Cheers & Jeers

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Cheers: to the concept of “physician, heal thyself.” Remember how Newfoundland Hydro was unable to keep the power on during that January blackouts? Turns out, despite backup systems, it couldn’t keep its own lights going.

This is from the Liberty Consulting report into the power failures and Hydro’s operations: “Hydro’s restoration efforts were extended by 43 minutes because of the loss of its energy management system (EMS) between 11:03 a.m. and 11:46 a.m. on Jan. 4, 2014. The emergency generator at the Emergency Control Center supplying power to the EMS shut down because of a cooling system failure. The backup (uninterruptible power supply) system picked up the EMS load after the generator shutdown, but it remained in operation for only 15 to 20 minutes. Hydro’s previous attempts to address the cooling issue on the generator were not sufficient.” Well, that’s reassuring.

Jeers: to forgetting about due process. Everybody probably recognizes that the temporary foreign workers are becoming a hot-button political issue — last week, the federal government halted applications for such workers in the food service industry. What’s surprising is that no one seems to be concerned about due process for anyone involved. When abuses came to light, the federal minister responsible for the program, Jason Kenney, announced that he would start an investigation, saying, “We will not tolerate it.” Here’s what he said would happen to the businesses that had concerns raised about their conduct under the program. “They will be put on the blacklist and as soon as monetary fines are in place, we will be throwing the book at them.” All right: here’s how it works. First, investigate to see if abuse has taken place. Second, if abuse has taken place, take action. But scapegoating before you’ve even conducted the investigation? That’s political pandering. And someone should mention to Kenney, who’s repeatedly used the term “blacklisting,” that he might want to find a better descriptor. It’s been around since 1649, but it’s most well known for the systematic hunt for communists in Hollywood by Senator Joseph McCarthy’s House Committee on Un-American Activities.

Cheers: to disclosure. The CBC’s Rex Murphy — and other CBC freelancers and staff — have gotten into hot water recently about their outside paid speaking gigs, and whether paid speaking jobs compromise their on-air integrity. Now, the CBC says it’s going to change the rules a bit. This is from the CBC’s general manager and editor-in-chief, Jennifer McGuire: “For CBC News on-air employees, we’re tightening our procedures around paid speeches. We’ll reject requests from companies, political parties or other groups which make a significant effort to lobby or otherwise influence public policy, even if the speech or event seems innocuous. … Starting in May, we’ll post regularly online a list of appearances by our reporters and hosts — both paid and unpaid. … When it comes to freelance hosts, we will be updating their contracts so that they are compelled to disclose their paid events to us, and we in turn will disclose them to you.” It’s a good idea.

Organizations: EMS, CBC News, Liberty Consulting Emergency Control Center House Committee on Un-American Activities.Cheers

Geographic location: Hollywood

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