Cheers: to definitions. With oil prices low and a deficit looming, Premier Kathy Dunderdale said not long ago that it was time for ministers to rein in their discretionary spending, including travel. It was, she said, “a reality check.” Guess it all comes down to how you define “necessary” — ever since the premier’s announcement, government ministers have been traipsing through the province on their annual summer “here’s a government cheque” tour. The premier talked about cutting travel spending on July 23. Since then, Health Minister Susan Sullivan has been to Corner Brook, Twillingate, Clarenville, Bonavista, St. Lawrence, Grand Bank and Burin — sometimes with as many as two additional cabinet ministers and an area MHA. (The news release from the Burin Peninsula contained five separate media contacts.) Here’s an idea: why not issue a news release and just send the cheque in the mail?
Cheers: to simple common sense. Here’s the Kitchener-Waterloo Record, talking about the Tories and crime in an editorial last week: “No sooner had Statistics Canada reported that police-reported crime levels in the country had fallen to their lowest levels in 40 years than a bragging Public Safety Minister Vic Toews elbowed the statisticians off the national stage and attributed this positive trend to the Conservatives’ trademark get-tough-on-crime agenda. There are a number of facts that make this claim nonsensical — and prove the folly of trying to change complex patterns involving millions of people with simple slogans and facile policies. First, while the Conservatives have been in office for only six years, the crime rate has been steadily dropping since 1991, and this of course includes years in which the Conservatives whipped up fears that the nation was awash in violence and illegal activity. They simply can’t take full credit for a downward slide in crime that began 15 years before they came to power.” Dan Gardner at The Ottawa Citizen had a similar take: “The release of 2011 crime statistics this week prompted the public safety minister to say something positively adorable. ‘Crime rate down 6 per cent,’ Toews tweeted. ‘Shows CPC tough on crime is working.’ I cracked up when I heard that one. How delightful. You see, many of the major Conservative crime policies only became law in March 2012, so it’s cute to suggest they had something to do with the crime rate in 2011. And in any event the crime decline in 2011 was only the continuation of a trend that has been underway for decades.” But why let facts get in the way of a good story?
Cheers: to weather. Fact is, after the sheer misery last summer, we were owed a little something. But man, hasn’t this just been great? Here’s hoping that August is as nice as July was. With the blueberries already ripening, it’s hard to belive the Avalon Peninsula is in the same place as it was last year.