Sue's Blog

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Innovative PC's - Kent? I think not!

Here we are the great "energy warehouse" hydro-powerhouse - and yet?

There they are - the little Northern Nation of Iceland humming along with half our population and resources.

So what's new?

The Icelandic company Even has purchased, and in the next few months intends to set up, 200 new express electric-car charging stations around the country.

According to plans outlined by the government, 10 percent of cars should rely on sustainable fuels by 2020. Currently, however, it is not very practical to own an electric car in Iceland as there are very few charging stations, most of them located in the capital area.

Oh yes they are even complaining because they are behind Norway - you know the land of Statoil of which Danny Williams thinks Nalcor is like.

As of May 2014, a total of 30,319 plug-in electric vehicles have been registered in Norway, of which, 95% are all-electric vehicles. The registered plug-in electric fleet consists of 28,827 all-electric passenger and light-duty vehicles, and 1,492 plug-in hybrids.

From September 2013 to March 2014, five times an electric car has ranked as the top selling new car in the country. The Tesla Model S has been the top selling new car three times, twice in 2013, first in September and again in December.

AND  Among the existing government incentives, all-electric cars are exempt in Norway from all non-recurring vehicle fees, including purchase taxes...

Did we have a chance to be in on this action? You bet we did. What did we do about it? Nothing! The partisan brains allow only partisan activity. They will drive Steve Kent or his supporters to robo vote on a VOCM poll - diligent, fervent, and maniacal interest in that - while opportunities pass us by.

Innovation? I think not. So as we lose and lose more business interests in our province - somehow the nation of Iceland keeps plugging into this innovation.

In Newfoundland and Labrador - our government is still trying to figure out how to keep the power on. We have the physical resources but we lack the visionary leadership to do anything but give them away.

As we have learned this week - companies know how to suck the money out of this government and use it to advance themselves without regard for the people who financed them...

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

PC boots are made for walking - away from NL

Just about 6 years ago - the master negotiator who hated "loopholes you can drive a mack truck through" passed over 8 million dollars in the form of an interest-free loan to Terra Nova Shoes a subsidiary of Kodiak Group Holdings. The loan was to be paid over 10 years - bringing us to 2018.

Okay let's get to the basics - did we have a clause stating the business could not be relocated outside the province for 10 years? Did we have a clause that interest would be added to the loan amount if the company left Newfoundland and Labrador? Did we have a clause that all amounts owing would be immediately payable if the company left the province? So Minister Sullivan tells us to stay calm "these loans are very well secured". So Minister you gave the interest-free 8 million dollar loan in 2008 to be paid by 2018 it is now 2014 6 of 10 years already gone by yet you have only collected 1/4of the money back?

At the time of the loan announcement in 2008 the company said the following:

After considering options for consolidation, the company chose to base its Canadian operations in Harbour Grace because of Terra Nova’s strong track record, commitment to quality assurance and customer satisfaction, and productive and dedicated workforce. The expansion will realize the addition of approximately 50 new positions at Harbour Grace, as well as the retention of the over 170 existing staff. To increase capacity, a 30,000 square-foot extension to the existing 70,000 square-foot facility has been completed.
"We are very excited to be expanding Kodiak’s strong business model and culture in this region," said Kevin Huckle, President of Kodiak Group Holdings. "The expansion to this fine facility is a result of the hard work and dedication of the men and women who work in our Harbour Grace footwear plant. This activity reveals our strong commitment to this organization and supports future growth. Kodiak’s investment demonstrates that manufacturing still plays a crucial role in Canada’s economy."

At the time of the loan announcement in 2008 - Paul Oram Minister responsible at the time said the following:

"The company’s decision to base its Canadian operations in Newfoundland and Labrador will strengthen its competitiveness internationally,"  (emphasis added)

Here's what the company is saying now:

The company said it has become too expensive to manufacture the footwear in Newfoundland and then ship them to Ontario for distribution. The plant in Harbour Grace was built in 1971.
"The reality is the high costs to continue operating the Harbour Grace plant have become unsustainable over the past several years," Kodiak president Kevin Huckle said in a statement. (emphasis added)

Here's what Susan Sullivan - Minister responsible is saying now:

"It's very disappointing for us," she said. "We've been working with the company over the last few days to try to see if there's anything that we can do to encourage them to stay, but it seems they've made up their minds, that this is not a place they are able to do business."

So how long has the government known about this?
What did they do to "entice" the company to stay on?

Importantly: Is it possible that there will be people working in a plant in Ontario that is using interest-free money from Newfoundland and Labrador?

What happened to all that savvy in attracting and retaining business?

Once again a long-standing manufacturer/processor - has decided this is not a cost-effective place to do business for them.

Paper mills, fish plants, tech firms, oil refiners, and manufacturers head to the land of the have-not. Any chance to use power to attract industry is being squandered so we can help Canada become "green" and Nova Scotians to get cheaper power. Our proud heritage on the sea - yet where does ship-building go to? Billions in contracts - oh yeah - Nova Scotia.

Perhaps John, Steve, and Paul can create thousands of person-hours of work to tear the facility down. Wait now - we just tore down Stephenville, and we got Grand Falls-Windsor in the wings - that should keep us busy till we have to dismantle Bull Arm.

So should we expect the following slogans?

John - all Nalcor employees to wear Kodiaks
Paul - all Police to wear Kodiaks
Steve - all boy scouts to wear Kodiaks

and you guys had the audacity to crucify Grimes over the only contract without loopholes?

no wait I forgot there is one more contract without loopholes - the Upper Churchill contract.

Monday, July 07, 2014


Jobs Jobs Jobs

Let's go back to the theory that a monkey can make a deal to give away natural resources.

Okay where are we?

1. Unprocessed fish
2. Unprocessed ore
3. Energy fuelling industry somewhere else
4. Unprocessed oil
5. Unused gas
6. Pulp and Paper gone gone gone - we are subsidizing what's left.

Where will this get us?

Where is the value to future generations?

Why is our population stagnant?

Why is our population aging quicker?

The PC government were screeching and bawling about natural resource giveaways in 2001-2002.

They never shut-up - Voisey's Bay - not one ounce - Grimes was giving away the Lower Churchill - they said - they moaned about the loss of fish processing. Since? Nothing. Ship it off - dig it up give it away. They talk about all the jobs being created to build the great Muskrat project - the people employed to build it won't be able to afford to pay for the power once it's done. Our great oil resources benefiting refineries everywhere but here - no processing. How about ship building - oh yeah the Tories were hot to trot on that in 2002 - how are we doing?

The media is doing what? They are great at attacking ordinary people - they come at them with a vengeance. They are running around sorting out what the NDP and Liberal policies are - without figuring out what the people who are in control of the government - right now are doing.

The most serious of questions and debate on Muskrat has all been precipitated by bloggers and letters to the editor.

My God - we are more interested in if the Libs and NDP would stop Muskrat than we are in figuring out if we even can.

There is no real critique of the Gil and Ed Executive duo. The geniuses of budgeting and project management.

I know more about when the media are getting together for a political pow wow at a club - or what type of bow-tie to expect - or who is watching what sports team than I gain knowledge from something they are writing about a real issue. I see more tweets regarding who is watching who at media conference - and who gets their names raised publicly by a politician.

So a simple question - if the government said it wanted to demolish Cabot Tower - knock down all the schools and flatten all the hospitals - would you line up for the job?

Does it really matter to you what the job is - or what it means for our future?

And here we are today sizing up Kent, Ottenheimer, and Davis - to what - become a Premier? Really? This after we sized up Coleman, Barry, and Bennett. This after the Marshall Premier pension and the Dunderdale Premier pension and the Williams Premier pension. By the time we are through the already underfunded plans will need to cover almost every Tory sitting - at the Premier's level.

The real fascination for many of the media - is "will Marjorie be attending the next swearing in"? Or will Tony the Tory ever find a kind word for the Liberals? Or the most favorite one - what does Danny think about this or that - who is Danny supporting - is Danny going to get a new hockey team? Is Danny going to rename his subdivision?Or maybe - will Len and Ross get their jobs back after the next election?

We owe our children much more than this.

Something stinks - can you smell it?

Tick-Tock the Muskrat and Election Clock

Tick-Tock Tick-Tock goes the Muskrat Clock. Tick-Tock Tick-Tock goes the Election Clock.

Is Hydro-Quebec sitting back and waiting for a bankrupt project? Is the company watching the mess carefully? You know they are.

The Tories and their continued clinging to power and power are ruining this province and her people. The project is over-budget and delayed. Sadly - it may not be delayed enough.

We need some information quickly.

1. What is the cost of getting out of the Emera contract?
2. What is the REAL supply situation on the Island and what is the REAL industrial demand in Labrador?
3. How much exactly have we spent both already expended and contractually expended?
4. If we stopped the project now - what would be the cost?
5. If we continue what is the cost over 50 years?
6. Are we able to interest industrial customers in the Big Land?
7. What are the PC "protectors of natural resources" doing shipping raw - unprocessed ore?
8. Why should we accept and expect huge cost overruns?
9. Will the Tories commit to not signing any more deals on resource development until the next election?
10. Why are Newfoundlanders and Labradorians willing to work on a project that will harm their children and grandchildren?

Who are the real people behind this deal? Please name those Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who are becoming multi-millionaires either directly or indirectly from the Muskrat deal?

Why are their so many Emera utility trucks on our highways?

Why is Emera servicing any of Newfoundland and Labrador?

Why is Emera getting a piece of the light bill you and I will pay on the Island.

Why are Ed Martin and Gilbert Bennett still on our payroll? 

Wake-up everybody - we are being socially, economically, and voluntarily robbed of our natural wealth and the future wealth of our children.