Cheers & Jeers

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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.

Organizations: Conservatives, Grand Bank, Kitchener-Waterloo Record Statistics Canada Ottawa Citizen

Geographic location: Corner Brook

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  • Maggy Carter
    July 31, 2012 - 07:38

    @Anon - Your comment here and those I have read elsewhere indicate that you need to think a little longer before pressing 'enter'. Your brief comment at 17:55, July 30th contains what is known as an internal inconsistency. On the one hand you note that oil prices are - on the whole - rising rapidly. On the other, you say we need to get it out of the ground while it is still worth something. Which is it? Logic dictates you would slow production - to the extent it is within your control - if you are confident that the current downturn in price is a merely a temporary blip. Perhaps you have not been following it, but there is a growing consensus that a combination of demand factors, fossil fuel extraction technologies, and alternative energy developments could serve to dampen oil prices for decades to come. Once you clear away the BS that NALCOR and Dunderdale have heaped on the Muskrat debate, it becomes clear that oil will have to reach and remain at $200 per barrel or more before Muskrat becomes economically viable. To proceed in the face of those risks is not sound decision making - it is a roll of the dice. Is that how we want our governments to behave?

  • Maurice E. Adams
    July 30, 2012 - 20:16

    Yes ANON, by July 2012 oil had risen a full $1.50 per barrel above its last 6 year average --- a full 3/10ths of 1% per year (while Muskrat Falls will raise rates by a minimum of 2% per year, EVERY YEAR for the next 50 years. That is more than 6 times the average rate of increase in oil prices.

  • Anon
    July 30, 2012 - 16:25

    Oil is rising far more than it occasionally drops. We just need to go get the offshore stuff now while it's still worth it.

    • David
      July 31, 2012 - 08:45

      Newfoundland: experts in oil economics and price forecasting since 2004! After being in the industry for 75 years, Alberta doesn't pretend to know what the price of oil will be. What they ARE able to do is spend their revenues wisely. Alberta's debt? Paid off. Maybe the word "conservative" means more to Alberta than just a political party!? Maybe it's some sort of prudent, responsible approach to public finance. ....Naaaaah! They're just not as smart as Newfoundland. $124 it is..

  • Maurice E. Adams
    July 30, 2012 - 09:01

    And of course, those MHI 44% figures were based on old DG2 numbers that did not include interest during construction and cost overruns for the unneeded Muskrat Falls dam and generation plant.

  • Maurice E. Adams
    July 30, 2012 - 08:57

    Nalcor's last May 2011 'reference price' for oil used at Holyrood for the year 2013 was $122.50 per barrel. MHI said in its report that if oil prices were 44% less than what Nalcor was using, Muskrat Falls would have no economic (CPW) advantage........ 44% less works out to about $70 per barrel.... Nevertheless, as late as yesterday on the VOCM website, Minister Kennedy was quoted as saying that if oil went to $40 per barrel Muskrat Falls would still be 'least cost'. HOW CAN THAT BE? I guess it doesn't even matter what MHI says. OF course, this is the same Minister that keeps saying that Holyrood burns 18,000 barrels a day, when it over the last 9 years it operated at level on average for 5.5 days a year --- and last year --- NOT AT ALL (source? Nalcor's Learership website (April 27th response to question section). Also see www.vision2041.com

  • John Smith
    July 30, 2012 - 08:32

    It actually closed at $104 US a barrel on fri. The gov. predicted 124...the year is far from over yet.

    • David
      July 30, 2012 - 18:27

      The government couldn't predict umbrellas in a rain storm. And the year isn't 'far from over'......it's 7/12 over. Making up a billion dollar deficit in these last 5 months....that's how 'over' it is.

  • David
    July 30, 2012 - 07:26

    "With oil prices low....." Only in Newfoundland, where new blue-eyed sheiks meets keystone kops, could $90 oil be called 'low'. We are economic buffoons.