Sue's Blog

Monday, July 14, 2014

Corner Brook company Turning Heads with creative idea...

Marble Auto Gallery a seller of premium, luxury, exotic and antique cars in Corner Brook has combined the love of cars and love of Western Newfoundland to create a one-of-a-kind plan to put a Car and Driver journalist and an Autoblog journalist in a dream car and make their way from California to our province's west coast.

In an hour there have been over 400 likes on's Facebook Page with plenty of comments coming in from all over the world.

This car: 1999 Ferrari 355 Spider

is now on route and will be enjoying the beautiful west coast of our province in 12 days - having travelled some 8500 km's to get here.

There will be many posts along the way and no doubt stirring up some major interest in Newfoundland and Labrador

The drivers

Johnathon Ramsey Associate Editor who writes:

No matter how many new boxes the court system, the human resource department, the college admissions office and the census come up with, we know that people are wildly ill-defined by their specs. And no matter how delightfully we atomize everything with wheels, cars – the most enjoyable ones, at least – are just as impossible-to-pin down as the humanoids who pilot them. That’s the world of transportation that interests me. Sure, it’s handy to pencil in some of the details, but we don’t drive details – we drive cars, camions, bi-, moto- and tricycles, Robins and roadsters, Gumperts and Gmunds and Goggomobils and anything with a motor and a “Go!” button. Where the spec sheets end and the high mountain road begins, that’s the story worth telling.

Can't wait to see what his posts are on both the car and Newfoundland and Labrador.


James Tate of Car and DriverMSN Autos has this to say about James:

Cut his teeth in the business as a race team crew member before moving to the editorial side as Senior Editor of Sport Compact Car, and his work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Automobile, Motor Trend and European Car. When not writing, Tate is usually fantasizing about a vintage Porsche 911.

So all in all this is a great promotion for auto travellers who want to experience our beautiful province - our coastlines - mountains - fjords - parks - history - and culture.

No doubt the people from the west coast will deliver a warm welcome demonstrating once again how friendly and hospitable our people are.

Congratulations to this new company in Corner Brook - Marble Auto Gallery for putting together such an interesting promotion for both our province and the company.

For all you car enthusiasts in our province - and there are many - the west coast is the place to be in a couple of weeks.

a Grim/m Fairytale? Cop-Boyscout-Lawyer

 Is this a grim/m Fairytale?

You decide.
Stretching another 4 years out of this tired government is difficult when one considers the polling trends.

The back room of the Newfoundland and Labrador PC's must be abuzz with plotting, scheming, and planning in an attempt to squeeze another term in office. There are many more resources they want to "develop".

So let's pretend we are in the room listening to the suggestions for extended office.

The first discussion probably would have been dragging the election date out - to compensate for Kathy's early departure. That damn law they might have said - and we put it there too - they might add.

The first plan therefore might have been to use whatever method possible to drag the term the full 4 years - giving them more time to attempt recovery in the polls.

The second discussion likely was who and what to blame the poor poll results on. Well we cannot blame it on Muskrat they may have mused and we can't currently blame the feds - so what then? The second plan could have been to blame it on communications - if all else fails it was her failure to communicate our message. Not policy - they could not blame it on policy.

The third discussion might have been - yah maybe not all policy but some stuff is bad. Bill 29 for example. That we can blame on Kathy and all we need to do is extend it out - buy some time - pretend we are listening. It won't stop Muskrat from proceeding but it will get their attention. So the third plan might have been Bill 29 - off to examination.

On to the fourth discussion - okay but what about leadership - we need a new face they may have suggested. Okay but we got to be careful here - don't want any radical change to our resource development policy. Protect Muskrat - Protect Muskrat - at all costs was probably suggested. So the fourth plan they might have concluded was to "con"vince somebody - totally non-political - a business person - somebody who looks professional - somebody who supports Muskrat. Further - we have to get somebody who can eventually win a seat - and we need a seat where somebody is leaving. Not as easy as we think - they might have uttered - how do we convince such a person. Fourth plan - Voila - Frank - but how do we convince Frank. And so it might have been done. He was convinced. Poor fellow though - he looked and acted like he was being dragged through the political streets of Damascus - under the Dannymon Empire.

Now to the fifth and they probably have agreed to plead it - how do we drag this on to extend the election? They might have suggested, alright we gotta get a few months out of Frank - let him get used to the people - don't swear him in right away. Then if we extend that long enough - perhaps Frank could leave at the last moment - if he does not work out and we can bring in the back-ups.

 Picture Evening Telegram - See my back? Job done?
So the plan perhaps became to drag out Frank as long as possible - then call a new leadership process when Frank quit. We have the back-ups and we can assign each of them some Cabinet support - well who do we get? Well Kent is always ready to cooperate - he's a social media animal - we can get some twitter, facebook, and web page support out of him. And best of all - we might be able to robo-call the VOCM question of the day - to get the results we want and we are sure VOCM will report.

Be Prepared - to Robo-call and Tweet
How about the diplomat? How about the fellow who likes Harper and loves Muskrat.

Yes the silvered hair guy who looks knowledgeable and even-keeled. Good Tory boy  comes from the right schools - has a stately name - and can speak circles around Kevin O'Brien. Surely they must have considered this.

Remember Me? I don't remember me!

So Ottenheimer it is they might have concluded.

Finally we need somebody in-between - almost like Goldilocks - you know the just right fellow. That is a task - not too much political baggage, looks good in a blue suit or uniform - able to speak coherently - has communication experience - family guy - PC district and is re-electable. Can we build a resume that highlights some areas but downplays either the lack of ability or lack of desire to lead? A fighter - that's what he is - on the side of good - almost like running Spiderman for election. Spin a web - fight crime - on the side of good - and be able to hide any underlying deficiencies. Yes that's him they all might have exclaimed at once. We got it! We got it! Paul Davis -  they all might have chimed together on the Atlantic Place escalator.

I'm the Good Guy. Is Muskrat Falls a societal crime?

They might have mused that with mini-me in control of the party wing

 - we can keep Danny out of the circus while quietly helping delegates to make up their mind - with the exception of Mount Pearl - who will send in the city scouts to support their boy/man Steve.

Okay - Okay - they probably gasped with some short-term relief - now we need a plan - we need to attract the people back into our fold. Alright - spend money - lots of it. Employ people to do whatever up there in Labrador. Keep the trades involved - the nurses happy - and take advantage of the BBQ circuit. Announce - re-announce - put fillers in pot holes near and far. Announce hospitals, schools, arenas, fire-trucks, pavement (a km. each), a new penitentiary, and Muskrat jobs. Now do this right where if we happen to lose we already got the Liberals committed to billions over the next decade and if we win - we can delay delay - study study. In this way we can put it all out another 4 years - if we win - or torture the Liberals to make good on the billions in commitments we made.

Win win win - now - let's get at it. Nothing better than buying them with their own debt - they might have convinced themselves.

A grim Fairytale or a grim Reality?

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.