Stacked with Grits?

It’s funny how some journalists can do a thorough analysis of the content for a story and then throw in a phrase like “stacked with Grits”.   Here is the quote:

Meanwhile the Telegraph-Journal has learned that the same consulting firm, based in the capital and stacked with Grits from the McKenna years, was also hired by a different department in the Graham government. The Department of Energy forked over more than $100,000 to Roc Consulting for help developing the province’s energy hub during the same fiscal year the firm was working on the northern economy.

It is rare to see a phrase like this in a TJ article without some corroboration.  I have worked with three of the four guys in this ROC group and yes they are from the McKenna years but I never once heard them talking and acting in a partisan way.  At least three of them worked for both Liberal and Conservative administrations and at least one was hired under the Hatfield time in office.

It seems to me that this important story – well worth the public eye – has now turned into a pile of sensationalism designed to anger the public.  If the CBC and the TJ have any objective proof that this contract was awarded to old buddies of Shawn Graham as some kind of gravy train payment for good Liberal soldiering, then bring out the evidence.  Beyond that please keep the hyperbole to a minimum. 

And this drive by smear by the opposition again doesn’t mention any facts.  What is the point of insinuating backroom deals to anger and frustrate the public without any proof?

Opposition leader David Alward said the sole-sourced contracts are an example of the government’s lack of transparency. “This is one of the multitudes of situations where liberal-friendly firms are feeding at the trough,” he said during a phone interview Monday.

Journalists will fact check and double check information just to be sure and then serve up the most damaging comments of all with a casual, almost filler-like quality.

Too bad.  This stuff just hurts legitimate efforts to stimulate economic development in the province.

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10 Responses to Stacked with Grits?

  1. mikel says:

    The David Alward quote isn’t so bad, thats the usual politicking. And he is right. As for Irving, well, are you REALLY surprised at such partisanship and just poor quality writing. As usual the problem is transparancy, and until THAT problem gets resolved, opposition parties will always have a point (usually of course until they get into office).

  2. Anonymous says:

    Just what we been waiting for!
    Someone that knows these people who can tell us what they have accomplished.
    And some of us know that different governments are not very different,because they know how the system works and making REAL enemies with the present governing party is not good for future prospects,so thats no argument as perusing past patronage appointments and government contracts verifies.
    Considering there is nothing informative on their website!

  3. richard says:

    “If the CBC and the TJ have any objective proof that this contract was awarded to old buddies….”

    In cases where there is no public tender, surely the onus is on GNB to demonstrate that insider connections or partisanship were not the deciding factors. The press is not to blame for drawing the obvious inference.

    I can see no reason not to have a public tender. Can you? Seems to me this is a case of insiders knowing (via informal meetings with friends/GNB officials) what GNB wanted, then offering the proposal to meet that need. Surprise, surprise – the report likely reflects the views of the GNB manager that signed off on the contract.

    Because the consulting firm did not have to tender, because they are seen as insiders, this report probably won’t go anywhere; particularly if the government changes hands after the next election. That is the fault of GNB, not the press.

    Isn’t this whole thing another example of the parasitical nature of the ED ‘industry’?? Have ED’ers ever done anything useful for NB? Are Ed’ers just a waste of hot air?

  4. Anonymous says:

    I found it Mr. Campbell,it looks like they discovered it will make a great outdoor refrigerator,lol.
    Ok ,I wonder whats the next contract,WATCHED by government inspectors,lol.

    Northern New Brunswick is cold, remote and in economic decline, apparently making it the ideal place for a cold-weather testing area in the eyes of consultants hired by the provincial government.

    Roc Consulting Group identified cold-weather testing and several other sectors that Business New Brunswick, the government department in charge of attracting investment to the province, should consider pursuing for job opportunities, according to documents obtained by CBC News through the Right to Information Act.

    Roc received a $70,000 government contract, which eventually ballooned to $110,580 as the consultants added responsibilities, to come up with the proposals, even though Business New Brunswick has roughly 50 of its own civil servants who are normally tasked with attracting outside investment.

  5. Richard, I’m not in the business of defending ROC or any other group. I supported and enjoyed reading much of the reporting around this issue. I just can’t agree that sole sourcing means de facto an insider job. The truth is that I am a little prickly on this subject because I was hired to work in that department during the ‘Mckenna’ years and that doesn’t make me a Grit and doesn’t mean that if I ever got a contract from BNB (I haven’t) it was because I was a Grit.

    In fact, now that I think of it my mother called her Tory MLA back when I was in university (during the Hatfield years) and got me a job sweeping floors at the Department of Transportation during the summer. I guess that actually makes me a Tory hack (or at last my mother).

  6. Anonymous says:

    Mr Campbell,there is NO doubt you are very honest.
    Not exactly a good point when it comes to looking at a contract with the NB government,at anytime in its history,which I have read.!

  7. Rob says:

    I think people are so used to sweetheart deals for “friends of the Premier”, regardless of political party, that they automatically think the worst when they hear a story like this. Therefore, I think its incumbent on the current administration to prove that this thing is above board, that we are getting value for money, and that BNB is providing adequate contractual oversight. Proactive disclosure would have killed this controversy in the cradle.

    I would also hope that RCG is training younger BNB staff on how to find these leads and turn them into jobs. When the Baby Boomers retire en masse in the next 10-15 years, my generation will be left holding the ball. We need to pass down expertise from one cohort to the next, and that may not happen if outside consultants are doing the work BNB used to do.

  8. There is truth to that. But if the media report had said “ROC contributed x thousand to Graham’s campaign” or “x person worked on so and so’s re-election campaign” or other such statement, it would have validated somewhat the Grit accusation.

  9. D in Moncton says:

    I think Rob is closest to the truth in saying that people sometimes automatically think the worst. The reporter is being professionally lazy or perhaps holds a non-partisan bias against government, like many journalists do. I’m sure if he had to rewrite it, he would have edited that out. There is also the possiblility that it wasn’t in his original copy and was edited-in as is sometimes the case.

    Interestingly enough, the BNB spokesperson in the story is Ryan Donaghy, the son of Brian Donaghy who served as Premier Lord’s EA in Moncton. As David points out, this province is too small to be making leaps and assumptions of partisanship. The days of card-carrying loyalty are over.

  10. richard says:

    “The days of card-carrying loyalty are over”

    Sorry but this is most likely about insider contacts, not party loyalty. Insider contacts are the bread and butter of the ED parasites. GNB let a sole source contract and has not produced a reasonable explanation for same. The conclusion of the press and the public is justifiable, regardless of the value of the report. It was a stupid thing to do.

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