Balancing act

Rob Antle
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Many factors make budgeting difficult, but province must control spending: Williams

Amidst increase revenues from the resource sector, Premier Danny Williams says the provincial government still needs to focus on controlling spending. Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

While the province is on track for better than expected financial results this year, Premier Danny Williams is warning that government spending has to be reined in to a "reasonable" level.
The provincial government budgeted to spend $7 billion this fiscal year.
That's 63 per cent higher than the Williams administration's first budget five years ago.
During the same timeframe, the rate of inflation was less than 10 per cent, according to Bank of Canada figures.
The premier said the significant spending increases were necessary.
"We had to do it in the beginning, because we had to play catch up," Williams told the editorial board of The Telegram last week.
"In all fairness to other governments, they didn't have the cash."
Revenues have grown sharply in recent years, driven by peak oil production levels, sky-high resource prices and lucrative benefits deals with Ottawa.
Following years of budget surpluses, the financial news was expected to be less bright for 2009-10, with the province projecting a $750-million deficit.
Williams said the government decided to pour additional cash into infrastructure spending to combat the recession.
But he noted it may be time to rein that in.
See HEALTH, page A2
"Now we've got to start to try and find areas where we can contain this, and keep it under control, so that we're going to maintain and keep the lights on in these new buildings, that we've got enough operationally," Williams said.
Higher than projected oil prices should help drive additional revenues into the treasury, cutting the deficit.
"Hopefully, with revenues up now, our deficit won't be as high," the premier noted. "If that's the case, then we'll start to pull back to reasonable spending."
Williams replied "good question" when asked to describe what "reasonable" spending is.
"We have to continue with spending that enables us to have a modern infrastructure, and at the same time try to keep our costs under control."
One of the areas the government is targeting will be politically sensitive.
"We need to try and find savings in health care," Williams said.
The government is spending $1 billion more on health care now than it did five years ago.
"That can't keep going. If revenues are up, we're OK, we can sustain it now. If revenues come down, and we start to lose some of the petroleum revenues, we get back to $4 (billion) or $5 billion (in revenues), then health care is going to have to come back. So then all the layered things that have been put in place are not sustainable."
Halting hikes in health spending may be easier said than done. Recent proposed lab and X-ray cuts at Flower's Cove and Lewisporte led to a public uproar, and the province ultimately reversing the decisions.
Williams said the government needs to "provide centralized, good regional services in the various areas" while finding places to cut or control costs.
On the revenue side of the ledger, the premier acknowledged that forecasting is difficult because of the province's reliance on volatile resource revenues.
"It's a bit of a dog's breakfast, because your revenues are subject to oil prices, to oil production, to corporate taxes that are coming, to mining income - for example, Voisey's Bay has a strike on up there now - so there's a lot of variables. So there's a certain amount of estimating, guessing. It's not a term I like to use, but that's exactly what it is. It's an informed guess based on the best available information."
The province is expected to provide a more detailed update on the fiscal situation later in the fall.

rantle@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Bank of Canada, The Telegram

Geographic location: Ottawa, Lewisporte

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Jordan from NL: I will be optimistic when there is proof that I should be optimistic. Being optimistic and spinning things in a positive way only works when there is valid reason to do so, otherwise, it is just a device used by politicians and con artists to mislead and deceive people. Being optimistic about the economic realities of Newfoundland and Labrador is like telling a terminally ill cancer patient that he will be just fine, like telling JFK he only sustained a flesh wound or like telling the captain of the Titanic that his ship only hit a bergy bit!!!

  • Bones II
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    don: Global analysts predict energy prices are going through the roof as China emerges a fiercer competitor for oil reserves in a very short amount of time. Quebec Hydro has cemented my belief in this because of their experience in the industry and their willingness to take on a 5 billion dollar debt to secure new facilities and transmission capacity from NB. I will be happy to come back here and say I told ya so when it happens and I hope you find the recent fuel increase as ignorable as the rest of us do, lol.

    Joan: Why would you complain about a ten year wait for Hebron Ben-Nevis in lieu of the 60+ years we have been waiting for equality in our own country? Where have you been? Haven't you seen NL over the last 60+ years? Politically and economically, NL has been a beggar and a pauper to the rest of Canada since joining. Ten years seems like joke compared to that. I'd like to remind you, as well, that in 2041, we gain ownership of a very large production facility that is a fixed and permanent structure....I realize, by your logic, that this is to far away to matter, but the fact remains..........well until a Liberal sells the water running through it I suppose, lol.


    Williams can still have my vote. He doesn't fit the typical political template. This approach to the media the last couple of days must have the haters baffled, lol.

  • Martin
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Aging population equals increase health care cost.

    People working in AB coming home to retire. Increases health care cost.

    these upwards pressures are going to make it diffcult to decrease healthcare cost.

    And Mr.William as the people have told you in there public protest.

    Health Care and Education are the two fundemental public goods to provide.

    Fail at providing those, you fail as a goverment.

  • Truth
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    ...your revenues are subject to oil prices, to oil production, to corporate taxes that are coming, to mining income for example, Voiseys Bay has a strike on up there now so theres a lot of variables. So theres a certain amount of estimating, guessing. Its not a term I like to use, but thats exactl...y what it is. Its an informed guess based on the best available information.

    Exactly. Guessing , though. Doesn't make me feel totally secure.

    Exactly, as in our apparent wealth ad sustainability of it now and in the future is all CONTINGENT on the value of oil. Yeah, it's a gamble, with a nonrenewable resource, no less. And so far, the rich have gotten richer from it (certainly Danny Himself), the cost of living here has SKYROCKETED, and the socioeconomic divide has never been more stark.

    Time will tell on these educated guesses , especially for us peasants.

  • DB
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    A newf's not happy until he has something to whine about.

  • Taxpayer ll
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    A billion dollars, I would like to know where all this money goes. Is it doctors saleries? I know the head of eastern health gets almost half a million a year in wages and benefits alone. We have such a tiny, tiny population here, less than some suberbs of major cities have, you would figure that a BILLION dollars would make a considerable difference to health care delivery in this Province. Yet we see the same problems now that we saw five years ago. The population hasn't changed. Where is this billion dollars being spent? Not to mention all the other billions that were already being spent. Time to take a good look at the health boards, with an eye towards how they are spending all these billions, because I for one don't think we are getting our monies worth.

  • g-man
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    how ironic is it when the premier annouces some kind of cutbacks in the future,we have all these accountants eager to write blogs to critisize.mr. williams,i know its a tuff job..i just wanted to thank you for some of the things you did to help the citizens of this province.1..saved the pensions of the teachers.2..negotiated a piece of the offshore oil.3..made all the public sevice happy by keeping them off the streets from striking for the next few years.4..got the taxes dropped off of car insurances.5..you dont even take a salary..i could go on with a few more things,but i dont think i need to.an to all the accountants and know it alls we have blogging on this site.i would bet half of you dont have a dollar in the bank.GREAT JOB MR.WILLIAMS.

  • don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Bones II from NL: In late 2007, Global analysts were saying that the stock market and world economy were solid and in great shape. In 2008 the bottom fell out of the world economy and the stock market tanked. I think I'll keep relying on the advice I get from people I know at OPEC and NYMEX including Ernie the gas pump jockey, so far, he's been right on the money!!!!!

  • STOP THE RACKET
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Premier Williams tell all of us what your government has do to generate any new revenue? All you seem to have going for you is the oil and the daily fluctuation in oil prices. One day a have province next day you cry poor old me. Blame everyone else when things go wrong and take credit for anything that makes you look good. The way I see it thats the BEST job you every had in your life. No matter what happens you come up with a way to make it all your idea. Oh by the way thanks for discovering all that oil. It was all your doing wasnt it? Thanks for all the long term contracts that were signed long before you showed up. Then again it was all probably in your mind years ago and you just let previous governments both PC and Liberal do it all for you. You say you have had better jobs well I fail to understand how anything could be any better than this. Your never wrong about anything and you answer to nobody. Total control and absoulte power. Yes that must be tough for sure.

  • joan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Bones--nobody pays much attention to what you say..They know,when Danny says jump bones ,you want to know how high..The hebron project is dead in the water ,only Williams keeps it alive for political reasons,you know that but Danny will never allow you to say so

  • Richard
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    Mr. Williams has my vote.

    Regret that some, including opposition parties, stretch the Have province staus to the nth degree. At sometime, and sooner than later, we all have to address preventive diseases and understand the enormous drain on the public purse. It took us a generation to adopt the metric system and if we are ever to change our province's health profile we must start at the school level, and that means grammar school. Preventive Health dollars have to show a return, programs have to come off websites and enter into small communities and actively into all classrooms. Physical exercise must take place, indoors or outdoors, in ALL schools.

    As for those at home, turn off the TV and move, do something. Taking drugs for for Type Two Diabetes, for Heart and circulatory problems have to be balanced with a healthy lifestyle to prevent further physical/mental deteriation. Simply, it makes no sense to be taking medications for the above ailments while continuing to smoke or eat like a front end loader.

    Time will come when one needs repetitive specialist care or specialist equipment, all increasingly costly, and the choice between staying in your community or moving to a regional centre for care.

    It is time to take control of our lives.

    Pay me now or pay me later.

  • Dave
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Don nothing could be further from the truth.

    Between now and 2011 the gravy train will continue to roll. Only after 2011 will someone, probably a new Liberal government, have to start cutting back to pay for Danny Williams's eight years of reckless overspending.

  • W
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Well here are a few suggestions:

    No raises for the handsomely paid MHA's, they are certainly higher paid than other workers in this province relative to similar jobs elsewhere in the country.

    Also, reduce the number of MHA's.
    BY my crude estimates each MHA costs us close to half a million. MHA salary is around 100K, staffers salaries are around $100K (assiatants, researchers etc..), office supplies, phone bills, cell phones, office rentals and the ever so elusive MHA constituency allowance. This is easily $500 000 per year.

  • joan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    PUFF--Danny has blown away all our oil money,Is anyone surpeised? Where is Hebron ben nevis? He paid 165 million to the oil companies for a stupid equatiy share.They opened an office in st.John's with it,now lie to us ,and tell us we will have to wait close to a decade,before it gets under-way,if then...Danny Williams is just one big cronic liar

  • don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Steve from NL: My sources told me in late 2007 that oil would hit nearly $150 a barrel in 2008. I didn't believe it then but that is exactly where the price went. So, I am not going to doubt them this time.

  • Jordan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    don from Newfoundland and Labrador: It's nice to see that even in these hard economic times that there are still people out there with such positive attitudes.

  • Shawn
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Cheers to Danny and his team! I have been driving across this great province of ours all year, and for the past 3 or 4 years, Danny has paved over most of the Trans Canada Hwy, made significant improvements to many sectors of the economy when all across Canada they are running deficits of Billions upon Billions of dollars. Now they are complaining about the H1N1 slow process when all across Canada the health boards are as slow or slower OR have closed the clinics entirely. People, remember we live in the best province, so if we need to line up for a couple of hours to get the shot, so what, too much griping is going on and we need to have a more positive attitude.

  • don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Some of you mentioned increased health care spending and the H1N1 crisis. Just look at how our governments Provincial and Federal treat us. Like cattle! Instead of Government renting adequate sites like convention centers or large hockey/sports centers which have comfortable seating for thousands, bathroom facilities and food service on site, the Government requires all of us, including the physically and mentally disabled, to line up in long lines for hours and hours in inclement weather. Surely, some people will become even more ill or suffer physically as a result of this inhumane treatment. Just imagine if you suffered from chronic back pain or irritable bowel disease or some other painful condition, would you appreciate or tolerate being forced to stand in line for hours to get a vaccine shot? Even the able-bodied and physically fit would find this situation intolerable. What kind of people do we have running our Governments? Do they have any common sense? Do they have any common decency? Do they have any compassion? Are we are just a nuisance for the bureaucrats and politicians to have to deal with? Do they care if delayed vaccination will result in people dying? Do they care if we have to stand in line for hours? This is just like the situation during Hurricane Katrina in the USA a few years ago. I watched coverage of the crisis on CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC and other TV networks, I noticed that all of the white people had left New Orleans and I was expecting at any moment to see convoys of US Army trucks and fleets of Charter buses coming to collect the thousands of black citizens and disabled people who were left behind. Much to my shock and sadness, no Army trucks came, no fleets of buses came, nobody came and many people died. A Conservative President George W. Bush didn't care about his citizens then and apparently Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Conservative Premier Danny Williams don't care about their citizens now! It is all about saving a buck while pretending that you are doing something to help.

  • Jay
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Don ask you sources could I have a loan of there crystal ball, thanks.

  • Steve
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Don,
    You have contacts in oil industry that can accurately predict the cost of oil per barrel?? Wow, I have been in the industry for 10 years and have never heard such a thing. Any inside info. on the next set of lotto numbers?

  • WTF
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    The 'source' must be Ernie the gas pump jockey or maybe the psychic hotline.

  • Frankie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    don may be right ... ppb crude may drop in price over the next year or so and here's why ... the current global recession wasn't caused by the whole subprime mortgage mess ... it was caused by $150USD per barrel oil ... the elevated price slowed the global market significantly. Resulting elevated transportation costs made it no longer cost-effective to ship raw material 1/2 way 'round the world and then finished goods back. This braking effect trickled right thru the system.
    So things start to recover and global recovery gets underway ... oil prices again rise north of $100USD/barrel ... what effect do you think that is going to have on any economic recovery? The problem is the nature of the global economy itself ... it runs on oil and oil has to be cheap for it to run well ...

  • tim
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    The sky must be about to fall, Danny Williams has finally said something that was not arrogant and hostile toward former Governments. Former Governments worked with cod fish as a revenue at 1 1/2 Cents a pound. Former Governments had to build hospitals, schools , clinics, 5-6000 miles of roads with no money or resource revenue. Oil exploration was all cost and this Government came to power just in time to spend the revenue planned for by the Premier that Williams brags about booting out .
    I saw Peckford come to power and increased Joeys debt by six times and did nothing to show for it.
    I am at this time neither red nor blue but I do like to see credit where credit is due.
    My credit is not due for this Government at this time and I doubt they can correct it after six years.

  • Bones II
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    don: In 2007, while global analysts were saying all that you claim, the general population of every country in the world was experiencing otherwise, first hand, everyday, and saw it differently, just as you and I did. I remember the population of Canada looking at our PM in a questioning manner because they couldn't personally relate to how good everything was supposed to be, lol.


    These days, the people and the analysts do not disagree. Populations can see and feel an energy hardship coming - take note of Quebec Hydro's purchase of debt ridden power facilities, to enhance the area they can sell to as well as the capacity they can put up for sale through expansions and upgrades.



    OPEC is self serving and most member countries have grossly overestimated reserves to be permitted larger export volumes ala rules of exporting. Hiding this from governments (though they most likely already know) and the general population is going to make the realization of peak oil a much harsher reality when it comes....very soon, to a planet near you if a major discovery is not made really quickly.


    It's bad that our future is contingent, right now, on the cost of a barrel of oil and minerals that will also run out faster than we want it to. These should be the best reasons to do everything we can to support our own people to profitably develop Lower Churchill and tap wind resources in our province. In 2041, the Upper Churchill will be ours too, it screams win-win and has the potential to provide an immediate offset to the loss of non-renewables.


    Joan: Yeah, I know, lol, that's what haters and stunned people usually say to me, lol. If you can add to the debate, please do, if you cannot, let the grown-ups play, lol. Hebron, yeah (eye roll) haha. Read anything lately you'd like to post a link to?

  • don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    The truth is starting to emerge. Before the general election of 2011 rolls around big cutbacks are coming to a town near you. Despite the fact that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has received increased revenues from offshore oil and mineral development, it still has a projected deficit of $750 million dollar deficit. That's the projected deficit, the actual deficit will be more in the range of $1 billion dollars. My contacts in the oil business tell me that oil prices are expected to plummet to around $45 dollars a barrel in 2010-2011. If that happens, revenue will not be sufficient to meet the Governments expenditures and deficits will skyrocket. If the Hydro-Quebec/NB Power deal is finalized in 2010, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador can forget its plans of a Lower Churchill hydro deal which would have resulted in huge profits from selling electricity to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI, Maine and New York. Hydro-Quebec will be in control of the power corridor and grid system and no deal which will be to our benefit will be possible. Despite Danny's pie in the sky optimism and rhetoric, once the effect of the windfall he received from offshore oil and Ottawa wears off, it will be downhill from here on. Newfoundland and Labrador is and always has been an economic basket case. Nothing that Danny Williams says or does will ever change that fact. Like one Newfoundland born businessman once said, Newfoundland and Labrador is a place in which you invest in to watch your money disappear. Danny missed the boat to get some relief from his fiscal minefield when he blew the chance to stop Hydro-Quebec. By creating an Atlantic Canadian Hydro-Power Corporation in concert with Nova Scotia, PEI and New Brunswick Danny could have secured a future major revenue stream which would have greatly assisted the Governments fiscal situation. Leaders without real vision, like Danny Williams, talk a good game but don't know how play a good game.

  • don
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    Jordan from NL: I will be optimistic when there is proof that I should be optimistic. Being optimistic and spinning things in a positive way only works when there is valid reason to do so, otherwise, it is just a device used by politicians and con artists to mislead and deceive people. Being optimistic about the economic realities of Newfoundland and Labrador is like telling a terminally ill cancer patient that he will be just fine, like telling JFK he only sustained a flesh wound or like telling the captain of the Titanic that his ship only hit a bergy bit!!!

  • Martin
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    Aging population equals increase health care cost.

    People working in AB coming home to retire. Increases health care cost.

    these upwards pressures are going to make it diffcult to decrease healthcare cost.

    And Mr.William as the people have told you in there public protest.

    Health Care and Education are the two fundemental public goods to provide.

    Fail at providing those, you fail as a goverment.

  • Bones II
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    don: Global analysts predict energy prices are going through the roof as China emerges a fiercer competitor for oil reserves in a very short amount of time. Quebec Hydro has cemented my belief in this because of their experience in the industry and their willingness to take on a 5 billion dollar debt to secure new facilities and transmission capacity from NB. I will be happy to come back here and say I told ya so when it happens and I hope you find the recent fuel increase as ignorable as the rest of us do, lol.

    Joan: Why would you complain about a ten year wait for Hebron Ben-Nevis in lieu of the 60+ years we have been waiting for equality in our own country? Where have you been? Haven't you seen NL over the last 60+ years? Politically and economically, NL has been a beggar and a pauper to the rest of Canada since joining. Ten years seems like joke compared to that. I'd like to remind you, as well, that in 2041, we gain ownership of a very large production facility that is a fixed and permanent structure....I realize, by your logic, that this is to far away to matter, but the fact remains..........well until a Liberal sells the water running through it I suppose, lol.


    Williams can still have my vote. He doesn't fit the typical political template. This approach to the media the last couple of days must have the haters baffled, lol.

  • Truth
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    ...your revenues are subject to oil prices, to oil production, to corporate taxes that are coming, to mining income for example, Voiseys Bay has a strike on up there now so theres a lot of variables. So theres a certain amount of estimating, guessing. Its not a term I like to use, but thats exactl...y what it is. Its an informed guess based on the best available information.

    Exactly. Guessing , though. Doesn't make me feel totally secure.

    Exactly, as in our apparent wealth ad sustainability of it now and in the future is all CONTINGENT on the value of oil. Yeah, it's a gamble, with a nonrenewable resource, no less. And so far, the rich have gotten richer from it (certainly Danny Himself), the cost of living here has SKYROCKETED, and the socioeconomic divide has never been more stark.

    Time will tell on these educated guesses , especially for us peasants.

  • DB
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    A newf's not happy until he has something to whine about.

  • Taxpayer ll
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    A billion dollars, I would like to know where all this money goes. Is it doctors saleries? I know the head of eastern health gets almost half a million a year in wages and benefits alone. We have such a tiny, tiny population here, less than some suberbs of major cities have, you would figure that a BILLION dollars would make a considerable difference to health care delivery in this Province. Yet we see the same problems now that we saw five years ago. The population hasn't changed. Where is this billion dollars being spent? Not to mention all the other billions that were already being spent. Time to take a good look at the health boards, with an eye towards how they are spending all these billions, because I for one don't think we are getting our monies worth.

  • g-man
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    how ironic is it when the premier annouces some kind of cutbacks in the future,we have all these accountants eager to write blogs to critisize.mr. williams,i know its a tuff job..i just wanted to thank you for some of the things you did to help the citizens of this province.1..saved the pensions of the teachers.2..negotiated a piece of the offshore oil.3..made all the public sevice happy by keeping them off the streets from striking for the next few years.4..got the taxes dropped off of car insurances.5..you dont even take a salary..i could go on with a few more things,but i dont think i need to.an to all the accountants and know it alls we have blogging on this site.i would bet half of you dont have a dollar in the bank.GREAT JOB MR.WILLIAMS.

  • don
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    Bones II from NL: In late 2007, Global analysts were saying that the stock market and world economy were solid and in great shape. In 2008 the bottom fell out of the world economy and the stock market tanked. I think I'll keep relying on the advice I get from people I know at OPEC and NYMEX including Ernie the gas pump jockey, so far, he's been right on the money!!!!!

  • STOP THE RACKET
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    Premier Williams tell all of us what your government has do to generate any new revenue? All you seem to have going for you is the oil and the daily fluctuation in oil prices. One day a have province next day you cry poor old me. Blame everyone else when things go wrong and take credit for anything that makes you look good. The way I see it thats the BEST job you every had in your life. No matter what happens you come up with a way to make it all your idea. Oh by the way thanks for discovering all that oil. It was all your doing wasnt it? Thanks for all the long term contracts that were signed long before you showed up. Then again it was all probably in your mind years ago and you just let previous governments both PC and Liberal do it all for you. You say you have had better jobs well I fail to understand how anything could be any better than this. Your never wrong about anything and you answer to nobody. Total control and absoulte power. Yes that must be tough for sure.

  • joan
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    Bones--nobody pays much attention to what you say..They know,when Danny says jump bones ,you want to know how high..The hebron project is dead in the water ,only Williams keeps it alive for political reasons,you know that but Danny will never allow you to say so

  • Richard
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    Mr. Williams has my vote.

    Regret that some, including opposition parties, stretch the Have province staus to the nth degree. At sometime, and sooner than later, we all have to address preventive diseases and understand the enormous drain on the public purse. It took us a generation to adopt the metric system and if we are ever to change our province's health profile we must start at the school level, and that means grammar school. Preventive Health dollars have to show a return, programs have to come off websites and enter into small communities and actively into all classrooms. Physical exercise must take place, indoors or outdoors, in ALL schools.

    As for those at home, turn off the TV and move, do something. Taking drugs for for Type Two Diabetes, for Heart and circulatory problems have to be balanced with a healthy lifestyle to prevent further physical/mental deteriation. Simply, it makes no sense to be taking medications for the above ailments while continuing to smoke or eat like a front end loader.

    Time will come when one needs repetitive specialist care or specialist equipment, all increasingly costly, and the choice between staying in your community or moving to a regional centre for care.

    It is time to take control of our lives.

    Pay me now or pay me later.

  • Dave
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    Don nothing could be further from the truth.

    Between now and 2011 the gravy train will continue to roll. Only after 2011 will someone, probably a new Liberal government, have to start cutting back to pay for Danny Williams's eight years of reckless overspending.

  • W
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    Well here are a few suggestions:

    No raises for the handsomely paid MHA's, they are certainly higher paid than other workers in this province relative to similar jobs elsewhere in the country.

    Also, reduce the number of MHA's.
    BY my crude estimates each MHA costs us close to half a million. MHA salary is around 100K, staffers salaries are around $100K (assiatants, researchers etc..), office supplies, phone bills, cell phones, office rentals and the ever so elusive MHA constituency allowance. This is easily $500 000 per year.

  • joan
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    PUFF--Danny has blown away all our oil money,Is anyone surpeised? Where is Hebron ben nevis? He paid 165 million to the oil companies for a stupid equatiy share.They opened an office in st.John's with it,now lie to us ,and tell us we will have to wait close to a decade,before it gets under-way,if then...Danny Williams is just one big cronic liar

  • don
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    Steve from NL: My sources told me in late 2007 that oil would hit nearly $150 a barrel in 2008. I didn't believe it then but that is exactly where the price went. So, I am not going to doubt them this time.

  • Jordan
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    don from Newfoundland and Labrador: It's nice to see that even in these hard economic times that there are still people out there with such positive attitudes.

  • Shawn
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    Cheers to Danny and his team! I have been driving across this great province of ours all year, and for the past 3 or 4 years, Danny has paved over most of the Trans Canada Hwy, made significant improvements to many sectors of the economy when all across Canada they are running deficits of Billions upon Billions of dollars. Now they are complaining about the H1N1 slow process when all across Canada the health boards are as slow or slower OR have closed the clinics entirely. People, remember we live in the best province, so if we need to line up for a couple of hours to get the shot, so what, too much griping is going on and we need to have a more positive attitude.

  • don
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    Some of you mentioned increased health care spending and the H1N1 crisis. Just look at how our governments Provincial and Federal treat us. Like cattle! Instead of Government renting adequate sites like convention centers or large hockey/sports centers which have comfortable seating for thousands, bathroom facilities and food service on site, the Government requires all of us, including the physically and mentally disabled, to line up in long lines for hours and hours in inclement weather. Surely, some people will become even more ill or suffer physically as a result of this inhumane treatment. Just imagine if you suffered from chronic back pain or irritable bowel disease or some other painful condition, would you appreciate or tolerate being forced to stand in line for hours to get a vaccine shot? Even the able-bodied and physically fit would find this situation intolerable. What kind of people do we have running our Governments? Do they have any common sense? Do they have any common decency? Do they have any compassion? Are we are just a nuisance for the bureaucrats and politicians to have to deal with? Do they care if delayed vaccination will result in people dying? Do they care if we have to stand in line for hours? This is just like the situation during Hurricane Katrina in the USA a few years ago. I watched coverage of the crisis on CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC and other TV networks, I noticed that all of the white people had left New Orleans and I was expecting at any moment to see convoys of US Army trucks and fleets of Charter buses coming to collect the thousands of black citizens and disabled people who were left behind. Much to my shock and sadness, no Army trucks came, no fleets of buses came, nobody came and many people died. A Conservative President George W. Bush didn't care about his citizens then and apparently Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Conservative Premier Danny Williams don't care about their citizens now! It is all about saving a buck while pretending that you are doing something to help.

  • Jay
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    Don ask you sources could I have a loan of there crystal ball, thanks.

  • Steve
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    Don,
    You have contacts in oil industry that can accurately predict the cost of oil per barrel?? Wow, I have been in the industry for 10 years and have never heard such a thing. Any inside info. on the next set of lotto numbers?

  • WTF
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    The 'source' must be Ernie the gas pump jockey or maybe the psychic hotline.

  • Frankie
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    don may be right ... ppb crude may drop in price over the next year or so and here's why ... the current global recession wasn't caused by the whole subprime mortgage mess ... it was caused by $150USD per barrel oil ... the elevated price slowed the global market significantly. Resulting elevated transportation costs made it no longer cost-effective to ship raw material 1/2 way 'round the world and then finished goods back. This braking effect trickled right thru the system.
    So things start to recover and global recovery gets underway ... oil prices again rise north of $100USD/barrel ... what effect do you think that is going to have on any economic recovery? The problem is the nature of the global economy itself ... it runs on oil and oil has to be cheap for it to run well ...

  • tim
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    The sky must be about to fall, Danny Williams has finally said something that was not arrogant and hostile toward former Governments. Former Governments worked with cod fish as a revenue at 1 1/2 Cents a pound. Former Governments had to build hospitals, schools , clinics, 5-6000 miles of roads with no money or resource revenue. Oil exploration was all cost and this Government came to power just in time to spend the revenue planned for by the Premier that Williams brags about booting out .
    I saw Peckford come to power and increased Joeys debt by six times and did nothing to show for it.
    I am at this time neither red nor blue but I do like to see credit where credit is due.
    My credit is not due for this Government at this time and I doubt they can correct it after six years.

  • Bones II
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    don: In 2007, while global analysts were saying all that you claim, the general population of every country in the world was experiencing otherwise, first hand, everyday, and saw it differently, just as you and I did. I remember the population of Canada looking at our PM in a questioning manner because they couldn't personally relate to how good everything was supposed to be, lol.


    These days, the people and the analysts do not disagree. Populations can see and feel an energy hardship coming - take note of Quebec Hydro's purchase of debt ridden power facilities, to enhance the area they can sell to as well as the capacity they can put up for sale through expansions and upgrades.



    OPEC is self serving and most member countries have grossly overestimated reserves to be permitted larger export volumes ala rules of exporting. Hiding this from governments (though they most likely already know) and the general population is going to make the realization of peak oil a much harsher reality when it comes....very soon, to a planet near you if a major discovery is not made really quickly.


    It's bad that our future is contingent, right now, on the cost of a barrel of oil and minerals that will also run out faster than we want it to. These should be the best reasons to do everything we can to support our own people to profitably develop Lower Churchill and tap wind resources in our province. In 2041, the Upper Churchill will be ours too, it screams win-win and has the potential to provide an immediate offset to the loss of non-renewables.


    Joan: Yeah, I know, lol, that's what haters and stunned people usually say to me, lol. If you can add to the debate, please do, if you cannot, let the grown-ups play, lol. Hebron, yeah (eye roll) haha. Read anything lately you'd like to post a link to?

  • don
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    The truth is starting to emerge. Before the general election of 2011 rolls around big cutbacks are coming to a town near you. Despite the fact that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has received increased revenues from offshore oil and mineral development, it still has a projected deficit of $750 million dollar deficit. That's the projected deficit, the actual deficit will be more in the range of $1 billion dollars. My contacts in the oil business tell me that oil prices are expected to plummet to around $45 dollars a barrel in 2010-2011. If that happens, revenue will not be sufficient to meet the Governments expenditures and deficits will skyrocket. If the Hydro-Quebec/NB Power deal is finalized in 2010, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador can forget its plans of a Lower Churchill hydro deal which would have resulted in huge profits from selling electricity to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI, Maine and New York. Hydro-Quebec will be in control of the power corridor and grid system and no deal which will be to our benefit will be possible. Despite Danny's pie in the sky optimism and rhetoric, once the effect of the windfall he received from offshore oil and Ottawa wears off, it will be downhill from here on. Newfoundland and Labrador is and always has been an economic basket case. Nothing that Danny Williams says or does will ever change that fact. Like one Newfoundland born businessman once said, Newfoundland and Labrador is a place in which you invest in to watch your money disappear. Danny missed the boat to get some relief from his fiscal minefield when he blew the chance to stop Hydro-Quebec. By creating an Atlantic Canadian Hydro-Power Corporation in concert with Nova Scotia, PEI and New Brunswick Danny could have secured a future major revenue stream which would have greatly assisted the Governments fiscal situation. Leaders without real vision, like Danny Williams, talk a good game but don't know how play a good game.