In 2006, Danny Williams declared poverty reduction a strategic priority for the province. Since then childhood poverty has risen 70%.
This Labradorian suspects there is more than meets the eye on the proposed hydroelectric development in Labrador. Who really stands to benefit and who’s being taken for a ride?
When Kathy Dunderdale’s bus rolled up to local candidate Selma Pike’s headquarters, she was met by about a dozen protesters carrying red signs that read “we are still fighting”, and “show us some respect”. The protesters were referring to the PC government’s decision to relocate the air ambulance service away from the northern peninsula of the island to Labrador, and said that the decision was political and not practical. For her part, Dunderdale said that she and the protesters would have to agree to disagree on the decision. Source: VOCM
“The most interesting news from the spate of provincial election campaigns underway comes from Newfoundland and Labrador, which could be about to take a leap forward for the cause of women in politics.” The Globe and Mail writes today about the probability that Newfoundland and Labrador will elect its first woman Premier, and also that her opposition may also be led by a woman. Source: The Globe and Mail
I write this letter as a concerned citizen of Newfoundland and Labrador and for no other reason.
Despite the fact that a recent joint review panel report said that Nalcor’s assessment of the project was “inadequate”, and that it failed to justify the need for the project as a whole, the province’s Minister of Natural Resources says the time has never been better to develop hydro power at Muskrat Falls. The panel report also outlined a number of environmental concerns about the project, including flooded land, water quality and habitat loss, and questioned whether it would be the best alternative to meet domestic energy demands. It said Nalcor failed to justify the project in both energy and economic terms, and that there are outstanding questions regarding both Muskrat Falls and Gull Island developments. Premier Dunderdale isn’t fazed by the report, questioning the panel’s methodology in drawing its conclusions. Source: VOCM
… and speaking of Gander, the town has just recently opened the doors to its new fire hall. The Gander Beacon reports that “the new fire hall boasts increased space to house longer ladders, new offices, extended training rooms, as well as an emergency operations centre”. Gander Mayor Claude Elliot said that the town’s firefighters deserve to have access to state-of-the-art facilities given the “professionalism and dedication they bring to the job”. “We ask them to put their lives on the line and for that they deserve the best facilities, and the best equipment that they can get to protect them,” he said. Source: The Gander Beacon
A federal loan guarantee to develop the Lower Churchill hydroelectric project could be just around the corner. Premier Kathy Dunderdale says that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has proposed conditions for the loan guarantee, all of which will be met. Dunderdale notes that Harper’s questions about Muskrat Falls focused mostly on the economics of the project. She expects a loan guarantee to be achieved soon. Harper arrives in the province tomorrow, at which time Dunderdale hopes to meet with him to discuss Muskrat Falls. Meanwhile, the provincial Liberals accuse the government of underestimating the construction costs of developing the project — and overestimating the demand for electricity. Leader Yvonne Jones scoffs at government estimates which suggest that power use will rise by about a third over the next six years.
They say time heals old wounds. In the case of the federal Conservative Party and the provincial PC Party, a short period of time has healed an awfully big wound. In an about-face from Danny Williams’ hugely successful, albeit divisive, ‘ABC campaign’ in the 2008 Federal election, new PC leader and N.L. premier, Kathy Dunderdale, says members of her district association are involved with Conservative campaigns, and that “there may come a time when I take an active role as well.”
Several key ministers in N.L. Premier Kathy Dunderdale’s cabinet went out of their way yesterday to pitch the ‘we’re all one happy party’ line to the media. Tourism Minister Terry French, Natural Resources Minister Shawn Skinner and Labrador Affairs Minister John Hickey all towed the line. From their point of view, “things are fine.” This denial and confusion from cabinet ministers leaves one to speculate: has Premier Dunderdale and her team done much to distance themselves from Danny Williams, or are we in fact seeing Danny Williams distance himself from the current government? If so, what could the reason be?