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Monday 29 July 2013

The Pain and the Gain

I am sore. I mean physically sore to the point of having to hobble. Yesterday I scratched an item off my bucket list and today I continue to pay the small price of sore feet, legs and for some reason even my back has not escaped the wrath of the Tely 10. With the ecouragement of my girlfriend I registered early and even trained a little (very little LOL) and yesterday I had a chip time of 2:06:52. I had set a goal of 2hrs but I have to say I don't think I'd be much happier if I had picked up the extra 6 or 7 minutes. I had a great and punishing time and it has given me a tremendous appreciation for those who undertake full marathons!

It starts great and you're all full of energy and by the end you have an overwhelming need to stop moving, just for a little while. My asthma didn't hinder me any more then I was expecting but it was a struggle to keep motivated in the later stages of the race. Lukily there was some unexpected motivation along the way, but more on that in a bit. 

The race is a 10 mile foot race from The Paradise Communituy Center to Bannerman Park and this year there were 3501 regestered runners. Not all runners show up or finish but if you know someone who was in the race or just want to take a look at the results you can check them out here. You'll note there are 2 times listed for each competitor because there is the time from the starting pistol to the finish and the time from when you pass the starting line til you cross the finish line(chip time). This is necessary because with 3500 runners they can't all start the race at the same time. In fact some will be waiting 5 or 6 minutes after the pistol just to cross the start line. 

It is essential to thank all those who make the event possible including organisers and volunteers at the water stations. The officers at the intersections and the fire and paramedic staff who attend just in case they are needed are also greatly appreciated. Some of the traffic staff put up with some pretty silly complaining from motorists who were somehow unaware that sections of road are closed for the race. Afterall it only happens every year. 

I have to offer a very special thank you to one more group of people that I mentioned earlier as the unexpected motivation along the way. It is a challenging race and there are moments where you may feel its just easier to give it all up or to take it easy and walk it out to the finish. But thankfully there are people who line the streets to cheer on runners for close to 3 hours in various spots along the way. There are signs of encouragement, motivational things written in chaulk on the pavement, people with noisemakers and water hoses. But I have to say that the most impressive were those people who stood close to the course and motivated people with their words of support, even to the point of reading the names of the runners off their Bibs (number labels) so they could shout personalized encouragement. I can honestly say I had not expected to hear complete strangers say my name and tell me how great I was doing and that I could keep going til the end.    

It was a great experience. The pain will last a few days for sure, but the gain of crossing it off my bucket list and knowing that I had the determination to push myself even when I though I would pass out, as I almost did at about 5.5 miles, will stay with me forever.

Friday 26 July 2013

The Fails Continue.

There was an opportunity to stop it. We missed it. If the people of the Province had become informed early enough we had a chance to really slow things down and ensure it was really what we needed and at a reasonable cost. Unfortunately we have passed the point of no return on Muskrat Falls and its now all about mitigation. The sad part is that as time goes on the situation seems to continue to get worse and our mitigation efforts will have to increase tenfold if we expect to have any hope of not having the rate payers of NL foot the bill. The newest issues to cause concern involve the ability to generate electricity and the ability to sell it. These two issues would seem to be important to a hydro project yet the current Government are content to say that both of these concerns are non issues by the usual rationale "trust us."

On the sales front the body responsible for monitoring utilities in Nova Scotia was allowed to do a complete review of their involvement in the project which is centered around the construction of the subsea transmission cable. It would have been nice for our very own PUB do the same we'll just have to "trust" in the decision making process that we have absolutely no input in. For their part the NS body decided that they support the project on the condition that a proper contract be signed that would include a possible guarantee for the purchase of power at rates that may be lower then what we could sell it to others for. Power sales would be good but we need the ability to sell that power at the highest rates possible to help remove so much of the burden from NL rate payers.

On the generation front there has been a court case filled by Quebec Hydro to clarify some of the details on the Upper Churchill details regarding the details around supply and management of water resources for generation. If the water resources at the Upper Churchill are managed in the best interests of Hydro Quebec it can significantly interfere with the reliable production capacity at Muskrat Falls. It has the potential of seriously limiting the reliable power available to NL. For the full translation of the details of what has been filed pop over to Labradore here.

The unfortunate truth is that these are only two of many concerns around this ill-conceived project and it is becoming painfully obvious that as the project continues this will be par for the course. Brace yourself.

Thursday 11 July 2013

And The Race is on!

Five contenders and only one crown. The Liberal leadership race has begun and it will be an interesting few months until the final decision is made in mid November. Like any race worth watching this one has interesting characters and is bound to have a few twists along the way.

The cast of 5 contains a few familiar names to Liberals of the province and here in brief are my comments on each.

Cathy Bennett. Successful business woman who has decided that now is the time to get involved in politics. Her name is known in the metro area as she owns a few McDonalds restaurants and has been vocal on a recent daycare issue. However beyond those few morsels I'm not sure Liberals of the province really know that much about her. The media has already informed us that she has been a reasonably significant contributer to the PC party but that doesn't necessarily mean that much. In the end she will likely garner support in metro and from business minded folks but I think she'll struggle to connect with the average Liberal voter.

Paul Antle. Paul is another successful business person from the metro area. The main difference is that Paul has a history with the Liberal party including financial support and even running as a Liberal candidate in the past. He only just officially launched his campaign but even before the rubber hit the road the CBC was reporting a story of some legal issues around tax avoidance in a southern country. Paul is a Liberal, is well educated and well spoken but again he may have trouble connecting with the common man.

Danny Dumaresque. Danny is no newcomer to the NL Liberal party, not in any way. He's been on the board of directors, a previous MHA, and a former contender for the leadership. He is passionate and incredibly knowledgeable about the fishery. He has a great deal of old school Liberal contacts and connections and he's a damn hard worker. The struggle Danny will have is that he may be seen as the past of the Liberals and not the future. In addition he's know as strongly partisan and rural focused, and even though he is attempting to soften his image a little, he is a very polarizing figure.

Jim Bennett. Current Liberal MHA and former Liberal leader, for a very short period. Jim has been involved with the party for a long time and it is well know that it was his hard work and organization that won him his hard fought seat in the last election. He has strong rural routes but doesn't bash the townies with them so he may have a wide base of support. Jim's obstacle will be to prove he's the right person considering he had the job previously and was essentially forced to resign.

Dwight Ball. Dwight has the considerable advantage of essentially being in the position already. Being interim leader for the past 18 months or so has already placed him in peoples minds as the leader. Some feel that it is his leadership to loose. He also has support from most of the caucus and a couple Liberal MPs. With all this you might think he's a shoe in, but he is not without his challenges. Because he has been seen so much people have commented that he lacks a little in the personality department but that is not his biggest challenge as I see it. If you look at the polls it is true that the PCs have tumbled and the Liberals have risen, a little. But with a government imploding the way the current one is the Liberals should have gained much more ground in terms of public support, but they haven't. As a party they haven't really done a whole lot, and it shows. So Dwight's biggest challenge is in fact his experience and track record as Liberal leader for the past year an a bit.

So there you have a brief look at all five candidates. In future posts I'll go over the basics of the process and a few more details on the timing and such. But up next will be a shout out to the candidate who I'll be supporting and why. Stay tuned...