Monday, 18 July 2016

CAN A DISGRACED P.C. PARTY SURVIVE?

The abrupt end to the Opposition filibuster in the House of Assembly on June 8th served to underscore the larger issue of the Tories’ legitimacy as Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.
Government House Leader Andrew Parsons told the media that the Tories “were agreeable to finishing up”. As well they might have been. Even if the Liberals’ budgetary measures were misguided, as many deem the case, only the mindless would be capable of denying that Tory fiscal mismanagement was the root cause of the debate in the first place.

The Sitting was the first of the 48th General Assembly. In the preceding General Election, the remnants of the Progressive Conservative Party had been sent to the Opposition benches less by a Liberal juggernaut than by its own determination to self-destruct.  

A province is facing penury from overspending and a reckless energy strategy devised by a bunch of ‘rink rats’. A vulnerable society, one perennially on the edge, has seen its tenuous financial stability frittered away in less than a decade.

Opposition Leader Paul Davis still recites lines that reflect blissful economic ignorance of our current circumstance. More frequently, Keith Hutchings is sent out to play the Opposition role. The smiley Member for Ferryland tackles important budgetary issues as if he were commenting on a sporting event. Gravitas is lost to sound. Incredulity is grafted onto light-weight. Bemusement is the consequence.

And so it is that a province in trouble has been robbed not just of leadership by a newly-elected government, but even of essential parliamentary opposition too.

At any other time since Confederation a Party, even if battered and bruised, was allowed to retain some semblance of legitimacy regardless of how deep the rout. Not this time.
The Tories are a Party disgraced. Theirs is a legacy that cannot, in any practical way, be undone unless the province first suffers years of human and financial misery.

Is all forgiven because the electorate exacted its pound of flesh at the polls, or because the Liberals are proving themselves unequal to the task of cleaning up the mess?  

Not likely.

Is there another political Party that the public can count on if the current political vacuum persists?

The NDP is fundamentally irrelevant except when kneejerk politics demands a parking lot, so we can’t include them in this conversation.

But the Tories are a longstanding and successful political Party, one that — prior to the leadership of Danny Williams — boasted a serious legacy of institutional and policy development. Its resource policy initiatives (especially the Atlantic Accord), which include provisions for local benefits, were the envy of many governments.

No one, except Tory apologists, can claim that the province’s current financial debacle is due to the fall-off in oil revenues rather than to mismanagement — some suggest, on an almost criminal scale.

Again, the problem is serious not least because the British parliamentary system is predicated not only on effective government but, at least minimally, on a credible Opposition too.

If the Liberals are eventually forced to face up to the budgetary crisis, and great public angst results in the process; if important services are cut, which is likely, or if the power bills arrive showing a rate reset of 21.4 cents per kWh (a blended rate - not even one reflecting the full cost of Muskrat Falls), stressing both the economy and the society; from whom will the public look for intercession on their behalf, to argue fairness or relief?

To the very group of fools who ran us off the fiscal cliff in the first place?

Why would we expect the public do that? Because they are prescient enough to blame the Liberals? Because acknowledgement of Tory responsibility is submerged by denial or profound ignorance?

Who is kidding whom?

It is inconceivable that the only punishment awaiting the Tories is a term or two in Opposition.

Likely, the public is not nearly finished with them — that a day of far more severe reckoning awaits.

Admittedly, partisanship is a blind state. In this province it is made worse because the cronies of Danny Williams still possess a firm grip on the Party’s apparatus.

No one, it seems, has thought through the threat to that political institution, nor to our political system either.

In time, the public will better comprehend their pitiful financial condition and want to better understand its origins. When that circumstance occurs, it won’t only be the Consumer Advocate, Tom Johnson, and Wade Locke who will be tendered for public flogging. The former Constable Premier and his most recent accomplices, including Williams, Dunderdale and Marshall, will also be in for a drubbing.

Unless the P.C. Party initiates a purge of those who hold it hostage and repudiates the policies which have led to this province’s virtual financial collapse, it too is likely to collapse. 

It is natural to think that a new political party will emerge. History shows that newbies have enormous difficulty finding their footing, even if populism is fertilized best when social and economic misery is at its worst. Still, it is tough to worry what any new partisan incarnation would look like when democracy, such as it is, allows a Party fit only for the funeral pyre to inhabit the people’s House.

On that account politics, perhaps like nature, abhors a vacuum. We will see.

The immediate question, however, is whether an “old line” Party, having set the stage for demise by its own hand, can survive.

Honourary Degree Recipient, Edsel Bonnell, an icon in this community as well as a policy wonk, served seven years during his lengthy career as the Premier’s Chief of Staff and chaired the Strategic Economic Planning Group under Clyde Wells. Bonnell wrote in the Telegram recently a four step approach to dealing with our financial condition.

The first step, he suggested, should see the Government elicit support from the opposition parties in the formulation of a strategy to resolve the budget deficit before the lending agencies turn off the taps.

While Bonnell’s proposals need discussion in a dedicated article, they are a serious attempt at offering a prescription for dealing with our economic crisis. An Opposition Party on the road to annihilation might have embraced his approach by offering sensible ideas, helping an ill-prepared Government find bearable solutions — even as it worked to maintain its constitutional obligation to provide opposition. The two roles are neither incompatible nor mutually exclusive. It’s just that Bonnell’s suggestion is far too idealistic - too much to expect from a Party lacking the wisdom to understand the depth of its own failure.

Indeed, it is inherently contradictory that an unrepentant, unreformed, conflicted Party, one hi-jacked by private interests, is capable of putting the public first.

The P.C. Party has not learned that it needs to demonstrate the capacity and the willingness to admit its monumental blunders, throw itself at the mercy of the public, shed the super-egos with which it is possessed, and expose its willingness to adhere to a major program of public policy reform.

For that reason it is tough to imagine, on any level, that the P.C. brand can survive.

It is only because a political party is constituted of a mass of people, and not just the egos, that the question deserves to be put at all.

The Tories don’t have a long time to institute their own revolution. It may be too late anyway.

But, at the outset, the P.C. Party must recommit itself to the fundamental principles which underlie decency and common sense; it must rid itself of the stench of private agendas, and of its penchant for deceit that the Muskrat "boondoggle" exposes by its origins and execution; it must shed the demons that overshadow its vital role within our parliamentary system. If it can’t do all of those things, slim chance will be no chance at all. The P.C. Party will be banished to history.

Soon there will be few who will even care.

31 comments:

  1. As I drove into work this morning, all I could think was how we have squandered one of our greatest opportunities for change. Imagine if the government put as much focus, and money into Fishery, and Agriculture as they did on Muskrat Falls, how much better off we would be.

    The government of today needs to think about the economy of tomorrow. This is unlike any economy we have ever seen. Widespread, and accessible robotics, artifical intelligence, and advanced computing will displace upto 40% of the traditional jobs within the next 20 years. All those Newfoundlanders driving trucks in Alberta for 150 k per year... wont exist in 10 years. Fast food jobs.... 50% less in 10 years. Oil platforms will be unmanned by the time our deepwater is developed. Shale oil/gas, and technology change will keep energy prices low, and unmanned platforms may be the only way to make our deepwater prospects economical.


    This change in the economy is happening right in front of our eyes.

    Our government needs to plan for that economy.


    Unfortunately we are shackled with a bloated public service, and a massive debt.

    The PC's did not see the future, there was no vision. They took 4 years to articulate an energy plan, which they forgot the very next year. They spent and spent, to solve any problem.

    We are in a very precarious position in this province. Williams and Dunderdale had so much opportunity, which was wasted.

    A bloated public service, massive debt, insularity and Nepotism will remain our greatest threats for the future. This is the legacy of the PC party legacy...

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    1. If Health Care is part of your "bloated" Health Care then I suspect you havn't visited the HSC lately. Just today I accompanied a friend to the Eye Clinic and to describe it as a zoo would be an understatement. It's miraculous actually how the doctors and technicians keep it all straight, especially the technicians. Kudos to the lot!

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  2. I argued as best I could while as a Member of the House of Assembly against the Muskrat Falls deal, even going so far as to warn the government of the day of an impending, game-changing drop of oil prices to $50 US.
    Nothing was listened to then, and I feel, still isn't.
    What the province needed most as well was a minority government situation where all parties would probably have had no choice but to work with each other. That, of course, in lieu of a failing committee system of work in the House of Assembly.
    Finance committee could have been called, and thence financial experts and other witnesses and such all before legislation governing and approving Muskrat Falls was even on the floor of the House.
    The House has to be used more to have an open discussion and also to search for viable solutions to the financial quagmire we're in, and it should be used as well to prove the worth of governance in times where people need it, that is, all the time and not just when it is convenient.
    Opportunity to do the right thing, on any perspective, not just on the Muskrat Falls project, was missed.
    Can the Tories come back?
    Yes...But they first have to "own the mistakes" of the past before they can grow again from under the guides of financial ruin.
    They have to tell everyone how they would be different, how they would have done things different...
    As far as the NDP being irrelevant to the argument on governance?
    Nothing is impossible, and the voter is the one who is always right. They will be the ones to determine "relevance" to any political argument.
    That's not for just one person to decide.

    Good post though!...

    Regards,

    George Murphy
    Former MHA St. John's East

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    1. George apart from your warning about oil risk your party were cheerleaders for Muskrat Falls like the PC's and Liberals. Revisionist history from an utterly failed opposition is a little rich!

      Muskrat Falls is proof that the voter is never right in NL. Democracy is underpinned by transparency and accountability. You have neither. Your "democracy" is a hollow shell of meaningless choice.

      Even you George don't yet get it. Still you avoid the transparency first, then accountability for the authors of the boondoggle. Are you afraid to see the truth? Does it frighten you? Why is not every resident and faux politician demanding the facts be made public?

      Your "democracy" is set up to feed the oligarch class, without concern for the plebeians. Your empty center left bleating absent the facts due rate/taxpayers since 2011 falls flat.

      When will you restore the two missing elements in your faux democracy? It may be too late to save your province but it may save your soul if you overcome your cognitive dissonance and illuminate the truth.

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    2. Paul Lane is distributing a petition calling for a review of Nalcor and Muskrat Falls. We should sign it and he will present it to HOA.
      Petition re: Nalcor
      Please see below, a petition which I have put together calling on our government to open the books at Nalcor to the Auditor General. For years now, we've seen billions of dollars of our money flow into Nalcor but the only money we seem to hear about coming out relates to big salaries, bonuses and severance. This is OUR company and as the only shareholder, we have the right to know what is going on. The time has come for a thorough review of OUR company by an independant source, including a review of the contracts and the reasons for the delays and overruns at Muskrat Falls. If you agree, please email me at paullane@gov.nl.ca and I will send you a copy of this petition for you to obtain signatures. If you are not comfortable with obtaining signatures, you can print off a copy of the petition and simply have yourself and 2 family members of friends sign it as only 3 signatures are required per petition under the House of Assembly rules. Lets all work together to send a message to government that this is OUR company, WE own it, WE want to know what is going on in OUR company!!
      ------- PLEASE SHARE ---------
      ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      PETITION
      TO THE HONORABLE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY OF THE PROVINCE OF NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR IN PARLIAMENT ASSEMBLED
      The petition of the undersigned residents
      HUMBLY SHEWETH
      WHEREAS in January 2014 many Newfoundlanders & Labradorians were left in the dark for an extended period of time causing significant financial, physical, emotional and psychological hardship
      WHEREAS the subsequent Liberty Report showed that the root cause of this event, known as Dark NL, was a failure of NL Hydro to perform appropriate maintenance on its equipment
      WHEREAS not only was there no acceptable explanation provided or accountability taken by senior management at Nalcor for Dark NL but in fact full bonuses were paid out to senior management subsequent to this event
      WHEREAS there have been numerous project delays and overruns at the multi-billion dollar Muskrat Falls project
      WHEREAS there have been allegations of conflict of interest raised by the former Nalcor Board
      WHEREAS there has been an ongoing public controversy surrounding the removal of the former CEO of Nalcor
      AND WHEREAS the people of NL have lost all confidence in Nalcor
      WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to engage the Auditor General to conduct an extensive review of Nalcor, including its board and management structure; remuneration, bonuses and/or expenses of its board members, executive and management employees as well as a review of the contracts associated to the Muskrat Falls project and all the other aforementioned issues outlined in this petition AND as in duty bound your Petitioners will ever pray.

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    3. Not the way I recall Bruno. Methinks you're wearing rose colored glasses too long. George is honorable, the down and dirty politics aren't part of his game.

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    4. George can't rewrite history, neither can you.

      Honourable and impotent whether by design or not still adds up to a disservice to rate/tax[payers. The NDP never opposed the boondoggle, including George.

      They did zero analysis of the economics or engineering of the spur. They said nothing about the mercury contamination and the devastation to indigenous culture.

      The Opposition in a democracy is entrusted to hold government to account. Instead they like the Liberal's held the door open for the boondogglers (or worse)to ruin the treasury.

      As my hero once wrote:
      "A pretty face may last a year or two,
      But soon they will see what you can do".

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  3. Good post.. Another reminder of the shame and abuse this beautiful island suffers at the hands of so called politicians....When will the madness stop so we can at least look like we deserve to be part of the Canadian federation..I am so tired of feeling embarrassed when I'm asked if I am a Newfoundlander...I swear our politicians are straight out of a horror movie...Like I've said before I seriously believe we should be governed from Ottawa and not st john's until we can put forward a group of people who promise to use that 10% of their brain for the benefit of the people.. We fade away from the Danny world and right back into a Dwight world which looks like another nightmare on elm street.. My suggestion for the young working people that remain here is to quickly run to the ferry before it cost to much to get on and find another job some where in Canada...Sooner or later one of these politicians are really gonna sink this island for good...

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    1. Or maybe governed from Goose Bay for a couple hundred years.

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  4. George Murphy says the voter is always right!. That may be so if the voters were informed. Jefferson (that is Thomas not George) said a free press and an informed society was necessary for democracy to work.
    We have neither a free press nor informed society.
    The voters supported Danny Williams and Dunderdale on the Muskrat Falls scheme, but they were not right, mostly because they were not informed of the risks, and many are still not informed of on-going risks.
    This blog is better at informing on Muskrat than all the other media, and it is free besides, compliments of Des Sullivan.
    And many chose not to be informed. What is the solution to that, I wonder. Is it the nature of our culture here. It takes some time and effort to stay informed, even when it is free.
    Winston Adams

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  5. One of the sole articulate voices of reason. Thank you for that.

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  6. Some of those with criminal minds, the greedy type, who orchestrated the severe financial crises of the past, especially the 2008 banking meltdown ended up in jail for the rest of their lives and others took care of themselves in a way most of us don't want to talk about. What are we going to do with this type of behaviour in Canada? We have had such corrupt behaviour happening in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador for 67 years and what are we going to do about it???

    The time is long overdue that the province of Newfoundland and Labrador had built the most vibrant economy in Canada. It should have started to be built in 1949, the very year we joined Canada and Ottawa should have seen to that being the case, given Newfoundland and Labrador's rich natural resource base and great strategic geography location and its strategic air space space. I hope the present set of elected politicians under Premier Ball do something about it immediately.

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    1. I hear your words but I fear we will never receive the respect we deserve..We had so much when we sat at the Canadian table and have so little today..Shame on all politicians....

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    2. Agnes, you supported Danny and the PC's.

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  7. Bernie leroux Thanks for hearing my words, please spread the message!

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  8. As long as Kent, Davis, Sandy Collins and Tommy Williams remain the face of the current PC Party there isn't much of anything for them to build on for the next general election(s).
    Time for the fiscally responsible small c conservatives to take back their PC Party and offer a viable alternative to the past 13 years of governance.
    All 3 parties ran on virtually identical platforms last GE and with the bundling the Liberals have managed thus far, the general population's cynicism in NLs politicians inability to govern is at an all time high.
    How the Liberals haven't managed to weed out the partisan do-nothings appointed/hired (comms/PR people especially) by the previous gov is astounding.
    RNC has had leadership problems and gaffe's that would make the Keystone Kops blush in embarrassment. The Don Dunphy investigation moves at glacier pace, citizens have the right to be worried about the provinces police forces. PCs need to de-link themselves from the RNC to start getting some credibility back, thereby Paul Davis CAN'T remain their leader. Davis said he might consider running for Leader again, their political handlers/staffers at the PC Party seem just as bad as the Liberals.

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  9. The articles on this site are Bang-on accurate, and this one, by the Uncle himself, is another in the tradition of poignant, straight shooting informative (revealing) pieces. I've read other articles on here too, by JM, and by David Vardy, that rivaled any article I've ever read anywhere. I believe exemplary work of any kind needs to be acknowledged, particularly around here in the face of all the other "stuff".

    To answer the underlying question....
    Let's face it, in the eyes of the masses the PC's are cons and crooks, and YES, that reflects on the entire party... and not just the lost soul, (real success wannabe), who pilfered himself a small city, (in part WHILE he was Premier), but on ALL the others too, who supported, sucked-up, played along or ignored the ordeal because they were in "the club" and benefiting financially, or wanted to be.

    Seriously, how could the optics be any worse? NL with "Muskrat Falling" is an international embarrassment, and the full back story hasn't even been revealed to the citizens yet. It's been said that you can't lead, if you can't listen. Well, you can't listen if your head is up yours, or up someone else's, shady spot. That's precisely how that project got started. That and a level of fraud against the public that was before unheard of.... even in NL!!

    Davis may well BE as stupid as he sometimes appears (to some) if he thinks the masses will vote him back in. It just ain't gonna happen. He played the P.C.'s cards against the people, and he lost, it's over. Directing traffic on Prescott and Duckworth seems more fitting for a man of such political naivety. (Seems I may have heard that somewhere before, to be fair).

    The two parties are finished. (3 if you count that orange one, but they haven't really started yet, despite the decades of paycheques and pensions).

    This is my opinion. It is the considered opinion of many thousands of other citizens too. Enough in fact to rule the day. That "day" is on the way too. The voters in NL may do well to adopt the slogan of the hackers (justice) group Anonymous ... "expect us!" because some new realities in this province are underway and it's likely to get far uglier before it begins to get prettier.

    In addition to replacing the three "parties", I think prosecutions are the only way to clean up this mess.

    With deep and genuine respect... if the "Justices" want their Courts and raises, (as it seems they should have), then they need to provide (real) service to the citizens in the upcoming corruption exposures. Not the flaccid, weak-spined crap they dished out for Ed Byrne & Co., to take a warm and comfy leave of absence at Salmonier for crimes that shocked and disgusted half the nation. The footage of Ed in cuffs pacified a little, (the divorce was a given), but it didn't satisfy at all... in the face of his (pretty much) getting off with the crimes.

    It may soon be time to test our judiciary again. Perhaps this time, the fact that our Courts are nearly bankrupted too, by shady dealings, will add some resolve to actually provide a (real) deterrent for future generations. Time will tell.

    Everybody has a part to play. If we are to develop a real democracy each one of us has some service to provide, or some sacrifice to make. It hasn't happened in this province yet, but some of us remain hopeful for someday in the future.
    Peter Austin

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  10. I watch on TV tonight that the state of Texas remain an economic powerhouse. It`s dependence on oil revenue has suffered with the downturn in oil prices, but oil is now only 15 percent instead of 25 percent of the GDP it was 30 years ago, and so they have less financial problems than the last downturn. Their big job makers now is not oil, but supermarkets as number one, and health care as number two. Very surprising for the Lone star state.
    Given our historical dependence on the fishery, and having one of the world greatest fishery resources, it is well past time that Nfld and Labrador move away from oil dependence and concentrate on a proper management and use of our fishery resource, a renewable resource, and one that can support a large number of rural areas. It is what brought our ancestors to this island and coast, what has sustained us for centuries, and if developed properly, can provide a good standard of living for many. Imagine if this resource was owned by Japan or the USA, what abundance it would give. And what neglect it has been given here for decades.
    In the south, there is a boondoogle something like our Muskrat Falls. A coal power plant that was to use clean coal technology, to remove the CO2 and pump it into the oil field of the Gulf. It was to cost 2.4 billion and is now at 6 billion and not yet operating, several years behind schedule. A scrimp processing fish plant has taken legal action against the power company for fraud and misrepresentation. It has cost him 117,000.00 more (a 15 percent increase) in energy costs applied in advance to offset this power plant failure. Low power costs is central to any economy. What consideration was given to our fishing industry here for being competitive as to the electricity needed for our fish plants! And why has our fishing industry not been vocal as to the impact headed their way! Indeed, would our courts here give justice to our fish industry who are to suffer from the Muskrat Falls boondoggle!
    Winston Adams

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    1. I totally agree the fishery is where we have to direct our concentration. We have in our offshore waters different species of fish that every country in the World covets. Also we have to wrestle more control over the resource away from those who now have control. And most of all we need to practise good conversation while prosecuting the fishey to make sure it lasts for eternity, after all it is a renewable resource.

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  11. There are many bright minds here who obviously have a passion for making NL better, despite the drastic situation, through Muskrat Falls, we find ourselves in. You know better than most this is an uphill battle but every journey starts with a step and this is the first step in that long journey. https://www.startsomegood.com/projects/GreenRevolutionNL there is a video outlining the mission and any support is appreciated. there is also a facebook discussion page where input is always appreciated https://www.facebook.com/groups/ironandeartheast/

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  12. There are many bright minds here who obviously have a passion for making NL better, despite the drastic situation, through Muskrat Falls, we find ourselves in. You know better than most this is an uphill battle but every journey starts with a step and this is the first step in that long journey. https://www.startsomegood.com/projects/GreenRevolutionNL there is a video outlining the mission and any support is appreciated. there is also a facebook discussion page where input is always appreciated https://www.facebook.com/groups/ironandeartheast/

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    1. Blair seems to be a marketing guy who has worked for the Telegram and also Nfld Power. Nfld Power`s Take Charge ads show the practise of putting on sweaters and using reset programmable thermostats as energy conservation measures. What stupid ads and counterproductive of what real conservation and energy efficiency should be doing. Maybe Blair did not contribute to these ads...... I wonder, is he also involved with the Beothuk Energy promotions.....
      Winston Adams

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    2. Anonymous, I did work at The Telegram in media sales and worked on the NL Power account the way I worked on the Unclegnarey.com account. I ahve volunteered my time with Irona nd Earth East and have no financial gain with this organization. I want to make clear I have nothing to do with NL Power the way I have nothing to do with this blog. Iron and Earth East is a not for profit organization lead by oil sands workers who want to create a market for renewable energy. Iron and Earth East did sign a MoU with Beothuk Energy regarding hiring local workers for their projects, but again, I have no personal connection to Beothuk Energy. If you are interested in being productive regarding energy rate stability and diversifying the economy please go on to https://www.startsomegood.com/projects/GreenRevolutionNL watch the video and if you are so inclined please donate.

      Thanks

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    3. I have mixed feeling: the project ( green house) seems to use thermal (oil) not geothermal for heat.
      Beothic: 4000 MW (like 5 Muskat Falls) and given transmission losses and cost of undersea cables, seems a bit of a pipe dream, suggestions we can be world leaders in this technology, for wind generation; conservation through efficiency is one third the cost of any new generation, including wind, so where is the economics, except a modest (100 to 150 MW of on land wind for the island). I generally approve of the green revolution idea, but much of this seems off base. Why not a green house using waste heat from the diesel generators all along the Labrador coast for growing produce year round. And your project cost of 25,000.00 but then 75,000.00 to pay staff. We do not need to re-invent the wheel.
      Winston Adams

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    4. Winston,

      I apologize for my confusion. I am not sure where the oil comes from for the greenhouse? As stated on the crowdfunder page - "Our greenhouse will use the latest technology to let us both demonstrate the power of modern renewables and help showcase how our province can deal with its food security issues".

      But perhaps I am not understanding GAHT aspect of the project?

      The goal of Iron and Earth is to establish skilled work through training in renewable energy (right now it would be training on solar panel installation and wind energy both creating wind farms and the required maintenance that can help rural communities). There are several barriers, so the crowdfunder project allows Iron and Earth East to show the public renewable energy viability and create awareness regarding how effective this type of energy can be in NL.

      It is unfortunate that you do not see value in this project because it is not using waste from diesel generators, which may or may not be more expensive. This is a group that is trying to move the conversation forward instead of being critical of groups that want to increase awareness around renewable energy. Right now everyone who is a part of this group is either volunteering or is taking a financial hit by putting time and effort in to this project. I do not see this as re-inventing the wheel,but, as a way to bring public awareness and to have an organization that has a strategy (www.workersclimateplan.ca) and trying to move the needle toward renewable energy.

      I hope this clears up some confusion regarding the group and the purpose for the crowdfunder.

      Thanks for your reply

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    5. Blair, there is a logically approach to low cost of energy: first is to insulate at high values, windows of high R values,air tightness of structures(especially important for Nfdl, we have high average winds so high heat loss from this), New building codes now mandate this far. Then options , heatpumps as they use 75 percent less energy than baseboard heaters, then maybe some solar panels ( heat pumps reduces so much less electricity that it enable solar panel contributions at that stage). Wind energy for the grid can be beneficial to offset oil burning and save on water use when there is little rain. But it cannot be 50 or 75 percent of the main generation due to power instabilty issues. For the island use there can be too little and too much wind generation, as present too little.(only 2 percent)... and MF has screwed up what should have been proper additions. Much depends on if MF continues on track as now proposed.
      Winston Adams

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    6. The material list for the green house showed about 2500.00 for thermal heat, I beleive, so I assume oil heat.
      The Iron and East info I saw seems to lack engineering knowledge, and is tradesman based, but there is need for that too. Nfld Power cites lack of tradesmen for installing heap pumps, but in fact does little to encourage heatpumps ( they will reduce revenue for them).
      You may not realize it , but heatpumps are many times more effective that solar or wind for reducing energy costs, and reducing energy use. Nova Scotia , NB , Maine typically have hundreds of contractors and trademen jobs installing these, here, maybe a dozen.

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    7. Winston,

      You make good points, i feel that you are conflating over all energy conservation and te idea of bringing aswareness to capacity of renewable energy. This is not to replace MF or oil entirely.

      The goal of Iron and Earth East. As I mentioned is to create awareness around renewable energy to so that unemployed /under-employed skilled workers can find work in NL. NL is unique when it comes to this group as the drop in oil effected local workers and workers living in Ft. Mac (not to mention the devastating fires there). The workers are coming to the table with their own strategy and asking for government support (or at least not to deter the market for this technology). This could / should help our tax base. Wind energy can bring higher paying jobs to rural communities which can help bring new life to communities hurt by fishing moratoriums and other factors.

      I have no doubt that bringing buildings up to higher codes and insulation homes and buildings better is a part of energy conservation and they are good points, but, that is not the mandate of this organization.

      As far as the percentage of renewable energy versus non-renewable energy for the grid over all, that is down the line. This project is trying to get the ball rolling and increase awareness regarding renewable energy. With the pace of technology (especially with billions being invested in renewable energy technology around the world) improving and the cost to create renewable energy decreases NL can be in a position to increase the amount of renewable energy to the grid, admittedly MF is a huge hurdle.

      We know that MF has created a environment that is more difficult to navigate than our partners in other provinces have, but, that is not a reason to not put effort to create awareness and try to move the needle toward renewables.

      That is what Iron and Earth East and the crowdfunding project are trying to do.

      Thanks for the reply.

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    8. Winston, I apologize for being am a comment behind here.

      I will mention to the workers that NL power says that heat pumps are not as common due to a lack of workers being able to install them, are the companies that do install actively looking for workers? Regardless, it is a good point.

      I do not think that encouraging heat pump use and creating public awareness around renewable energy have to be mutually exclusive.

      Once again you bring up good points. I also feel the reason for Iron and Earth and the crowdfunder are important for NL and the rest of the country. Whether the project is using diesel waste or not. I would hope that you can see value in the organization and the mission overall.

      Thanks again for your reply.

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    9. Blair, we have 160,000 single detached houses in Nfld. Within 10 to 15 years these will all be converted to heat pump heating. I suggest 90 percent will mini-split units, 5 percent ducted units, 5 percent ground source units. To convert all 160,000 to mini-splits would cost about 1.3 billion dollars. Savings on energy costs per typical house with electric heat would be about 15.000.00 per house over the 15-20 equipment life. At prices post Muskrat, savings would be about 30,000.00 per household.
      Such conversions would need about 100 small companies doing installations, say each doing 150 houses per year, about 1.2 million retail sales each. Most companies do not want to travel beyond 30 miles from their place of business.
      A typical installation is about 8000 dollars.
      Quality units are very reliable. Poor quality ones will not perform well for our climate.
      Reliability issues are 90 percent related to poor tradesmen installation problems, so know how is very important.
      Main trade needed is electrican, after that refrigeration technician.
      Business owner need not have a trade, but trades noted are essential, and could be contracted . Electricians or control technicians would be ideal as business owners, also refrigeration mechanics.
      For these companies, if buying units one at a time, the cost is more. Buying 10 units typical gets 10 percent savings. Buying 100 gets 15 to 20 percent savings. Buying in volume puts more profit into the local business owner. Several small companies, if they worked together to buy in bulk would be an advantage, as small business often do not have the capital for buying more than 10 at a time.
      Iron and Earth seeks to get employment for electricans and other workers from the tar sands reduction, and support climate change issues. What gives best opportunites depends on the location: that is some areas wind is best , some solar, some heat pump etc. Wind and solar is new additional generation, heatpumps reduce energy use and reduces the need for new generation, and is usually much more cost effective, and put savings into the customers pocket and out of the power company and their shareholders.
      Heatpump for water heating is the next thing taking hold, and new units use CO2 in place of the freon, and is much beeter for the climate issue. Space heating is half of the houshold use, water heating is 15 to 20 prcent, so space heating should be addressed first.
      Pehhaps only one in a hundred tradesmen will become a business owner, but any owner needs those trademen.
      Sizing units ar every important. Installation should folllw best methods, which can be defined in a couple of pages.
      Hope this is of interest to tradesmen (or women), especially in rural areas, where these skills are needed. Lat year 1000 installed in Nfld, while in Nova Scotia 20,000 installed in Nova Scotia in 2011 alone. Also our climate for these give better performance than most of NS, NB, or Maine. As an indicator; my 1000 sq ft cottage uses 260.00 for full year of electricity for heat with temperature all winter at 73F.

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  13. The first comment here says the PCs took 4 years to develop an energy policy ,and then forgot it. Indeed, for a while, prior to Muskrat sanction, it seemed that we were going to be in lock step with the New England and Maritime provinces on energy conservation and efficiency initiatives. This slipped away for Nfld, when at some of these yearly meetings of Governors and Premiers, Nfld did not attend.
    Where is our Bernie Sanders here, calling for urgent measures to deal with climate change. In the USA, Trump supporters wave signs saying `Trump digs coal`, and indeed Trump denies the science of climate change. Here, all parties `dig oil`. Ball is a laggard as to the Federal desire to deal with climate change. The NDP makes token comments on this issue, but nothing of substance. All the parties here were on the Muskrat train, which rumbles along yet, without an engineer who knows how to stop it. The dangers: the North Spur on unstable mud, the mercury contamination, the falling energy demand forecast, the slow economy, the provincial fiscal restraint and credit rating downgrades, the transmission line reliability issues, the likely continued need for Holyrood for backup and so, will not be decommissioned, overall project costs that may exceed 11.4 billion, the shock rate increases in power rates coming, the temporary rate reduction on July 1 as proof of failure of where oil costs for Holyrood were forecast to be......and there seems to be a silence by the public as to whether Stan Marshall ( what is his stand on climate change) might be a miracle worker, or part of the establishment, with business as usual. Perhaps he can give a monthly update on progress, if there is such a thing.
    Winston Adams

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