Kathy Dunderdale told reporters on Tuesday, while the polls were still open mind you, that the by-election results would be no big thing.
Life would go on.
The world would turn.
And the Conservatives had two years left in their mandate.
That’s when everyone in the province understood that the provincial Conservatives had already conceded defeat in the Carbonear-Harbour Grace by-election.
Unfortunately for Dunderdale, though, the election result means something. Here’s what.
There’s no greater fraud, former Premier Danny Williams once said, than a promise not kept.
In the House of Assembly on Monday, his successor claimed that Conservatives “do as we say.” Premier Kathy Dunderdale was making a dig at opposition leader Dwight Ball over his leadership campaign expenses.
That’s a rather dubious claim of moral superiority in light of commitments the Conservatives made in 2003 about campaign expenses.
No wonder the Conservatives are smiling a lot these days.
Not only have the New Democrats imploded as an effective political force but their leader has decided her job is to serve as a cheerleader for the government.
With the House of Assembly open again, the major topic of Question Period was Muskrat Falls and the second version of the deal to ship power to Nova Scotia.
Premier Kathy Dunderdale explained it on Monday in terms of firm and “non-firm”. Firm power is what you know that the hydro plants will be able to produce reliably. The unfirm power is the stuff that you can get when there is plenty of water.
What’s interesting is how much of this unfirm power the Premier says is around. It is:
“half a terawatt to four or five terawatts a year. Based on fifty years of hydrogeology, the amount of snow or rain in this Province, we have been able to commit to Emera 1.2 extra terawatts of power on average; …, some years that might be 0.5 terawatt, another year that might be three.”
On the face of it, that . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Firm and Unfirm #nlpoli
A very smart guy scolded someone in a Twitter exchange recently with the observation that people don’t like it when others – especially politicians – talk down to them.
Well, here’s a good illustration of the point: the provincial Conservatives. They love to talk down to people.
Charlene Johnson and the sexual exploitation report the provincial government paid for and then refused to release at all. They even cooked up an laughably stupid story that even acknowledging the report existed threatened people’s lives.
As it turns out, they used quotes from people in the sex trade that are in the report as part of a video distributed to young people in the province’s high schools.
That’s sort of a double whammy of talking down to people and hypocrisy.
Then there is Kathy Dunderdale.
There’s something wonderfully cute about the blind, unquestioning boosterism you get from some of the more aggressive groups of young political party supporters.
All parties have them: the L’il Liberals, the Dinky Dippers, and the Tiny Tories.
With the provincial Conservatives so low in the polls, the ones among Kathy’s Kittens that desperately want jobs on the Hill as political staffers have taken to tweeting more aggressively than Paul Lane updating the universe on where he ate his latest free meal.
No comment is too Tony-Ducey inane for them to make or – as it turns out – more honest than the Big Connies would like.
No sooner had Lorraine Michael pronounced the New Democratic caucus back together again than two of its members announced that they would leave and sit in the House of Assembly as independent New Democrat members of the legislature.
Dale Kirby and Christopher Mitchelmore made the announcement in separate media statements on Tuesday morning.
This latest twist didn’t actually end anything, of course. It’s merely another step in a drama that will play out for another year or more. Let’s take a look at 10 observations about the whole ferkakta tale
Earlier this year, mining giant Vale was saying they’d start production at the new Long Harbour smelter in 2013, but after a meeting with Premier Kathy Dunderdale in Brazil, the company won’t be ramping up until 2015.
That’s the news from VOCM on the weekend, although they didn’t report the actual news about the delay at Long Harbour. VO just reported that Dunderdale met with Vale officials and that the start-up date was 2015, as if it had always been two years away.
The premier says she went down a few days early to meet specifically with Vale officials to get an update on the Long Harbour development and the Voisey’s Bay mine site.
She says Vale officials indicated that Long Harbour will start to ramp up in 2015, while they’re looking to go underground at Voisey’s Bay.
According to VOCM, the company officials are concerned about power supplies “in . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Vale delays Long Harbour smelter… again #nlpoli
When they were high in the polls it was because they were making the right decisions.
Now that they are in the political polling basement it is because they are making the right decisions.
That doesn’t make sense but that’s pretty much the only way to describe Conservative Party leader Kathy Dunderdale’s speech to the party faithful in Gander a few weeks ago.
Reporters asked the premier on Wednesday about comments by Nova Scotia premier-elect Stephen McNeil about Muskrat Falls.
Here’s what CBC reported:
"Our contract — our agreement — is with Emera. They’re going to sell the power to Nova Scotia," she said.
The Telegram had an extra bit along the same lines:
“I just want to remind people again that the agreement between Newfoundland and Labrador — Nalcor specifically — is with Emera. Emera is a publicly traded company,” she said.
She also told reporters that the agreements with Nova Scotia covered off every possible outcome so everything was just fine.
If you take Jerome Kennedy at his word on Wednesday, here’s what is going on.Since he wasn’t planning to run in 2015, he decided that he would leave politics on Thursday, go back to practicing law in November and then start a master’s degree in law in January.
Nothing going on. No other story. Nothing pressing.
Just good bye.
Now watch the video of the scrum.
Look at his body language.
And then realise how utterly preposterous Wednesday’s news conference really was.\
Markets in northeastern North America are already awash in cheap electricity, thanks in large part of the discovery of massive amounts of natural gas in the United States. They’ll be that way for decades to come.
Current forecasts New England’s regional electricity transmission organization hold that improvements in energy efficiency will allow New England states to expand their economy without increasing energy consumption proportionately. That means that eight years from now, New England will be using as much electricity as it is today.
There’s no shortage of supply, either. As a result, current wholesale electricity prices in New England are about one tenth of what Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will pay for Muskrat Falls.
And it is with that context the people of Newfoundland and Labrador are only now learning that a team from the provincial government has been in Quebec for the past two weeks as part of talks . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Negotiating from Weakness #nlpoli
Kathy Dunderdale cannot quit as leader of the provincial Conservative Party, says Fairity O’Brien in an interview with NTV.
He stresses it over and over. The caucus is solidly behind her.
He stresses it so much – right down to telling you that he wants to stress the message in this interview – that where you’d start to believe that what he is saying is the literal truth: Kathy wants to go but the caucus won’t let her.
Once upon a time, not so very long ago, your humble e-scribbler noted the importance the provincial Conservatives placed on the appearance of things.
The idea came together neatly in a celebrity interview not by someone in the private sector media but by a representative of the state-run broadcaster. “Government by Fernando” it’s called and it is worth going to read even if you read it back in 2006.
It will be worth your while since a front page column by Telegram editor Russell Wangersky this Saturday is likely to have the local chattering class chattering up a storm for the next few days. You see Russell uses the column to tell Kathy Dunderdale that it is time she resigned.
While everyone else is likely to be taken up with the fact he called for her resignation, it’s far more revealing to look at why Russell thinks she ought . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Importance of Appearing Earnest #nlpoli
Not surprisingly, long-serving St. John’s South MHA Tom Osborne has joined the Liberals.
Forget all the stuff about what party he fits with. Forget all the foolishness coming from the New Democrats. Osborne’s choice reflects a canny political assessment view of the political landscape not as it is now, but as he expects it will be over the next couple of years.
So if Stephen Harper’s staffing problem is that “all the good ones quit”, what is the story on the staffing problems in Kathy Dunderdale’s office?
As a rule, cabinet ministers should be able to tell you exactly what government policy is on any given subject. They all sit at the same table and they each have an obligation to support the policy they collectively decide.
When two ministers say starkly different things, then, you can understand that people tend to notice the discrepancy. The difference usually signals a major problem or controversy and that simply cannot stand. The principle of cabinet solidarity means that in public they must all sing the same song..
It’s bad enough when two ministers disagree. But when the difference is between the Premier and a minister, the matter becomes very serious. If there is one person who must know what government is doing, that person would be the first minister. If there is one person who gets to set government policy, it is the first minister. Everyone else just . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Fluidity #nlpoli
That big, ginormous phone-banging-up, trade dispute thingy with evil Ottawa?
So not happening any more.
"We seem to be back on track. We have alignment," Premier Kathy Dunderdale told reporters on Tuesday at an event announcing fitness grants to community groups.
All the talk the past week or so about negotiations between the crowd in Confederation Building and the crowd in Ottawa brought out the conventional wisdom about premiers using fights with the feds for political purposes.
The coincidence of a talk on nationalism the week before linked the two ideas together neatly for some people. Kathy Dunderdale was having a row with Ottawa, possibly to boost her polling and maybe as a show of nationalist fervour that we all love.
Yeah, maybe that’s true.
And then again, maybe it just isn’t.
On Monday, Kathy Dunderdale said it was wrong for the federal government to try and jam her up by connecting the federal loan guarantee on Muskrat Falls to free trade talks, Kathy Dunderdale acknowledged on Friday that she has been connecting the free trade talks to search and rescue.
When someone else does it, that would be wrong.
But when Kathy does it, she thinks it is sheer genius.
David Cochrane called it right the other day in the scrum with Kathy Dunderdale. He asked if she was laying the groundwork for a failure at the trade talks, a failure of her personal position.
Dunderdale denied it in the scrum, but her latest claim – full of the same vague and largely unsubstantiated claims as on Monday – sounds like someone who is trying to blame someone else before the talks finish and the end result doesn’t match what she’s been personally staking out as a position.
Premier Kathy Dunderdale (via NTV):
We’re looking for a ‘carve-out’ on the minimum processing regulations … so they’ll be exempted, and we want access to the European market on a number of our fish lines…
Hideous jargon for “not going to trade away” minimum processing regulations.
Fisheries minister Derrick Dalley (via the Telegram):
Fisheries Minister Derrick Dalley was at a media event in St. John’s Tuesday, where he assured reporters that the provincial government is not going to give away minimum processing requirements unless it’s a good deal.
Not going to trade away minimum processing requirements.
There is something about Kathy Dunderdale’s speech to the Board of Trade that leaves you decidedly uncomfortable.
Part of it is the mention of her grandson – yet again – at the front end end of the speech. Kathy told a story about the advice the little fellow he gave her in case someone one should break into her house. This was apparently back in the spring.
Another part of it is the story about the loan guarantee. “I’ve got to tell you, I never worked for anything so hard in my life as I worked for that loan guarantee,” Dunderdale told reporters in the scrum after her speech. That quote is from the Telegram account by James McLeod.
Kathy Dunderdale had a pretty easy audience on Monday for her relaxed, ambling speech about a whole bunch of stuff.
It was the St. John’s Board of Trade.
As a rule, the townie business community have the guts of political guppies. They’ll run along with whatever the government says and Monday was no different. When the Conservatives were spending and spending beyond what the province could afford, the crowd at the Board of Trade cheered wildly. And now on cue they are repeating the Conservative line on spending restraint – when there really isn’t any – and the glories of Muskrat Falls, which is the proof the government is continuing to spend beyond the public’s means.
The crowd at the aptly named BOT know what side their bread is buttered on so they applauded in all the right spots in the Premier’s stock speech.
Well, almost stock.
(Read . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Do we have it? #nlpoli
There’s a new anti-Conservative picture around town. This one is via Twitter (@openionated ).