Cheers & Jeers

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Jeers: to self-puffery. OK — pretend you’re the premier. You get to write the throne speech, putting every single word into the mouth of the lieutenant-governor. You could probably make him cluck like a chicken or moo like a cow, if you were evil enough. With that power, would you make His Honour say these glowing words about yourself? “My First Minister, the premier, is guiding this process with a keen eye to the impact on people. She is honest with Newfoundlanders and Labradorians about the challenges and choices we face, bringing her experience to the table and listening to others who have perspectives and particular expertise to offer. She is a champion for the vulnerable with an appreciation of the value of self-reliance; an appreciation of the role of the private sector in generating the new wealth our economy requires to thrive; an appreciation of the need to engage our youth in building the society that they will inherit from us. My premier is determined to leave our children a legacy more sustainable and secure than the circumstances we inherited. She has a plan for our province.” Or would that just be too over the top for words?

Cheers: to interesting ideas. The throne speech has some other interestingly inflated things as well — like the line that says “With 70,000 job openings on the horizon thanks to the Muskrat Falls development and other important initiatives, people are moving here.” Considering that employment in this province was at a record-high 225,000 in 2011, 70,000 in new jobs would mean a 30 per cent increase in employees in the province — and a corresponding jump in major contracts, particularly large government and Nalcor contracts. Quebec has announced it will now require its major contracts to be independently reviewed to ensure that there’s no corruption involved — with so much government money flowing so quickly in the next few years, especially in a sector that’s already shown itself to be tainted in Quebec, shouldn’t we be doing the same thing?

Jeers: to the long view. And while we’re on the topic of those wildly inflated “70,000 job openings” being “on the horizon,” isn’t it true that you can never actually reach the horizon? Why not just say there are 70,000 jobs, like the mythical pot of gold, at the end of the rainbow? Think of it this way: we’re paying for Muskrat Falls and for our share of Hebron. If 70,000 jobs are being sponsored somehow with taxpayers’ dollars, that means a sponsorship for every three other working people in this province. Do we get photos of the workers we’re sponsoring? Can we pick a boy or a girl? And how much does it cost to sponsor one of them? (And are they building the dam with spoons? After all, some forecasts say the Great Pyramid at Giza only took 36,000 workers, and they didn’t even have power tools.)

Geographic location: Quebec, Hebron

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  • Seventy Thousand Jobs-No Apprenticeships
    April 02, 2013 - 06:15

    Here's a story idea for the Telegram that should not take too much legwork but probably a couple of Freedom of Information requests: Contact the Trades Colleges to find out how many students they graduate in each trade per year. THEN contact the Division of Industrial Training that records and monitors apprenticeship training. Ask how many grads get apprenticeships. The discrepency in the number is staggering, yet, for PR reasons, government keeps singing about skilled labour shortages so far away in the future...

    • david
      April 03, 2013 - 13:00

      Legwork?! Seriously? I'm still hoping for at least one decent investigative question to be posed to someone regarding the Orlova debacle.

  • Foolish Frank Fagan
    April 01, 2013 - 14:48

    The new LG should have known better than to utter such nonsense. He has a Private Secretary who is supposed to advise him on the separation of State and Government. Unfortunately his adviser is just another Conservative campaign worker who got the Private Secretary job without competition while civil servants are laid off. Close down Government House and give Fagan an office at Workman's Compensation or something.

  • Frank Tock
    April 01, 2013 - 11:12

    With regards to the first "Jeers", the verbal diarrhea as stated in the Throne Speach is just another clear indication of how the MUN dropout from way down the Burin Peninsula is so far out of her depth she's drowning in her own self-importance.

  • Richard
    April 01, 2013 - 10:03

    Surely the Lt. Governor should have the discretion to send it back and say "I'm sorry, but this is inappropriate". Thanks for pointing this out. it's another vile practice indicative of how low, irresponsible and dictatorial this PC government has become.

  • Maggy Carter
    April 01, 2013 - 09:49

    Yes, the self-promotion and puffery in the throne speech are nauseating. But I would urge the Telegram to stop referring to Muskrat Falls and Hebron in the same breath - in this instance, the notion that government is buying jobs. This is absolutely true of course with regard to Muskrat. While the actual cost of these jobs is incalculable, we do know it is astronomical. The scheme is not so much a make-work project as a make-money-for-big-business project at the expense of ratepayers and taxpayers. Newfoundlanders will receive virtually no economic rent from the resource itself. The opposite however is true of Hebron. Yes, Newfoundland must pay its share of the development costs in proportion to its 4.9% ownership. But since Hebron - unlike Muskrat - is overwhelming viable as a business investment (even at lower oil prices), the province is virtually assured a positive return. This, of course, is on top of the royalties, taxes and private sector funded job creation associated with the project. It might not be the best deal in the world, but it is no Muskrat Falls. How unfortunate that the guy who stood up to Exxon and insisted on a fair deal for Newfoundlanders, failed miserably to hold NALCOR and himself to the same standard. Even 64 years into it, confederation stands no less a tribute to British-Canadian skullduggery than it did in 1949. But Newfoundland is not blameless for its own predicament and for the many great disappointments and abuses suffered along the way. When one looks at the quality of our democratic institutions then and now, it is almost as though we have come full circle. On this annual day of misgivings, I am reminded of the famous quote from Pogo - "we have met the enemy, and he is us".

  • EDfromRED
    April 01, 2013 - 09:14

    I truly believe if a random selection was made out of the phone book for MHA's, they would do a much better job than this bunch of pitiful PC nincompoops we have now. They must be role playing as vikings, getting their kicks by financially raping and pillaging us!

  • PLEASE END THE MARCH MADNESS
    April 01, 2013 - 09:08

    Note to the Premier's Office (a.k.a. CALVIN), the Telegram quoted the Throne Speech verbatim - i.e. "70,000 jobs on the horizon thanks to the Muskrat Falls development and other important initiatives.." The actual number according to NALCOR is an average of 1500 people per year during construction - a far cry from 70,000. If anyone has stretched the truth here, it wasn't the Telegram.

  • JDS
    April 01, 2013 - 08:06

    Funny how the private sector talks about if this happened it the private sector. Most private sector employers wouldn't be here if it weren't for govt subsidies. Between ACOA, RDC and direct govt funds or pulp and paper, mining etc.....

  • Torey Nomore
    April 01, 2013 - 07:40

    When I heard the speech from the throne, my immediate reaction was....pass the barf bag, quick! The Lt.Gov. plum appointment has to be the lowest level a person can stoop to, to take their reward for brown-nosing.

  • Calvin
    April 01, 2013 - 07:32

    Jeers: To The Telegram for utilizing their journalists to put whatever spin they like on a matter. Did the throne speech state, exactly, that the 70,000 jobs in the province are directly connected to the Muskrat Falls project? I think not. Sure, the government is going to try and make themselves sound good, that is what politics is all about. Are the total number of positions available in Newfoundland going to total 70,000? Probably not. However if you consider all the mega projects, construction work, retirees, etc. then sure, there are going to be thousands of good jobs available in the province, and that trend will probably last for a few years. Perhaps the government used our present economic and financial situation to paint a pretty picture, but is it any different when The Telegram stretches their interpretation of the truth to sell newspapers?

    • Eli
      April 01, 2013 - 11:37

      God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference. Jobs for RETIREES Calvin? Somebody's not well here.