Briefing notes confidential, premier says

Rob Antle
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Members of the public should "absolutely not" be allowed to see briefing notes prepared for him or his ministers, according to Premier Danny Williams.

"There are things that come to me on a confidential basis that, I've got to tell you, that I wouldn't lay out on this table, or I wouldn't lay out in front of the general public," Williams told the editorial board of The Telegram last week.

Members of the public should "absolutely not" be allowed to see briefing notes prepared for him or his ministers, according to Premier Danny Williams.

"There are things that come to me on a confidential basis that, I've got to tell you, that I wouldn't lay out on this table, or I wouldn't lay out in front of the general public," Williams told the editorial board of The Telegram last week.

"There's information that comes to a government that's confidential information, that is there so that, you know, the government can make decisions in the best interests of the people. If I had to try and operate this government with absolutely everything completely (open to) public disclosure, you wouldn't be able to operate, because you'd be putting out fires all over the place, you'd have people reacting to part of the information when they didn't have all of the information.

"You know, it's difficult enough to try and manage a government and keep moving an agenda forward. But if every day, (director of communications) Elizabeth (Matthews) and I have got to react to every single nuance or piece that somebody picks out of a briefing note, well then it's just as well for me to shut her down, because I can't run a province (like that)."

News media outlets routinely ask for ministerial briefing materials under access-to-information laws, in an effort to find out the key issues facing government departments.

But recent requests have turned up very little information.

Then-health minister Paul Oram told The Telegram he received only oral briefings when he took over the $2.6-billion portfolio this summer.

When Joan Burke was appointed to the new Department of Child, Youth and Family Services portfolio earlier this year, she said the same thing.

Williams said there are fewer briefing notes because ministers are more experienced after six years in power.

"As a general rule, having been in office as long as we are, there's a certain body of knowledge that's in those cabinet ministers, that's around that table, that completely negates the necessity for copious briefing notes like we had before."

But what about new ministers?

"New ministers get briefed. Ask (Health Minister Jerome) Kennedy. Kennedy's in there now, and Kennedy is getting oral briefings, written briefings, whatever he can get."

While requests for briefing materials have turned up less information, Williams indicated there have been no changes in how such requests are vetted.

"No, the rules are there," the premier said. "So we go through the process and we vet what we're entitled to vet by the rules. Anything that's a grey area will either end up being arbitrated or end up in court."

The premier reiterated that answering questions about briefing information divulged through open-records requests would be a drain on his time.

"If things get out, and they have to be known, and we can be questioned on it, absolutely," he said. "But if we had to have open book on absolutely everything we're doing, I've got to tell you, I'd be out of here, I'd be gone."

And where does Williams draw the line when it comes to the public's right to know what their government is doing?

"And there is a right to know, and I can't tell you exactly where that line is now, because I don't know what they redact every day and what they don't," the premier said. "Because I don't get down to it. I don't."

Williams said he can count on one hand how many times he's gotten involved in approving redactions to such requests.

The issue of briefings for government ministers has become a political hot potato over the past year or so.

Oram's predecessor in the health portfolio, Ross Wiseman, acknowledged in testimony to the Cameron Inquiry he did not read briefing notes prepared for him on breast cancer testing problems because he was busy with other issues in the department.

The inquiry also heard that the premier's office directed Department of Health officials, over their objections, to edit information out of briefing notes on cancer testing provided to The Telegram.

The Williams administration promised a new era of openness, accountability and transparency in government when it took power.

The 2003 PC blueprint of promises stressed that "a comprehensive and effective freedom of information act is the best safeguard against the tendency of governments to descend into official secrecy and elitism."

Prior to taking power, the Conservatives pledged to broaden the list of records open to scrutiny.

But since then, the Tory government has moved to shield more and more information from public disclosure.

Recent law changes allow officials to block the release of a wide swath of records.

And the province has two lawsuits pending against the information and privacy commissioner. Those legal actions seek to limit the powers of the watchdog.

rantle@thetelegram.com

Organizations: The Telegram, Department of Child, Youth and Family Services Department of Health Conservatives

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  • joan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    What's wrong with all you peaple?Dictators like williams,don't want the the commoners to know anything.Some day the truth about Danny William's lieing ways will come out.With all this oil revenue,and we have an unemployment rate over 17%.Wake up and smell the coffee folks

  • STOP THE RACKET
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    Is that open honest and transparent enough for you Bones or do you require more PROOF. What a joke this Williams administration is.

  • Foolish
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Why is it that everyone in these comment sections has to harass Danny or accuse him of trying to keep people in the dark.

    It's OBVIOUS that if you were in his position that you would not want the public to know absolutely everything. It would cause absolute chaos. Ex. What if it were all of a sudden OK for the public to view briefing notes, does that mean that they have access to the whole history of briefing notes? Without the whole context of the issue, those notes will make little sense and cause uproars. Who would ever want to deal with that

    As for the 'erroneous statements', what if he was given the erroneous statements and dealt with that properly by acknowledging their falsehood and NOT act on the error. If the public saw this before him they would LOSE their minds about it all, and probably accuse the government of all kinds of things.

    Give people some credit. If you could do things better then why don't you all run in the election next time.

  • don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Wake up people! Dictator Danny wants to tighten his grip on power and he does not wants any pesky reporters, investigators or citizens getting their hands on any embarrassing or revealing information about the way his Government operates. Dictator Danny is on the same track as the former Soviet Union and the KGB. Information suppression by Government is a major component of a dictatorship in action! Democracy, freedom, transparency and justice have always been foreign concepts in Newfoundland and Labrador. The attitude expressed in Premier Williams remarks proves it. The time has come for the little dictator to change his attitude and behavior or change jobs!

  • Shockin dontcha know
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Members of the public should absolutely not be allowed to see briefing notes prepared for him or his ministers, according to Premier Danny Williams. ------ Well that's transparent enough! Keep everyone in the dark and do as you please......Let no solitary person have any possible way of knowing what's happening in 'The Inner Sanctum'.....wonderful...........

  • Graham
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    You had a very late night last night did you Bones my friend. Judgeing by your last rant on here. Tough job you have defending the great dictator and calling everyone haters. Your new favourite word these days apparently. Were all haters shame on us. The way I see it yes there is some degree of hatred for the man by some people but its more frustration than anything else. We elected Williams. yes surprise surprise I voted for him to but the man we elected is not the dictator we have today. Can you tell us why that might be Bones? What turns and elected premier into a one man show and a total dictatorship? All the haters want an answer to that Bones?

  • RP
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Perhaps we could pre-broadcast our Premier's briefing notes on Open-Line so there can be a month long discussion; achieve nothing, then accomplish nothing other than a litany of poor-me complaints.

    Let the Premier get on with the job of governing and the journalist community can get on with asking pertinent questions after government briefings.

  • gaffer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Keith from n.l. Did you mean hibernate.?????????

  • don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Premier Williams statement regarding access to briefing notes and access to information generally is a blatant admission that he has no respect for openness, transparency and accountability of Government to the people. How would the media , the oversight authorities such as the Auditor General and Citizens Representative or the general public ever know if there was corruption, criminal activity,waste or incompetence in Government if this kind of information can be withheld? The Premier is out of touch with reality! If the Government is being misled regarding information pertaining to projects, is being defrauded, or is actually participating in fraud or corruption, how are the people to know about it and stop it? Premier Williams attitude toward access to information, freedom of the media and citizens rights is an outrage! The Williams Government is clearly obstructionist, secretive and not to be trusted. I have submitted Access to Information requests to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador only to have the request met with demands for thousands of dollars for retrieval and copying costs or I have received mostly blacked out pages or have discovered that most of the pertinent and relevant information was withheld or concealed. The time has come for an major investigation by the Auditor General, the Citizens Representative, the Information and Privacy Commissioner, the media and the police into the internal workings and activities of the Williams Government. Only a dictator would want to operate a Government without functional Access to Information laws. A serious undermining of democracy and freedom is going on here! Hopefully, the courts will rule against Dictator Danny. However, without impugning the presumed integrity and independence of Judges in general, it is a fact that the courts in this Province are top heavy with Judges who are former politicians, bureaucrats or lawyers whose fame and fortune was acquired from some affiliation with Government. Perhaps, those Judges will be sympathetic to Dictator Danny and rule against the rights of the people and the media! That is how our system works to undermine and obstruct the peoples right to know what their Government is really up to! The media bear the responsibility for challenging Dictator Danny and his Government to break through the wall he is building of information suppression. If the Premier is successful in his efforts to withhold more and more information it will lead to even greater oppression of the people themselves. Sound too melodramatic? Just read history and see how the greatest oppressions of the people started with some dictator wanting to keep Government information secret. It is time for the little dictator to change his attitude or change his employment or have it changed for him!

  • Jim
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Give it a rest you will NEVER gat a straight answer from Bones.

  • John
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    By teh way.... Look at the last 3 who never got, read or wanted briefing notes.... Not so Wiseman ..... Joanie, and Oram. Seems not wanting, reading or getting briefing notes is a way to your fall. Hawk Eye Kennedy admitted he got, read and needs briefing notes and I will say he is doing a fine ob so far.

  • George
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    The answer to your question is easy Graham. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  • Jerry
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Bones dosent have any briefing notes thats why he comes here with the same garbage over and over every day. Ignore the idiot he craves the attention.

  • Kay
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Briefing notes are provided to Ministers to give them information. Ministerial staff and employees of government gather this information, that is their job. There is nothing sinister about this. However, I am sure that sometimes information gathered becomes redundant when newer information is gathered or other events change the information previously collected. Therefore a briefing note' could give the wrong impression. Imagine an entire population trying to determine what part of what briefing note which Minister or the Premier has chosen to accept or follow? The purpose of the briefing note is being lost, I think, it is brief and is to brief. No more, no less, it is not the only piece of information used by politicans to make decisions. AND for those of you wondering, I do not work for Danny Williams. His briefing notes are now different than you searching for information and then determining, as we elected him to do so, which information is best. If you don't like him doing that you must tell him so in the next general election.

  • ABCD
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Care to explain dear Bones how it is you know all this inside information? I bet you wont do that either. Still on the hate campaign I see. The fact that you use the word so much says a lot about your inner hatred for anyone who dares to question the dictator Danny Williams your boss.

  • Boyd
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Without briefing notes the Cameron Inquiry would have been a failure, the lack of briefing notes is an attempt in protecting the butt of the Ministers. We saw in the Oram situation at Flowers Cove and Lewisporte what a lack of notes produces and the failure of decisions with incorrect info, maybe with the public viewing of these notes may help the Government to get opinions from the Public that may help in reducing their embarrassment

  • alex
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    you people are brain washed you are all williams minnows the rest of the country is laughing at you newfie jokes well we have a whle new bag thanks danny boy

  • Bones II
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    Would Never Have Thought: MAY contain erroneous information. A briefing note is exactly what you say - But in 'Post-It' format. They are meant to brief ministers and are not a concise or reliable source of information for the public. You've already assumed enough from Williams' statement to make yourself look like another uninformed hater. Assumptions like that will do it every time.


    Ministers are able to easily ask or verify information with district, town, or city administrations. It's difficult to assume anything from small briefing notes. Clarity and elaboration is a must, and ministers guilty of not doing that in the past have been made to look ineffective and borderline incompetent, though I assume it's more laziness than anything else. lol

  • Howard Martin
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    Its obvious where this Bones character works. That also explains his daily devotion to everything that involves Danny Williams. Ignore the moron and let him wallow in his own bull s h i t.

  • peter
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    The problem is the briefing notes may contain erroneous statements. This leads to the development of bad policy. Usually the communities and or particular industry or professionals who know the realities are not given an opportunity to correct false or misleading information (either ignorantly or misguided ideology) given to ministers by bureaucrats.

  • thomas
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    what is wrong with those people who keep mouthing of about Danny williams.From where i stand he has made me and many more very proud to be newfoundlanders.the only reason they would do this is either they are liberals or danny cut their welfare checks

  • W
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Frank Blackwood, indeed ''There are rules and regulations in reference to policies governing government affairs.''

    Among those rules and regulations is something called the Access to Information Act. You can read it here:
    http://www.assembly.nl.ca/legislation/sr/statutes/a01-1.htm

    I don't know what's more appalling; the continuing deliberate obstruction of this important piece of legislation by Danny Williams and his hench-thingies, or the fact that people like Frank Blackwood are so willing and eager to accept Danny's excuses even when he is on the wrong side of his own government's law.

    What a sorry, sorry, state.

  • don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    Has this discussion has gone dormant? Perhaps the moderator of this site works bankers hours and also has weekends and evenings off. Perhaps he/she is off work with H1N1. Anyway, here goes. If I recall correctly, Dictator Danny once said publicly that he considered the late U.S. President John F. Kennedy to be one of his greatest political heroes. Ironically, if JFK were still living, I doubt that he would consider the little dictator to be one of his followers. JFK once said: No responsibility of government is more fundamental than the responsibility of maintaining the highest standards of ethical behavior by those who conduct the public business. JFK also said: There can be no dissent from the principle that all officials must act with unwavering integrity, absolute impartiality and complete devotion to the public interest. Perhaps the ministerial briefing notes that Dictator Danny wishes to hide from the media and public view contain information which shows that officials of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador may not hold such high ideals as those espoused by JFK. The documents may show that officials in the little dictators government may not be impartial or may not be devoted to serving the public interest. It seems, releasing briefing notes and other documents might show us that the lofty sentiments of JFK do not apply to the little dictator and his collection of cronies..er...government officials.

  • Not a Hater
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    Sorry we keep you up half the night Bones I see your 2:30 am post yesterday. Trouble sleeping lately Bones? You have turned your worship of King Danny into a 24 hour a day project. Why is that Bones. Tell us what sparks such dedication and devotion to the man? If for no other reason I do admire you for that at least. Then again all lap dogs are loyal to their master and very devoted, never questioning anything just obeying obediently like all lap dogs should do. Great job Bones. Woof! Woof! Here boy. Come to Danny. Come to Danny.

  • Keith
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Would anyone expect anything else from Williams. He needs to be like a bear and hybernate for the next few months and take Kennedy with him. In the spring they will be hungry and then they might realize how the disabled feel all year round. What excuses for humans they both are.

  • Taxpayer ll
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    This government will never be transparent enough for the Liberal plants(AKA the haters) on this page. This PC gov. has instituted more openess policy than any that came before it. The spending scandal, and the breast cancer debacle would never have come to light if the Liberals were in power, it would have been quickly swept under the rug, that party is famous for doing that.
    Of course when you are runiing a gov. some things have to be kept private, however even these things will be brought forward in time.

  • Would never have
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    peter from nl writes: The problem is the briefing notes may contain erroneous statements. ---------------- So, in essence what you are saying is that government officials are dictating policy on the basis of erroneous and misleading information?? Similar to closing two rural lab and x-ray facilities??? IF that is the case we `should`know before hand not after the fact, what we are told was correct. There is no universal standard for a briefing note, but it is generally understood to be a concise, coherent summary of a public policy problem with a clearly articulated logic for following a recommended course of action.

  • Bones II
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Graham, Williams is not a dictator by any definition other than your own and those who share your obtuse idea that he is. I did have a late night last night, but it was my private sector work that kept me up late. I feel a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment regarding my work into the wee hours, and thank you for giving me the opportunity to mention it, lol.


    I can't tell you why you or the haters think Williams is a dictator because I don't know. I've asked, nobody will tell me, lol. Frankly, those I label don't really have much more to say beyond a personal insult. They appear to prefer call me and other suppers insulting names instead. Can you tell me why you think he's a dictator and give me a simple example to illustrate it? Are Kennedy, Wiseman, and Burke part of this one man show? Is Okeefe? Are Jones or Michael? Why are they all so quiet? I am truly interested in understanding this if it is so. It's your choice how you want to respond, if at all.

    Would never have Thought: Of course there isn't a standard lol, it's akin to a freakin post-it, ffs! You are right about the rest except you left out the private part and the handed to the minister part as a component of the portfolio he or she manages. How large a component do you consider this post-it in the day to day management of a complex government portfolio?


    ABCD: Ummm, what inside info? It pretty common knowledge what a briefing note is.


    Racket: Actually, you wouldn't win. You have taken the position of the minority, lol.

  • Would never have
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    Bones--- Try this for size!! There is no universal standard for a briefing note, but it is generally understood to be a concise, coherent summary of a public policy problem with a clearly articulated logic for following a recommended course of action. Next to a political nose, and a logical brain, the most important skill of the good treasury [person] resides in [their] fine drafting hand. The concise, coherent and penetrating note is the final expression of all other talents. In many Westminster / Whitehall governance settings, policy analysts are expected to analyze the issue and write the briefing note from a neutral public service perspective. However, the briefing note for decision must contain a recommendation, acknowledging that to say anything of importance in public policy requires value judgments, which must be explained and justified I`mm informed enough to know bull sh*t when I smell it!

  • Would never have
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    New ministers get briefed. Ask (Health Minister Jerome) Kennedy. Kennedy's in there now, and Kennedy is getting oral briefings, written briefings, whatever he can get. Oram the previous said he didn't have, get or need, `written`notes....a verbal briefing was all he needed....as dictated by Danny Williams`policy---So one can assume from Williams that Kennedy is substandard in that he requires ALL this to fill the position........

  • David
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Do not mistake the holding of regular elections for a democracy......Saddam Hussein held elections.

    Democracy is dead in Newfoundland until the citizens demand different.

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

    Foolish from NL. I would gladly run against you any day. It would be a guranteed win for whoever ran against you. Its attitudes like yours that people are trying to get away from we wanta government that is accountable to the people that elected it . The little tyrant dosent want to be accountable for anything to anyone. Do you seriously think thats ok? If you do you sure have the right name Foolish from NL.

  • W
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    Sounds terrible for a govt. Not wanting the public to know about well the public, and I think it is all summed up when Williams says he'd be out of there, if it isn't his way he's gone. Taking his marbles and going home so to speak. Alot of people wouldn't miss him.

    Certainly not transparent at all.

  • Richard
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    To great admissions in this piece - one is the Premier saying that he and his staff 'run the province' and the other is that there isn't so much as a fig leaf left to Williams' hollow promises of accountability. While he may be right about denying access to some records, it is irrefutable now that this is a far less transparent regime than that of his predecessor no matter how many PC Blue Books promise otherwise.

  • gary
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    My nunderstanding of briefing notes it that they are completed by a competent staffer and includes background information, obejective of the briefing note, all pertintnet inforamtion needed to make a decision and also includes a reccomendation. These notes are based upon factual information. I see no reason that the public cannot have access to these note once the decision is made by Govt for whatever reason the briefing notes were made. Then we can judge for ourselves if the decision made by Govt were indeed the right ones based on information provided in the briefing notes. All decision should be made upon sound written judgement. It's hard to scrutinizw oral briefings as there is no trail on the information provided and therefore we will never know if its accurate or just what someone wants us to think was said. Everything unless its detrimental to the public should be able to be reviewed once all decisions are made

  • Frank
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    I have to agree with Premier Williams on this one. There are rules and regulations in reference to policies governing government affairs.

    Frank M. Blackwood

  • joan
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    What's wrong with all you peaple?Dictators like williams,don't want the the commoners to know anything.Some day the truth about Danny William's lieing ways will come out.With all this oil revenue,and we have an unemployment rate over 17%.Wake up and smell the coffee folks

  • STOP THE RACKET
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    Is that open honest and transparent enough for you Bones or do you require more PROOF. What a joke this Williams administration is.

  • Foolish
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    Why is it that everyone in these comment sections has to harass Danny or accuse him of trying to keep people in the dark.

    It's OBVIOUS that if you were in his position that you would not want the public to know absolutely everything. It would cause absolute chaos. Ex. What if it were all of a sudden OK for the public to view briefing notes, does that mean that they have access to the whole history of briefing notes? Without the whole context of the issue, those notes will make little sense and cause uproars. Who would ever want to deal with that

    As for the 'erroneous statements', what if he was given the erroneous statements and dealt with that properly by acknowledging their falsehood and NOT act on the error. If the public saw this before him they would LOSE their minds about it all, and probably accuse the government of all kinds of things.

    Give people some credit. If you could do things better then why don't you all run in the election next time.

  • don
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    Wake up people! Dictator Danny wants to tighten his grip on power and he does not wants any pesky reporters, investigators or citizens getting their hands on any embarrassing or revealing information about the way his Government operates. Dictator Danny is on the same track as the former Soviet Union and the KGB. Information suppression by Government is a major component of a dictatorship in action! Democracy, freedom, transparency and justice have always been foreign concepts in Newfoundland and Labrador. The attitude expressed in Premier Williams remarks proves it. The time has come for the little dictator to change his attitude and behavior or change jobs!

  • Shockin dontcha know
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    Members of the public should absolutely not be allowed to see briefing notes prepared for him or his ministers, according to Premier Danny Williams. ------ Well that's transparent enough! Keep everyone in the dark and do as you please......Let no solitary person have any possible way of knowing what's happening in 'The Inner Sanctum'.....wonderful...........

  • Graham
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    You had a very late night last night did you Bones my friend. Judgeing by your last rant on here. Tough job you have defending the great dictator and calling everyone haters. Your new favourite word these days apparently. Were all haters shame on us. The way I see it yes there is some degree of hatred for the man by some people but its more frustration than anything else. We elected Williams. yes surprise surprise I voted for him to but the man we elected is not the dictator we have today. Can you tell us why that might be Bones? What turns and elected premier into a one man show and a total dictatorship? All the haters want an answer to that Bones?

  • RP
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    Perhaps we could pre-broadcast our Premier's briefing notes on Open-Line so there can be a month long discussion; achieve nothing, then accomplish nothing other than a litany of poor-me complaints.

    Let the Premier get on with the job of governing and the journalist community can get on with asking pertinent questions after government briefings.

  • gaffer
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    Keith from n.l. Did you mean hibernate.?????????

  • don
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    Premier Williams statement regarding access to briefing notes and access to information generally is a blatant admission that he has no respect for openness, transparency and accountability of Government to the people. How would the media , the oversight authorities such as the Auditor General and Citizens Representative or the general public ever know if there was corruption, criminal activity,waste or incompetence in Government if this kind of information can be withheld? The Premier is out of touch with reality! If the Government is being misled regarding information pertaining to projects, is being defrauded, or is actually participating in fraud or corruption, how are the people to know about it and stop it? Premier Williams attitude toward access to information, freedom of the media and citizens rights is an outrage! The Williams Government is clearly obstructionist, secretive and not to be trusted. I have submitted Access to Information requests to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador only to have the request met with demands for thousands of dollars for retrieval and copying costs or I have received mostly blacked out pages or have discovered that most of the pertinent and relevant information was withheld or concealed. The time has come for an major investigation by the Auditor General, the Citizens Representative, the Information and Privacy Commissioner, the media and the police into the internal workings and activities of the Williams Government. Only a dictator would want to operate a Government without functional Access to Information laws. A serious undermining of democracy and freedom is going on here! Hopefully, the courts will rule against Dictator Danny. However, without impugning the presumed integrity and independence of Judges in general, it is a fact that the courts in this Province are top heavy with Judges who are former politicians, bureaucrats or lawyers whose fame and fortune was acquired from some affiliation with Government. Perhaps, those Judges will be sympathetic to Dictator Danny and rule against the rights of the people and the media! That is how our system works to undermine and obstruct the peoples right to know what their Government is really up to! The media bear the responsibility for challenging Dictator Danny and his Government to break through the wall he is building of information suppression. If the Premier is successful in his efforts to withhold more and more information it will lead to even greater oppression of the people themselves. Sound too melodramatic? Just read history and see how the greatest oppressions of the people started with some dictator wanting to keep Government information secret. It is time for the little dictator to change his attitude or change his employment or have it changed for him!

  • Jim
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    Give it a rest you will NEVER gat a straight answer from Bones.

  • John
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    By teh way.... Look at the last 3 who never got, read or wanted briefing notes.... Not so Wiseman ..... Joanie, and Oram. Seems not wanting, reading or getting briefing notes is a way to your fall. Hawk Eye Kennedy admitted he got, read and needs briefing notes and I will say he is doing a fine ob so far.

  • George
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    The answer to your question is easy Graham. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  • Jerry
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    Bones dosent have any briefing notes thats why he comes here with the same garbage over and over every day. Ignore the idiot he craves the attention.

  • Kay
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    Briefing notes are provided to Ministers to give them information. Ministerial staff and employees of government gather this information, that is their job. There is nothing sinister about this. However, I am sure that sometimes information gathered becomes redundant when newer information is gathered or other events change the information previously collected. Therefore a briefing note' could give the wrong impression. Imagine an entire population trying to determine what part of what briefing note which Minister or the Premier has chosen to accept or follow? The purpose of the briefing note is being lost, I think, it is brief and is to brief. No more, no less, it is not the only piece of information used by politicans to make decisions. AND for those of you wondering, I do not work for Danny Williams. His briefing notes are now different than you searching for information and then determining, as we elected him to do so, which information is best. If you don't like him doing that you must tell him so in the next general election.

  • ABCD
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    Care to explain dear Bones how it is you know all this inside information? I bet you wont do that either. Still on the hate campaign I see. The fact that you use the word so much says a lot about your inner hatred for anyone who dares to question the dictator Danny Williams your boss.

  • Boyd
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    Without briefing notes the Cameron Inquiry would have been a failure, the lack of briefing notes is an attempt in protecting the butt of the Ministers. We saw in the Oram situation at Flowers Cove and Lewisporte what a lack of notes produces and the failure of decisions with incorrect info, maybe with the public viewing of these notes may help the Government to get opinions from the Public that may help in reducing their embarrassment

  • alex
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    you people are brain washed you are all williams minnows the rest of the country is laughing at you newfie jokes well we have a whle new bag thanks danny boy

  • Bones II
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    Would Never Have Thought: MAY contain erroneous information. A briefing note is exactly what you say - But in 'Post-It' format. They are meant to brief ministers and are not a concise or reliable source of information for the public. You've already assumed enough from Williams' statement to make yourself look like another uninformed hater. Assumptions like that will do it every time.


    Ministers are able to easily ask or verify information with district, town, or city administrations. It's difficult to assume anything from small briefing notes. Clarity and elaboration is a must, and ministers guilty of not doing that in the past have been made to look ineffective and borderline incompetent, though I assume it's more laziness than anything else. lol

  • Howard Martin
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    Its obvious where this Bones character works. That also explains his daily devotion to everything that involves Danny Williams. Ignore the moron and let him wallow in his own bull s h i t.

  • peter
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    The problem is the briefing notes may contain erroneous statements. This leads to the development of bad policy. Usually the communities and or particular industry or professionals who know the realities are not given an opportunity to correct false or misleading information (either ignorantly or misguided ideology) given to ministers by bureaucrats.

  • thomas
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    what is wrong with those people who keep mouthing of about Danny williams.From where i stand he has made me and many more very proud to be newfoundlanders.the only reason they would do this is either they are liberals or danny cut their welfare checks

  • W
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    Frank Blackwood, indeed ''There are rules and regulations in reference to policies governing government affairs.''

    Among those rules and regulations is something called the Access to Information Act. You can read it here:
    http://www.assembly.nl.ca/legislation/sr/statutes/a01-1.htm

    I don't know what's more appalling; the continuing deliberate obstruction of this important piece of legislation by Danny Williams and his hench-thingies, or the fact that people like Frank Blackwood are so willing and eager to accept Danny's excuses even when he is on the wrong side of his own government's law.

    What a sorry, sorry, state.

  • don
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    Has this discussion has gone dormant? Perhaps the moderator of this site works bankers hours and also has weekends and evenings off. Perhaps he/she is off work with H1N1. Anyway, here goes. If I recall correctly, Dictator Danny once said publicly that he considered the late U.S. President John F. Kennedy to be one of his greatest political heroes. Ironically, if JFK were still living, I doubt that he would consider the little dictator to be one of his followers. JFK once said: No responsibility of government is more fundamental than the responsibility of maintaining the highest standards of ethical behavior by those who conduct the public business. JFK also said: There can be no dissent from the principle that all officials must act with unwavering integrity, absolute impartiality and complete devotion to the public interest. Perhaps the ministerial briefing notes that Dictator Danny wishes to hide from the media and public view contain information which shows that officials of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador may not hold such high ideals as those espoused by JFK. The documents may show that officials in the little dictators government may not be impartial or may not be devoted to serving the public interest. It seems, releasing briefing notes and other documents might show us that the lofty sentiments of JFK do not apply to the little dictator and his collection of cronies..er...government officials.

  • Not a Hater
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    Sorry we keep you up half the night Bones I see your 2:30 am post yesterday. Trouble sleeping lately Bones? You have turned your worship of King Danny into a 24 hour a day project. Why is that Bones. Tell us what sparks such dedication and devotion to the man? If for no other reason I do admire you for that at least. Then again all lap dogs are loyal to their master and very devoted, never questioning anything just obeying obediently like all lap dogs should do. Great job Bones. Woof! Woof! Here boy. Come to Danny. Come to Danny.

  • Keith
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    Would anyone expect anything else from Williams. He needs to be like a bear and hybernate for the next few months and take Kennedy with him. In the spring they will be hungry and then they might realize how the disabled feel all year round. What excuses for humans they both are.

  • Taxpayer ll
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    This government will never be transparent enough for the Liberal plants(AKA the haters) on this page. This PC gov. has instituted more openess policy than any that came before it. The spending scandal, and the breast cancer debacle would never have come to light if the Liberals were in power, it would have been quickly swept under the rug, that party is famous for doing that.
    Of course when you are runiing a gov. some things have to be kept private, however even these things will be brought forward in time.

  • Would never have
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    peter from nl writes: The problem is the briefing notes may contain erroneous statements. ---------------- So, in essence what you are saying is that government officials are dictating policy on the basis of erroneous and misleading information?? Similar to closing two rural lab and x-ray facilities??? IF that is the case we `should`know before hand not after the fact, what we are told was correct. There is no universal standard for a briefing note, but it is generally understood to be a concise, coherent summary of a public policy problem with a clearly articulated logic for following a recommended course of action.

  • Bones II
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    Graham, Williams is not a dictator by any definition other than your own and those who share your obtuse idea that he is. I did have a late night last night, but it was my private sector work that kept me up late. I feel a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment regarding my work into the wee hours, and thank you for giving me the opportunity to mention it, lol.


    I can't tell you why you or the haters think Williams is a dictator because I don't know. I've asked, nobody will tell me, lol. Frankly, those I label don't really have much more to say beyond a personal insult. They appear to prefer call me and other suppers insulting names instead. Can you tell me why you think he's a dictator and give me a simple example to illustrate it? Are Kennedy, Wiseman, and Burke part of this one man show? Is Okeefe? Are Jones or Michael? Why are they all so quiet? I am truly interested in understanding this if it is so. It's your choice how you want to respond, if at all.

    Would never have Thought: Of course there isn't a standard lol, it's akin to a freakin post-it, ffs! You are right about the rest except you left out the private part and the handed to the minister part as a component of the portfolio he or she manages. How large a component do you consider this post-it in the day to day management of a complex government portfolio?


    ABCD: Ummm, what inside info? It pretty common knowledge what a briefing note is.


    Racket: Actually, you wouldn't win. You have taken the position of the minority, lol.

  • Would never have
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    Bones--- Try this for size!! There is no universal standard for a briefing note, but it is generally understood to be a concise, coherent summary of a public policy problem with a clearly articulated logic for following a recommended course of action. Next to a political nose, and a logical brain, the most important skill of the good treasury [person] resides in [their] fine drafting hand. The concise, coherent and penetrating note is the final expression of all other talents. In many Westminster / Whitehall governance settings, policy analysts are expected to analyze the issue and write the briefing note from a neutral public service perspective. However, the briefing note for decision must contain a recommendation, acknowledging that to say anything of importance in public policy requires value judgments, which must be explained and justified I`mm informed enough to know bull sh*t when I smell it!

  • Would never have
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    New ministers get briefed. Ask (Health Minister Jerome) Kennedy. Kennedy's in there now, and Kennedy is getting oral briefings, written briefings, whatever he can get. Oram the previous said he didn't have, get or need, `written`notes....a verbal briefing was all he needed....as dictated by Danny Williams`policy---So one can assume from Williams that Kennedy is substandard in that he requires ALL this to fill the position........

  • David
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    Do not mistake the holding of regular elections for a democracy......Saddam Hussein held elections.

    Democracy is dead in Newfoundland until the citizens demand different.

  • STOP THE RACKET
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    Foolish from NL. I would gladly run against you any day. It would be a guranteed win for whoever ran against you. Its attitudes like yours that people are trying to get away from we wanta government that is accountable to the people that elected it . The little tyrant dosent want to be accountable for anything to anyone. Do you seriously think thats ok? If you do you sure have the right name Foolish from NL.

  • W
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    Sounds terrible for a govt. Not wanting the public to know about well the public, and I think it is all summed up when Williams says he'd be out of there, if it isn't his way he's gone. Taking his marbles and going home so to speak. Alot of people wouldn't miss him.

    Certainly not transparent at all.

  • Richard
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    To great admissions in this piece - one is the Premier saying that he and his staff 'run the province' and the other is that there isn't so much as a fig leaf left to Williams' hollow promises of accountability. While he may be right about denying access to some records, it is irrefutable now that this is a far less transparent regime than that of his predecessor no matter how many PC Blue Books promise otherwise.

  • gary
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    My nunderstanding of briefing notes it that they are completed by a competent staffer and includes background information, obejective of the briefing note, all pertintnet inforamtion needed to make a decision and also includes a reccomendation. These notes are based upon factual information. I see no reason that the public cannot have access to these note once the decision is made by Govt for whatever reason the briefing notes were made. Then we can judge for ourselves if the decision made by Govt were indeed the right ones based on information provided in the briefing notes. All decision should be made upon sound written judgement. It's hard to scrutinizw oral briefings as there is no trail on the information provided and therefore we will never know if its accurate or just what someone wants us to think was said. Everything unless its detrimental to the public should be able to be reviewed once all decisions are made

  • Frank
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    I have to agree with Premier Williams on this one. There are rules and regulations in reference to policies governing government affairs.

    Frank M. Blackwood