When is a contract not a contract?

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Statements by cabinet ministers Clyde Jackman and Nick McGrath this past year illustrate how a political party can hasten its own demise.

Back in September, in a dispute with school bus operators, Clyde Jackman stated that the bus owners had a contract with government and were expected to honour it. Last week, Nick McGrath, in justifying Humber Valley Paving’s withdrawal from a paving contract penalty-free, stated that government had no intention of harming business.

In 2012, government and the Pharmacists Association of Newfoundland and Labrador entered into a four-year agreement that included three draconian cuts to the funding model that pharmacy owners had created with their suppliers.

The funding in question was based on rebates on purchases from suppliers. This wasn’t some unique form of revenue stream as more than 75 per cent of the products in the large grocery and department store chains have some level of rebate attached. In the case of independent pharmacies, it allowed us to remain competitive with the big pharmacy chain stores.

Before the first year of that four-year agreement was up, government announced the first of three further cuts than was agreed to.

Is that honouring a contract, Clyde? Doesn’t that hurt business, Nick? It certainly shows a clear disdain by this government for small business and rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

It is especially galling when government extracts millions of dollars out of rural Newfoundland and Labrador, which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, and then gives

$3.5 million to a software company to create 35 jobs in St. John’s, which has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.

Does this government actually expect the people of this province to believe that the way it handled the Humber Valley Paving contract had nothing to do with the fact that its previous owner will soon be their boss?

If you believe that, I have some prime St. John’s real estate for sale for $500 an acre.

Wait a minute, that is not a great example. On your way to catering to the elite few in this province, you forgot one thing and it will come back to haunt you next election.  It is this pesky democracy thing, which still gives each and every person only one vote, regardless of how deep their pockets are.


Darryl Kendell


Organizations: Pharmacists Association of Newfoundland and Labrador

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Corporate Psycho
    May 07, 2014 - 17:36

    Time for MGrath to resign. In disgrace.

  • dave sharpe
    May 07, 2014 - 05:09

    Great points Darryl. There is enough stink to go around on this one. McGrath comes off as a blithering fool, Colemen no better. Time to bring in both the aditor general and RCMP fraud investigators.