Merchant mayhem

Brian
Brian Jones
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Premier Danny Williams is too busy trying to find an extension cord so he can plug in electric power from the Lower Churchill, so he probably hasn't noticed that in Newfoundland (and Labrador) - despite its "have" status and apparently recession-proof economy - a merchant-serf relationship more fitting for the 18th century than the 21st lives on in some prominent workplaces.

Just when it seemed safe to think the "just be thankful you have a job" mentality had finally been beat out of most of the province's employers, this week's headlines provided a trio of instances of bosses behaving badly.

Premier Danny Williams is too busy trying to find an extension cord so he can plug in electric power from the Lower Churchill, so he probably hasn't noticed that in Newfoundland (and Labrador) - despite its "have" status and apparently recession-proof economy - a merchant-serf relationship more fitting for the 18th century than the 21st lives on in some prominent workplaces.

Just when it seemed safe to think the "just be thankful you have a job" mentality had finally been beat out of most of the province's employers, this week's headlines provided a trio of instances of bosses behaving badly.

Iron will

In Labrador City, the Iron Ore Co. (IOC) is demanding that employees allow the company to see their medical records. If employees don't sign a document giving IOC access to their medical records, they could face "discipline or termination."

IOC's policy is a blatant transgression of the principle that medical information is strictly confidential between patient and doctor. Occasionally, medical records get hauled into court when deemed relevant to a case, but employers don't have - and shouldn't have - that authority.

The Steelworkers union opposes IOC's demand that workers hand over their medical records.

IOC claims such access is required to ensure workers are fit to do their jobs. That sounds reasonable enough. But there is another, long-used method - a fitness test and/or medical checkup, which provides the information needed, but doesn't require disclosure of one's medical history.

Negotiating nickel

Voisey's Bay was supposed to be one of the megaprojects that would propel Labrador (and Newfoundland) into a better tomorrow. Well, tomorrow is now today, and this week marked six months that United Steelworkers members have been on strike at Voisey's Bay.

The main issues are a decrease in workers' bonuses and changes to pension plans. These can be complicated enough, even without fluctuating nickel prices and the worldwide recession.

Negotiations are stalled. Brazil-based conglomerate Vale Inco declares it won't resume talks under preconditions supposedly set by the union.

But the Steelworkers have asked for the intervention of a mediator, which sounds more like an attempt to get talks going rather than setting preconditions on the employer.

If one side is willing to talk, but the other isn't, you have to be suspicious about the latter's motives. One possibility is that, with the general decline in nickel prices due to the recession, Vale Inco is satisfied with slow progress in labour negotiations.

Breathtaking bureaucracy

It has been revealed at the Offshore Helicopter Safety Inquiry that a suggestion was made in 2000 that oil companies provide employees with devices that would enable them to breathe underwater for several minutes in the event a helicopter ditched or crashed at sea. Presumably, the device would give people time to get out of the helicopter and to the surface.

The things are called HUEBA - helicopter underwater emergency breathing apparatus - and have been used in the North Sea for at least a decade.

But in Newfoundland, it took nine years - and the tragic crash of Cougar Helicopters Flight 491 on March 12, 2009 - for the oil companies to finally supply it to workers being flown to offshore rigs.

At best, this delay might be attributed to a slow-moving corporate bureaucracy, or, at worst, the delay could reflect a disregard for safety. If some sort of technical glitch had impeded the flow of oil from the ocean floor, would the companies have postponed dealing with it for nine years?

Oil company representatives at the inquiry this week said they didn't know why it took so long for HUEBA to be provided to Newfoundland offshore workers.

It is a question that warrants asking until it is answered.

Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached by e-mail at bjones@thetelegram.com.

Organizations: Iron Ore Co., United Steelworkers, Steelworkers union Offshore Helicopter Safety Inquiry The Telegram

Geographic location: Newfoundland, North Sea

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Recent comments

  • Frank
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Truth teller, as I stated earlier keep positive and please don't assume what I might be doing.you have no idea who I am & how I thinik. And all I will comment on you is that you are really good with those big powerfull words. Remember postive attitude brings positive outcome.

    Thank you.

  • Taxpayer III
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    That was a send-up of Taxpayer II's predictalble, knee-jerk, name-calling responses, Truth Teller. *rubs eyes with frustration* (Same could be done for a Bert and Bones II) BTW, did the previous Taxpayer I and Bones I sink off the coast?

  • Truth
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    Taxpayer, how much do you get paid to scour news stories and columns and defend the Premier???

    Brian began his column mentioning the man, or now we can't even talk about him? You are pathetic. And it's The Tely , not The Tele .

    And why do you cite the 80% all the time?? Most brainwashed peasants of a (benevolent) dictator follow his edicts and populism, clearly, like you do - hence the out of whack approval rating. I bet you are paid for your defence of the man, or are a personal friend or family member of the Premier?? Whatever the case, you have a scary obsession with him, like he's your cult leader or something. He's a public office holder. If he doesn't like to be scrutinized and criticized for his actions, he should have bought an island somewhere.

    (Sorry for the three time posting - there was an error with Transcontinental when I tried to post, so it really wasn't my fault!)

  • Taxpayer ll
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    Why would anyone begin this story with a slap at the Premier? It makes no sense to me. Trying to insinuate that the premier is too focused on the lower churchill is totally ridiculous. The situation in Labrador, and with the helicopters has nothing to do with the governance of the province, these are private companies, and private workers. If the province did step in the crack editorial staff at the Tele would be saying...the premier is poking his nose in where it doesn't belong. We get it, we get it...you think that the premier is bad, thank god 80% of us disagree with you.

  • Todd
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    Not taking sides in the debate here at all because I really don't care enough but Jerome and Truth Teller, just because you both feel a sense of hopelessness and embarassment, doesn't mean that everyone feels the same way.

    I am not Mr. William's biggest supporter but let's face the facts. The man took on this unforgiving job when he cleary didn't have to. He lives here and from what I know, all his kids live here too. Lastly, would you prefer to have Ms. Jones or Ms. Michael lead the Province? I for sure would not and I think that is the biggest factor in Williams' approval rating. There just isnt an alternative right now.

    I somewhat agree with what Taxpayer is saying about the feeling of hope but regretfully, I have to say that, no matter what, we are a province of whiners and complainers and always look to others to solve our problems. You don't need to look further than the three radio call in shows on VOCM for that.

    And Taxpayer, Goverment got involved with the mill in Corner Brook and with Abitibi, so they kind of set the precedence. They should urge the resolution of these disputes before WE have to pay out severance, like in Corner Brook and Grand Falls.

  • Bones II
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Taxwatch: There is more than 10 here: - www.pcparty.nf.net/record.htm - Feel fee to pick out and post those you disagree with, and don't forget to mention why you disagree. I will accept any you deem lies as long as you can prove it, and I will accept an alternate list of accomplishment from your hero. K? LOL

  • Truth
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Brought back a feeling of hope?!! Wow, that is some achievement! He is a pure demagogue a la Joey. Out- Joeys Joey.
    A real JFK, eh? Obama?? Pride. What a bunch of bull. He is a demagogue who has used our emotions and sense of pride in this place for his own political gain. How people don't see this is really beyond me.

    He signed those Hebron deals because of the astronomical value of oil at the time. Things that have happened were either because of external factors like that, or because of Williams' characteristic strong-arming tactics, like holding the province hostage when he ordered the flags down in the Atlantic Accord dispute (the end doesn't justify the means) and again in the last federal election when he went tooth and nail after Steve. He's been an embarrassment at times, and with this dispute with Quebec likely to ramp up, he will be at it again.

    Time will tell on everything...

  • Truth
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Agree Barbara, but I would add to that that Williams could take a page there and temper his rhetoric. The nastiness he spews at detractors, for instance the out-of-control speaking engagements of the past ( ABC Campaign anyone?), hurt us more than help us. He, more than any anonymous citizen hiding, as you say, needs to practice this. But it is not his style. To be more conciliatory himself would mean a loss of power and control, and we all know that cannot be.

    Getting back to the column, clearly Williams needs to focus his attention more on other issues concerning the province - I also brought health care, education, and infrastructure up - instead of going on these emotional rampages against our enemies (Steve, Quebec, etc.) Why the road shows? What a waste of precious time and money.

    Who knows, maybe something will come of his/Nalcor's pursuit of changing the Upper Churchill contract that has been carved in stone for over forty years now.
    But arrogance, high emotion, and bitter rhetoric typically do not work in one's favour.

    And that goes for us all, even the so-called brilliant Premier. To gain respect, you must first give it.

  • TaxWatch
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    The TOP 10 achievements by the Williams governments are:

    Anyone ?

  • Truth
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    Wow, it's bad to be an environmentalist. And a liberal. Scumbag is uncalled for and shows the total lack of class you have, whoever you are.

    I made my points, which clearly have struck a nerve with the Danny Williams lovers, all 80% of you. Ta ta!!

  • News
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    The same question could be asked of you Truth Teller . Do you scan the papers looking for ways to attack the current government and how much are you being paid?

    I always find it ironic when people attack like pit bulls. The logic center in their brains must shut down.

    Here we have a self proclaimed Truth Teller saying about the Premier, (and I quote) He likes to shut people down, and up, if they dare question his supreme authority Then the Truth Teller goes on to attack the first person who disagrees with his position by accusing them of being a paid stooge.

    I suppose I'm being paid or I work for the Williams government or I'm Danny himself now that I disagree with you Un-Truth Teller am I?

    Grow up.

  • Bert
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    phew--what a bunch of bafflegab--heaven help us ,i find the topic of his lordship DANNY far too large a topic to be debated here , but please explain something for me-since when do some people feel the need to post 8 to 9 comments on the same issue- i got your point with your first posting--and secondly if you feel you have so much to offer for heavens sake at least have the balls to put your name forward !!!

  • Taxpayer ll
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Jerome B'y, I have mentioned them here before. I did not agree with the changes to the Lewisport, and Flowers cove clinics, I thought they should have not reinstated the lab and x-ray, I don't agree with the Premier's involvement with grenfell, I don't agree with the Premier's involvement in choosing a president for mun, I don't think the primere should have gotten involved with the breast cancer debacle. I think the picture plant logo is absolutely ridiculous. That is but a few. However I think that what the man has done to better the province far outways these negatives. He has brought back a feeling of hope, to a place that was hopeless, and if that was the only thing he did, it would be enough for me.

  • Eugene
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Brian, didn't you know that the 19th century is the new 21st centuyry (or is that vice versa)? Any workers' rights that have been built up during the last 150 years are being eroded double-time. When our governments show a 'laissez faire' attitude toward business dealings and allow employers to dictate terms to workers, well, surprise, surprise. At least in the IOC case contravention of basic protection of rights won't be tolerated. Unfortunately when my employer arbitrarily decided to eliminate our company pensions and half our paid holidays last year, despite profits growing, there was no recourse. Also, it was government (lack of)regulation that allowed oil companies to ignore the safety of workers by not using Huebas.

  • Jerome
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    !!I will repeat once again that there are a great many things that the Williams administration have put forward that I don't agree with,......!!
    Can you please list some of !!those great many things!!?

  • Truth
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    *being able to speak out...

    Ok, too many typos. Made my points, you are right, Bert, et al. I hereby bow out.

  • Truth
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    It's all about money, ego, and power, especially at the very top in this province, the current Messianic occupant of the 8th floor. And greed, greed, greed. If it's a lack of safety and concern for the peasants of this province, then it's pure ignorance of our health care system, education system, and continually dilapidating infrastructure. And as you show here, complete disregard for their employees, and might I add concerning our Premier, who behaves more like a CEO, disrespect of the electorate, particularly of the plurality and rights that we have in a democracy. He likes to shut people down, and up, if they dare question his supreme authority.

    Danny Williams is, yet again, too hell bent on his vendetta with Quebec to bother himself with the domestic issues here, like the ones you note above, Brian. Not big league and sexy enough. I mean, Williams wants to be the Premier to bring the Lower Churchill online, though that won't be happening ANY time soon. And because he was totally outfoxed on the Lower Churchill, he is going after them, both barrels blazing, and foolishly trying to re-open/re-negotiate the Upper Churchill. The deadline for Hydro-Quebec to respond to Nalcor's request is, ironically, today.

    Have province, eh? What a load. Once all these mega projects prove beneficial for us, then I will possibly soften my position and tone when it comes to the wizardly Mr. Williams and what he has apparently brought to Newfoundland and Labrador. Until then, his ignorance of more domestic and social matters and issues here while he is too preoccupied - as any power and money hungry capitalist is -with resource and economic development at the sorry expense of the former, leaves me firm in my position there.

    No one ever saved Newfoundland and Labrador, and no one ever will. Oil is a nonrenewable resource too, folks. I don't think the oil utopia portrayed to us at glamorous announcements, a utopia where all those who have to work and live away are going to all get jobs here once these Hebron deals get going, is going to happen. I wish that were the case, but it's a prediction that one cannot for certain make, not even Danny Williams. We all need to get real, educate ourselves, and stop being blind sycophants.

  • gerard
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Taxpayer,that feeling of hope Mr. Williams is bringing to the province exists mostly on the Avalon and slightly in Kruger, sorry, i mean Corner Brook. Most of rural NL is still looking for that feeling as they pack thier bags for another stint out West. GrandFALLSWindsor and Central did have a hint of that feeling, but when the William's gov. finally got Abitibi out of town and expropriated the hydro, and turned to GFW and said , ''oh, you guys thought we intended to share the hydro with you, or with the multitude of companies who would have been willing to continue operating a profitable mill, sorry, that's why we didn't expropriate the mill, but thanks for the never ending cash cow.

    So, you can see why everyone don't have that same feeling of hope that you have. If people sat back and honestly asked themselves wether they are better off or worst off since the Williams' gov ran the show. Housing prices and property tax have skyrocketed, a pro or con for most people, we are now a have province, less federal money, a pro or con for most people, oil money up the ying yang, a pro or con for most people.
    Time for the government to realize just cause they say people are better off today, does not mean it's actually true, and that feeling of hope you talk about,taxpayer, it's all in your head, LOL..

  • NL
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Speaking of the United Steelworkes and Voisey's Bay -- who won the Nov. 24 election for district director? A guy from Sudbury, Ontario, and a guy from Hamilton, Ontario, were running. Do they even know what's happening down east? Voisey's Bay is the forgotten part of the strike against Vale.

  • Taxpayer ll
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Truth Teller you are an example of what is wrong with this province. I am only trying to make the point that where private industry is concerened the government can only do so much. I will repeat once again that there are a great many things that the Williams administration have put forward that I don't agree with, however I will not defer from defending the man where I see it is warranted.
    As well, I would think that your insinuation that 80%, or for that matter let's say 60% (for the sake of argument) who are supporters of the man, and what he is struggling to do for our poor beknighted province, are brainwashed peasents is insulting. It just goes to show the scary obsession you, and your fellow Liberal haters have.
    I have no problem at all with the government being scutinized, but let the story have some relavance. Of Late most of the ...tele's...stories start off with a swipe at Mr. Williams, then goes on to some unrelated topic. Like...Danny is bad...there is a strike at Voisey Bay. Or Danny is bad... the weather tommorrow will be... I mean give me a break.

  • Frank
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Hey folks, I think you are all going bonkers. Why don't you put your time and efford in making positve comments & suggestions. Work to accomplish something not destroy it. I am sure there are bad things that can be said about you also, that would hurt you. So lets say positive things about Danny & hope that we all can make NL & Lab a better place to live economically. In my opinion so far so good.

    Thank you good people of NL & Lab.

  • Truth
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Taxpayer, you enjoyed the treason against our country, which in effect it was, did you? I sure didn't. I think it is the lowest point of his Premiership and one of the lowest points in our history.

    Todd, that is fair. As for concern about his family who live here, while they are not fair game, the fact that they are exposed to criticisms of their father is something they must now be used to and is something he should have weighted. That's what happens, too, when you decide to enter PUBLIC life.

    And he did not take on the unforgiving, as you say, and powerful job as Premier for purely altruistic reasons. Let's not kid ourselves, though most in this province sadly do here. Are you saying he hasn't acted boorish and dictatorial in the last six years?? Hasn't acted in his own (political) interests?

    And your point about the weak opposition and weak leaders is right on, and is another reason along with the blind idolatry why the 80% or so rating exists and has for quite a while.

    And finally, Frank, if we were always positive and never complained or scrutinized anything and basically bowed to someone completely, then that is fundamentally scary and dangerous to give over political agency like that to one person. You might like doing that, but not me. No mortal is that omnipotent and able to bring nothing but prosperity to a place. Sorry. And that's not negativity. That is reality, or at least should be - which is my main point in everything regarding this Premier and all issues facing NL.

  • Frank
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Hey folks, I think you are all going bonkers. Why don't you put your time and efford in making positve comments & suggestions. Work to accomplish something not destroy it. I am sure there are bad things that can be said about you also, that would hurt you. So lets say positive things about Danny & hope that we all can make NL & Lab a better place to live economically. In my opinion so far so good.

    Thank you good people of NL & Lab.

  • Bones II
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    Voisey's Bay was supposed to be one of the megaprojects that propelled Labrador to a better tomorrow, but who signed that one? Is this an example of a hole you could drive a truck through? The anti-Williams band should forget I even mentioned it, lol.

  • Barbara
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    My, My, My. So many disagreements and opinions large feelings of hurt and outrage in the printed word. It is wonderful how we can show our true feelings, say what we want without ever worrying about who will know who we are. One thing is for certain that such goings on are very popular these days. In the old days if you wanted to be heard you threw a soap box on a corner somewhere stood on it and spoke your mind. Crowds would gather to listen and retort. Today we hide behind email, and comments. Not having to come face to face with the public. It's not always about Danny, as a matter of a fact it's mostly about us how we feel and react to each other. Seems to me that if you draw a line and say stand on the side you believe in there would be no one on either side because none of us can agreed on any of it. But we can all agreed to disagree on everything. Time is coming when we will have no choice but to take a stand let's make it for Newfoundland and Labrador as a whole setting differences aside for the betterment of us all.

  • Truth
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    You were assuming things of me, Frank, so you are hypocritical. (Was that also one of those big words?) Positivity is great, but one must ALSO be a realist and critical thinker and NOT just take everything that is fed by Williams and his machine. Why can't we scrutinize Williams and his directives/actions? Yet not only scrutinizing, but criticizing past governments was ok? In fact, it was more than ok... I don't get it. Too many people have bought into the flash, tough nationalistic talk (this is how demagogues and dictators control their people), and money of this man.

    To allow this, the silence of the people regarding their leader, to happen in any democracy, especially while we have people dying in wars to protect it, would not only be insulting to them, but also very dangerous to our hallowed system's very existence. Myself, others, and The Telegram (and CBC) don't just take Williams and his machine/propaganda at their word only. Investigation, scrutiny, and criticism is not only allowable in our democratic system, it is it's lifeblood. And it is important for us to do in today's NL. Especially today.

    Thank you.

  • Truth
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    *Investigation, scrutiny, and criticism is not only allowable in our democratic system, it is it's lifeblood - should read THEY are its lifeblood. See, even I err.

    Further to that, and expounding on Todd's point above, the weak opposition and weak leaders don't have much resources to work with (further cut by this Premier you are so positive about - that wasn't very positive, positive for democracy, was it??), don't have many supporters now, and have a tyrant of a Premier to deal with who just gets worse. Hence, we have is all the more reason as citizens, the even greater responsibility, in fact, to ourselves as the electorate and taxpayers to critically analysis what Williams does. It is also why we must NOT have the attitude that everything he does is right. Nor should we be in the dark (pardon the pun) currently (there I go again) regarding what he does on our behalf, especially as we elected him and he uses taxpayers' money. Why is he exempt from scrutiny when past Premiers surely were not?? Why the double standard?? Is it the masterful ability to use our nationalism to his ultimate political benefit, or is it the flash, mega money, and Rhodes Scholar status that intimidates people???

    Again, Frank, just keepin' it real. So many here don't. Just blindly follow. Maybe you are right: Ignorance is bliss, after all.

  • Bert
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Taxpayer, don't take what Truth Teller says so seriously!! This is a person who couln't follow a couple of simple instructions on how to post a comment. Don't forget their wasn't anything in yesterday's paper where Danny Haters could spew their venom on him. Very little today as well so Truth Teller is getting very ainsy.

  • Truth
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    Bert, another beauty of democracy is being about to speak out, and as much as we like. I was replying to those who replied to my original post, so chew on that.

    Brian began his piece mentioning Williams, so it is relevant, and as Premier of the province, he and his actions (or inaction as is Brian's point) is total fair game. Don't like what I or others have to say about Williams, or in general, either ignore it or move to Saudi Arabia or some other place where free speech against the government is outlawed and could be fatal.

  • Taxpayer ll
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Truth Teller, when the premier lowered the flag, and when he bagan the ABC campaign were some of the proudest moments I have had as a Newfoundlander. What you, and those of your ilk forget is that we have been treated like dirt by Ottawa from day one. So instead of every successive gov. cozying up to the feds, and then getting a slap in the face, at least with this premier we let them know that we won't stand to be patted on the head like children, and told to go away. In the end we will always receive the same from Ottawa, because Ottawa is controlled by Quebec, and Quebec would like to grind NL into the dust.

  • Townie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    A number of people have questioned why the Premier should have intervened in the actions of these companies. What has to be unnderstood is that the reference to the Premier is in fact a reference to the government of the Province. If the government is not to get involved to resolve labour disputes and return workers and companies to productivity, then why do we have a division in the Dept of Labour to assist in labour disputes. If government is not to be involved in safety in the worplace(the Offshore), why does it have a division for this work. The article refers to 18th century thinking and I think believe one can read the above comments and see which ones are from the 18th century.

  • Taxpayer III
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    You, Truth Teller, are a hater, an enviromentalist, a scumbag, and a liberal. Danny Williams - 80%! And *I* pay taxes!

    (did I do good Taxpayer II?)

    Oh, right you already did the 'liberal hater' thing.

  • Frank
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    Truth teller, as I stated earlier keep positive and please don't assume what I might be doing.you have no idea who I am & how I thinik. And all I will comment on you is that you are really good with those big powerfull words. Remember postive attitude brings positive outcome.

    Thank you.

  • Taxpayer III
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    That was a send-up of Taxpayer II's predictalble, knee-jerk, name-calling responses, Truth Teller. *rubs eyes with frustration* (Same could be done for a Bert and Bones II) BTW, did the previous Taxpayer I and Bones I sink off the coast?

  • Truth
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    Taxpayer, how much do you get paid to scour news stories and columns and defend the Premier???

    Brian began his column mentioning the man, or now we can't even talk about him? You are pathetic. And it's The Tely , not The Tele .

    And why do you cite the 80% all the time?? Most brainwashed peasants of a (benevolent) dictator follow his edicts and populism, clearly, like you do - hence the out of whack approval rating. I bet you are paid for your defence of the man, or are a personal friend or family member of the Premier?? Whatever the case, you have a scary obsession with him, like he's your cult leader or something. He's a public office holder. If he doesn't like to be scrutinized and criticized for his actions, he should have bought an island somewhere.

    (Sorry for the three time posting - there was an error with Transcontinental when I tried to post, so it really wasn't my fault!)

  • Taxpayer ll
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    Why would anyone begin this story with a slap at the Premier? It makes no sense to me. Trying to insinuate that the premier is too focused on the lower churchill is totally ridiculous. The situation in Labrador, and with the helicopters has nothing to do with the governance of the province, these are private companies, and private workers. If the province did step in the crack editorial staff at the Tele would be saying...the premier is poking his nose in where it doesn't belong. We get it, we get it...you think that the premier is bad, thank god 80% of us disagree with you.

  • Todd
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    Not taking sides in the debate here at all because I really don't care enough but Jerome and Truth Teller, just because you both feel a sense of hopelessness and embarassment, doesn't mean that everyone feels the same way.

    I am not Mr. William's biggest supporter but let's face the facts. The man took on this unforgiving job when he cleary didn't have to. He lives here and from what I know, all his kids live here too. Lastly, would you prefer to have Ms. Jones or Ms. Michael lead the Province? I for sure would not and I think that is the biggest factor in Williams' approval rating. There just isnt an alternative right now.

    I somewhat agree with what Taxpayer is saying about the feeling of hope but regretfully, I have to say that, no matter what, we are a province of whiners and complainers and always look to others to solve our problems. You don't need to look further than the three radio call in shows on VOCM for that.

    And Taxpayer, Goverment got involved with the mill in Corner Brook and with Abitibi, so they kind of set the precedence. They should urge the resolution of these disputes before WE have to pay out severance, like in Corner Brook and Grand Falls.

  • Bones II
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    Taxwatch: There is more than 10 here: - www.pcparty.nf.net/record.htm - Feel fee to pick out and post those you disagree with, and don't forget to mention why you disagree. I will accept any you deem lies as long as you can prove it, and I will accept an alternate list of accomplishment from your hero. K? LOL

  • Truth
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    Brought back a feeling of hope?!! Wow, that is some achievement! He is a pure demagogue a la Joey. Out- Joeys Joey.
    A real JFK, eh? Obama?? Pride. What a bunch of bull. He is a demagogue who has used our emotions and sense of pride in this place for his own political gain. How people don't see this is really beyond me.

    He signed those Hebron deals because of the astronomical value of oil at the time. Things that have happened were either because of external factors like that, or because of Williams' characteristic strong-arming tactics, like holding the province hostage when he ordered the flags down in the Atlantic Accord dispute (the end doesn't justify the means) and again in the last federal election when he went tooth and nail after Steve. He's been an embarrassment at times, and with this dispute with Quebec likely to ramp up, he will be at it again.

    Time will tell on everything...

  • Truth
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    Agree Barbara, but I would add to that that Williams could take a page there and temper his rhetoric. The nastiness he spews at detractors, for instance the out-of-control speaking engagements of the past ( ABC Campaign anyone?), hurt us more than help us. He, more than any anonymous citizen hiding, as you say, needs to practice this. But it is not his style. To be more conciliatory himself would mean a loss of power and control, and we all know that cannot be.

    Getting back to the column, clearly Williams needs to focus his attention more on other issues concerning the province - I also brought health care, education, and infrastructure up - instead of going on these emotional rampages against our enemies (Steve, Quebec, etc.) Why the road shows? What a waste of precious time and money.

    Who knows, maybe something will come of his/Nalcor's pursuit of changing the Upper Churchill contract that has been carved in stone for over forty years now.
    But arrogance, high emotion, and bitter rhetoric typically do not work in one's favour.

    And that goes for us all, even the so-called brilliant Premier. To gain respect, you must first give it.

  • TaxWatch
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    The TOP 10 achievements by the Williams governments are:

    Anyone ?

  • Truth
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    Wow, it's bad to be an environmentalist. And a liberal. Scumbag is uncalled for and shows the total lack of class you have, whoever you are.

    I made my points, which clearly have struck a nerve with the Danny Williams lovers, all 80% of you. Ta ta!!

  • News
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    The same question could be asked of you Truth Teller . Do you scan the papers looking for ways to attack the current government and how much are you being paid?

    I always find it ironic when people attack like pit bulls. The logic center in their brains must shut down.

    Here we have a self proclaimed Truth Teller saying about the Premier, (and I quote) He likes to shut people down, and up, if they dare question his supreme authority Then the Truth Teller goes on to attack the first person who disagrees with his position by accusing them of being a paid stooge.

    I suppose I'm being paid or I work for the Williams government or I'm Danny himself now that I disagree with you Un-Truth Teller am I?

    Grow up.

  • Bert
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    phew--what a bunch of bafflegab--heaven help us ,i find the topic of his lordship DANNY far too large a topic to be debated here , but please explain something for me-since when do some people feel the need to post 8 to 9 comments on the same issue- i got your point with your first posting--and secondly if you feel you have so much to offer for heavens sake at least have the balls to put your name forward !!!

  • Taxpayer ll
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    Jerome B'y, I have mentioned them here before. I did not agree with the changes to the Lewisport, and Flowers cove clinics, I thought they should have not reinstated the lab and x-ray, I don't agree with the Premier's involvement with grenfell, I don't agree with the Premier's involvement in choosing a president for mun, I don't think the primere should have gotten involved with the breast cancer debacle. I think the picture plant logo is absolutely ridiculous. That is but a few. However I think that what the man has done to better the province far outways these negatives. He has brought back a feeling of hope, to a place that was hopeless, and if that was the only thing he did, it would be enough for me.

  • Eugene
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    Brian, didn't you know that the 19th century is the new 21st centuyry (or is that vice versa)? Any workers' rights that have been built up during the last 150 years are being eroded double-time. When our governments show a 'laissez faire' attitude toward business dealings and allow employers to dictate terms to workers, well, surprise, surprise. At least in the IOC case contravention of basic protection of rights won't be tolerated. Unfortunately when my employer arbitrarily decided to eliminate our company pensions and half our paid holidays last year, despite profits growing, there was no recourse. Also, it was government (lack of)regulation that allowed oil companies to ignore the safety of workers by not using Huebas.

  • Jerome
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    !!I will repeat once again that there are a great many things that the Williams administration have put forward that I don't agree with,......!!
    Can you please list some of !!those great many things!!?

  • Truth
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    *being able to speak out...

    Ok, too many typos. Made my points, you are right, Bert, et al. I hereby bow out.

  • Truth
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    It's all about money, ego, and power, especially at the very top in this province, the current Messianic occupant of the 8th floor. And greed, greed, greed. If it's a lack of safety and concern for the peasants of this province, then it's pure ignorance of our health care system, education system, and continually dilapidating infrastructure. And as you show here, complete disregard for their employees, and might I add concerning our Premier, who behaves more like a CEO, disrespect of the electorate, particularly of the plurality and rights that we have in a democracy. He likes to shut people down, and up, if they dare question his supreme authority.

    Danny Williams is, yet again, too hell bent on his vendetta with Quebec to bother himself with the domestic issues here, like the ones you note above, Brian. Not big league and sexy enough. I mean, Williams wants to be the Premier to bring the Lower Churchill online, though that won't be happening ANY time soon. And because he was totally outfoxed on the Lower Churchill, he is going after them, both barrels blazing, and foolishly trying to re-open/re-negotiate the Upper Churchill. The deadline for Hydro-Quebec to respond to Nalcor's request is, ironically, today.

    Have province, eh? What a load. Once all these mega projects prove beneficial for us, then I will possibly soften my position and tone when it comes to the wizardly Mr. Williams and what he has apparently brought to Newfoundland and Labrador. Until then, his ignorance of more domestic and social matters and issues here while he is too preoccupied - as any power and money hungry capitalist is -with resource and economic development at the sorry expense of the former, leaves me firm in my position there.

    No one ever saved Newfoundland and Labrador, and no one ever will. Oil is a nonrenewable resource too, folks. I don't think the oil utopia portrayed to us at glamorous announcements, a utopia where all those who have to work and live away are going to all get jobs here once these Hebron deals get going, is going to happen. I wish that were the case, but it's a prediction that one cannot for certain make, not even Danny Williams. We all need to get real, educate ourselves, and stop being blind sycophants.

  • gerard
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    Taxpayer,that feeling of hope Mr. Williams is bringing to the province exists mostly on the Avalon and slightly in Kruger, sorry, i mean Corner Brook. Most of rural NL is still looking for that feeling as they pack thier bags for another stint out West. GrandFALLSWindsor and Central did have a hint of that feeling, but when the William's gov. finally got Abitibi out of town and expropriated the hydro, and turned to GFW and said , ''oh, you guys thought we intended to share the hydro with you, or with the multitude of companies who would have been willing to continue operating a profitable mill, sorry, that's why we didn't expropriate the mill, but thanks for the never ending cash cow.

    So, you can see why everyone don't have that same feeling of hope that you have. If people sat back and honestly asked themselves wether they are better off or worst off since the Williams' gov ran the show. Housing prices and property tax have skyrocketed, a pro or con for most people, we are now a have province, less federal money, a pro or con for most people, oil money up the ying yang, a pro or con for most people.
    Time for the government to realize just cause they say people are better off today, does not mean it's actually true, and that feeling of hope you talk about,taxpayer, it's all in your head, LOL..

  • NL
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    Speaking of the United Steelworkes and Voisey's Bay -- who won the Nov. 24 election for district director? A guy from Sudbury, Ontario, and a guy from Hamilton, Ontario, were running. Do they even know what's happening down east? Voisey's Bay is the forgotten part of the strike against Vale.

  • Taxpayer ll
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    Truth Teller you are an example of what is wrong with this province. I am only trying to make the point that where private industry is concerened the government can only do so much. I will repeat once again that there are a great many things that the Williams administration have put forward that I don't agree with, however I will not defer from defending the man where I see it is warranted.
    As well, I would think that your insinuation that 80%, or for that matter let's say 60% (for the sake of argument) who are supporters of the man, and what he is struggling to do for our poor beknighted province, are brainwashed peasents is insulting. It just goes to show the scary obsession you, and your fellow Liberal haters have.
    I have no problem at all with the government being scutinized, but let the story have some relavance. Of Late most of the ...tele's...stories start off with a swipe at Mr. Williams, then goes on to some unrelated topic. Like...Danny is bad...there is a strike at Voisey Bay. Or Danny is bad... the weather tommorrow will be... I mean give me a break.

  • Frank
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    Hey folks, I think you are all going bonkers. Why don't you put your time and efford in making positve comments & suggestions. Work to accomplish something not destroy it. I am sure there are bad things that can be said about you also, that would hurt you. So lets say positive things about Danny & hope that we all can make NL & Lab a better place to live economically. In my opinion so far so good.

    Thank you good people of NL & Lab.

  • Truth
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    Taxpayer, you enjoyed the treason against our country, which in effect it was, did you? I sure didn't. I think it is the lowest point of his Premiership and one of the lowest points in our history.

    Todd, that is fair. As for concern about his family who live here, while they are not fair game, the fact that they are exposed to criticisms of their father is something they must now be used to and is something he should have weighted. That's what happens, too, when you decide to enter PUBLIC life.

    And he did not take on the unforgiving, as you say, and powerful job as Premier for purely altruistic reasons. Let's not kid ourselves, though most in this province sadly do here. Are you saying he hasn't acted boorish and dictatorial in the last six years?? Hasn't acted in his own (political) interests?

    And your point about the weak opposition and weak leaders is right on, and is another reason along with the blind idolatry why the 80% or so rating exists and has for quite a while.

    And finally, Frank, if we were always positive and never complained or scrutinized anything and basically bowed to someone completely, then that is fundamentally scary and dangerous to give over political agency like that to one person. You might like doing that, but not me. No mortal is that omnipotent and able to bring nothing but prosperity to a place. Sorry. And that's not negativity. That is reality, or at least should be - which is my main point in everything regarding this Premier and all issues facing NL.

  • Frank
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    Hey folks, I think you are all going bonkers. Why don't you put your time and efford in making positve comments & suggestions. Work to accomplish something not destroy it. I am sure there are bad things that can be said about you also, that would hurt you. So lets say positive things about Danny & hope that we all can make NL & Lab a better place to live economically. In my opinion so far so good.

    Thank you good people of NL & Lab.

  • Bones II
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    Voisey's Bay was supposed to be one of the megaprojects that propelled Labrador to a better tomorrow, but who signed that one? Is this an example of a hole you could drive a truck through? The anti-Williams band should forget I even mentioned it, lol.

  • Barbara
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    My, My, My. So many disagreements and opinions large feelings of hurt and outrage in the printed word. It is wonderful how we can show our true feelings, say what we want without ever worrying about who will know who we are. One thing is for certain that such goings on are very popular these days. In the old days if you wanted to be heard you threw a soap box on a corner somewhere stood on it and spoke your mind. Crowds would gather to listen and retort. Today we hide behind email, and comments. Not having to come face to face with the public. It's not always about Danny, as a matter of a fact it's mostly about us how we feel and react to each other. Seems to me that if you draw a line and say stand on the side you believe in there would be no one on either side because none of us can agreed on any of it. But we can all agreed to disagree on everything. Time is coming when we will have no choice but to take a stand let's make it for Newfoundland and Labrador as a whole setting differences aside for the betterment of us all.

  • Truth
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    You were assuming things of me, Frank, so you are hypocritical. (Was that also one of those big words?) Positivity is great, but one must ALSO be a realist and critical thinker and NOT just take everything that is fed by Williams and his machine. Why can't we scrutinize Williams and his directives/actions? Yet not only scrutinizing, but criticizing past governments was ok? In fact, it was more than ok... I don't get it. Too many people have bought into the flash, tough nationalistic talk (this is how demagogues and dictators control their people), and money of this man.

    To allow this, the silence of the people regarding their leader, to happen in any democracy, especially while we have people dying in wars to protect it, would not only be insulting to them, but also very dangerous to our hallowed system's very existence. Myself, others, and The Telegram (and CBC) don't just take Williams and his machine/propaganda at their word only. Investigation, scrutiny, and criticism is not only allowable in our democratic system, it is it's lifeblood. And it is important for us to do in today's NL. Especially today.

    Thank you.

  • Truth
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    *Investigation, scrutiny, and criticism is not only allowable in our democratic system, it is it's lifeblood - should read THEY are its lifeblood. See, even I err.

    Further to that, and expounding on Todd's point above, the weak opposition and weak leaders don't have much resources to work with (further cut by this Premier you are so positive about - that wasn't very positive, positive for democracy, was it??), don't have many supporters now, and have a tyrant of a Premier to deal with who just gets worse. Hence, we have is all the more reason as citizens, the even greater responsibility, in fact, to ourselves as the electorate and taxpayers to critically analysis what Williams does. It is also why we must NOT have the attitude that everything he does is right. Nor should we be in the dark (pardon the pun) currently (there I go again) regarding what he does on our behalf, especially as we elected him and he uses taxpayers' money. Why is he exempt from scrutiny when past Premiers surely were not?? Why the double standard?? Is it the masterful ability to use our nationalism to his ultimate political benefit, or is it the flash, mega money, and Rhodes Scholar status that intimidates people???

    Again, Frank, just keepin' it real. So many here don't. Just blindly follow. Maybe you are right: Ignorance is bliss, after all.

  • Bert
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    Taxpayer, don't take what Truth Teller says so seriously!! This is a person who couln't follow a couple of simple instructions on how to post a comment. Don't forget their wasn't anything in yesterday's paper where Danny Haters could spew their venom on him. Very little today as well so Truth Teller is getting very ainsy.

  • Truth
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    Bert, another beauty of democracy is being about to speak out, and as much as we like. I was replying to those who replied to my original post, so chew on that.

    Brian began his piece mentioning Williams, so it is relevant, and as Premier of the province, he and his actions (or inaction as is Brian's point) is total fair game. Don't like what I or others have to say about Williams, or in general, either ignore it or move to Saudi Arabia or some other place where free speech against the government is outlawed and could be fatal.

  • Taxpayer ll
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    Truth Teller, when the premier lowered the flag, and when he bagan the ABC campaign were some of the proudest moments I have had as a Newfoundlander. What you, and those of your ilk forget is that we have been treated like dirt by Ottawa from day one. So instead of every successive gov. cozying up to the feds, and then getting a slap in the face, at least with this premier we let them know that we won't stand to be patted on the head like children, and told to go away. In the end we will always receive the same from Ottawa, because Ottawa is controlled by Quebec, and Quebec would like to grind NL into the dust.

  • Townie
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    A number of people have questioned why the Premier should have intervened in the actions of these companies. What has to be unnderstood is that the reference to the Premier is in fact a reference to the government of the Province. If the government is not to get involved to resolve labour disputes and return workers and companies to productivity, then why do we have a division in the Dept of Labour to assist in labour disputes. If government is not to be involved in safety in the worplace(the Offshore), why does it have a division for this work. The article refers to 18th century thinking and I think believe one can read the above comments and see which ones are from the 18th century.

  • Taxpayer III
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    You, Truth Teller, are a hater, an enviromentalist, a scumbag, and a liberal. Danny Williams - 80%! And *I* pay taxes!

    (did I do good Taxpayer II?)

    Oh, right you already did the 'liberal hater' thing.