Jeers: to imaginary tails. No kudos to Liberal MHA Yvonne Jones and her House of Assembly suggestion last week that the government was using the RNC to keep tabs on her — all the result of an off-microphone suggestion about who she might have been having dinner with. Fact is, this is still very much a small-town province, and it doesn’t take a police tail to spot your dinner companions.
Cheers: to the Internet. The contretemps with Yvonne Jones arose as she asked questions about a new vessel that could be taking over the Strait of Belle Isle ferry run under a new contract. That vessel? The 41-year-old Ionian Spirit, a roll-on, roll-off ferry that has also carried the names the Roslagen (when it worked in Finland), the Wasa Express and the Viking 3. It’s gone through eight owners in that time. Interestingly, the vessel has been reportedly held in Brindisi by its crew since Sept. 26, 2012 in some sort of dispute. It’s not without other history: it was chartered as an evacuation vessel to help foreign workers escape the Libyan civil war. Paul Davis, the minister responsible for the ferry tender, said the new contract “will provide a service they have never had in the history of Newfoundland and Labrador, Mr. Speaker. It will provide roll-on roll-off service that will be able to carry passengers, freight and vehicles, a service that has never been provided to them before.” Well, maybe not completely different, at least, not for the next three years. The Ionian Spirit is actually the sister-ship of the Apollo, the vessel that’s servicing the run for current contract-holders Labrador Marine. Same length, same design, but fewer cabins than the Apollo. The Apollo is two years older, though.
Jeers: to same old, same old. So, during private member’s day in the House of Assembly last week, a government member put forward a motion to congratulate the government on what a good job it is doing. (The motion? “Be it resolved that this Honourable House affirms that, by investing billions of dollars since 2004 in vital infrastructure — including highways, roads, bridges, ferries, municipal and regional infrastructure, health-care facilities and schools — the government has taken the responsible approach and promoted long-term fiscal strength and sustainability.” For brevity’s sake, the “how-good-are-we-anyway” motion.) Here’s a sample of the illustrious debate, from MHA Steve Kent: “Mr. Speaker, we are builders; we are doers. We have a vision for this place. We are committed to economic growth. We are also committed to fiscal responsibility and sustainability. Over the last decade, we have invested public money in a responsible way, with a long-term vision that has always been in focus, to build a strong and sustainable economy in Newfoundland and Labrador. We are talking about prudent investments, Mr. Speaker, and we are talking about solid fiscal management.” And why are we wasting time with this self-puffery? With all the talks of upcoming cutbacks, it’s certainly clear there’s someplace to start.