Cheers & Jeers

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Cheers: to dates. On Dec. 17, Premier Kathy Dunderdale announces the sanction of the Muskrat Falls project. Jan. 28, a job posting closes for a director’s job in the Department of Natural Resources — the Electricity and Alternative Energy Division. The job? Director of electricity and alternative energy. Among the skill sets the government suddenly needs? “Knowledge of the North American electricity industry or industries in other jurisdictions, and knowledge of electricity programming in the province and the impacts of planned electricity developments (hydro) would also be an asset.” Given the complexity of the lead-up to Muskrat Falls, perhaps the government could have used someone who could be “responsible for the identification and implementation of policies/initiatives related to the structure and regulation of the electricity industry and alternative/renewable energy sources” a lot sooner.

Jeers: to $27,485. That’s the level of the average Canadian’s consumer debt, according to credit monitoring company TransUnion, despite warnings that we are becoming critically overextended. It’s a six per cent single-year increase, the first time the number has crested $27,000, and the fastest single-year growth in debt since 2009. The culprits? Mostly new car loans and instalment loans, the sorts used for furniture and other high-expense home items. We owe more than we can pay, and we’re reacting by firmly pushing our fingers into our ears so we can’t hear it. You can’t do it forever, folks — and it sure looks like all the warnings in the world about the dangers, should interest rates rise, are falling on deaf ears. As ye borrow, so shall ye pay. With interest.

Cheers: to the way access to information is supposed to work. There’s been plenty written in this paper about the government’s changes to access to information and the way Bill 29 restricted what’s supposed to be a right to access information. There have also been plenty of stories about how slow the process has become, with some requests dragging on for months after the legislated deadline. Well, here’s a little ray of sunshine: on two recent requests, The Telegram not only received an answer within the 30 days required by law, but actually received all the information requested in fewer than 30 days. Maybe 49 pages of released material is not a complete sea change, but at least it’s a start. Then again, there’s Advanced Education Minister Joan Shea, who, when asked this week if she would release a $148,000 report prepared by former auditor general John Noteworthy, said she would release it — unless she was prevented from doing so by the access act. If its purpose is to facilitate blocking the release of information, shouldn’t it be called the Removal of Access to Information Act? Literally: two steps forward, one step back, and all in one week.

Organizations: Department of Natural Resources, Alternative Energy Division, North American

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  • Koolaid to Foolaid
    February 11, 2013 - 10:16

    What ever app the premier is using to run the province, it ain't working. And now we have another virus on her smart phone that has spread from natural resources to finance. Maybe steve kent will do another great job of burying this embarrassment of the organization he so respects and is excited to be apart of. He did it for the scouts! Only that was for more than just abuse of power, policy, procedure and freedom of infomation. Some of his old colleagues thought he handled it beatifully and the appartentally so did the duderdale government who rewarded him with his new position. I think no else wanted the job only some one who was power hungry and thought that it could help professionally.

  • david
    February 11, 2013 - 09:19

    Again, not one word on the real-time scandal of the Orlova....crickets. The tely is too busy covering the "drunk driver arrest" of the day, is it? Newspapers might be a dying breed, but this one should be shot.

    • Pam Frampton
      February 11, 2013 - 09:21

      The continuing saga of the Lyubov Orlova is on our front page and our website today.

    • david
      February 11, 2013 - 09:53

      Pam, that it is "on your front page" is hardly proof of anyone doing any digging on the story...perhaps it's been so long since you broke a real story, you just forget what to do. Instead of just acting as Shoeybi's mouthpiece, has anyone gotten a quote or a statement from anyone at the port authority, or the DOT, or government ? Try that maybe.....

    • RJ
      February 12, 2013 - 13:52

      David...don't knock the Port Auth...u know they own most of St. John's ..u don't want to be swimmin with da fishes or bulldozed @ one of the building sites!!

  • Politicos
    February 11, 2013 - 09:02

    Another plum posting for a politico. Even some of the old Liberal political staffers who snitched to Danny are still in there, holding jobs with titles like "special projects". Makes me laugh at how pathetic political people are. And Dumb.

    • Mark in NAPE
      February 11, 2013 - 11:54

      They are even putting unqualified people into union positions. I know one guy in the Industry department who has no qualifications but has a union job at the top of the pay scale without any competition. No education, no qualifications, just knows someone close to Dunderdale and Williams.

  • Cold Future
    February 11, 2013 - 08:21

    Having made legislation to lock the island residents into purchasing the very high cost Muskrat power, we now have to figure out how to sell the juice cheaply on the mainland and US and avoid the open competitive market requirement dictated by FERC rules under NAFTA. Allowing cheap power imports for the island residents would be a disaster for the goverment. The province of Quebec is poised to make a killing on purchasing Muskrat power and selling it at a profit into the US. If we could only find a way to get in on it, the big giveaway could be turned into something positive. We must wait and see as Kennedy has said.

    • John Smith
      February 11, 2013 - 10:52

      So, how would you import power? Would you say presto...and suddenly we would have the 2-3 billion it would take to construct the lines across the gulf? Then we would be subject to whatever power rates others would dictate to us? Instead of investing in our own project, providing power to our own province? Impoting power from Quebec? Yeah that would be great...buying back our own power that we sell to QH at less than a cent a KWH...pay 3 billion for the infrastructure, and be on the hook to them for eternity? Really? You are a fool...

    • david
      February 12, 2013 - 14:33

      "So, how would you import power? " Hey Johnny Einstein: you ever fill up your car with 'energy'? Guess how that came to pass....

  • chadant
    February 11, 2013 - 08:19

    How much of that personal debt is not in the form of consumer products, as you suggest, but in student loans?

  • Scott Free
    February 11, 2013 - 08:08

    I wonder which high profile Tory will be jettisoned into that plum posting? who's left to receive their reward. As for the Secrecy Act, did you really expect anything less from that Secret Society known as the Con Party of NL?