Monday, 23 May 2016

PREMIER NOT TELLING TRUTH ABOUT SEVERANCE DEAL WITH ED MARTIN

 In this Blog Post:

-  inappropriate severance paid out by Government to former Nalcor CEO
-  inappropriate bonuses awarded Ed Martin, too.
-  Ed Martin’s employment contract offers no legal basis for either severance or bonus
-  Premier Ball has obscured the reason for Ed Martin’s departure and failed in his 
   obligation to tell the public the truth.

Introduction

The assertion by Premier Ball that he was contractually obligated to pay severance to former CEO Ed Martin who resigned from Nalcor on April 20th, 2016 is neither based in law, nor in fact, at least not as it applies to his employment contract.

The Premier stressed, according to CBC, that Martin's resignation was a "personal one". Ball said it “was first discussed at a meeting between the two on Sunday, and later confirmed on Tuesday evening". The timeline is just one important detail.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

MUSKRAT FALLS AND VOODOO ECONOMICS

Back in November 2012, as the Dunderdale Government was about to conclude sanction of the Muskrat Falls project my brother, Brendan Sullivan, found himself among the handful of “naysayers” who could see through its economic folly.

Nalcor and the Dunderdale Government had concluded their end run around the PUB, having ring-fenced the two power options it wanted to give evaluation. Of course, the outcome was already predetermined, many of the assumptions favouring Muskrat Falls having been contrived. In the end, the charade served only to justify a truly “nutty” project. 

Brendan, a former provincial government economist, explained some of his concerns in a Blog Post entitled “Muskrat Falls and Voodoo Economics”. He wrote at least one other article in the Telegram.

Brendan passed away on Monday, after a long and heroic battle with a rare disease called Wegener’s Granulomatosis. I am re-posting the Piece today in his memory.

Monday, 16 May 2016

VARDY/PENNEY APPALLED BY NALCOR BRIEFING NOTE ON MUSKRAT FALLS PROJECT

Guest Post by David Vardy and Ron Penney

Commentary on Briefing Note to the Minister of Natural Resources from Nalcor Energy on suspending or significantly delaying the Muskrat Falls Project

We were appalled with the briefing note released May 12, 2016 by the CBC on the option to suspend or delay the Muskrat Falls project, based on an ATIPPA request. While the note was highly redacted we have to say it was most unbalanced, inaccurate and unprofessional.

Here are our responses to the specious arguments made by Nalcor:

Monday, 9 May 2016

BUDGET CRISIS EXPOSES WEAK PREMIER

The new Liberal Government is taking a political shellacking. 

Ball is turning fiasco into a phenomenon. If he doesn’t use his own political instincts, assuming he has any, he won’t last as long as did Kathy Dunderdale.

Such a conclusion, little more than five months into his tenure, seems ridiculously premature. But it isn’t. That the Government’s first set of decisions were so strategically ill-chosen, suggests the Premier is quite prone to stumble.

It is not just the deficit levy or the doubling of the gas tax, though these measures are the predominant catalysts of dissension. His public relations capacity seems to mirror his own lack of fire; a relaxed and passion-less treatment of deeply felt political issues magnifies an incapacity to connect with a public jolted by their vastly changed financial circumstance.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

VAMOOSE YOURSELF, WANGERSKY!

A feeling came over me like I had received a kick in the guts. It wasn’t just the Budget. That news had been delivered days earlier by the Finance Minister. She was clearly a party-pooper. And Dwight had confirmed he's no Danny.

This was Monday. I was reading “Get out if you can”, by the Telegram’s Russell Wangersky.
“That would be my advice” the award winning writer warned, as one might caution a neighbour of an impending tsunami. “If you’re young, not tied down by investments like a home you might take a financial bath trying to sell, if you have an education or a trade that you can use to get a mainland job, just go. Go because we made this mess and you shouldn’t be forced to pay for it”, his rant continued.

I found myself gripping the edges of the kitchen island, on which I had unfolded the broadsheet, holding on tight as a wave of anger struck like an angry sea, making me nauseous.

Monday, 2 May 2016

BUDGET PROTESTS: CHECK THE BULL COMING FROM THE BULLHORNS

People are understandably outraged over the recent provincial Budget. Fiscal mismanagement and the debacle that is Muskrat Falls has kicked them where it really hurts; in their pocket books.

The Government of Dwight Ball is seeing the face of public rebuke. Public protests, angry calls to Open-Line Shows, and disenchantment exhibited on social media, depict government’s failure to meet public expectations. They include those which the Liberal Party created during the general election campaign, and an ill-advised Budget that hurts low incomers disproportionately, and the middle class, as it ignores bureaucratic bloat generated by a decade of over spending. 

Ball has not performed the job for which governments are elected. That is he has failed to define the problem, elicit public support, and make the tough decisions to resolve it. 

Still, the ubiquitous anti-Budget signs make no reference to a fiscal crisis. 

That is unfortunate because they mirror the Government’s own inability to articulate the sheer magnitude of our fiscal challenge. We can chant: “SAY NO TO AUSTERITY” as it pleases us. But, realistically, we waived even the mere possibility of avoiding painful change when so many of us cheered Tory fiscal madness. 

Thursday, 28 April 2016

OUR FISCAL FUTURE: DAVID VARDY'S IDEAS FOR CHANGE

Readers of this Blog will recognize the name David Vardy as an occasional contributor. Others know him as one of the earliest critics of the Muskrat Falls project, having outlined his concerns in a Paper prepared for Action Canada, entitled Making Best Use of the Lower Churchill: The Muskrat Falls Development. But most people will know Vardy as an economist who served at the senior level of the public service for almost 30 years including as Clerk of the Executive Council (Secretary to the Cabinet), President of the Marine Institute, Deputy Minister of Fisheries, and Chair of the Public Utilities Board. In addition to several medals and awards, David Vardy is also the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from Memorial University.

In modern parlance, Vardy is a policy wonk.