Barely twenty-four hours had passed since I had posted my new Web Site, when the urgent ring of my door bell spelled the arrival of an anxious Uncle Gnarly. “Nav, have you got a few minutes to speak with a worried old man”, he inquired. Ignoring his favourite slur, Nav, I replied “Come in, Uncle Gnarley”. Even in a tizzy, Gnarly knew how to remind me of one of my biggest shortcomings. “Nav” was short for “Navigator”. He and I knew that I couldn’t find my way out of the woods with a compass; it was my one fear of the great outdoors, where Uncle Gnarley and I spent many a weekend communing with nature.“What’s up”, I asked. Well, says he, I have been thinking about this Muskrat Falls thing and frankly, I think I should be concerned, if what I am hearing has even a ring of truth. You are not the only one, Nav, who has a lot of questions about this scheme. “Now look man, you know what politicians are like; well, don’t think that bureaucrats are any more enlightened. I think, perhaps, I should take a closer look at the whole story. You’ve copied all those reports, not that they were of any use to the PUB. Give them to me, ol’ boy, I must take a look at what those fellows at Nalcor are cooking; let’s see if they can fool ol’ Uncle Gnarley”.
“That’s a great idea, Uncle”, I was about to say, but he was already in full flight. “You know, Nav, if there is a kilowatt hour missing, there’s none better than Gnarly to see where it is hidden. Some of my best students made the mistake of thinking I was just an old crock. But that impression lasted only until they realized I was one Economics Professor who was not going to stake his reputation on flimsy research. I didn’t come through Harvard to be made a fool of”, he spat. I saw his lip curl a little; I knew he was not just serious. He was engaged.I didn’t interrupt him anymore. I handed him the two foot tall stack of filings that I had downloaded from Nalcor and the PUB; documents that I thought described, in a most uncertain way, something very misguided. I wondered if Gnarley would agree. I knew he was anxious to get home and start work.
Privately, I thought to myself, if Uncle Gnarley had been on the PUB, Jerome Kennedy would never have had the temerity to say “no” to him. He would have demanded and received the time necessary to complete the report, without being forced to use outdated information either. Uncle Gnarley was a stickler for correctness. As he was fond of saying: “it’s all about integrity, Nav”. But, with respect, Andy would be a wimp alongside Uncle Gnarley who would have insisted that his judicial status, semi or otherwise could not corrupted by Ministerial meddling. Gnarley wouldn’t stand for it!I also knew, Nalcor was about to get a better internal review than they would ever get from Manitoba Hydro.
I was already excited that Uncle Gnarley’s would soon return.