Tuesday, 30 June 2015

THE POLITICS OF BLIND OPTIMISM (PART IV)

Guest post written by JM

When it comes to recognizing the fiscal imbalance, the political leadership of the province are whistling pass the graveyard.  But government inaction is not limited purely to the deficit.  They are failing to make concrete actions on many of the larger issues facing the province today. 

In a nutshell, they default to the “politics of optimism”.  

Thursday, 25 June 2015

THE COP PREMIER AND THE MOB….IT’S ONLY BUSINESS

The CBC recently broke the story that Nalcor had awarded a multimillion dollar Muskrat Falls construction contract to a company from Quebec called Opron - controlled by a well known Montreal construction figure – Mr Joe Borsellino.  

Opron Construction showed up on Nalcor's approved bidders list in February 2013; the CBC story reported “the same month Giuseppe Borsellino testified at Quebec's Charbonneau commission that he and his cousin were 51 per cent owners of the firm.

Let’s go to his appearance before the Charbonneau Commission into criminal activity in Quebec’s construction industry:

“For two days, the construction boss caught on video delivering cash to the headquarters of the Rizzuto crime family has lurked in the back row of the Charbonneau inquiry, watching another witness, Joe Borsellino, confess to bribing public officials while playing down links to the mob.

Mr. Borsellino has proven a difficult witness..... In one instance that angered commission counsel, he could not remember depositing $1.8-million into a bank account until deposit slips were produced.” - Globe and Mail February 6, 2013

Monday, 22 June 2015

THE BUDGET COLLOQUY (PART 3) WHISTLING PAST THE GRAVEYARD NO MORE

Guest post written by JM

Authors Note:
Initially, I had planned this series in three parts.  Of the two already posted, the first dealt with provincial government spending and the second with revenues.  The proposed third part was originally intended to contain a long term sustainability plan for the province. 

This last piece of work has proven much more difficult to write in comparison with the first two posts, which were heavily annotated with statistics and graphs.  In the course of writing, I found it difficult to be thorough without raising the plethora of issues the province currently faces.  As a result, the script has grown to over 20 pages, and it is still not finished!

Uncle Gnarley has kindly provided space throughout this summer, to continue this colloquy.  I expect it will comprise an additional six to eight posts.  The new plan will conclude with a single post in which the various parts will be reflected in a single reference. 

As Uncle Gnarley cherishes debate, I would be grateful if readers submitted their ideas in the comments section.I have examined the numbers in detail. I am convinced it will be a challenging road to return to balanced budgets. 

Thursday, 18 June 2015

GOVERNMENT REFUSES INVESTIGATION; SUPPORT NALCOR'S $ BILLION CONTRACT AWARD

Uncle Gnarley Blog received the Government's reply to my letter requesting that the Premier call an investigation into Nalcor’s award of the contract for the construction of the Labrador Island Link (LIL) transmission line.

While the letter was sent to Premier Paul Davis, it was his Natural Resources Minister, Derick Dalley, who replied.

Readers will recall that this Blogger was contacted by an anonymous person calling himself “Tender Man”. The concerned citizen had conducted extensive research into Nalcor’s handling of the contract award, having documented the process of Nalcor’s decision to first meld one tender into another, and then award the contract without competition. The documentation was gathered from Reports posted on Nalcor’s web site over several months.

Monday, 15 June 2015

ENGINEER FINDS DREADFUL EXAMPLE OF NALCOR ARROGANCE

Stories of Nalcor’s arrogance are not new; though, when they have consequences for the public purse and add to evidence the crown corporation is out of control, they should be exposed.

Recently, a Professional Engineer, in the course of reviewing sections of Nalcor's web site, noted one disturbing answer. It can be found on Nalcor's web site, within a group of questions and answers on the Muskrat Falls project, given in 2014.

The unidentified questioner had put two questions to Nalcor. This is the second one::

And is Nalcor aware that they (Astaldi) did not qualify to bid on a hydro project in BC?

Thursday, 11 June 2015

NALCOR MIMICS KAOS, ED MARTIN THE NEW MAXWELL SMART

Evidence that the hammer should be brought down on Nalcor continues to pile up. 

Ed Martin’s screening tool for contractors exhibits all the sophistication of Maxwell Smart; the bumbling Agent 86 in “Get Smart”. The 1960s comedy series is more likely to offer insight into Nalcor's behaviour and Ed Martin's utterances than any other interpretation of a rational and competent outfit managing the province's energy file.

As if the allegations in which SNC Lavalin is embroiled were not serious enough, the Nalcor CEO gives us Joe Borsellino, the master of memory tricks, who testified at the Charbonneau Commission Hearings into corruption into Quebec’s construction industry.

Borsellino’s faulty recall earned him disbelief from the presiding Madam Justice Charbonneau though, according to a CBC story, he still “acknowledged contact with organized crime.”

Monday, 8 June 2015

THE BUDGET COLLOQUY (PART 2) REVENUE PROJECTIONS: CLOSE YOUR EYES, MAKE A WISH, AND HOPE FOR THE BEST


Guest Post Written By: JM


The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has a spending problem.  The problem can be masked by the temporary windfall revenues. That is what occurred in 2008-2012.  However, a responsible government plans it’s long term spending based upon a sustainable, realistic revenue stream.    


The document entitled "Budget Highlights - Balancing Choices for a Promising Future"  was a part of this masking attempt. It contained a forecast of both spending and revenue for the next 5 years.   It predicts that in 5 years the province will return to balanced budgets.  It exhibits sufficient colored graphs, and statistics to even seem believable. But believable it is not.