Old school

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At the end of October, Labrador MHA Yvonne Jones became the longest-sitting female MHA in the province’s history. And last week, she showed just how much of an old-school politician she actually is.

Jones has been a relatively steadfast opponent of the multi-billion-dollar Muskrat Falls project — in fact, her dogged opposition led to some of the more bitter and offensive interplay in the last session of the House of Assembly over the project.

The slanging between Jones and Premier Kathy Dunderdale certainly showed that Jones had a number of serious complaints about the way Muskrat Falls was being handled, and, in the process, showed how little professional respect the two have for each other.

Whether you like her style or not, Jones has been remarkably effective at delivering her point of view — and she hasn’t been a supporter in any way, shape or form of the project, its public review or the government’s role in the process.

Despite that, last week, Jones suggested she might be willing to support the project, if her own political district in particular — and Labrador in general — got enough out of the project to make it worth their while.

Ouch.

Paved roads. Permanent jobs. Long-term

benefits. The message from Jones was pretty darned clear, and the message was “you scratch my political back, and I’ll scratch yours.”

You can call it lots of things: the pragmatism of poverty, the politics of greed, the leftovers of the political system that spawned the tawdry little saying “Me and the premier brought you this cheque.”

What can’t you call it?

Well, you can’t in any way call it an ethical use of your vote as an MHA.

If, as an MHA, you support the Muskrat Falls project, then support it, and when the time comes after the abbreviated little debate the government currently has planned, cast your vote in favour.

If, as an MHA, you don’t even really understand the project and support it only because your political masters are ordering you to, then be prepared to cast your vote and live with your conscience over whether or not you fulfilled the duties you promised to do when you took your oath of office.

But let’s not turn a debate about the value of what is now a $7.4-billion project into something as tawdry as offering your support to the highest bidder, or holding back support until you get the necessary cash commitment for your area. Not to put too fine a point on it — that’s simply support bought and paid for with taxpayers’ dollars. There’s something different between what’s best for the province and, “what’s best for me.”

This province has already lived through — and suffered through — far too much in the way of porkbarrel politics.

And if there are politicians who don’t understand that, perhaps they belong to an era whose time has clearly passed.

Geographic location: Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Winston Adams
    November 27, 2012 - 10:06

    John, you cite 15,000 pages of information. The efficiency solution submission was 10 pages. Did you read it? My efficiency piece in the weekend Telegram , half a page , did you read it? More important , do you understand it? Where is your constructive critism?You suggest the quality is only in the volune and number of words. 'By the numbers' implies by the math, by the arithemic. For analysis this is better than the mumber of words and pages. You seem to do a lot of baffle, in fact most all baffle.

  • Cold Future
    November 27, 2012 - 09:30

    Jones appears to be resigned to the fact that the elephant majority is about to roll over on them anyway. So she can agree with the money losing giveaway as long as she gets some slush funds to support the Labrador coast. The sell out is still a sell out - what a leadership specimen!

  • John Smith
    November 27, 2012 - 08:19

    Most of the Liberals support the project, they wish they were in power, and were the ones bringing Muskrat falls forward. They only pretend to be anti-muskrat to try and win a few rural seats, where many are mis-informed about the merits of the project. We know Dean Macdonald supports it...even Dwight said he supports the project the other night on the news, albeit with some changes(LOL). The bottom line is that they have no integrity, no vision, nothing to offer the people of the provice...take a look at the latest polls...under 15% of likely voters support the liberlas...not hard to see why...

    • Scott Free
      November 27, 2012 - 09:09

      John, most people in the province, regardless of political stripe, may infact support the Muskrat project....IF, they knew anything about it! But, that secret society known as the Con Party of NL forbids any debate or expert scrutiny to it. It's a fait acompli...it's done! If it were open to scrutiny, debate and objective and constructive criticism, and passed the smell test, people would get behind it; but, the way its rammed down our throats by Dunderdale and Kennedy, we have to be skeptical. Little Man Dan and the Dunderdale dimwits demolished democracy in this province and we're left with a take it only option; it's being forced upon us; that's the real problem that people have with it; it may infact be a viable project, but how do we know when we only get the Tory spin on it?

    • John Smith
      November 27, 2012 - 09:44

      Well, there are 15,000 pages of information, and hundreds of exhibits available on the PUB site...have you read through that for starters? Then there is the Navigant report, the Wade Locke report, the MHI report for the PUB, then the MHI report for the province, then the Nalcor site, with hundreds of pages of information. So after you have read through all that, then you can say you don't know anything about it? The information is there, people just have to read it.

    • Scott Free
      November 27, 2012 - 12:21

      Johnny...whomever pays for the reports can dictate the contents and findings. You too sir, are a paid Tory informant, tasked to put out the Tory spin.

  • Harvey
    November 27, 2012 - 07:39

    "old-style politics" you say !!!! When was it, and when will it be any different ? Whoever wrote this nonsense is way out in the cold. The stripes of leopards you can never change.

    • Korrektor
      November 27, 2012 - 07:48

      Leopards have spots.

  • Brad Cabana
    November 27, 2012 - 07:12

    It's politicians like Jones that destroy people's belief in the system of government. It was only six months ago or so that she told everyone in the province our power rates were going to double. Yet, if her district in Labrador gets enough she is willing to have the rest of us pay those doubled rates. Is that where she's at now? Jones should be ashamed of herself.