out about the fact that this document, dated September 2015, ever got before the public's eye in the first place.

The cat being out of the bag, the folks in New Gower Street decided they might as well post the report to the internet for computers. Despite being "born digital", the document was, naturally, printed off, then run through a scanner before being posted as a PDF.

A non-textual PDF.

Since it only takes a few seconds to convert a non-textual PDF to much more useful textual one, this corner has taken it upon itself to rectify this obviously inadvertent oversight on the part of the very open and transparent municipal government in St. John's. Here you go, OCR errors excepted.


Friday, January 29, 2016

Danny's Legacy (II)

From the Public Accounts, 2001-2015, passim, a chart of an abstract of the provincial debt and other liabilities, by category, as per yesterday evening's chart, but with the addition of contractual obligations. Values are in $-billion.
Contractual Obligations are described thusly in Note 11 to the Public Accounts:


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Danny's Legacy

From the Public Accounts, 2001-2015, passim, a chart of an abstract of the provincial debt and other liabilities, by category. Values are in $-billion.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016



Saturday, January 16, 2016

On consultation (V)

Paul Davis, March 17, 2015:

MR. BALL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Well, last year government delivered its Budget on March 27.  The year before that it was March 26, but this year the Premier has not said when he will introduce his Budget.
I ask the Premier: When will this year's Budget be introduced to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador?
MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!
PREMIER DAVIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I thank the hon. member for his question on this.  We know that it is on the minds of people.  The Minister of Finance has said repeatedly that we would not be bringing down our Budget until after the federal government brings down their budget, which we do not have an exact date now but we know it is expected to be some time in the first or second week of April.  Following that time we will bring down the provincial Budget.
In recent weeks, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance and other ministers in our government have been travelling throughout Newfoundland and Labrador consulting with the public, consulting with Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.  We have been encouraging people to participate in the consultative process, either in person or online, and we have been asking people to share their views on the Budget process that we are currently undertaking.
I can tell you it is a comprehensive process that has been undertaken, Mr. Speaker, and I look forward to receiving and presenting that Budget in April.

On consultation (IV)

Tracey Perry, December 10, 2008:

MS PERRY: With a net debt forecast of $9.2 billion by March of 2009, during a global economic recession, we have done an outstanding job governing this great Province. Ten short years ago our net debt to GDP ratio was 70.2 per cent. With Progressive Conservative leadership, governance and policies, this will soon be down to 27.5 per cent. Outstanding indeed!

Although we will not fully escape the global downturn, we are moving ahead. Again, using the Coast of Bays as an example, let's take a look at aquaculture. The fish are already in the water swimming. By the time they are harvested, the global recession - we should be coming out of it. We are anticipating the announcement of new developments and investments in the near future, so great things are happening in my rural, remote district.

Our policies will provide economic stimulus through investing in information technology, innovation, research and development, aquaculture, and business attraction. However, we must all realize it is imperative for government to continue to be prudent and responsible with the public purse. While there is significant good news, we do recognize that all is not rosy.


Now back to today's motion seeking a summit. Mr. Speaker, this government will act on interventions as they become necessary, and it will be in consultation with the greatest economic minds and expertise in the Province, the country, and within the G-20 nations. At this juncture we do not need to waste time, money and resources organizing a one-day blitz when the door is always open for input from the public at any time. We have many venues to consult, including the business caucus, economic development agencies, chambers of commerce, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, and the list goes on. We all have e-mail, too, and anyone with innovative ideas or advice is welcome to send it to us at any time, on any issue. Should our situation drastically worsen, perhaps this issue can be revisited, but for now staying the course is yielding the best results any jurisdiction can expect in a global recession. I would also challenge that an invited guest list to a summit is not as inclusive as the methods now in place.

Mr. Speaker, there is no one I would rather have as the captain of my ship than our hon. Premier, Danny Williams.

Friday, January 15, 2016

On consultation (III)

Steve Kent, January 21, 2015:

MR. KENT: I  sincerely think that we can achieve everything that an all-party committee could potentially achieve through the process we are going to roll out in the weeks ahead.  It will be a full, Province-wide consultation process and everybody in the Province is welcome to get involved.  We want to consult with over 500,000 people in the Province, not just politicians.  We want to engage the public, not just all the parties that are represented in this House.

On consultation (II)

Keith Hutchings, May 22, 2008:

MR. HUTCHINGS: What did this government and this minister do in the Budget this year in 2008? We eliminated the 15 per cent insurance tax, took it off the books. One of the other items we heard in our consultations around the Island and in Labrador, in terms of the business community and driving the economy, was the payroll tax that is currently being paid. Employers said: That is burdensome to us in some regards. Can that be moved? So this government moved from a threshold of $600,000 to $1 million. So, over 300 employers basically do not pay that tax any more.

Mr. Speaker, we went out, consulted, listened to stakeholders, listened to what they have to say, and indeed proceeded to act on that. That is what we did in this Budget in 2008.


Another $4 million dollars will be spent to increase teaching resources, $2.5 million to implement the recommendations of the ISSP and Pathways Report, so we are moving forward. As pointed out earlier, as well, for my colleague who spoke prior, this is an initiative by the minister and the government that identified a need, consulted, and then moved forward to deal with it. That is how this government operates, Mr. Speaker.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

On consultation (I)

David Brazil, May 4, 2015:

MR. BRAZIL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I want to make it clear to the hon. Leader of the Opposition that any time we consult with the general public, regardless of what issue it is, it is never a waste of time, Mr. Speaker.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!
MR. BRAZIL: It is very important for us, and particularly me, as a minister, to assess exactly what –
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!
MR. BRAZIL: – people think is the type of service we can provide, and outline to them exactly what our financial restrictions may be, or our challenges, and see if they can be part of not only outlining what should be done, but how they can be partners in that, Mr. Speaker.
So when we open up dialogue as an open government, we engage the general public to come in and that is how we will solve the problems in this Province and engage people by having a better service for the people of Labrador and every other service we offer in this Province.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


The Progressive Conservatives under Danny Williams were elected on October 21, 2003.

The new House of Assembly began its first session on March 18, 2004, 149 days later.

The Progressive Conservatives under Danny Williams were re-elected on October 9, 2007.

The new House of Assembly began its first session on March 10, 2008, 153 days later.

The Progressive Conservatives under Kathy Dunderdale were re-elected on October 11, 2011.

The new House of Assembly began its first session on March 5, 2012. 146 days later.

There is a good argument for the House of Assembly to resume sitting earlier than March.

There is no such good argument, however, to be made by any of the sad-sack band of PC survivors, once members of the Williams and Dunderdale caucuses, who now constitute the official opposition.