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

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Five years already

His Dear Parting Words, though only a handful knew it at the time:

The Cupids celebrations, 400th Anniversary celebrations - I want to make sure everybody has a great summer and you spend time in your districts and get a chance to get around the Province, but this is a very special celebration. This is the oldest English colony in North America. It is equivalent, in my opinion, to the Quebec City celebrations that were held just two years ago or a year ago. Get out there, it is in the middle of August. Make sure you spend some time out there, but it is really worthwhile being there and being part of it. I know, Roland, I am going to see you out there. So we will see you there and at the Blueberry Festival. 
Take care.


Tuesday, June 09, 2015

The new battlemap

Because, for some reason, the most open and transparent government EVAR can't bring itself to do any such thing, nor even make the underlying data available for public download, here's a zoomable map of the 36 new electoral district in Newfoundland. (Since the four Labrador districts are unchanged, they aren't mapped here.)

Zoom in to see detail at the local level in your community or neighbourhood.

Apologies for the lack of district labels.


Tuesday, June 02, 2015


There's something positively oramesque about this bit of flattery, released as part of ATI release package PRE/13/2015:

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Legislative innovation

Ahhh... open government.

The ever-innovative people who brought you classics such as "There Are No Purple Files", "A .csv document Is A Computer Program", "That'll Be $10,000 Please, " and "We Used Electricity To Scan This Excel Spreadsheet So Now It's An Electronic Record", now bring you this, from recently-releases CYFS ATI release package CYFS/006/2015 [pdf link]:

And, starting at page 43 of the release package, this:

Pop quiz: Which legislative provision allows a body which is subject to the Access to Information Act to redact requested records because of swears?

Never let it be said that The Most Open And Accountable Government In The World is incapable of innovation. If it isn't in the Act... they will just make it up.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Indecision desk

In three provinces or territories, coloured here in red, a tie vote in a provincial or territorial election is decided by a random draw, or, in the case of PEI, a coin toss.
In Ontario and New Brunswick (blue), the returning officer casts a deciding vote.
In the rest of the country, and federally (green), the tie result is voided and a new election is held.
The numbers are references to the relevant provision of the appropriate electoral legislation.


Thursday, May 07, 2015

Can't do that, you're not 'llowed

For mysterious reasons known only to The Most Open And Transparent Government Evar (TMOATGE), you are not allowed to copy and paste text from the PDF of TMOATGE's final budget speech.


False advertising

The increasingly verbose and grandiose titles of every budget of the DDD — Danny-Dunderdale-Davis — era:

2004: Protecting Our Future
2005: A New Future...A Renewed Pride
2006: The Right Choices: Momentum for Growth and Prosperity
2007: Vision. Action.
2008: Securing a Sustainable Future
2009: Building on Our Strong Foundation
2010: The Right Investments – For Our Children and Our Future
2011: Standing Strong: For Prosperity. For Our Future. For Newfoundland and Labrador
2012: People and Prosperity: Responsible Investments for a Secure Future
2013: A Sound Plan, A Secure Future
2014: Shared Prosperity, Fair Society, Balanced Outlook
2015: Balancing Choices for a Promising Future

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Ten years later...

A gem from the increasingly-distant past:

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member is aware, we have taken the long-term heath care issue to the forefront in this Province. As a matter of fact, during our last Budget, we confirmed the initiative on the West Coast, which you are very familiar with, we have confirmed the initiative in Clarenville, and we have confirmed the initiative in Labrador. All of those are now proceeding. You know what is being done on the West Coast. You know when you were in power, when your government was in power, there were all kinds of waffling, and going back and forth, and public-private partnerships, and it was going to be private, it was going to be public, it was going to be a $70 million exercise. We are going about it right. We are going to do it right. We are planning it properly.

- Danny Williams, April 20, 2005

Monday, May 04, 2015

Investor profile

The percentage of press releases which contain the words "invest(ment/s/ed/ing)" in the title, in the context of an announcement of government spending, 1996 to 2015 year-to-date.


Friday, May 01, 2015

More notable quotables

From the pages of the recent past in House of Assembly Hansard:

To clue up, I just want to acknowledge that this Budget is a great Budget. Some of the things, the Leader of the NDP even took credit for one of our biggest pieces of it: removing the HST from our home heating oil, but she is voting against it.
- Terry French, May 12, 2011  The NDP government in Nova Scotia, they brought in legislation that removed their provincial share of the HST on heat and light, but to pay for it they raised their HST. They raised their provincial share of the HST from 8 per cent to 10 per cent. In other words, they put the HST up on everything else and took it off heat and light.
- Tom Marshall, May 17, 2011  When you take all that into account, Mr. Speaker, it is much better to approach the tax system as we have – and we have not raised HST, which would affect everyone, as we have seen in other provinces. So, I would suggest that our approach to taxation is certainly a lot better for the people of this Province than the tax, tax, tax suggestions of the NDP.
- Jerome Kennedy, April 17, 2013  At the end of this fiscal year, Nova Scotians will have paid more HST than they paid four years ago. In fact, at the end of this fiscal year Nova Scotians will have paid 45 per cent more HST than they paid four years ago – 45 per cent more. That is the NDP philosophy. That is more than $500 million more in HST in an economy that has been stagnated by the New Democratic Party. That is what the folks opposite hope is in store for Newfoundland and Labrador.
- Steve Kent, May 9, 2013  Now, the one thing I will say, of course, what we could have done is done what the NDP in Nova Scotia and Manitoba did and raise HST that affects everyone, especially the poor and the vulnerable. We chose not to do that; we raised a $50 fee here on a transaction.
- Jerome Kennedy, May 14, 2013


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Notable quotables

Some choice quotes from the recent past of debates in the House of Assembly:

The people of this Province clearly still remember the situation we faced in 2003 and they do not want to go back there. In 2003 we inherited a fiscal mess, massive deficits, the worst per capita debt burden of the country by far, crumbling infrastructure, beleaguered social programs, high taxes, massive out-migration, a lack of strategic planning in both the resource and social sectors, and, most importantly, an attitude of despair.

- Danny Williams , March 10, 2008

Those who do not want us to run a deficit, the only other option is to cut spending, but if we are going to cut spending then we cannot come up with money for new satellite dialysis units. If they want us to cut spending, if they want us to go back to a balanced budget then tell us what they want us to cut spending on because that is the choice? Raise taxes or cut spending, both of those policies, right now with a fragile economy, are wrong.

- Tom Marshall , March 23, 2010

I would like to talk more about other investments and what this government has done, but if the Opposition wants us to cut or raise taxes then maybe that is what we should do but I do not think we are going to do that, Mr. Chair.

- Clayton Forsey , March 23, 2010

When times are bad and the jobs are scarce, we want to provide opportunities for the people of the Province. We do not want to slam on the brakes. We do not want to raise taxes when there is a recession going or economic uncertainty going on. We do not want to cut spending when there is economic hardship and uncertainty going on. We want to do the opposite. We want to lower taxes when there is a recession. We want to spend more. We want to do the spending because the private sector is not doing it.

- Tom Marshall , May 31, 2010

As I indicated earlier in my remarks, because of the fiscal prudence of this government, because we ran four years of surpluses, we accumulated a lot of cash, and that money will be used this year to finance our deficit. Yes, we are running a deficit, but we are running a deficit deliberately. We ran a deficit last year deliberately because it is good economic policy; it is good governance to do so.

- Tom Marshall , May 31, 2010

From our perspective in Newfoundland and Labrador, I think for the first time, and I am not standing to take credit for this, I am standing to say on behalf of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, that I think we are in a really privileged position at this particular point in our development. We are in a bubble. I think we are in a protected bubble. The world situation is deteriorating. There is a lot of debt there, but one comment was made that the debt that is been incurred during the last twelve to eighteen months in order to get the world through the recession will not be corrected until 2030. A huge, staggering statement that it is going to take that long for the rest of the world to get up to speed. However, when I look at what is happening here in Newfoundland and Labrador, the fact that we do have our debt reduced, the fact that we have our pension funds under control, the fact that we have reduced taxes, the fact that we are doing things which countries that do not have the benefits that we have, that do not have the natural resources that we have – and that is in the area of research, development and innovation.

- Danny Williams , June 24, 2010

If you look at an example right now of governments that are running deficits in this country, well, how do you eliminate a deficit, whether it is in your health authority, in a department, or in a government? You either have to reduce services or you have to raise taxes. Now, I do not know, there may be other ways – or your revenues increase – but we are lucky in that respect, that our revenues are increasing. We always have to plan for the future, Mr. Speaker. We cannot simply continue to spend, spend, spend as if that will last forever.

- Jerome Kennedy , December 13, 2010

We decided that we would continue to stimulate the economy, and we deliberately planned a deficit of $194 million in order to provide jobs and opportunities for Newfoundland and Labrador families. Fortunately, things worked out, the economy grew. We did not have to raise taxes; we did not have to cut spending to balance the books. The economy grew. Because the economy was growing, it generated new income and enabled us to have a surplus now – the fifth surplus in the last six years.

- Tom Marshall , March 22, 2011

Now, Mr. Speaker, government only has two ways to find revenue. We either get it from royalties and taxes, Mr. Speaker, paid by industry, business, and the people of the Province, or we have to raise taxes. There are only two ways, Mr. Speaker.

- Kathy Dunderdale , December 13, 2012

In projecting a significant deficit earlier this year, we could have made the easy choice to raise taxes or to let spending increase, which could have increased our debt, but we will not jeopardize the progress we have made as a Province. You do not borrow to pay for day-to-day expenses and send the bill to your children down the line.

- Jerome Kennedy , March 26, 2013

We are certainly not going to embrace her solution, which she announced two weeks ago, to raise taxes on hardworking Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. That is not our plan, Mr. Speaker.

- Kathy Dunderdale , April 15, 2013

The position is clear; the Leader of the NDP has stated publicly that she believes in raising taxes. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a report commissioned by the Newfoundland Federation of Labour also agrees with the same. There is no question that the NDP position in this Province is raise taxes.

- Jerome Kennedy , April 17, 2013

What is interesting is that they want to raise taxes on the very union members who support them. I am going to show you today that taxing the rich in this Province is really somewhat of a suggestion. It is a suggestion that simply cannot work; there are not enough rich. It depends how you define that term.

- Jerome Kennedy , April 17, 2013

What we have is that the number of people who are in that $40,000 to $90,000 range is the majority of people. So, if you are going to raise taxes to the point that it has an impact – because I have already indicated, to add 1 per cent on people who make more than $100,000 will raise you $12 million. To raise 1 per cent on people who make more than $200,000 will make you $5.3 million. That is not the kind of money you need when your expenses are like they are today in terms of our expenses and expenditures. What would happen, we would be forced to, by adopting the NDP policy, tax the middle-income earners. Again, Mr. Speaker, they are the people we are trying to protect, along with the lower-income earners.

- Jerome Kennedy , April 17, 2013

We have heard from some members of the Opposition as well: Did we consider raising taxes? Who do we raise taxes to, Mr. Speaker? They accuse us of having the highest corporate business tax rates. They say we need to raise taxes, but who do you do it to? We already – if you listen to them say – have the highest business tax rates, so we are limited. We are limited in that, Mr. Speaker. We need to, but we do have a high economy. People have jobs, people are coming home.

- Glenn Littlejohn , May 2, 2013

Now, that is what they are going to do. That is how you are going to pay for it. What else are we going to do? What is left? What are government's options when it comes to getting money, Mr. Chair? You raise taxes, you increase your revenues, or what?

- Jerome Kennedy , May 9, 2013

So they have to raise taxes, and that is where it is, Mr. Chair, because that is what NDP governments do. They spend and they tax, tax, and tax. I do not have in front of me the Leader of the NDP's most recent promulgation on Open Line where she said: There are tax avenues open to the Province; they chose not to take advantage of them. To equate what we are doing here today as somehow or other creating unfairness, I really have difficulty with that. If you look at our Poverty Reduction Strategy and you look at the fact that 60 per cent of our spending is in the social sector, yet we are facing a deficit.

- Jerome Kennedy , May 9, 2013

Now, I want to come to the fee increase. The Premier, and I have said this before, could have taken the easy way out. The easy way out is simply to leave it to someone else. It is someone else's problem. Well, Mr. Speaker, what I was told last week in a meeting with a number of different agencies: If you leave it someone else long enough, then you will gather debt. Again, that is what you are going to have to do if you are going to have all of these wonderful programs that the NDP put forward. You either have to borrow or raise taxes. You will borrow so much you cannot pay your debt. When you cannot pay your debt you run into a crisis like we have seen in Europe.

- Jerome Kennedy , May 13, 2013

When this government came to power in 2003, the tax burden on families in this Province was absolutely excessive. Mr. Speaker, I can tell you that this Premier and this government is not going back there. In projecting a significant deficit earlier this year, we could have made the easy choice to raise taxes quite easily, but we did not. The fact that we have lowered taxes since coming into office speaks to our commitment to helping those working families. We have lowered taxes for working families in Newfoundland and Labrador by over a half billion dollars. We actually have in Newfoundland and Labrador, Mr. Speaker, the most competitive tax regime in Atlantic Canada – but you will not hear the parties opposite talking about that.

- Steve Kent , May 14, 2013

We need people who will be responsible. We need people in government who will make considered decisions built upon sound research. We need people who will listen to the people and will also be responsible and make sure that no, we are not going to raise taxes irresponsibly. We are not going to ramp the debt of this Province up to an uncontrollable level. We are going to be concerned about the future of Newfoundland and Labrador. We are going to be concerned about our children and we are not going to be irresponsible.

- Wade Verge , May 14, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I find it difficult to take advice on dealing with multinationals from the leader of a party who said that she would raise taxes and throw multinationals out of this Province if she ever became leader of the government. So I am not intending to take advice from her, but what I will say is to continue with what I said a few moments ago: that it is our government that has taken a leadership role every opportunity that we have been able to do so to support workers in this Province, to advance workers' causes and support them and their families.

- Darin King , December 3, 2013


Confidential to the PC Party of NL