Jeers: to the awkward math of self-promotion.
So, newly minted Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Kent is picking up where his predecessor left off, travelling the province to announce provincial government support for fire equipment, however small. Last week, it was Labrador: “The Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, through almost $13,000 in funding from the provincial government, will purchase four new self-contained breathing apparatuses, also known as SCBAs. The Honourable Steve Kent, Minister of Municipal and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister Responsible for Fire and Emergency Services-Newfoundland and Labrador, was joined by Keith Russell, MHA for Lake Melville, to make the announcement at the Happy Valley-Goose Bay Fire Department today,” the news release said. Russell was quoted as saying “I sincerely appreciate Minister Kent taking the time to visit the community and show the fire department his appreciation and commitment to the fire services first-hand.” Hmmm. Think about this: it costs anywhere from $900 to $1,500 to fly to Goose Bay and back, and even more if the minister took support staff. (Do ministers ever travel alone?) Add in hotels, rental cars and per diems, and for the price of the minister’s visit, the fire department could have had five new SCBAs instead of four. Did anyone stop to think about that? Probably not Minister Kent: he was winging it to Glovertown the very next day, for another fire department appearance. Priorities — what a concept.
Jeers: and this is why they don’t call it “answer period.” Liberal Leader Dwight Ball: “Since the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services was created back in 2009, we have had three different ministers, three different deputy ministers, and we have had four investigative reports from the Child and Youth Advocate. I ask the premier: How can you address the long standing systemic problems within CYFS when the department is in such turmoil and in constant turnover?” Sounds simple enough. The answer, from CYFS Minister Paul Davis? “The Department of Child, Youth and Family Services and the provision of services to children and youth in the province has a long history in this province. Back in the 1990s it came from a mainline department in government; it was moved to health authorities throughout the province. We, as a government, realized that is not the most effective way to provide services for children and youth. We undertook a study, a clinical review in 2008 to 2009. We looked at the results of that review very carefully, and in 2009 we announced that we would form a new Department of Child, Youth and Family Services. It has been a big piece of work for this government, Mr. Speaker. It is a serious piece of work. Our goal is to continue to provide the best services possible for children and youth in
Newfoundland and Labrador.” Well played — if you were the Minister of History.