Tuesday, June 19, 2012

WOULD YOU LIKE SOME CHEESE WITH THAT WINE

They may call it Question Period but that certainly does not mean the opposition gets very many answers.

Yesterday, the opposition, backed by criticism from national organizations that study corporate governance, were in hot pursuit of Premier Dunderdale’s latest blunder, the stacking of the Nalcor and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro Boards with at least three new hyper partisans.

The opposition and the media are trying to figure out what the criteria for the selection of the latest candidates were. They have also been trying to link the appointees skill sets to the new roles. 

The Premier got all indignant. Her well worn, tears on her pillow response was to tell the opposition “"Mr. Speaker, I have to tell you that I find this line of questioning offensive”. I wish I had a quarter for every time the premier peeled an onion and offered tears, and indignation, to answers.
"Why would anybody cast aspersions on me for, and question, my ability to be premier." She asked. The implication that MHAs don't need qualifications, education or experience as prerequisites to be ministers, or even the premier. If she can be premier with out real business experience, or a post-secondary education,  why would she consider either an asset?

The most significant criteria at the moment is a board that is loyal to her, that can be counted on to support her Muskrat Falls development plan, come high or low.  She can not risk a repeat of the Dean MacDonald resignation, which sank the Roger Grimes' Lower Churchill Falls proposal.  

In Dunderdale's world there is no room for independence of thought, professionalism or expertise. So much for the “world Class organization”. The expertise is in the organization, the overseers job is to do as commanded.

The government can not be dissuaded by facts and logical arguments.

The recommendations of the Federal - Provincial Joint Environmental Panel on the Muskrat Fall's Project was rejected out of hand. 

The review panel recommended a new, independent analysis based on economic, energy and environmental considerations.

 The  Public Utilities Board declared it does not have enough information to reassure taxpayers the $6.2 billion proposal to generate and wheel hydroelectric power from Labrador’s Muskrat Falls via an underwater cable to Newfoundland is the lowest-cost option to meet the island’s electrical needs. She found the PUB's response offensive as well.

Another disturbing trend, echoed by Dunderdale is this oft reported dismissal of  expert opinions because they are coming from outside the province. Seriously, if it is the opposition, or a local critic, the criticism is written off as partisanship or sour grapes. 

If the media asks for answers or refutes government propaganda, they are unprofessional and biased. They should be tarred and feathered for vexatious behavior!

If the criticism comes from outside the province it is unworthy because of the source. Last week the minister of Justice called The international Centre for Law and Democracy  a “two-bit outfit.”. Yesterday the premier suggested concern about governance came from “That Expert in Toronto” so it should be discounted. The fact that York University professor Richard Leblanc is an expert in board governance does not matter.  Among other recent examples, the character attacks on critics like Brian Peckford, Ron Penney, Cabot Martin, Dr. Jim Feehen, Dr. Stephen Bruneau and others.

The sorry situation, on the heels of Bill 29 Debacle, illustrates that this government is out of control. 

Education, experts, experience, nor the facts, do not have much currency in this hyper partisan environment which is fast becoming something akin to a banana republic.

In the land of the blind the one-eyed women is Queen.

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