Thursday, 30 March 2017

THE DISPARATE RAMBLINGS OF AN INCOHERENT GOVERNMENT

Cartoon Credit: Anthony Rockel
Don’t waste your time reading the Liberal Government’s Speech from the Throne. It contains the ramblings of a group that can’t put one foot in front of the other.

That is unfortunate. If there was ever a time when the province needed a clear plan and someone with the ability to communicate it, it is now. In the last Speech from the Throne, the Government promised “decisive actions… with Budget 2016 followed by… medium and long term actions…” Those are still absent. Then, too, it has been a year in which fumbling from library closures to Ed Martin’s severance compounded by Ball's own incapacity for articulation, has left the government severely weakened.

This year it needed to be ready with a coherent document that presaged a Budget styled for crisis. It could muster no such a strategic focus.

The Throne Speech and the Budget whether well thought-out or duds expose the intellectual and policy depth of the government. At a time when the Ball Administration has earned one of the lowest approval ratings in the country, what better time to exhibit policy heft and the determination to turn things around.

Apart from giving appropriate acknowledgement to the Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who made the ultimate sacrifice in war, the first five pages essentially constituted a compliment to the achievements of others. They included Katarina Roxon, Kaetlyn Osmond, Team Gushue, the skilled people behind Take The Shot Productions, and others all having demonstrated exemplary leadership, talent and persistence on an international scale. Even the chefs responsible for making the province an "international foodie destination” were recognized.

Of course, we are proud of them all. But, ultimately, the Throne Speech is supposed to describe not the achievements of others but the government's own, especially its immediate legislative and policy agenda.

The Lieutenant Governor can only have been bewildered by the onslaught of verbiage. Thirty-one pages of minutiae not dissimilar to the last one issued by the Tories. That’s the one this Blog described as having “the finesse of a chainsaw”.

It’s too bad really. The Throne Speech was never a document that caused the public to queue for the next serving. Still, for policy wonks, public servants, crown corporations, and even external watchers like the federal government, as well as the lenders, public policy groups, and others including Judges the Throne Speech offers a glimpse into the intellectual prowess of a government facing incredibly challenging times. It is a record of their intentions, their political savvy, their conviction and purpose. It is an opportunity to give proof that at least some of their ideas have a shelf-life beyond the next election.

Perhaps, if these were normal times, we might not care if the government let a group of mid-level public servants paste together a litany of second-rate ideas and programs. But these are not normal times. The province is suffering a fast-unfolding fiscal crisis. We can’t afford to let the PR types in Executive Council force-feed the Premier with the innocuous and the vacuous. I am referring to “The Way Forward”, the government’s self-assessed economic and social policy road map, which even its friends have determined is disconnected from our fiscal realities.

The Throne Speech did acknowledge the burden of the Muskrat Falls project, but it offered no proof that the province would be any worse off had it been shut down. Nor was there any expression of regret that, in Opposition, they supported Muskrat, in consequence of which they miserably failed to hold the Tories to account. 

It seems trite to say that a fiscal crisis deserves a singular focus. But a line or two blaming the Tories for Muskrat or castigating their free-spending ways does not constitute an appraisal of our circumstance, and is most certainly not a clarion call for collective action. No one wants or expects a government to be the voice of doom and gloom. Still, after more than a year in Office, and amid persistent claims that it will consult with the electorate, the government has only itself to blame if public expectations continue to well exceed our fiscal capacity.

The Throne Speech lays claim to a “leaner, flatter management structure” and commits to “addressing a deficit and a debt that will overwhelm our children and grandchildren in the absence of action” but the government won’t say how it intends to stare it down. What do the claims: “we will do better with less”, “we will collaborate”, and “we will challenge ourselves to remain ambitious, responsible, and accountable” actually get you? Worse than rhetorical flourish, it contains all the portents of Cathy Bennett girding for a side-show.

On jobs for which I have always believed every government takes far too much credit when the jobs are created, and receives too much blame when they disappear it promises - dare I repeat it - a Cabinet Committee. 

Part of its self-described vision “… includes a commitment to increase mining activity…” It is a sensible objective, but it is not a vision. And even that much contains more than one caveat: government can barely influence mineral exploration, make the necessary private investment appear, or be anything more than a bystander given the cyclical character of the international commodities market. That is the kind of chatter that exposes the government's ignorance about economic policy.      

Then, too, the Speech pursues aquaculture, tourism, and food security. On the social side it comments on the “need to address mental health and addictions” and commits “to a strong health and community care system”. It speaks to supporting women, seniors, children, affordable housing and a plethora of other groups, programs and services.

But what government is not committed to those things? What Throne Speech, at one time or another, has not included all those priorities as essential items on the public agenda?

The question the public wants clarified is this: what are the Liberals going to do differently?  What are its targets? What is the time frame for their implementation? How much can it do and yet still deal meaningfully with the fiscal crisis? Or is all the self-congratulation and verbiage cover for kicking the can still further down the road?

In health care, for example, where the axing of 93 positions was just announced - will the lay-offs result in poorer care and longer queues? Or does the government have a new model of health care management, in pursuit of which it has spent the last year consulting with governments across Canada and elsewhere whose lower per-capita expenditures contain proof that even this country offers more effective models of delivery? 

Did anyone notice that the saving from the management cuts amount to only $8 million.If we are ever to fix a $1.58 billion hole in the current account budget, the notion of death by a thousand cuts may seem far too few.

In a nutshell, the Throne Speech offers no meshing of policy, strategy, or politics. It is exactly what it manifests the disparate ramblings of an incoherent government.

His Honor was given a grab bag of self-aggrandizing, half-thought-out ideas snatched out of The Way Forward. It seems the government expects that the gloss of a different cover might allow them to shine.

There’s still the chance that the Budget Speech will do better.

Don’t hold your breath.

47 comments:

  1. "If you took one-tenth the energy you put into complaining and applied it to solving the problem, you'd be surprised by how well things can work out… Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won't make us happier." - Randy Pausch

    Wanting the conditions to be different then they are is a waste of time.

    Complaining is just a distraction from what really needs our attention ... those aspects of the problems that you do have some control over.

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    1. *than they are

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    2. C'mon MIke...your complaint about complaining is tiresome. You have yet to offer anything constructive to the conversation other than that.

      I'll ask you again, "What are your ideas and solutions?" So far I've seen pick up some garbage and fund the independent. No more red herrings.

      What really needs our attention?

      Keith

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    3. I agree, you are living proof. All the complaining you do about other people complaining is indeed a waste of your time.

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    4. Keith, lets start with Health care ...

      According to the latest Canadian Census numbers, Newfoundland has (per capita) the highest rate of heavy drinkers, the highest rate of tobacco usage, the highest rate of obesity, the highest rate of cardiac problems, etc, etc. These all put considerable strain on our health care system.

      Maybe if each individual made different choices, our health would be better and our collective toll on the overall system would substantially reduced.

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    5. How do you propose to change these attitudes? Solutions are what you keep asking for...yours is a generalization.

      Put more meat on the bone please. Perhaps I can help you get a little more specific. What you identified needs to be quantified. Without that it is an assumption that it puts considerable strain on the health care system. Maybe it does, maybe it does not. Perhaps the problem is more in line it's more in line with what Dr. Palfrey noted. Again it needs to be quantified. Maybe it's time privatize certain elements of the health care system. For example no free dental period.

      I suspect the truth is you can't offer much more your standard line about complaining about the complainers.

      This is not intended to be personal but an honest assessment of your comments.

      NL is facing a serious financial crisis now. It has to be dealt with now. I've offered up some ideas, none of which I would suggest will fly because we do not have the stomach for it. I would argue that the welfare state and the expansion of social programs has contributed greatly to our inability to adapt, to be self-reliant, to foster entrepreneurship, etc.

      Keith

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    6. Mike your victim blaming/shaming is getting more than tiresome. You troll your fellow citizens and never do analysis, offer coherent analysis and most important never ever ACT save for your shaming/blaming.

      Your solution for a speech from the throne that is vacuous and as this post illustrates, kicks the problems down the road without a coherent vision or any sort of a plan is what exactly?

      Mike your trolling is part of the problem, not the solution and you are best ignored. That is the only way to discourage a troll. Trying to reason with a troll only encourages the egotism that seems all you can muster.

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    7. Most of the so called "solutions" you present often involves someone else (usually the sitting Government or big business) to do all the work and take all the risks.

      My point is that individuals need to step forward and take action.

      We live in a society of entitlement and expect Governments to solve most of our individual and economic woes. We all need to take responsibility and the collective result of all our actions can turn the tide.

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    8. Keith, your attempt at finding solutions is a welcome change of direction for the conversation about the future of NL society. I disagree with your solutions however.

      The social Darwinism you propose, cutting public services and kicking the already disadvantaged to the curb is a bit mean spirited and avoids the real issue.

      The Scandinavian countries with cradle to the grave social support for all, are thriving. Does that not undermine your argument?

      The free education for all has resulted in the highest per capita income in the world in Norway. This of course results in increased tax income for government that supports the collective benefits. The lunch programs feed wholesome, well prepared meals (gourmet by our standards) to school children. This is not only healthy but sets lifelong eating habits that lead to improved health outcomes and reduced costs for healthcare.

      No Social Darwinism, every man woman and child for themselves, is not the solution. The solution is implementing policy for the benefit of all, not the privileged and well connected.

      When oligarchs are turned loose on a helpless culture disaster ensues. When it is a large country like Russia it is bad enough. When it happens to a small population like NL it is overwhelming. You are only just beginning to suffer the consequences. The next few decades will be horrendous when the cost of rolling over to the whims of narcissistic leaders and the oligarchs they have turned loose without democratic oversight plays out.

      The problem is fundamental and requires fundamental analysis and action. Emperors must be unmasked and egalitarian policy must replace social Darwinism.

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    9. Bruno, your argument is much more constructive than usual and lacks personal attacks, John Lennon would be pleased with you.
      I watched a episode of Believers on CNN on scientology. It is sort of a religion , but has science elements. So called Auditors assess your physical and emotional balance, with what appears to be a very sensentive lie detector machine, which measures body electrical resistance and conductance. The auditor challenges you with verbal outrage than most would want to react with rage and violence . The trick is to stay cool and not let your negative emotions dominate. These is something to it, surely, but the religion aspect seems to have cult connotations. But man, you are staying cool...........did you see that show? You and Mike may yet become buddies, like you and me.
      Winston

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    10. Yes I saw it Winston. And no, we three will never be on the same page. We are motivated fundamentally by different principles. Your trying to straddle the divide is untenable and undermines your good intentions.

      I guessed you missed the shit fight that Lennon engaged in with the US government during Vietnam war.

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    11. Winston if you want a fuller picture of what happened when a con man starts a cult watch this on Scientology. Going Clear
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYan7pv_Jb0

      We are currently finding out what a narcissistic con man can do in the White House. It won't be pretty.

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  2. The carton style photo gave me chuckle, and I checked FUNNY on the reactions place of your blog. Got to a take a laugh when available, given our dire situation with government debt.
    A friend, Pat, from Upper Island Cove, that place known for wit and humor, told me his opinion this past Sunday.
    He said` Dwight Ball reminds me of a vacuum cleaner salesman.And Ches Crosbie, he`s planning on running, he`s like a big nerd. He says he was moose hunting.... once,... so he`s one one of the boys, like. He got no charisma, he`s not like his father, John Crosbie, he was witty, you wouldn`t know but that he came from Island Cove. And Danny Williams, he should get an Oscar, for what he has said and done'
    The 43 jobs cuts (said to be a hardship for those unfortunate ones) involves some 8 million in severance etc. This comes to an average 186,000 dollars each!
    In 1975 I quit my job as engineer with Nfld Hydro , after being turned down to my request for 2 weeks leave WITHOUT pay. I was suffering from burn out, but was not really aware of what the problem was at the time. Looking back, it was a good decision, but I was unemployed for a year. I had debts, a mortage , a wife and 2 children. I received back about 3500.00 for my personal portion of a pension plan that I had paid into for almost 5 years. My house mortgage debt was 35,000, and I still had 3000 dollars in student load debts, from university days.
    These positions now being terminated, with payout of 186,000 dollars each, well it could buy a nice house in rural Nfld, for those wanting a cottage. A house used to be a live long investment, taking 30 years to pay for. Now you are handed the equivalent of that upon termination. I never got any severance, no watch nor pen set , no goodbye party. And I was a n occasional poker player with the big wigs there, including Wally Read. But no regrets, and consider my comrades there with good memories, and mostly all good people. But times have changed. And maybe I am missing something here.
    And has Des indicates, this cut does not make a dent in our debt.

    The Throne speech....a rambling and incoherent document.......and the photos .........makes me wonder if our entire group of politicians should be on the wait list for the new Waterford, when that gets built in the next decade or so, a very stressful job nowadays. 7.5 million planned for that hospital this year.......maybe for more studies by consultants.......and Choosing Wisely will solve all mental health care without a hospital , maybe. `Understanding` is the key.......is that not the motto.....last year it was. Part of the Way Forward no doubt.
    Winston Adams

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  3. How dumb does Mr. Ball, Mr(s). Bennett and company think we really are. ( No doubt about how dumb u r Mike). They will do or say anything to get re elected to the point of selling out the future of our children.
    The way forward for many will be the lower taxes, cheaper energy, better justice, better medical care etc. etc. in the rest of Atlantic Canada.
    In addition real estate is significantly lower any many parts of the Maritimes making it easy for our skilled young people to move.
    Should be lots vacant homes around for the influx of immigrants.

    Keep up the Excellent work Uncle Gnarley
    Cant count on the "Paddy and Jonathan Steele" shows.

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  4. An analysis for Mike Parsons:

    The saying the squeaky wheel gets the grease, seems to me to support this blog, and whiners to the call in radio shows.
    The saying is said to be an American proverb meaning that the "loudest" problems are the ones likely to get attention. It is attributed to the American humorist Josh Billings, from his poem ,The Kicks,c 1870

    I hate to be a kicker
    I always long for peace,
    But the wheel that does the squeaking ,
    Is the one that gets the grease.

    Culturally, this is in contrast with the Japanese proverb "the stake that sticks up gets hammered down, or the nail that sticks out gets pounded down"
    The Chinese version is "The crying baby gets the milk"
    However the squeaky wheel approach may be a fallacy ....it is suggested it avoids the proper approach: problem formulation, analysis, interpretation, and action' as part of the continual improvement process.

    In experimental work, this fallacy arises when decisions are based on the absence of contrary supporting evidence. The cure for the fallacy lies in reaching conclusions based on the presence of positive supporting evidence rather than lack of contrary evidence.

    So where does this leave us.....is Mike Parsons right or wrong. Is Des and the whiners right or wrong.

    Consider the "false assumptions" made by our power companies in the context of "absence of contrary evidence" whether Muskrat was the least cost. Or in the context of our waste in our health care.
    Does not UG scream at the lack of contrary evidence being considered, and so we and our governmentand power companies operate with tunnel vision.

    Don Dunphy was a squeaky wheel. He was a nail sticking up. He got hammered down. Today, the headlines at the Telegram is that the RNC chief is stepping down.
    Maybe both the American and Japanese interpretations are both right. And maybe Mike and the whiners and critics are both right.
    Winston Adams

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  5. To illustrate the point of experimental work, and evidence based decisions:

    Filed with Nfld Powers rate application last year was ICF consultants report that stated that for Nfld about 1/3 of our island energy use for residential needs could be saved with mini-split heatpumps for space heating. This is gigantic savings. They also stated that there should be considerable peak demand savings, especially for the St johns region, as the weather is relatively mild and most units would expect to keep operating. There was no evidence by the power company to show that most would not operate ok.
    Yet no allowance was made for peak demand reduction as, as to cost effectiveness, this approach they said was "a conservative approach". They presented a sham report that they admitted was not reliable. This is contrary to what other utilities have done.
    They create the fallacy, with no supporting evidence too back it up, that the units would not perform in a satisfactory and beneficial way. So we are and remain the second worst in the country for efficiency and conservation measures............and they get away with it, as power rates get set to double.
    WA

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  6. What a day of wonderful good news......Nalcor's CEO, (who in the photo on the CBC website, looks like the Grinch that stole Christmas, especially that raised eyebrow, much like mark Critch does),tells us that Muskrat is likely not to exceed just beyond the 12 Billion mark, up just 1 or 2 percent from the current 11.7 billion. So 2 percent is about 240 million more, so what is that........peanuts when we can save a million here and there by laying off 43 health care workers.
    But Marshall, ....ever the lawyer, is saying out of the other side of his mouth......don't hold me to it........a caveat in legal lingo. The caveat that something that could strike out of "the air".
    Don't say he didn't give notice, because out of the air is exactly where more costs may appear. Marshall, while a chemical engineer, is sufficiently knowledgeable, I suspect to realize the source of risks.....and these are indeed out of the air.

    Indeed, as a controls and protection engineer, these out of the air risks were part of my job, in my days with Hydro. Consider these:

    Transmission reliability issues:
    1. Salt contamination on the Northern Peninsula from wind driven ocean salt........, perhaps one of the worst areas in the world for a transmission line.... causing flashovers and outages.........out of the air from the high winds off the ocean
    2.Lightning strikes, regular but so so detrimental, and not so big a worry......but .........out of the air
    3. Lines and towers taken down from ice loading....we are alredy warned by Liberty,..... more risk than stated by Nalcor......ice forming from mist and fog and accumulating beyond the desighn strength of the transmission structure design.....those little water particles, coming from............out of the air....
    4. Whether meeting American and Canadian reliability standards for reliability for grid interconnection.......might mean massive expenditures yet not considered. Is our grid , both AC and DC too susceptable to GIC interruptions? GIC (geomagnetic induced currents). These on the mainland, took down the entire NE USA and parts of Canada in !979, with trips right back to Churchill Falls and to New York. It cost the economy billions.Concern was raised about reliability of the links with Hydro Quebec. HQ, being light years ahead of us, came up with a solution, costing about a billion dollars to keeps those little GICs less harmful, and saved the day .....for them. Parts of Nfld has recorded some of the highest GIcs in the world. When I was there I would communicate(by Telex) with NASA's boulder , Colorado site for information on when Nfld was about to be hit.We could get 24 hr advance warning. This risk originates from solar flares, 93 million miles away, they hits the earth's protective magnetic field, they cause the Northern lights to shine, and also get picked up by our neutrals on power transformers and cause big trouble. Fortunately it is an issue about only 3 out of 11 years, and follows the sun spot actavity. But the source........out of the air
    5. And of course ........the competition to drive energy use and demand down, from heatpumps..... I am getting up to a COP of 4.75 at daytime and 4.1 on 24 hour average. And rusell at the Tely says contractors are installing them non stop. Ads from Nova Scotia are popping up daily on the Tely website. Not good news for Muskrat power needs for the island, nor their needed revenue to pay the interest costs of Muskrat. And heatpump efficiency........you guessed it........out of the air.
    A cagey one , that Stan. can't say he din't warn us....just maybe 15 billion afterall.
    Winston Adams

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    1. A good analysis Winston. I wonder if the lack of in house expertise to integrate LIL and MF into the system that the last Liberty report warned about will come at Stan "out of the air"? He refused their advice and said "we know best". Do you see any evidence of that?

      I might add the risks that may come "out of the water". Like Nalcor refusing to bury the LIL on most of the ice scoured bottom in the Straight of Belle Isle. Nalcor and Gil Bennett know best! Yikes!

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    2. By the way Winston have you heard about the GIC event in the late 1800's that burned several telegraph stations to the ground? Several operators that realized what was happening and disconnected from their power supply and were able to keep transmitting with the induced current!

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    3. Yes , these re other risks as you describe, and even the rish of ground shaking at the North Spur, there known unknowns and unknown unknowns too. And yes the big event in the 1800s was felt nby operator of the telegraph station from Nfld to England, with Northern lights as far south as Mexico, and people thought the world was ending. But we are getting strange signs, a polar bear praying at a cross at Weslieville, Nfld, surely an omen about global warming, after trump said dril baby drill........I wonder........the photo made the VOCM and TV stations..... a wonderful good news day
      WA

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    4. Sorry Bruno....never answered about in house expertise ......in fact , yes , Marshall said they are hiring, which I interpreted he meant for this reason, as they promise some Upper churchill power to replace some Holyrood by next year, and will save a bit on oil burning, but not enough to offset Holyrood fully. Marshall looks to me to be a worried man, and for good reason for sure. The train may have slowed some, but is far from assured of not going off track. I can only wish him well with the task he has, but still think the Uncle is right to put it on ice.
      The song IT TAKES A WORRIED MAN comes to mind......if someone would post the lyrics.
      WA

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    5. I posted this at the tail end of previous discussion;

      https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2017/03/29/BC-Liberals-BC-Hydro-Playing-Politics/

      I believe it is important now to realize that nothing short of an ugly revolt/general civil strike/natural or man made catastrophic failure,etc. will alter the course taken to complete Muskrat. We should turn our energies towards how the future governance model deals with the operational and financial challenges of this utility. BC Hydro, under tight government revenue grab is ramping rates and servicing taxes from its rate payers, to subsidize LNG type resource development. Ontario is doing the same to develop renewable energy, and refinance stranded Nuclear power debt. Note the manipulative accounting practices for financial statements in order to generate "revenue". Is this the approach NL will follow to produce future socio/economic dreams?

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    6. Robert, I did read your link, and worth reading. One link from that , I believe the Globe and Mail says BC has the worst financial metrics, quoting Moodys, but Moodys actually says one of the worst ......I assume Nalcor probably has the worst. Was Nalcor the first to use creative accounting, before BC, and freeze out the PUB. But BC has a stronger economy to withstand this, and absorb it over the long run.
      For Nfld it can be tragic. Moodys is not too concerned, with giving an aaa rating for BC. They say our Canadain federal system with transfer payments to areas in trouble is a cushion to places in trouble, that the feds would not let a province default.
      Sound like Britain, who would not let Nfld default in 1934,and gave us the dole and 15 years of Commission of Govn instead. I have read Chicago economists who have reviewd Nfld situationin 1934, and say it would have been much better for Nfld to have defaulted.
      So, see if our budget next week is taking us to a 20 year lean and mean path to pay for Muskrat, with a little federal tranfer now and again. I beleive Ball is gearing up looking for tranfers at present. So much for the good times and prosperity and have status. Some day the sun will shine said Peckford. Not so much going forward........sure even the polar bears are praying, have turned Christian even.
      Not much Christian charity from the rich making these tragic decisions for the poor folk here. But lots of dividends for the rich folk. Sheep to the slaughter. Even the Russians are getting tired of family incomes of 500 dollars a month, while a few rob the resources. And this the 100 anniversity of the Russian Revolution.......and of course next week Vimy Ridge, that Easter Monday timing......a christian timing for sure! Get ready to celebrate.....a Canadain thing mostly, but we are expected to play along........it was nation building afterall, thousand died , but hey , we took the Ridge.
      WA

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  7. People are complaining and wishing things were different because that is what people do. We collectively messed up by buying into the myth of "Danny Williams is so smart - he is a Rhodes Scholar and a multimillionare, which proves he's smart - he has to be right about this complex business stuff". We look for a hero to take on our challenges for us and then abdicate our common sense and judgement to that person, and this is what happens. Sure, we should trust --- but VERIFY.

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    1. Bruno has already addressed that hero status stuff, some weeks back with his posting Lennons piece ..........a working class hero is something to be...........maybe time to post again Bruno.....even got Dave Vardy to cite a few lines from the Supremes.........he got sentimental,......... love is the answer, I think.
      Trust but verify , yes that good old Russian proverb, even the carpenters say cut once but measure twice......if only they assessed energy and peak demand with the critical eye of a good carpenter............my oh my, world class BSs for sure, we have as leaders.

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  8. I think it appropriate to correct two errors in my comments,
    1. I said Marshall said no serious additionally cost increases in Muskrat unless something strikes him out of the air. I read Ashleys piece in the Telegram this morning, she quotes him as saying `out of the sky`. I say , hey , how did I get that wrong. Oh well,memory is not prefect. But it does not change the argument.......same thing, and sky is perhaps more appropriate.
    2. I said on leaving Hydro in the 1970s, I never even got a pen set. My wife tells me that she thinks they did give me a pen set. As her memory is much better than mine, she could be right. I guess I was not impressed with the parting gift, and forgot about it. Nowadays one would get 3 months paid stress leave for burnout. But who`s complaining...I made the right decision.

    Other points : Marshall and Ball points to the growing asset value of Nalcor and they were profitable this year. In reality,our island hydro assets, of some 2000MW is worth 3 billion. Muskrat at an average 500MW costs 12-15 billion, and is worth, when finished , perhaps no more than 1 billion. A write down showing this would show Nalcor losing billions, and not profitable, .......surely we will hear from some economists on this.
    And Marshall says it makes no difference that Emera now has 59 percent of the transmission line ownership.........really.......I suppose imaginary profit going to Emera instead of Nfld makes no difference.
    Marshall says he does not care if consultants on the North Spur issue are independent are not. All that he has spoken to assures him it is safe. This seems to go the issue of fallacy in analysis, when you keep out contrary evidence, as seems to be the case, you use tunnel vision, and plow ahead on false assumptions. Remember Marshall himself dammed the project for proceeding based on false assumptions.......now he seems to do likewise.
    Marshall and Ball says doubling of power rates are unacceptable and are working on mitigation measures. So am I.
    My approach is RATES BE DAMMED. Cut consumption.
    Our power companies say electric heating costs can be reduced up to 40 percent with efficient air source heatpumps. I am achieving 60 percent on one system being monitored, and 75 -80 percent on a better installation. This approach is called Efficiency and Conservation mitigtion.....a foreign idea to our power companies and government.....we are second worse in the country......says a lot.
    Thousands of Nflder are moving my way, not even knowing they can get double the savings they are told. Up to 40 percent......Fake News.
    To think.... Stan would not know this.... or know it and mislead us..........where is his legal and engineering ethics!
    Winston Adams

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    1. I commented yesterday about Stan Marshall, looking worried, and mentioned an old song that came to mind, the original version(shorted) reads

      It takes a worried man to sing a worried song
      I'm worried now but I won't be worried long
      Lord, I went down to the riverside, laid me down to sleep
      When I woke up there's shackles on both-a my feet
      I said"Judge, judge, what's a gonna be my fine?
      He said"twenty -one years on that old Rock Island Line".

      Was he talking about the Labrador island Link, the LIL transmission line, on this rock island of ours? And 21 years of hardship?
      Never did well on English and literature, so I better stick to the sciences. However.......Stan did look worried to me.........maybe he is old enough to remember that song too.
      I have never met Stan, but was within 5 feet of him once, and meant to introduce myself, having been a Fortis shareholder on and off. But I chatted with an Innu leader who was there instead, who sold out to Danny Williams on the New Dawn Agreement.
      The event was to meet President Bill Clinton, here in St John's. Stan, like me and my wife, displayed our vanity, being in lineup to shake hands and get a photo taken, with what had been the most powerful man in the world.
      My wife, said to Bill. "excuse me, I don't see well (she is legally blind). Bill smiled saying, That's alright , you look beautiful".......pretty slick that Bill.
      My wife shows off the photo, I hid mine away. They came 3 months later , framed , special delivery. So, Stan and I have something in common..........we shook hands with the man who lied, and denied he had a relationship with Monica. Small world.
      Maybe I should seek to shake hands with Stan, engineer to engineer.....and give him my opinion on energy efficiency???????
      Winston

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  9. It is not only the Governments that are in a precarious financial position ...

    "Canadian households owed $1.67 for each $1 they generated in disposable income, suggesting Canadians are living far beyond their means because they’re borrowing way more than they make."

    Maybe it is time for everyone to take some responsibility for our collective economic woes?

    http://business.financialpost.com/news/economy/the-don-cherry-of-economic-statistics-debt-to-income-makes-a-lot-of-noise-but-does-it-really-matter

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  10. Would Winston & Bruno please stop hijacking this blog. For crying out loud start your own.

    I'm sure some readers appreciate the contributions however I suspect many, if not most, just roll their eyes.

    Queue the personal attack, especially from Bruno.

    Bob

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    1. I hope the irony of your information free comment is not lost on you Bob.

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  11. Agreed Bob, I get carried away....it may have been the MRI Tue Morning, my medication, or personality. My blog, if I had one, would dwelt on energy efficiency, global warming, tapering off oil production, etc........what do you think? And I am surprised so few have any comment at all.......a few of us have to carry the load. I was expecting some complaint. I'll try to stay quiet .....for a while to give others a chance to express opinions, wish every piece by the Uncle got so many comments as the one on Sucey. What is your view of the situation facing Nfld , Bob. And giving your full name would help.
    WA
    WA

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  12. Two years from Saturday, April 1, will be 70 years NL under Confederation. I was just a boy, living in Heart's Content, when the vote confederation machine rolled in on a Norseman seaplane.
    One of the inspirations for Confederation choice being added to the ballot, was a little magazine called Atlantic Guardian, (?). This was published in Montreal by a few ex-pats, (Ewart Young, Art Scammell, etc), and we were told that Joey stopped off on his way to Ottawa, and others like Bradley, Horwood, Power, etc. carried the Flag for the 3rd choice. This Blog, Des, David, and others remind me of those heady days of the late Forties. I would encourage you all to read the history, and how a small band of patriots, added a third choice to the ballot. Isn't 2019 an election year? Call it the NL70 movement.

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  13. News Alert: A public announcement is planned for Monday by Premier Ball and Stan Marshall at the Confederation Bldg.
    Our sources tell us that effective May 1, the start of the mothballing of the Muskrat project will commence. It involves protecting the assets subject to a comprehensive review of this project, the escalating costs, and whether it may continue at some time in the future.
    In essence this project is being put on ice. Mr Ball will make the case that this is prudent at this time, given the deepening financial crisis facing the province, largely due to the decisions made by the formed Tory administration. The project is now known to have been promoted and sanctioned based on false assumptions of power needs and costs underestimated, and non consideration of more cost effective alternatives that would have saved billions and kept power rates stable.
    Mr Ball will allow Minister Bennett to now make adjustments in the budget to be announced April 6, with consideration of this decision. The budget will now include a 50 million initiative for energy efficiency and conservation that will add some 2000 jobs and stimulate the economy and help residents save on energy costs, to mitigate sunk costs already incurred on Muskrat.This initiative is inline with Nova Scotia`s very effective and successful initiative that was started a decade ago there.
    Nalcor will be directed to immediately take all prudent decisions to reduce and terminate unnecessary staff for maximum savings as a result of this decision. Mr Ball will acknowledge that the polls reflect the prudence of this decision with the public, and is in accordance with the Liberal original arguments in the Huse that Muskrat was being rushed to sanction without proper and prudent evaluation.

    April Fool.

    And if anyone got fooled by this, just say it is past noon, and they don count. When I was a kid, long long ago, that was the rule, In Upper Island Cove area.
    Sorry Bob.......couldn`t resist........and apart from comrade Holmes, this blog has been silent some 16 hours.

    WA. Logy Bay

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    1. Winston this is brilliant. This sounds like so logical a platform that you should form a new party and run on this platform!

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  14. Winston ... I thought this was an early April Fool's joke. Unbelievably, this is an actual statement made by someone representing the fishery.

    "Union says fishing not to blame" for decline of shrimp.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/shrimp-quota-cuts-1.4049205

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  15. Mike, I wrote this in about 10 minutes, as it same to me without edit, and being rather slow on the keyboard.
    To spice it up a little, I should have added this:

    Mr Marshall is to commence discussion with Emera and Nova scotia on how to mitigate the impact of legal commitments of signed contracts for power. It appears the Maritime Link will be completed, being well advanced in construction and within budget. Emera will benefit from Nfld`s island surplus summer hydro capacity, but which see our power used for our own winter heating needs as a priority. In addition, Nova Scotia will benefit from the Maritime Link due to the stability effect of our large hydro generations being a anchor for stability for their planned additional wind generation. And the link mutually aids our own island ability to add to our island low cost wind power, of some 200 additional megawatts. All of these mitigation measures are being assessed to moderate the power rate impact for Nfld residents, which of course , is our priority. Any decision to complete the Muskrat generation plant will be subject to a mutual coordinated agreement with our partners in Nova Scotia and the Federal Government. Indeed, our movement toward Climate Change mitigation, and carbon credits, suggests this project could and will be beneficial for Atlantic Canada and the world, and may proceed to completion in due course.

    I guess, Mike, Ball`s PR people could tweak this for their press release before April 6 th.

    When we were kids , my mother, and all kids and adults would delight on April fool pranks. An innocent lie, all as a joke. But time was limited to noon on April 1
    If you fooled one of your friends after noon, the response was;
    April fool is come and past
    You`re the biggest fool at last.

    So, it is past noon........and as we are not about to see such a press release, it is but wishful thinking.......and I the fool! Some may find it amusing. Some may say this is exactly what needs to happen.
    WA

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  16. As a kicker, I would add to the press release:
    We have consulted with our members of the Third Party, and Mr Earle fully supports this decision. It is consistent with the positions taken by Honourable members Rogers and Michaels in the rushed Muskrat sanction debate. They warned that this project was not properly assessed. Of course they too were right. Today are on board with this very difficult, but prudent decision, as being in the best interests of all residents of this province.

    WA

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  17. NEWS ALERT
    IT HAS BEEN REPORTED BY RELIABLE SOURCES THAT WINSTON ADAMS, THAT RECLUSIVE ENGINEER, LIVING IN LOGY BAY, HAS PERFECTED THE MINI-SPLIT HEAT PUMP, AN ALTERNATIVE TO ELECTRIC BASEBOARD HEATERS THAT ALREADY HAS SEEN SOME 10,000 UNITS INSTALLED IN NFLD.
    RATHER THAN GETTING A 40 PERCENT SAVING ON ELECTRICITY AS COMPARED TO BASEBOARD HEATERS, ADAMS HAS ACHIEVED 75 PERCENT SAVINGS.
    THE BREAKTHROUGH COMES FROM THE NOVEL METHOD OF INSTALLATION, SAYS OUR SOURCE.
    RATHER THAN MOUNTING THE COMPRESSOR SECTION OUTDOORS EXPOSED TO SNOW, RAIN, FOG, MIST AND SALT CONTAMINATION, THIS PART IS MOUNTED IN THE ATTIC, PROTECTED FROM ALL THE HARSH ELEMENTS. IN ADDITION, THE BLACK ROOF SHINGLES ALSO ACTS AS A GIANT SOLAR COLLECTOR TO AID THE UNIT EFFICIENCY. IT IS JUST A BETTER WAY OF WORKING WITH MOTHER NATURE OUR SOURCE SAYS.
    REPORTS ARE THAT TWO OFFICIALS FROM NFLD POWER VISITED THE PROTOTYPE INSTALLATION, LOCATED AT BISHOPS'S COVE ON MARCH 24TH AND WERE DUMBFOUNDED BY THE SUPERIOR PERFORMANCE. IT IS SUSPECTED TO CAUSE HAVOC FOR NFLD'S ENERGY USE AND PEAK DEMAND REDUCTIONS, TO THE EXTENT THAT IT WILL FURTHER IMPACT THE MUSKRAT FALLS PROSPECTS FOR ENERGY SALES.
    IT WAS REPORTED THAT THE NFLD POWER OFFICIALS TOOK PHOTOS OF THE SETUP, BUT ARE TIGHT LIPPED, AND REFUSES TO RELEASE IT TO THE PUBLIC.
    MEANWHILE WORD HAD LEAKED OUT AND CUSTOMERS ARE SCREAMING AS TO HOW THEY MIGHT BE ABLE TO BENEFIT FROM THIS NOVEL INVENTION.
    ADAMS, MEANWHILE, WHO HAS BEEN PERFECTING THIS METHOD SINCE 2010, CLAIMS IT IS NOT AN INVENTION, JUST A COMMON SENSE APPROACH FOR INSTALLATION, AS A BEST PRACTICE. THAT IT IS VERY COST EFFECTIVE, AND JUST IMPROVES EXISTING TECHNOLOGY.
    OUR SOURCE SAYS ADAMS HAS NO OBJECTION TO NFLD POWER RELEASING DETAILS TO THE PUBLIC AND INSTALLING CONTRACTORS. THE ENGINEER SEEKS NO COMPENSATION AND HOPES THAT THE METHOD WILL BE SEE WIDE USE GOING FORWARD, ESPECIALLY FOR NEW CONSTRUCTION AS WELL AS FOR OLDER HOMES WITH ATTICS 4 FT OR MORE IN HEIGHT.

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    1. How much does a typical installation cost?

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    2. I recently has a "top of the line" LG minisplit installed for a total cost of $4500 (taxes in)---worth every cent. My Jan and Feb electricity bills were in excess of $100 less than last years bills.

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  18. How Ontario Liberals messed up the Electricity file; Are the NL Liberals any better?

    http://www.torontosun.com/2017/04/01/how-wynnes-hydro-disaster-could-have-been-avoided

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  19. Good item Robert.....if only the Telegram here asked what we should have done differently.......the question is not even asked here. The alternatives were not, and still not being fleshed out. We are just told that false assumptions were made......and no one is at fault! Most jurisdictions get it right and keep power rates stable.....and from there the right choices are obvious.
    Question: here our peak load ramps up about 30 percent from midnight to 8am, actually declines a lot to 4 am and then ramps up. What person with the power companies, Nfld Power, Nfld Hydro , Nalcor has it as his job description to bring down this 30 percent ramp up to reduce peak loads and conserve fuel burning. What person.....give us a name please. Does toast bread in the morning bring on 350 megawatts of electricity extra.........surely someone has this in their job description ......when we have so many world class people employed in the power sector.

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    1. I imagine that the provincial power corporations are set out to maximize revenue, and to turn it over to provincial treasuries. Consumers are encouraged to keep demand high, so as to support new and expensive generation projects. This brings a conflict of interest with respect to energy conservation ideologies. Green house gas emissions are secondary to jobs, some very dirty. So NL is just following the lead of other provincial utilities.

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    2. When NL has such intellectual media that have said "natural gas companies won't sign long term supply contracts with NL" from one of the largest MF/PC boosters out there - don't expect actual journalism to prevail. Same media said NLrs can afford the excessive rate hike forthcoming from MF, $1800 more a year for power, CM in VOCM must stand for corporate masters. Highly paid populist hosts can easily afford rate hikes, but what about the common man of which 55% make under $30,000 a year? "can't build a project based on the lowest income earners" also a gem of a quote from the same host

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  20. Have you compared Nova Scotia, Robert

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    1. Ecology Action has contributed to a more conservation friendly regime. However, the private power utility Emera, has kept imported coal thermal generation as its backbone supply. Last time I checked, power rates are higher than Canadian average. NDP administration missed an opportunity to get off coal through interconnect with NB/QU grid. Emera swung the deal with Nalcor, through its leverage with NS government.

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    2. Robert, Nova Scotia has the highest percentage investment nad performance for energy conservation and efficiency and demand reduction of any province.

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