The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Ratings trump truth #nlpoli

Sometimes the universe delivers you the magical set of circumstances you just can’t ignore. Danny Williams turned up at the St. John’s Board of Trade luncheon on Thursday to deliver a speech the day before Donald Trump’s inauguration as president.  As much as people might like to forget,  this was a great reminder of just ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Spending the future (2005) #nlpoli

” [The change in the province’s financial outlook] That’s very dramatic…Some people are going to stand back and say ‘Oh yeah, that’s just because your very lucky. That’s because the oil prices have gone up.’ Well, no. That’s part of it. But we had a tough budget, a prudent budget. We’ve managed the province, fiscally, very ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Reverse Midas Touch Rides Again #nlpoli

The crowd running this place these days has an unrivalled ability to look at a problem and find the worst possible response imaginable. On Wednesday,  natural resource minister Siobhan Coady and environment minister Perry Trimper announced that the government would tell Nalcor to keep flooding the Muskrat Falls reservoir but at the same time, they ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Through others’ eyes #nlpoli

For Newfoundland’s pseudo-intellectuals,  the Toronto Globe and Mail is a kind of one-handed reading material.  They use one hand to scroll down the Internet site looking at stuff.  They use the other to stroke the keys of their computer until it spurts indignation all over the screen about over something someone in the Globe said ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Policy Stagnation #nlpoli

The provincial government has been on its current course since about 2007.   There were three elements to the Conservatives agenda under Danny Williams.  They changed somewhat over time but these are the elements that dominated from 2003 to 2015. Above all else, Williams’ goal was to build the Lower Churchill.  That was to be ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Policy Stagnation #nlpoli

The provincial government has been on its current course since about 2007.   There were three elements to the Conservatives agenda under Danny Williams.  They changed somewhat over time but these are the elements that dominated from 2003 to 2015. Above all else, Williams’ goal was to build the Lower Churchill.  That was to be ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Price of Revanchism #nlpoli

Churchill Falls occupies a unique place in Newfoundland and Labrador’s political culture. Most of what people believe about Churchill Falls is just sheer nonsense.  Made up.  Never true. Completely ludicrous.  But accepted as fact and unshakeable truth all the same.  And that’s where things get weird. People use all that foolishness nonsense to make decisions ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Price of Revanchism #nlpoli

Churchill Falls occupies a unique place in Newfoundland and Labrador’s political culture. Most of what people believe about Churchill Falls is just sheer nonsense.  Made up.  Never true. Completely ludicrous.  But accepted as fact and unshakeable truth all the same.  And that’s where things get weird. People use all that foolishness nonsense to make decisions ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Water Rights, Muskrat Falls, and the Muskrat Falls Disaster #nlpoli

Forget everything else that you know about Muskrat Falls. The entire project hinged on Nalcor’s ability to control water flows on the Churchill River.  Nalcor’s internal assessments showed that without the ability to control water flows, Nalcor’s Lower Churchill project would reliably produce only about 17% of its nameplate capacity.  That means that Muskrat Falls ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Trump and Proto-Trump and babies #nlpoli

Speaking about his popularity and the loyalty of his supporters: “They say that I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”  Donald Trump.  Sioux Center, Iowa, January 2016  And on babies… Speaking about the popularity of a guy who was once the opening act on a ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The little savory details #nlpoli

Nalcor chief executive Stan Marshall said so much last Friday about Muskrat Falls, it’s probably true that most people couldn’t possibly take it all in. One of the folks having a hard time understanding all this is Tom Johnson.  He’s the guy the Conservatives appointed to serve as consumer advocate at public utilities board hearings. ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Friends and enemies #nlpoli

Craig Westcott tells a story from his short stint as communications director for the Liberals in opposition in the last days of Danny Williams and the early days of his handpicked successor, Kathy Dunderdale. “I kept after the very small caucus we had to keep asking questions,”  Westcott said in an email to SRBP, “hoping ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Fan Klub, Churchill, and taxes – update

As the provincial Conservatives and New Democrats filibuster the levy bill in the House of Assembly that Winston Churchill quote about taxes popped up again. The ones pushing the quote hard on Twitter seem to be mostly charter members of the Danny Williams Fan Klub. That’s not surprising given that responsibility for the financial mess, ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The New Approach #nlpoli

In 2003, Paul Davis’ predecessor as leader of the provincial Conservative party went to Ottawa to beg for a hand-out. Called it The New Approach  He got one. Then he begged for more through Equalization. Got what he asked for. Pretended he didn’t, backed by some economist from the university named Locke. Threw a childish ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Thank you, Danny Williams #nlpoli

Rob Strong has been a key player in the local oil and gas industry pretty much since the earliest days.  He knows what he is talking about. Strong pointed out to VOCM on Wednesday that the Hebron field won’t be the cash cow for the provincial government some people hoped/pretended it would be. Analyst Rob ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Selling energy assets a good thing: Danny Williams #nlpoli

  “It was a previous Liberal government that wanted to actually privatize Hydro. This particular government wants to strengthen Hydro, wants to make it a very valuable corporation: a corporation that will ultimately pay significant dividends back to the people of this Province; a corporation that perhaps some day may have enough value in its ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Admission of failure: Conservative offshore negotiations #nlpoli

The news release on the government’s generic offshore royalty  wasn’t exactly a model of clarity and accuracy. The headline and first sentence referred to the announcement of a “framework.” The first quote claimed that “establishing the enhanced generic offshore oil royalty regime” was an achievement for the current administration.  The problem is that none of ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Real change #nlpoli

“A positive, optimistic, hopeful vision of public life isn’t a naive dream,”  Justin Trudeau told Canadians after he won a truly historic victory in the October 19th federal general election.  That victory, said Trudeau,  “is what positive politic can do.” “We beat fear with hope, we beat cynicism with hard work. We beat negative, divisive ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The ABCs of ABC #nlpoli

  In 2004, Danny Williams fought for three months against a federal government decision that had been settled – at least for the federal government – earlier in the year as part of the usual budget cycle. Williams got the money the federal government had allocated but won the domestic war for public opinion. In ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Hyping the stock, yet again #nlpoli

Any oil company seriously interested in bidding on an exploration license offshore Newfoundland and Labrador isn’t likely to need the hyped presentation by the provincial government Thursday. Exploring offshore is expensive. Always has been. Always will be. Exploring beyond the 200 mile exclusive economic zone, in upwards of two kilometres of water, just makes the ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Chainsaw Earle keeps austerity on the table #nlpoli

NDP leader Earle McCurdy called the province’s major open line show on Thursday and by the sounds of things he hasn’t backed off the position that the size of the government’s financial problems will mean more cuts. Sure he said he was opposed to austerity,  but what Earle did say was that the government will ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Moral victory: saying yes to less #nlpoli

A couple of years after his war with one prime minister, Danny Williams was locked in another war with another federal first minister. Williams was demanding compensation for yet another supposed injustice.  “What I said before and I said going in, this is about principles,”  Williams told reporters in November 2007 “but it’s also about ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: More ways to lose than win #nlpoli

“What this province needs is not just someone with the brains to figure out what’s wrong with our economy,” future Premier Kathy Dunderdale wrote in 2002.  “What this province needs is someone with the guts to start doing something about it for a change.” Dunderdale’s letter to the editor of the Telegram appeared on April ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Cripple you say? #nlpoli

Unnamed Conservative “insiders” have been talking about the Ches Crosbie nomination fiasco as if it was a rejection of a new Tory Jesus or something. The way they talk you’d think people are waiting breathlessly for the pictures on Jane Crosbie’s Twitter feed of young Ches taking his first steps across Virginia Lake, just as ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: John Crosbie and the Last Crusade #nlpoli #cdnpoli

Every story told thus far about Ches Crosbie and the riding in Avalon has the unmistakeable odour of bullshit about it. The latest twist, namely that Senator David Wells was scuttling a potential rival as The Biggest Conservative in Newfoundland and Labrador, is a bit more in the realm of plausible but it still doesn’t ...