ABOUT ME

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A former journalist, broadcaster, political staffer and policy adviser, Peter has studied political science, journalism, public administration and Canadian politics. He has grown weary of partisan politics but remains engaged in public policy issues and community activism. Father to three teenage boys,he is committed to teaching them the values of cooperation, volunteering and caring for each other. All I want is for my children to be respectful and successful.

Monday, September 19, 2016

THAT KIND OF DAY


A MODEST PROPOSAL FOR NEWFOUNDLAND'S ECONOMIC AND POWER WOES: TRADE LABRADOR

A modest proposal, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador should simply trade Labrador to Quebec in exchange for energy security!

That suggestion from F. Pierre Gingras, a retired industrial engineer with Hydro-Qu├ębec in La Presse on Saturday  should ignite nationalist sentiments  in Labrador and in Newfoundland today.

Gingras speaks to the inexperience of Nalcor, cost overruns on the Muskrat Falls Project, poor project planning, the province's desperate financial state and a redress of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council Labrador Boundary Decision of 1927 which Quebec has never accepted.

"Once again, only the intervention of Quebec could resolve the complexity of the disastrous situation current at the greater benefit of all Canadians since such a new line of 1200 km (at a cost of 3 to 4 billion dollars including positions) would however be profitable if we realized at the same time the last project available in this region, the Gull Island, with a capacity of 1711 MW."

He suggests the logical proposal is:

"That Quebec makes a gift of a production of energy of 1000 MW in Newfoundland in exchange for Labrador. 
It would correct to the advantage of all parties this catastrophic error of Her Majesty's Privy Council. 
What we say at first, this proposal is yet perfectly fair. In addition, it would free the eventual achievement of a dozen of major projects and would provide First Nations with a future much more positive than that offered to them by the Government of Newfoundland."

It looks as if the Canadian Wolf smells opportunity.

Ironically, in 1925, the Newfoundland government had offered to sell Labrador to Quebec in order to pay down the public debt, but the Quebec premier turned the offer down.

It should be a mad scramble on the talk shows today!

Here is my response




THE INTIMIDATION FACTOR

                                                               
Ryan didn’t defend everything that the RNC did. way the circumstances surrounding the shooting look bad — a plainclothes officer in an unmarked, big black SUV, showing up at a government critic’s home on Easter Sunday all reeks of a certain “intimidation factor.” - THE TELEGRAM 
                                                                  
  

The retired RNC Inspector that established the RNC Protective Services Unit for the office of the premier has shed some light on Intelligence-led policing and the task of anticipating and preventing criminal incidents before they happen.

Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Logo.svgThe Telegram reporter James McLeod's story provides insights into the process of assessing potential threats. Retired since 2012, Sean Ryan was instrumental in developing the procedures and policies followed by the Protective Services Unit.

The RCMP announced last week that no charges will be laid in the RNC killing of Donald Dunphy. The Alberta  Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) has ruled that the investigation was impartial and unbiased. 


However, the RCMP refused to release it's file on the investigation, the ASIRT Report, or the 23-page independent report of retired judge David Riche which raises concerns about the shooting incident itself

Riche told The Telegram that he expected his report would be made public; the reason he was hired was to provide oversight and public assurance that there was no bias in the police investigation.

There is also the issue of "missing evidence"

Ryan's concern about the "intimidation factor" underscore the importance of the planned public inquiry which will review the policies and procedures that led RNC officer Joseph Smyth to Dunphy's house in Mitchell's Brook on that tragic Easter Sunday in 2015.

FRANCE LEADING THE WAY ON FORCING COMPANIES TO PROVIDE ECO-FRIENDLY DISPOSABLE PRODUCTS

France is taking leadership in fighting the scourge of plastic but may face a test to it's sovereignty because of it.

The French have ruled to ban disposable plastic plates, cutlery and cups. They want at least 50 percent of the material going in to plastic disposable items such as summer drinking glasses, coffee cups, plates and cutlery to be organic by 2020 by 2025, 60 percent.

I would be really pleased to see rules in Canada that address the issue of non-compostable plastics, particularly in the packaging industry. While the ban will not come into place for another four years, it should stimulate the development of more environmentally friendly organic disposable substitutes.

Perhaps other companies can learn from the example of Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach, Fla. who have released edible six-pack rings, a brand-new approach to sustainable beer packaging. These six-pack rings are 100 percent biodegradable and edible—constructed of barley and wheat ribbons from the brewing process. This packaging can actually be safely eaten by animals that may come into contact with the refuse. Would it not be nice if the big breweries and pop companies acted with the same environmental consciousness? 

Wouldn't it be nice if Tim Hortons, MacDonald's and others would develop and utilize biodegradable cups, lids, straws & cutlery to limit the impact of their products on the environment? 

In the meantime, could Costco require suppliers to use more eco-friendly packaging, and or develop a collection process for collection and reuse of plastic packaging?


The amount of plastic in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Ocean is astounding. I have often used this blog to highlight the environmental nightmare of plastic trash in the ocean through a number of posts about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and more recently the Atlantic Garbage Patches.  

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), ocean-borne plastic waste causes the deaths of “as many as 100,000 marine mammals” yearly. Nearly 80 percent of plastic ocean waste comes from land as well, says the United Nations Environmental Program.

Plastics are devastating the environment across the world. We use the longest lasting materials for the shortest time. Wherever possible, we must challenge a throwaway culture that uses non-biodegradable materials for disposable products.

SAGE ADVICE


BOOM, BUST ECHO

And so it begins...the Progressive Conservatives are beginning the time honoured approach of eating their own in public. 

Defeated Premier Paul Davis's gambit to head off this test of his leadership has failed spectacularly.

In all fairness, Davis inherited a pretty poisoned chalice with his controversial leadership win after a bizarre third vote on September 14th, 2014. His win divided the party, leaving members divided about the process in which Steve Kent played Kingmaker who driving  a dagger into the back of the more experienced John Ottenheimer.  The blood was spilled, much of the Tory grassroot machinery lost faith and Davis never had a snow balls chance in hell of rebuilding, let alone delivering another government.

I found the quote attributed to Sharon Vokey, whose letter to the party's executive committee will trigger a leadership review really interesting. VOCM reported "she says the PCs were ahead in the latest poll by default due to the dissatisfaction with the Liberals." Why, because many political observers would  the Liberal win last fall was by default due to the incredible broad dissatisfaction with the post Danny Williams Progressive Conservatives.

Can the handsomely, if not grossly, overpaid staff in the Opposition Office save the day for Davis? Time will tell. I suppose it comes down to their ability to convince party members that with Liberal fortunes so low, this is not the time to look divided, weak and disorganized.

Of course, as Vokey shrewdly pointed out, Davis's strength is just an echo, a default placement due to the current dissatisfaction with Premier Dwight Ball not for any potential strength the well dressed  former career RNC constable brings to the party. 

The next question what is the batting order for the next leader, should the Tories deny Davis another shot at the premier's chair? Who wants the job of rebuilding the party that brought us financial ruin, hardship and desperate straights? Perhaps, Danny will pull a Joey, and attempt a comeback. History tells us how that worked out for the once invincible only living father of confederation. Seriously, is there a contender in the caucus? Is there a contender on the outside - and if so do they want to join NDP Leader Earle McCurdy in the visitors gallery?

Timing is everything in politics. Is it too soon to eject the leader? Of course it is, but strategic thinking might just take a back seat to avenging the debacle of Sept 14th, 2014. Payback truly is a bitch. I wonder if Kent can save the day, or does House Slytherin have other plans?

I would be willing to wager a beer that despite his placement in the public opinion polls, the grassroots of the Liberal Party are more supportive of Ball than the grassroots of the Tory party are with Davis.

For political watchers like me, it is time to break out the popcorn. The fall  just got a lot more interesting!