Monday, 18 March 2019

THE ATLANTIC ACCORD: BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID

It is not a good feeling when government cannot be trusted.

Yet, notwithstanding all the partisan nonsense that props up one Party over another, it is the trust that government acts solely in the public interest that keeps the democratic system strong.

It is an issue that permeates many of the articles and comments that appear on this Blog. Underneath them is the fear, to phrase it in the vernacular, that the Ball Government will sell the Province down the river.

There is reason for that and, paradoxically as it may seem, the origins of such scepticism are found with Ball’s Tory predecessors.

Monday, 11 March 2019

BEWARE FEDERAL SHAPESHIFTING ON ATLANTIC ACCORD, WARNS CABOT MARTIN

Guest Post by Cabot Martin
Hooray for Uncle Gnarley for he has saved me from the sloth of procrastination!

Nearly a week had passed since former Premier Peckford’s letter appeared in the Saturday March 2nd edition of the St. John’s Telegram and I was still mulling over an appropriate way to support his views; maybe phone Paddy; maybe a letter to the Telegram.

So when Uncle Gnarley phoned last Thursday to ask me to write something on the Atlantic Accord mess, it didn’t take any convincing at all.

So to A. Brian’s excellent letter.

I was most struck by his comment on a possible change in the Accord that would see us being demoted from “principal beneficiary” to ”primary beneficiary” – a big change in a key, supposedly entrenched right.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

WERE SNC LAVALIN TROUBLES OPPORTUNISTIC FOR NALCOR?

Guest Post by David Vardy

SNC LAVALIN: THE MUSKRAT FALLS EXPERIENCE
SNC Lavalin’s role in the Muskrat Falls project has figured prominently in recent hearings of the Muskrat Falls Inquiry. On Friday the Inquiry heard from Nalcor’s senior procurement officer on the project’s management practices, including those which led to the selection of SNC Lavalin (SLI) as EPCM contractor in 2011 and to their removal from this role in 2013.

The New York Times had this to say on the biggest scandal facing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:
“The case revolves around accusations that SNC-Lavalin, a multinational engineering company based in Quebec, paid 47.7 million Canadian dollars in bribes to officials in Libya to win contracts there, and defrauded the Libyan government and its agencies of 129.8 million Canadian dollars.

“The prime minister and his aides have been accused of pressuring his justice minister at the time, Jody Wilson-Raybould, to drop the criminal inquiry against the company because a conviction could potentially cost thousands of jobs in Canada, and diminish his Liberal Party’s political fortunes.”

Monday, 4 March 2019

WHEN POLITICIANS DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT THEY DON'T KNOW

On the Witness Stand at the Muskrat Falls Inquiry, former Premier Paul Davis displayed the confidence of one who believed he knew what he was talking about. A confident Derrick Dalley, the former Tory Minister of Natural Resources, succeeded him. Trouble is, confidence is no substitute for the good judgment they ought to have brought to their senior positions.

Expected was leadership worldly-wise enough to understand the need for a process that assured “oversight” of the project at the highest level. The decision required personnel of international stature that was “earned” — not “awarded” by Kathy Dunderdale.  

Little wonder that Davis was once dubbed the “Corporal Premier” on this Blog, having admitted to the Inquiry that his chief source of information on Muskrat was Dalley.

Thursday, 28 February 2019

WILL THE PUB GO FAR ENOUGH ON RATE MITIGATION?

Guest Post by David Vardy
The PUB has been asked to make recommendations as to how increases in power rates arising from Muskrat Falls can be avoided, a daunting task indeed, but one for which they have been given a broad mandate.  They have just released an interim report on measures to increase revenues and reduce costs. Their work plan is quite ambitious and covers a wide range of options. The question is how far they will go and how receptive will government be to major changes?

Will they recommend the kind of surgery needed to right-size our electric power industry and to extirpate Nalcor as an unregulated monopoly? Will they go so far as to propose that Nalcor be removed from the power system after Muskrat Falls has been completed?

Monday, 25 February 2019

LAW SCHOOL IGNORES PROVINCE'S FISCAL POSITION

Guest Post by Ron Penney
On March 14th the Board of Regents of Memorial University will have it’s regularly scheduled meeting and it is anticipated that the issue of creating a new Law School at Memorial will be discussed.

The academic governing body of the University, the Senate, has approved the creation of the Law School but the final decision will be made by the Board of Regents, who will hopefully demonstrate more sense than Senate.

It is amazing that the most highly educated body in the Province, the Senate, is totally oblivious to our fiscal situation, which the Parliamentary Budget Officer describes as the most dire in the country.

Thursday, 21 February 2019

WHO TAKES ED MARTIN SERIOUSLY, ANYWAY?

When journalists interview Ed Martin, as CBC’s Terry Roberts did a few days ago, it is right to wonder if they go away laughing. 

Unfortunately, the reporter’s interview with Martin is found only on the CBC website, so images of him uproariously slapping his sides can only be imagined.

Terry Robert’s story is about Ed Martin dissing Astaldi. Martin thinks that the Company is “largely to blame for the massive cost and schedule overruns” experienced on the Muskrat Falls project.