Monday, 20 February 2017

WHEN MEDIA SILENCE HURTS EVERYONE

The act of telling a lie is nothing new. In the English language the word “mendacity” has hardly changed from its ecclesiastical Latin origin, mendacitas or 'lying'.

Individuals lie. Often they are only fibs with harmless intent, like those that preserve innocence about belief in the Easter Bunny.   

Governments lie too, sometimes with minor consequences — to escape political accountability, to bolster popularity, or to avoid public retribution.  

There are different classes of mendacity. Society can tolerate political and bureaucratic lies, up to a point. But when the consequences are too injurious — that is to say, when the policy makers or their proxies are reckless enough to have “gambled” (to use Stan Marshall’s word) and lost, or worse, possibly having contrived the fundamentals going so far as to assure billions in profit— a minimum expectation is that the culprits will be held to account.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

REPORTERS SHOULD REMEMBER THE ONES WHO LIE

When the media choose to be bystanders, willingly complicit in propagating Nalcor’s persistent falsifications, is there anything to be done but wait for the fallout such misdeeds inspire?

The silence that now envelops the squandering of $4 billion by Nalcor on the Muskrat Falls project a sum expected to go higher constitutes an inspiration for some head scratching. We surely need to ask why the perpetrators deserve protection from questions of accountability.

When all the ‘normal’ checks and balances of a modern democracy fail, isn’t that when the media should be on the top of their game?

While the public must take ultimate responsibility for being informed, one aspect of that job should be to keep an eye on how the media treat the social licence that is the claim of their profession.

Monday, 13 February 2017

WHO WILL PAY NOVA SCOTIA FOR UNUSED MARITIME LINK?

The 2041 Group, which included several capable lawyers, spent many a night parsing the contracts which contained Nalcor’s commitment to Emera for the Nova Scotia Block (that’s the free electricity). Then there’s another set that commits one terawatt hour at a price set by auction at the New England bar.

The group watched in horror as Nalcor openly backed itself into a corner as it continued to spend tens of millions on the Muskrat Falls project knowing, as it did, that the Federal Government had given veto power to Nova Scotia over award of the Federal Loan Guarantee (FLG) and thus project sanction.

By the time Bruce Huskilson, Emera’s CEO, had finished shaking down Ed Martin, the UARB the equivalent of our PUB, acting on behalf of the Government of Nova Scotia must have known Nalcor would agree to any demand to get sanction.

Nalcor’s behavior has always contradicted the rules of common business practice, and of common sense.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

JUDICIAL INQUIRY BEST DISINFECTANT FOR MUSKRAT FALLS SAYS VARDY

 Guest Post Written by David Vardy

PUBLIC INQUIRY NEEDED URGENTLY
The evidence is mounting that the Muskrat Falls project was ill-conceived and badly executed. Sadly there is also a growing body of evidence that the mismanagement of the project has been compounded by practices that are ethically questionable. They cry out for nothing less than a judicial inquiry into these practices and into the myths that were proclaimed as facts.

The Case for Muskrat Falls
The Muskrat Falls project lies at the heart of the financial dilemma facing the province. What was proclaimed as a “strategic investment” has become a financial and environmental disaster as well as an existential threat to our sovereignty. Why have we allowed this to happen, plunging the province into an abyss of debt, and into spiraling population decline?

There were three arguments for this project. Each has been debunked as urban myth.

Monday, 6 February 2017

MUSKRAT: ALLEGATIONS OF PHONY COST ESTIMATES

This is one engineer's story of how Nalcor "low-balled" the cost estimates for the Muskrat Falls project, paving the way for huge cost overruns. The alleged phony estimates led to an inadequate budget for the project, and indiscriminate contract awards Astaldi a classic example. The engineer states that Nalcor failed to perform adequate due diligence ignoring well-established processes designed to confirm valid estimates such as those used by SNC-Lavalin. The post also discusses the implications of those allegations for the integrity of our political process.

Muskrat Falls A History of Misinformation 2010 to 2015

In 2010, Nalcor hired SNC Lavalin (SNC) to conduct the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPC) for the MF project. A key aspect of the Company's role essential to any decision to proceed was the preparation of a cost estimate.

The $5 billion investment Premier Williams announced at that time quickly became $6.2 billion ($7.4 billion, including the cost of borrowing) as Nalcor sought sanction from the Dunderdale Government, in 2012. $6.2 billion was the cost figure Nalcor used in its Application to the PUB and the claim that the Muskrat Falls option exceeded the “isolated island” option by $2 billion.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

BLOG MISREAD "RURAL" SIGNPOSTS SAYS FORMER MAYOR

Guest Post Written By Donna Thistle

Dear Uncle Gnarley,

I read your piece Rural NL Needs to Save Itself.

You are right about the unsustainability of the many services offered to a very few, seemingly in “rural” NL.

I think you’re on to something.

But I think you got lost on your way there.  You read two of the signs wrong.

The first wrong turn was on the corner called “Municipal Leadership”.

You are wrong that no Municipal Leaders have ever spoken up about this problem and you are wrong that no municipal leaders have tried to fix it.  Fogo Island being one glaring example.  There are others.  

Now, you’re a pretty good guy Uncle; I’ve been reading your blog for a long time. You are doing your best to bring some important issues to the attention of the general public (ever feel like you are talking to the wall with all the work you are doing to expose Muskrat Falls?) Yes? Then you know exactly how some of the municipal leaders in “rural” NL feel. 

Monday, 30 January 2017

MUSKRAT COST ESTIMATES "A COMPLETE FALSIFICATION", SAYS ENGINEER

What would you think, having received these comments from a long time professional engineer on the Muskrat Falls project? He writes:

“I could not put up with falsifying information anymore.

To begin with, the original cost of $6.2 billion on which the project was approved was a complete falsification. The estimate was deliberately kept low below $7 billion, so as to appear favourable relative to the cost of thermal power generation.

The likely costs were known about three years ago, but Nalcor Management kept it a secret, steadfastly denying that there were major schedule delays and cost overruns, until it was no longer possible to hide the true status with the election of a new Provincial Government.

The unit prices used were ridiculously low. The Management at the time knew this.