Friday, May 12, 2006

2 + 2 = 4??

Just when you thought it might be safe to take people at their word, you have this vacuous story in which it is reported that Combined Councils of Labrador "applauded government for taking the lead role in the potential development".

There are two things about this. First, it is abundantly clear that the recent announcement on the lower Churchill was nothing more than a public relations puffery announcement signifying nothing of importance.

"We will go it alone" the government said.

At the same time the government has done none of the preliminary work (environmental, engineering, financial, market research/development, political negotiations) required to make this all go.

Will there be equity partners? Maybe, we'll see.

How will the power be delivered? By seagull, I figure. It certainly seems like the government/NL Hydro has no clear idea they are willing to discuss.

And the big question: who's gonna pony up the C$6-9 billion to pay for it? Maybe if Danny picks enough fights and knocks out enough teeth, the toothfairy might take out bonds.

So with no answers forthcoming on any of the substantive issues, it seems pretty clear that the announcement was a combination Hebron/FPI diversion that just happened to be timed to give the government a lift going into the latest quarterly CRA polling period.

So that brings us to strong and independent voice of the Combined Councils of Labrador. In looking for their press release on this subject, instead I found this gem of an explanation: a release which stated in part:

Government Announces Funding For Combined Councils of Labrador

Monday, 17 Apr 2006 4:29 pm ADT (-0300 GMT)

On Tuesday April 11, 2006 Municipal Affairs Minister Jack Byrne announced that the Combined Councils of Labrador will receive $100 thousand for its 2006/2007 Operating Budget. Government has increased funding to the Combined Councils of Labrador from $60 thousand Dollars in 2005/2006 to $100 thousand in 2006/2007.

The 40% enhancement in its operating budget will allow an increase in office staff, travel, and program delivery for the Combined Councils of Labrador in an effort to work more closely with the 32 Communities it proudly represents. Also, the increase will allow continued planning for its upcoming 35th Annual Socio-Economic Conference and Annual General Meeting.

I guess it's just a matter of knowing which side your bread is buttered on.

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