Remember when Minister Skinner came out last week and announced the Province was nominating Elizabeth Matthews as Vice-President of the Canada - Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board? Sure it was at the end of the week. Sure it was designed to die a quiet death over the weekend. It didn't happen. Now, thanks to the efforts of the Office of the Official Opposition, we find that in fact she was appointed to the Board back on the 21st of December, 2010. Here is the appointment letter sent by Minister Skinner to his federal counterpart:
The letter states that the Newfoundland and Labrador government appoints Ms. Matthews as a member of the Canada - Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (CNLOPB) and requests the federal government concur with her further designation as Vice-Chair of the CNLOPB. The obvious problem is Minister Skinner neglected to tell the media, and the people, that Ms Matthews had actually been appointed to the Board. The government did not issue a press release stating she was appointed to the Board, but did issue one stating she was the nominee for the Vice-Chair. A deliberate attempt to mislead the public? Perhaps. Here is the press release issued by the government in response to the Official Opposition's charges:
March 11, 2011
Provincial Government Clarifies Board Appointment
The Honourable Shawn Skinner, Minister of Natural Resources, today set the record straight in response to a misleading news release issued today by the Leader of the Opposition in relation to the appointment of Elizabeth Matthews to the board of the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB).
“An appointment to the board was required in order to nominate Ms. Matthews for the position of vice-chair,” said Minister Skinner. “There is nothing underhanded or secretive about this nomination. There is a joint process with the Federal Government that must be followed before an appointment to vice-chair can be confirmed and we have followed the rules. The normal course of action when announcing such appointments would be to wait until the process is complete.”
A letter identifying Ms. Matthews as the Provincial Governments designate for the position of vice-chair has been sent to the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Natural Resources Canada. The Provincial Government has requested concurrence from the Federal Government on this nomination.
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Director of Communications
Department of Natural Resources
It was released on a Friday night at 4:45 pm. Another attempt to kill a story over the weekend. Just like the original announcement, and just like the Parson's Pond scandal. It's interesting to note that Skinner's rebutal takes issue with the Opposition about the description of the nomination. He says:"There is nothing underhanded or secretive about this nomination." He does not say the same about the appointment to the Board itself. That was after all the Opposition's point that she was secretly appointed, with the full knowledge and insistence of the government. It is as if he chooses to ignore the lie, and focus on something he can spin on. The only problem with that strategy, other than it's obvious deception, is that it is so blatantly false. It adds insult to injury, and points to the ends this PC government is prepared to go to "frame" the truth.
As every week goes by this government looks more like a regime and less like a democratic institution. My own experience with the Party's non-leadership campaign resembled this. My resignation letter stated how the Party's deceptive behavior was also entering it's governmental practise - now this. The people of Newfoundland and Labrador need a government that treats them with respect and intelligence. Isn't this the government that whips up anger at home by stating over and over again that the rest of the country has treated us like we are stupid and a joke? It seems to me that the only ones treating us like that are our own PC government. Minister Skinner, do the honourable thing for once, and resign.
Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the
round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're
not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify
them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change
things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the
crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that
they can change the world, are the ones who do.
US computer engineer & industrialist (1955 - 2011)