Top News

Brian Jones: Room for improvement

Take a tour of The Rooms, site of the former British Fort Townshend dating back to the 1700s. Read below for details. — Telegram file
The Rooms in St. John's— Telegram file - SaltWire Network

It must be frustrating to be an NDPer in Newfoundland. The leftie crowd watches helplessly as the Liberals and Tories change position every decade or so, shifting from opposition to government and back again despite their eternal shenanigans and worse.

The Newfoundland electorate is apparently happy with bad governance and, when their patience and tolerance runs out, they opt for terrible governance.

Could the NDP do better? We will never know, because Newfoundlanders are content to be treated like vassals, lorded over by the likes of Dwight Ball, Danny Williams, Brian Tobin, et al.

The arrogance of Newfoundland governors is sometimes hard to believe, unless you see it right there in print, as in Tuesday’s Telegram: “Competition not needed in Rooms hire: minister.”

Culture Minister Christopher Mitchelmore, relying on the oft-used tactic of assuming the electorate’s stupidity, told the House of Assembly that a top job at The Rooms didn’t need to be advertised because, well, he already knew who was best for the job.

With a home-plate performance the World Series champion Boston Red Sox would admire, the Liberals smacked a patronage home run.

Carla Foote was the top public-service communications flack prior to being installed by Mitchelmore as executive director of marketing and communications at The Rooms. There was no request for applicants. No other possible candidates were interviewed.

Mitchelmore told the House of Assembly, “I had made the determination that Carla Foote was deemed the most qualified person to fill the role.”

He could know this because being a Newfoundland cabinet minister magically makes a person omniscient.

It also probably helped that Carla Foote is, of course, the daughter of the province’s recently installed Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote.

With a home-plate performance the World Series champion Boston Red Sox would admire, the Liberals smacked a patronage home run.

If you’re keeping a list of reasons to toss the Liberals out of office in 2019, add a check mark beside this one.

• • •

Pity the NDPers. They’re going to watch either the Liberals or the Tories win office again in 2019, while the devoted but underachieving leftists once again celebrate garnering a pathetic 19 per cent of the popular vote, as if it is some sort of moral victory.

There is another way of interpreting 19 per cent: L-O-S-T.

Marvel at the significance of the flip side of its meaning — a mere 19 per cent of Newfoundlanders realize that what the Liberals and the Tories both deserve is to be tossed out of office for, say, a decade.

If Mitchelmore’s musings didn’t warrant a tally on your score sheet, and you’re in the mood to mark one up against the PCs, gird your guts and reread the first few paragraphs from the story headlined “Manitoba Hydro didn’t weigh project’s business case” in Tuesday’s Telegram.

Six years later, the critics of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project have been proven right, again. It turns out that Manitoba Hydro International’s 2012 report about MF was not intended as an endorsement of the project, according to three former MHI employees who testified at the Commission of Inquiry Respecting the Muskrat Falls Project.

But the then-Progressive Conservative government trumpeted MHI’s report as proof Muskrat Falls was good and great, and gave it the go-ahead.

The tricked trio testified this week that they were unaware of a report by Westney Consulting that advised Nalcor Energy to have about $500 million set aside in a “strategic risk reserve” — jargon for having extra money for the likely event that cost estimates turn out to be wrong.

As was pointed out by critics, it was preposterous to assign a hydro company the task of critiquing a proposed project by another hydro company. It’s akin to asking two foxes to guard the proverbial henhouse.

But really, it matters not a whit. A gullible Newfoundland public would have supported a $6.7-billion boondoggle just as much as they supported the $6.2-billion boondoggle.

Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached at brian.jones@thetelegram.com.

Related stories:

No need for competition in Rooms hire: minister

Manitoba Hydro didn’t weigh Muskrat Falls project's business case

Recent Stories