policy will always be contentious even when diverse opinions are based upon
great characteristics of an open and free society is that individuals are at liberty
to add to our collective economic and social well-being with an intellectual
contribution that is personal; people perceive needs, arrange priorities or
interpret factual evidence, each in their own way.
may be influenced by self-interest, culture, maturity or screened through some
other lens. Though contrarian views cause strain on the social and political
fabric, they and our right to possess them, are what sets democracies apart in
a world where political control is pervasive.
if there exists one key to reducing conflict or to finding consensus among
diverse groups and individuals, it is the prospect that all of us might form
and share our opinions, as often as possible, based upon on a complete set of
facts. It is an impossible goal, but a
noble one, which makes it worth striving for.
Integral to its achievement is the possibility that those in authority,
who have greatest access to the information and possess the ability to pay the
specialists to generate it, do not subvert the process.
of political leadership finds many roots in a leader’s ability to have his/her
facts straight. There is a high expectation of someone, like the Premier, who is
responsible for advancing public policy issues and who enjoys a position of
trust. It is not unreasonable to think
that she will apply the utmost care to ensure that first, she understands the
issue and secondly, she is capable of sharing the vital information to which
the matter relates. Both ingredients are
essential if a complete narrative is created; one told with balance and objectivity.
narrative is poorly or selectively explained, the risk is that the policy will
fail. If it has been advanced for
reasons that are simply wrong, the body politic will wonder for whom the policy
was created; if billions of dollars are involved, and the public is unwittingly
on the hook to repay the vast sums, they might ask who benefitted. At a
minimum, they may become less trustful of authority. They will feel cheated having been denied the
essential foundation for critical review and assessment.
nutshell, a wise and trusting leader will want to establish a ‘connection’ with
a constituency, win their faith and earn their respect. His/her perceived integrity
is strengthened because the leader, in turn, has shown them respect.
the current Premier could see things that way.
Dunderdale did not present one-half a story and expect everyone to jive with
her thinking, notwithstanding her failure to tell the other half.
were able to see that ‘all of the people cannot be fooled all of the
time’. Oh, how much more constructive
and inclusive might public policy debates become!
ask? What has the Premier done now?
with the facts is not a new habit of Premier Dunderdale; she applied such
economies very effectively throughout the so-called Muskrat Falls debate.
recently, I posted a piece on this Blog, “PREMIER SANCTIONING UNTRUTHS”, dealing with whether Emera “had
sanctioned the Maritime Link months ago”, as the Premier claimed. The legal agreement, executed by Emera,
clearly demonstrated that the ‘sanction’ was laden with conditions. The Premier refused to acknowledge any
condition existed, except sanction.
enough! In its most recent Press
Release, just this past Monday, the company noted: “work continues on the project and we continue to work on the conditions,” stated Emera Spokeswoman,
Sasha Irving. Why is such a simple truth so difficult?
pretend to understand why the Premier engages the public in this way. I
understand the pressures upon her. I
don’t expect her to be a saint in what is often an ungodly difficult business.
But the consistency with which she uses ‘an economy of the truth’ is truly one
of the reasons the public holds her in low esteem. Likely, they doubt her integrity. That she uses half-truths to get her own way,
even when the public policy at issue is fraught with profound social and
economic consequences, is especially puzzling.
recent example is the story the Premier spun, in Corner Brook, regarding
seemingly insatiable electricity markets in the New England states for Muskrat
Falls and Gull Island power. The Premier
recited comments of Governor Shumlin, of Vermont, who, she said, told her: “if
you got the juice, we got the use”.
person, listening to the Premier, might conclude that Muskrat Falls is a
completely sensible idea; that the Province should get on with developing Gull
Island and any other hydro project that can offer up some ‘juice’.
of this Post, I will demonstrate that the Premier’s narrative is shallow,
misleading, and downright inaccurate.
Very simply, I will present information, from credible sources,
available to everyone on the Web, which the Premier failed to share.
given the balance of the New England power story, you may not be so quick as to
spend your dime on another hydro project.
for you to decide.
be posted on Friday.