Monday, 6 June 2016

TIME TO TAKE CONTROL OF NALCOR

Written by David Vardy

The new government of Premier Ball ran on a reform platform of “openness, transparency and accountability”. It is time for them to show strong and decisive leadership and assert immediate control over all aspects of energy policy, including Nalcor and Muskrat Falls. By failing to do so, they have fallen into a quicksand which is not of their making. The sordid severance mess was also the creation of previous governments. 

At the center of the mire is Nalcor Energy, a crown corporation which has become a law onto itself and which is building the Muskrat Falls project, behind schedule and over budget. The new government should be questioning the very existence of Nalcor rather than being held in thrall by it.

Termination of the CEO
Instead of responding to Ed Martin’s request for a meeting in mid-April the government should instead, and much earlier, have called him in and dismissed him “with cause”, not “without cause” as the Board of Nalcor is reported to have done.

Such early action is unlikely to have triggered severance payments under the employment contract with the former CEO. Surely the Muskrat Falls fiasco, combined with “Dark NL” and the damning indictment of NL Hydro by the PUB over “imprudent” spending of millions of dollars offer more than adequate “just cause”. 

Such assertive action by the new government would have avoided the current controversy over Ed Martin’s severance package. While it might have provoked legal action it would have been acclaimed by the people of the province as both necessary and appropriate.

David Vardy
Having appointed Ernst and Young (EY) to undertake a review of Muskrat Falls shortly after its election, the government should have withheld the injection of $1.3 B in equity for Nalcor, pending completion of the final EY report. This more assertive action would have sent a stronger signal than the muted misgivings expressed in the budget speech about Nalcor and its failure to return dividends to the province. The interim report of EY, publicly released on April 12, 2016, two days ahead of the April 14 budget, gives no support to continue a massive injection of provincial funds. Indeed, the report sent a warning of escalating costs and project delays.

In the budget speech the Minister of Finance also said that

   The previous administration allowed Nalcor’s organizational structure,     
   compensation and benefits packages to grow beyond what taxpayers would consider    reasonable, particularly given our current fiscal and economic circumstances.

These statements in the budget prompted the Nalcor CEO to seek a meeting with the Premier, one which led to announcements by the Premier and the CEO respectively that Mr. Martin would be stepping down on his own volition. The Nalcor Board has now announced that its CEO was terminated without cause, triggering a payout of $6.1 million.

If the Auditor General determines that the severance component of $1.4 million was not appropriate will government then call upon the Board to recover it? In the meantime, Nalcor’s performance bonus plan should be placed under immediate review, along with all of the supplementary executive retirement plans (SERPs) and compensation practices at Nalcor.

The Powers of Nalcor
The powers of Nalcor far exceed those accorded to other crown corporations. The compensation and benefits (including severance and supplemental executive retirement plan, SERP) of its CEO and other senior executives are, similarly, in a league to themselves. Government is required by law to ratify the contract of employment with the CEO but, for those reporting to the CEO, Nalcor has absolute discretion. The compensation package of the CEO comports with the grand imperial vision of Nalcor. It is time for this to end. It is also time to question the need for Nalcor.

The new government has been taken prisoner by the flawed policies of the previous government, including a legacy of overspending and imprudent decisions. The most imprudent decision of all was the decision to sanction Muskrat Falls, in defiance of the advice from two panels, namely the PUB and the Joint Federal-Provincial environmental panel. 

On top of this, Muskrat Falls was removed from the jurisdiction of the PUB, which would normally review the project and protect the ratepayer by conducting oversight over the project, as has happened in Nova Scotia. Instead Nalcor was allowed absolute and complete control of the agenda. The new government has allowed this to continue for too long.

Reform of Nalcor means an end to the special powers and exemptions conveyed by legislation.

Reform should begin with changes to, or revocation of, the Energy Corporation Act (ECA). This was the legislation which created Nalcor. It also amended or removed normal oversight provisions and placed Nalcor in a position of enhanced authority and reduced accountability. The ECA includes exemptions from the Corporations Act which remove the personal liability of members of the Board of Directors. By the same token, amendments to the Electrical Power Control Act remove Nalcor from oversight by the PUB and affirm its monopoly position. This legislation forces electricity consumers to buy power only from Nalcor.

Nalcor has been setting its own public tendering and disclosure rules for Muskrat Falls. Nalcor has not disclosed the value of contracts awarded or reported publicly on change orders, which can vastly increase the final project cost. The public has been left in the dark on the final cost and completion schedule for Muskrat Falls. These practices cry out for reform.

While many, including the undersigned, welcomed the appointment of Stan Marshall as the new CEO this is only one of many steps required to bring this corporation under control so that it serves the public interest and is not a law unto itself. We look forward to the early appointment of a strong and independent Board of Directors.  

For too long Nalcor has operated with a small board without the breath and expertise of corporations such as Fortis. For too long this weak board has been dominated by its CEO and other executive officers. 

Nalcor was to be the “energy warehouse” for the province. In creating Nalcor the previous government created an entity which has usurped the policy role of government and used extraordinary powers to advance its imperial agenda, which may no longer be the agenda of the new government.

If government is to reform Nalcor it must roll back the special legislation which has weakened and eliminated normal oversight. All Muskrat Falls contracts and change orders should be reviewed by the Auditor General. Government should remove the monopoly-conferring amendments to the Electrical Power Control Act. In addition government should act to compel compliance with public tendering policies.

Government should also take decisive action to protect the environment. The previous government allowed Nalcor too much influence in the environmental review process, resulting in significant risks with methyl mercury and with the underlying quick clay at the North Spur.  While government has been pre-occupied with the financial debacle arising from Muskrat Falls the issues relating to health, safety, conservation and environmental damage deserve urgent attention.

The Way Ahead
Is it not time to question the wisdom of the Muskrat Falls project through an open, transparent and accountable reform process? Government must act upon its commitment to “open the books” on Muskrat Falls. The new Nalcor CEO does indeed have a mandate to examine options and report back to government. But it is government which must ensure that the public are engaged in a search for the right solutions. Government should conduct a full cost benefit analysis of the option of shutting the project down, in whole or in part, compared with the option of completing it.

In light of the escalating costs, Muskrat Falls should not be completed unless there is evidence to support the decision. It is not sufficient simply to tell us that the commitments are too binding to be renegotiated and that the contracts with construction companies and with Emera tie us in a Gordian Knot. The new government should be seeking to distance itself from the flawed policies of their predecessors rather than allowing these flawed policies to deflect them from the course of “openness, transparency and accountability”.

The Liberal platform called for a Cabinet Committee to plan for the end of the Churchill Falls contract in 2041. Action on this important initiative should be expedited and linked with the decision to continue or suspend the Muskrat Falls project. In 2041, the full 5428 MW of low cost Churchill Falls will be available! In the intervening 25 years and beyond, Muskrat Falls is likely to be a financial albatross.

Government should restore democratic oversight and affirm the role of the PUB. They should review the need for the continuation of Nalcor but in the meantime they should change the rules of the game, to place Nalcor in the same position as its wholly owned subsidiary NL Hydro, which is a fully regulated public utility.

Most importantly, government should bring energy policy back into government and remove it from an unaccountable crown corporation with illusions of imperial grandeur.


David Vardy

23 comments:

  1. Once the recovery of Muskrat Falls comes from our electricity rates, people will be getting a 2000-3000 $ year increase. This of course combined with the levy, the tax increases, and the general cost to live in this province will return us to the 90's. We can not support the burden of both NF Power and Nalcor. There is too much overhead, and administration which is beign taken by the consumer. I personally believe that all non-generating assets fo Nalcor should be sold to NF power, as shares in Fortis (yes the province would own shares in Fortis - nothing wrong with that). Likewise the generating assets should be managed by NF Power (for a fee) but the revenue would continue to go to Nalcor as a holding company. Nalcor would then become much smaller, with considerably less waste. This has to happen, as there are just to much expense being recovered in our rates right now.

    The PUB need teeth.

    As for martin, although I believe he was an abysmal failure as a CEO, I don not believe there is grounds for termination with cause. That is a line, which he did not cross, unless he has done something illegal, or not within the standard of a CEO professional. Howver, if the revised MF budget comes in 2 Billion higher than he was telling government, and this information was withheld, then there are grounds for termination with cause. In that case Martin would get his gold plated pension, but not his severance.

    Lets see what EY say... when is that due b.t.w.??

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  3. Thank you David for a clear if chilling review of the complete failure of governance at Nalcor.

    The imperial SERP provisions, the Nalcor CEO absolute discretion in setting salaries, the ECA provisions which remove the personal liability of members of the Board of Directors, MF PUB exemption, Nalcor setting its own public tendering and disclosure rules, are all stunning departures from democratic governance. Taken together they are a recipe for negligence and incompetence or worse. Full marks to the Imperial Wizard(s) for chutzpa for these provisions.

    Yes it it is high time to open the Nalcor books and democratize if not eliminate Nalcor. Yes halting MF until at least a full airing of the skeletons rattling in the Nalcor closet are examined is essential.

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    Replies
    1. What happened to Stan Marshall's promise to the people that he would do a "full review" of the Muskrat Falls project?

      Here we go again (from today's Telegram)

      http://www.thetelegram.com/Opinion/Letter-to-the-editor/2016-06-06/article-4548801/Letter%3A-Here-we-go-again/1

      In 2010, then Premier Danny Williams (after receiving a cost estimate of $5 billion and a completion date estimate of 2017) announced and cheer-led the Muskrat Falls project.

      In 2012, then Premier Kathy Dunderdale (after receiving a cost estimate of $6.2 billion and a completion date estimate of 2017) sanctioned and cheer-led the Muskrat Falls project.

      In 2015, then Premier Paul Davis (after receiving a cost estimate of $7.7 billion and a completion date estimate of 2018) continued to support and cheerlead the Muskrat Falls project.

      On May 31, 2016, shortly after being requested by Ed Martin to support and cheerlead the Muskrat Falls project, Premier Dwight Ball reported to the people of the province that he would not support and cheerlead the Muskrat Falls project unless he, too, had a “cost estimate” and a project “completion date.”

      Pretty soon new Nalcor CEO Stan Marshall will give premier Ball what he wants — a new cost estimate and new completion date.

      It’s been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result.

      Maurice E. Adams
      Paradise

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  4. I have watched the polls since 2012 where the public was originally some 80 percent in favour of Muskrat Falls, to 60 percent some six months ago. On the poll last week on who is telling lies, it seemed the public favoured Ed Martin 40 percent to 4 percent for Ball. It is amazing to see still see that so many people still do not see Martin and Nalcor as the bigger problem, and why should they as Ball, in the Budget, passed another 1.3 billion to Naclor.
    Vardy is right on this and the sooner the government changes course the better. Past due that that Ball state the case to the people how bad and damaging long term MF is for this province. His own integrity makes this a difficult job. They have laid out the case that our financial situation is critical, but he has NOT made the linkage to the people, as Vardy has here, that the burden of Muskrat Falls and Nalcor is issue number one.
    Winston Adams

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  5. Nalcor since its inception, and by design, has become, and continues to be, a state within a state. It reveals a lot about Dwight Ball and his utterly useless team that they failed to identify, and neuter, this moral hazard, as one of their first orders of business. Instead, they drank the Nalcor-Aid, and are now suffering the consequences. Indeed, they seem surprised by them. They shouldn't be.

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  6. So what are the action items coming out of this debacle? 
    1.‎ As Mr. Vardy says in the title of his article, it is "Time to Take Back Control of Nalcor". This is vital and he provides a detailed list of actions required to accomplish this. The Govt needs to act on these and fast.

    2. ‎Forget about the Ernst & Young report. Firstly, they relied on the tripe that Nalcor fed them. This makes anything they have to say fatuous and worthless. Secondly, Ernst & Young are not experienced mega-project and construction management professionals with the skills and knowledge to apply objective methodologies to undertake a robust evaluation of the Muskrat Falls Project. Interestingly enough, back in late 2015, Nalcor did employ an organization (Independent Project Analysis, Inc. ("IPA") that is one of the world's most respected organizations in project analysis. However, the scope of  IPA's work for which Nalcor employed them on the Muskrat Falls Project was so limited as to only be self-serving to Nalcor and meaningless compared to the broad range of services for which this organization is known. I do not work for this company but I have been involved in many projects where IPA's services have been engaged. Indeed, a project I am presently employed on recently used their services. In my experience with IPA, they utilize robust and objective methodologies (statistically based, relying upon a massive database of previous projects with substantial and contemporary research to support it). When IPA reports, they refuse to engage in internal project owner politics; the success of their company is based on a reputation of speaking the unvarnished truth to power, whether the project owner wants to hear it or not. This is the kind of organization that Mr. Marshall needs to employ to undertake a thorough review and report on the Muskrat Falls Project, not Ernst & Young. It is an organization such as IPA that can properly undertake what Mr. Vardy correctly argues for: "...a full cost benefit analysis of the options of shutting the project down, in whole or in part, compared with the option of completing it."‎

    3. As Mr. Vardy points out, the Govt must appoint a new Board of Director to Nalcor. Presently, a collection of Govt bureaucrats constitute the Board. These people possess none of the requisite knowledge and skills to direct the affairs of an energy company or provide appropriate corporate governance, especially one undertaking a massive construction project that is in serious trouble. The new Board must be composed of a group of people who can ensure there is proper oversight of company management, strategy and risk. This means that there must be a group of people with the gravitas to exercise independent leadership, ensuring that management does not control what gets elevated to the Board. While diversity on a Board brings great value, their must be members who are well seasoned ‎in the governance of an energy company and knowledgeable of the complexities of a mega-project.

    No doubt there are other actions that need to be taken. Others will have their own views on what these are. For now, however, the actions outlined above are the minimum that the NL public should accept‎. NL may well be heading for a disaster regardless of what the Govt does, but anything less guarantees going over the cliff. NL deserves so much better than the leadership it has received ever since Danny Williams came to power. So far Premier Ball has not demonstrated that he is any better. It is now time for him to prove that he has the mettle for the job or get out of the way and let the NL public choose another.

    ReplyDelete
  7. So what are the action items coming out of this debacle? 
    1.‎ As Mr. Vardy says in the title of his article, it is "Time to Take Back Control of Nalcor". This is vital and he provides a detailed list of actions required to accomplish this. The Govt needs to act on these and fast.

    2. ‎Forget about the Ernst & Young report. Firstly, they relied on the tripe that Nalcor fed them. This makes anything they have to say fatuous and worthless. Secondly, Ernst & Young are not experienced mega-project and construction management professionals with the skills and knowledge to apply objective methodologies to undertake a robust evaluation of the Muskrat Falls Project. Interestingly enough, back in late 2015, Nalcor did employ an organization (Independent Project Analysis, Inc. ("IPA") that is one of the world's most respected organizations in project analysis. However, the scope of  IPA's work for which Nalcor employed them on the Muskrat Falls Project was so limited as to only be self-serving to Nalcor and meaningless compared to the broad range of services for which this organization is known. I do not work for this company but I have been involved in many projects where IPA's services have been engaged. Indeed, a project I am presently employed on used their services recently. In my experience with IPA, they utilize robust and objective methodologies (statistically based, relying upon a massive database of previous projects with substantial and contemporary research to support it). When IPA reports, they refuse to engage in internal project owner politics; the success of their company is based on a reputation of speaking the unvarnished truth to power, whether the project owner wants to hear it or not. This is the kind of organization that Mr. Marshall needs to employ to undertake a thorough review and report on the Muskrat Falls Project, not Ernst & Young. It is an organization such as IPA that can properly undertake what Mr. Vardy correctly argues for: "...a full cost benefit analysis of the options of shutting the project down, in whole or in part, compared with the option of completing it."‎

    3. As Mr. Vardy points out, the Govt must appoint a new Board of Director to Nalcor. Presently, a collection of Govt bureaucrats constitute the Board. These people possess none of the requisite knowledge and skills to direct the affairs of an energy company or provide appropriate corporate governance, especially one undertaking a massive construction project that is in serious trouble. The new Board must be composed of a group of people who can ensure there is proper oversight of company management, strategy and risk. This means that there must be a group of people with the gravitas to exercise independent leadership, ensuring that management does not control what gets elevated to the Board. While diversity on a Board brings great value, there must be members who are well seasoned ‎in the governance of an energy company and knowledgeable of the complexities of a mega-project.

    No doubt there are other actions that need to be taken. For now, however, the actions outlined above are the minimum that the NL public should accept‎. NL may well be heading for a disaster regardless of what the Govt does, but anything less guarantees going over the cliff. NL deserves so much better than the leadership it has received ever since Danny Williams came to power. So far, Premier Ball has not demonstrated that he is any better. It is now time for him to prove that he has the mettle for the job or resign his government, get out of the way and let the NL public choose another up to the heavy task ahead.

    ReplyDelete
  8. So what are the action items coming out of this debacle?
    1.‎ As Mr. Vardy says in the title of his article, it is "Time to Take Back Control of Nalcor". This is vital and he provides a detailed list of actions required to accomplish this. The Govt needs to act on these and fast.

    2. ‎Forget about the Ernst & Young report. Firstly, they relied on the tripe that Nalcor fed them. This makes anything they have to say fatuous and worthless. Secondly, Ernst & Young are not experienced mega-project and construction management professionals with the skills and knowledge to apply objective methodologies to undertake a robust evaluation of the Muskrat Falls Project. Interestingly enough, back in late 2015, Nalcor did employ an organization (Independent Project Analysis, Inc. ("IPA") that is one of the world's most respected organizations in project analysis. However, the scope of IPA's work for which Nalcor employed them on the Muskrat Falls Project was so limited as to only be self-serving to Nalcor and meaningless compared to the broad range of services for which this organization is known. I do not work for this company but I have been involved in many projects where IPA's services have been engaged. Indeed, a project I am presently employed on used their services recently. In my experience with IPA, they utilize robust and objective methodologies (statistically based, relying upon a massive database of previous projects with substantial and contemporary research to support it). When IPA reports, they refuse to engage in internal project owner politics; the success of their company is based on a reputation of speaking the unvarnished truth to power, whether the project owner wants to hear it or not. This is the kind of organization that Mr. Marshall needs to employ to undertake a thorough review and report on the Muskrat Falls Project, not Ernst & Young. It is an organization such as IPA that can properly undertake what Mr. Vardy correctly argues for: "...a full cost benefit analysis of the options of shutting the project down, in whole or in part, compared with the option of completing it."‎

    3. As Mr. Vardy points out, the Govt must appoint a new Board of Director to Nalcor. Presently, a collection of Govt bureaucrats constitute the Board. These people possess none of the requisite knowledge and skills to direct the affairs of an energy company or provide appropriate corporate governance, especially one undertaking a massive construction project that is in serious trouble. The new Board must be composed of a group of people who can ensure there is proper oversight of company management, strategy and risk. This means that there must be a group of people with the gravitas to exercise independent leadership, ensuring that management does not control what gets elevated to the Board. While diversity on a Board brings great value, there must be members who are well seasoned ‎in the governance of an energy company and knowledgeable of the complexities of a mega-project.

    No doubt there are other actions that need to be taken. For now, however, the actions outlined above are the minimum that the NL public should accept‎. NL may well be heading for a disaster regardless of what the Govt does, but anything less guarantees going over the cliff. NL deserves so much better than the leadership it has received ever since Danny Williams came to power. So far, Premier Ball has not demonstrated that he is any better. It is now time for him to prove that he has the mettle for the job or resign his government, get out of the way and let the NL public choose another up to the heavy task ahead.

    ReplyDelete
  9. So what are the action items coming out of this debacle?
    1.‎ As Mr. Vardy says in the title of his article, it is "Time to Take Back Control of Nalcor". This is vital and he provides a detailed list of actions required to accomplish this. The Govt needs to act on these and fast.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 2. ‎Forget about the Ernst & Young report. Firstly, they relied on the tripe that Nalcor fed them. This makes anything they have to say fatuous and worthless. Secondly, Ernst & Young are not experienced mega-project and construction management professionals with the skills and knowledge to apply objective methodologies to undertake a robust evaluation of the Muskrat Falls Project. Interestingly enough, back in late 2015, Nalcor did employ an organization (Independent Project Analysis, Inc. ("IPA") that is one of the world's most respected organizations in project analysis. However, the scope of IPA's work for which Nalcor employed them on the Muskrat Falls Project was so limited as to only be self-serving to Nalcor and meaningless compared to the broad range of services for which this organization is known. I do not work for this company but I have been involved in many projects where IPA's services have been engaged.

      Delete
    2. 2. (Cont'd) Indeed, a project I am presently employed on used their services recently. In my experience with IPA, they utilize robust and objective methodologies (statistically based, relying upon a massive database of previous projects with substantial and contemporary research to support it). When IPA reports, they refuse to engage in internal project owner politics; the success of their company is based on a reputation of speaking the unvarnished truth to power, whether the project owner wants to hear it or not. This is the kind of organization that Mr. Marshall needs to employ to undertake a thorough review and report on the Muskrat Falls Project, not Ernst & Young. It is an organization such as IPA that can properly undertake what Mr. Vardy correctly argues for: "...a full cost benefit analysis of the options of shutting the project down, in whole or in part, compared with the option of completing it."‎

      Delete
  10. 2. ‎Forget about the Ernst & Young report. Firstly, they relied on the tripe that Nalcor fed them. This makes anything they have to say fatuous and worthless. Secondly, Ernst & Young are not experienced mega-project and construction management professionals with the skills and knowledge to apply objective methodologies to undertake a robust evaluation of the Muskrat Falls Project. Interestingly enough, back in late 2015, Nalcor did employ an organization (Independent Project Analysis, Inc. ("IPA") that is one of the world's most respected organizations in project analysis. However, the scope of IPA's work for which Nalcor employed them on the Muskrat Falls Project was so limited as to only be self-serving to Nalcor and meaningless compared to the broad range of services for which this organization is known. I do not work for this company but I have been involved in many projects where IPA's services have been engaged. Indeed, a project I am presently employed on used their services recently. In my experience with IPA, they utilize robust and objective methodologies (statistically based, relying upon a massive database of previous projects with substantial and contemporary research to support it). When IPA reports, they refuse to engage in internal project owner politics; the success of their company is based on a reputation of speaking the unvarnished truth to power, whether the project owner wants to hear it or not. This is the kind of organization that Mr. Marshall needs to employ to undertake a thorough review and report on the Muskrat Falls Project, not Ernst & Young. It is an organization such as IPA that can properly undertake what Mr. Vardy correctly argues for: "...a full cost benefit analysis of the options of shutting the project down, in whole or in part, compared with the option of completing it."‎

    ReplyDelete
  11. 3. As Mr. Vardy points out, the Govt must appoint a new Board of Director to Nalcor. Presently, a collection of Govt bureaucrats constitute the Board. These people possess none of the requisite knowledge and skills to direct the affairs of an energy company or provide appropriate corporate governance, especially one undertaking a massive construction project that is in serious trouble. The new Board must be composed of a group of people who can ensure there is proper oversight of company management, strategy and risk. This means that there must be a group of people with the gravitas to exercise independent leadership, ensuring that management does not control what gets elevated to the Board. While diversity on a Board brings great value, there must be members who are well seasoned ‎in the governance of an energy company and knowledgeable of the complexities of a mega-project.

    No doubt there are other actions that need to be taken. For now, however, the actions outlined above are the minimum that the NL public should accept‎. NL may well be heading for a disaster regardless of what the Govt does, but anything less guarantees going over the cliff. NL deserves so much better than the leadership it has received ever since Danny Williams came to power. So far, Premier Ball has not demonstrated that he is any better. It is now time for him to prove that he has the mettle for the job or resign his government, get out of the way and let the NL public choose another up to the heavy task ahead.

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  12. Termination for cause ‎does not simply require misconduct. It's just not that straightforward and clear cut. There are numerous court cases surrounding the issue, however, it serves no purpose to set out a long-winded legal treatise on this. Whether it could be proven in court that there was cause for Ed Martin's firing can be debated and you will find many opinions on this. There are, however, three essential elements to keep in mind on this matter. First, Ed Martin, Premier Ball and Minister Coady all felt the need to fudge the truth (I'm being generous on this) on Ed Martin's departure from Nalcor. Second, the Premier felt the need to pander to Ed Martin instead of just giving him the boot; and third, the Premier missed a golden opportunity to demonstrate to the NL public that there is indeed a new sheriff in town. Whether Ed Martin could prove in court (assuming he challenged it) that there was no cause for dismissal is a moot point. That issue would be sorted well down the road from now. As we all know now, the mantle of leadership in the Premier's Office ‎is very thin. Premier Ball was taken for a fool by Ed Martin and the old Nalcor Board. And then our dimwitted Premier went out of his way to prove they were right. If the Premier can't deal with such a minor issue as this, how in the hell is he going to tackle the real challenges faced by NL?

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  13. As people complain about Ball he is dealing with the changes. The massive tax grab was the first start. Second will be the start of the cuts in the fall. He is a poor communicator, and he may be on a bumpy road in choice selection, but he is heading in the right direction. We just like talking about the simple stuff.

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  14. Rome's infrastructure has been crumbling for years, no different than Newfoundland and Labrador's, as a result of the neglect brought on by its politicians raiding its treasury and leaving very little money to look after matters. Just this past Sunday I heard on the CBC National News that hundreds of politicians were rounded up and thrown in jail to await their trials for the abuses they inflicted on Rome. Is it time for our province to follow the same template as Rome? Our politicians have neglected creating industry and jobs from our natural resources and they have raided our treasury in one form or another that has created untold stress on our electorate, so therefore isn't it time that we take action to stop the abuse?

    Sent from my iPad

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  15. Sidebar: Are you aware that our esteemed member from Placentia-St. Mary's Bay - Sherry G-W - has now blocked anyone and everyone who disagrees with her from FB and Twitter? I am so blocked just for questioning her position on various concerns and also her attitude ("you just don't understand"). I think we don't have a democracy anymore but an oligarchy.

    Worst government ever.

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    1. Wisewebwoman: It appears it was a combination of an Oligarchy and a Kleptocracy! I was hoping Mr. Ball was the one who would have changed that corrup system and I hope he still can still revive himself to become the honest Premier we were hoping to have this time around.

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  16. 3 out of 15 (20 percent) of comments here have a name to them. Mr David Vardy did not hide his identity. Des Sullivan is known as the originator of this blog, and does not hold his punches on expressions of opinion.
    Just wonder, why so few feel comfortable stating their name: do they fear their opinion is unworthy, or that they will suffer some negative consequence ( which can be valid reason sometimes), or other reasons I wonder. Does it reflect that we live in a culture of fear, when we are supposed be be a free country, protected by our Charter of Rights, including freedom of expression. Is this fear a symptom, or a cause, of our dire situation in this province, that we leave so much power in the hands of incompetent people who run our government and government agencies. Just wondering! If we are a fearful society, I guess we lack the freedom we think we have.
    Winston Adams

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    1. Sadly Winston, you are right. Fear of retribution from your clan chiefs keeps NL a de facto feudal state. In combination with two sets of laws, one for the one percent, another for the rest, makes for fear and paralysis of the polity.

      Defiance, standing strong, and speaking out is the only antidote. I can speak from experience that there is a steep price for speaking unpopular truth to power. George Orwell put it best when he said freedom is being able to tell people what they do not want to hear. The price is steep but it will set you free.

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  17. Bruno Marococchio, I completely agree with your statements made here.

    In some cases over the yard the Media have been sued for bringing out the truth in Canada's so called Democratic Government and I am not sure whether or not they made any head way in their lawsuits, I personally don't think they have. In some cases I believe the Media even became part of the problem. Unfortunately with such fear hanging over our heads how does the electorate clean up the corruption? In my opinion Very Strong Laws need to be ENACTED to COMBAT Corruption in Government and if any politician deviates of that path, then the strong arm of the Law needs to be applied. Until the right set of tools are put in place to combat Corruption, then Corruption will reign.

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  18. Comment of 9 June at 9:03, 2nd paragraph, 1st line should read "In some cases over the years"

    ReplyDelete