Monday, 12 June 2017

SIOBHAN COADY: WAITING FOR GODOT?

Waiting For Godot is a celebrated play by Samuel Beckett in which two characters, Valdimir and Estragon, are waiting for a person Godot who never arrives. The Ball Administration serves as parody for the tragicomedy. Like the government, as one writer says of Waiting For Godot, “the sheer emptiness and randomness of the plot causes the audience (or reader) to wonder if anything is going to happen”.


Ball and Coady especially resemble Valdimir and Estragon though possibly the tramps, Didi and Gogo, too because, like them, they seem to have no part to play.  


Our play departs from Beckett’s a little, but only because Coady can expect an appearance from the Auditor General, just not with the package she pretends he is carrying.


The Minister knows he will offer no guidance on the “falsification” issue over which Nalcor’s whistleblower has sounded the alarm. Her performance is simply the pretense that he will.



The CBC posted a story on November 11, 2016 stating that Auditor General (A-G) Terry Paddon had “… told the media… his staff will take a look at Nalcor Energy, a review which could possibly include the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project.”


The CBC said that the AG was “not quite clear what [he] will be looking for,” adding:


"We will go in with as broad a thought process as possible, and sort of look at a wide range of areas… You could look at procurement, you could look at compensation, you could look at business processes, those sorts of things."


Fast forward to May 11, 2017.


Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady, in another CBC article co-written by reporter Rob Antle and Morning Show Host Anthony Germain, had the Minister on record responding to the Nalcor whistleblower. The professional engineer had “called for a forensic audit, to find out why early cost projections for the hydro megaproject were “ridiculously low””.


The CBC recorded Coady stating that government “… officials are waiting for the auditor general to finish a broad review of Nalcor Energy first”.


Certainly not opposed to looking at a forensic audit, said Coady,… we have a lot of questions ourselves.


Continued the Minister:


We're going to look at what the auditor general does uncover and talk to [him] at the time, and then consider how we move [forward], what's the next steps from there.


Readers of WHO IS DWIGHT BALL AFRAID OF?  will recall that I recently called attention to the A-G’s vague plans and suggested that “Coady comments transmit the unmistakable odour of delay”.  


Talk about timing…


I received an email from Independent MHA Paul Lane on Thursday, June 8, 2017. En passant, Mr. Lane said that he had spoken with Auditor General “Terry Paddon last week” and “he is not looking into anything related to MF [Muskrat Falls].  He is doing a more general look at staffing, procurement policies, etc” with respect to Nalcor.


Making sure that I was not giving away any confidences, I replied to Mr. Lane asking permission to use his exchange with the A-G. I receive his approval together with the suggestion that Coady was using the AG’s review as “the excuse to do nothing and hope it blows over”. The MHA should be a Playwright!


Lane stated further that he hoped that one of the reasons that the A-G is looking at Nalcor is “because of my constant phone calls, emails, face to face meetings and the literally hundreds of people I got to call his office, email him, etc. He has a file 8 inches thick.”


Fair enough. The Member had made a claim to which he is entitled. 


That said, discretion is a watchword of the Auditor General as it is of or any “oversight” institution. Equally, I am well aware that Independent Members get the chance to share far less information than a Minister or a Premier. As you ascend the pecking order of politicians, those in government have far more advisors and whisperers.


Certainly, if the A-G tells a single Member about the scope of an Audit when  allegations of falsification so serious that they may amount to criminal fraud — are swirling around the province, you might expect that Minister Coady has made it her business to know, too unless she is in a far greater state of denial than Vladimir and Estragon which, admittedly, is likely.


For the Minister to say that she is waiting for what the Audit uncovers knowing, as she and the Premier must, that the A-G is not looking at Muskrat Falls at all, is tantamount to “ghosting”, as one writer said of Vladimir and Estragon as they await the arrival of Godot.


The only other difference is that Ball and Coady pass the time with bafflegab, rather than insults and fitness routines tools of dither which Beckett gave his characters the two politicians hopeful that a forgetful public awaits only a reluctant summer.


Of course, it is possible that Paul Lane didn’t actually speak with the A-G at all and that, like Beckett’s characters, his encounter with the province’s auditor was merely an imagining.


Far more likely, Coady is awaiting something that will not arrive today… but surely tomorrow!

25 comments:

  1. This morning the UARB in Nova Scotia begin hearings on Emera's application to recover 320 million over the next 2 years from the Nova Scotia Ratepayer. This 320 million is to pay for the operating, maintenance costs, financing costs and return on equity for the Maritime Link. The catch?? Well the catch is that there will be no Nova Scotia block delivered over the link. Emera are asking the UARB to approve 320 million for guarantees of hopes and dreams.

    There is no chance the UARB will approve the application as is.

    Emera has offered that the depreciation element not be included in the recovery... a savings of about 100 million. This helps, but this is a token gesture for Emera, as the depreciation is a non cash element. It costs Emera nothing.

    The UARB will do their job and demand more. The more will partially come from the pockets of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

    We need to be watching what happens in Nova Scotia. It will cost Nalcor. We should also learn how society is protected by strong democratic institutions that we so quickly and prone to castrate in this province, all in the name of "whats in the best interest of the province".

    Do I ever hate it when a politician states "Its in the best interest of the province"... get ready we are about to hear it again when Nalcor need to concede something to Emera because of these hearings. I suspect it will be the RECALL energy from the Upper churchill, which we will provide Nova Scotia...

    Forensic Audit.... there is a fertile list of topics to investigate.

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    1. Nfld island, not MF power, is the primary source for NS, so the Maritime link will likely be up and running before Labrador power gets here to fill the void.
      But due to our loads here, island power to NS will be insufficient to meet the contract requirements for some time.So questionable whether we will be responsible for some of Emera`s costs (Maritime Link ready, but little power to deliver) or if we will have to burn fuel at Holyrood to help Emera and Nova Scotia.
      UARB likely will reject Emera`s bid to have NS ratepayers pay for Nalcor non delivery ......and suggest Emera seek recovering costs from Nalcor, and Naclor will attempt to pass this cost along to Nfld ratepayers.
      And as most Nfld ratepayers are suckers, so far, for everything Muskrat, this will be only a ripple, not to the level of a SHOCK RATE.......yet. Those are coming soon. Rather than planning our energy needs (like NS) to avoid shock rates, we planned to get shock rates once MF was sanctioned, we will soon get them, then there will be hell to pay........and then all will demand a forensic audit, and a few scalps as well.
      Meanwhile.....all calm before the storm, with the false hope all this blows over. Many MHAs will have their gold plated pensions and will disappear form the scene, like Kennedy, Dunderdale, and others.
      And was not the PUB hearings on MF reliability to start early 2017, and this now June already. And Andy Wells speculating running for Mayor again.........is power transmission reliability a dead issue now........forget the Liberty warnings, just wait and see, and deal with rotating outages once they happen,..... and blame outages on climate change.
      As with the Mud Lake flooding....don`t look as Nalcor, sure they just did nothing to affect the flow.....wink wink. And Ball says `We`ll get to the bottom of this`.........doesn` say when or by whom, and that swamp is so deep, no one wants to drain it, especially Premier Ball, and Minister Coady.
      Winston Adams

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    2. Winston, what would be your best guess of the potential power load which could be freed up, (to meet contract delivery to Emera), through an aggressive energy conservation program? Is anyone working on such an assessment, cost benefits, timelines? If not, why not? New energy technologies, (Geothermal, wind, solar), based on renewables have worked elsewhere, (The NY Times article), why not in NL? Pembina/Ecology Action could help with developing such a strategy.

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    3. The Bell Island mine has always in my mind, presented potential for geothermal source to displace the Holyrood oil fed turbines. Proximity to load centre, St. Johns, East Avalon, reduces transmission losses, etc. Would this not unload the West to East load, and supply island hydro to meet Emera contract demand? While you are at development of Bell Island as a Renewable Energy hub, there is great potential for a Denmark scale wind energy project.

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    4. Robert, NS has a peak load of about 2100MW, we about 1750MW. NS plans about 475 MW reduction form Efficiency and Conservation measures and have achieved about one third of that so far, now knocking off about 40 MW per year.
      I estimate about 600 MW potential reduction in NFld,long term, and can be ramped up.
      My assessments were done in 2012, mostly the residential side, heating and hot water. No one paid attention.
      Last year ICF consultants for Nfld Power has assessments not much out of line with my assessment........suggesting about 31 percent reduction on energy use for residential energy from conservation. Even that was ignored, as not in accordance with wanting demand growth to satisfy MF.
      I have been field testing effectiveness of minisplit heatpumps, and it exceeds expectations. No serious interest by the power companies......they would lose revenue .......
      We have a summer island peak of about 600MW, and 1100MW of hydro, so depending on rainfall, we have surplus island power now to transmit some to Nova Scotia.........winter is the problem when we need more hydro than we now have for baseboard heat. That is why mini-splits was a solution, heaven made, for Nfld, instead of MF,to address heat loads.
      Other efficiency measures complement this. Without MF, we could add 200 MW wind to 54 we have now, and these operate at 43 percent capacity.
      Atlantic region are using wood pellets for institutional buildings......which is renewable, and we have that resource.
      Yes, a comprehensive assessment is well overdue by efficiency consultant.....but all runs counter to MF.
      If MF was PUT ON ICE, as UG suggested,, this would make sense.
      To me, aggressive measures require government directives, and one gets good results more quickly.
      Otherwise we get the worse: MF, then high shock rates, then customer efficiency and conservation without govn incentives, lower demand for MF, more taxes to pay for MF......more low cost power for NS at Nfld expense........
      When they say put MF on track.........that will be the outcome, and 12 billion to pay off instead of 6 billion sunk costs.
      Any proper assessment 5 years ago, or now, much reach that conclusion........as I see it. If we have 10 billion in sunk cost and 2 billion to finish, maybe completion makes some sense, but with 6 billion sunk and 6 to 9 billion to finish......seem rather insane....and Stan Marshall plows ahead, despite falling demand. Ok if NS and the Feds bail us out. And that excludes possibility of the North Spur failing!
      Even Manitoba Hydro recently went with Efficiency Manitoba, despite a big Hydro megaproject mess and debt. But not an aggressive plan as in NS.
      So why not here.......CONFLICT OF INTEREST FOR POWER COMPANIES. AND STUPID AND DECEPTIVE POLITICIANS. And disengaged and poorly informed population, and main media who does not bite the hand that feed them (advertisements).
      WA

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    5. Robert, today our system was between 625 to 800 MW load, so it appears that there could be hundreds of MW island power to ship to NS if the tie in was complete.Yet in NS they say MF power will not be available until 2020, but want cost of the Maritime link paid starting now.
      I assume as soon as the Maritime link tie is commissioned, island power will flow.
      WA

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    6. "No one paid attention.." "aggressive (conservation) measures require government directives..) just about sums it up for this NL big energy development mistake. People in NL must be made to understand through the audit and inquiry process, how this came about and move on towards the community sustainability model being developed globally. An informed citizen's action group, somewhat modelled on Ecology Action/Pembina, and others with technology intelligence, (TI), will be required to guide the next government back on track. I would encourage you to join with others who share your TI and continue this just cause. It is within the local neighbourhood community that such progress is achievable. Good Luck, and please continue the good work you do.

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  2. ALL their BS and Lies. I have personally called the AG office 4 times and eash time I cal I get hire up the ranks and each time that I do I'm told that the never heard of any reports about conflicts of Interest with Past MHA's bringing in companies for the MF projects, and them getting on their Boards once the left Gov. There is Nalcor Mandating that PUB NOT report of investigate MF. We have more back door deal, Greed, Corruption in Gov today than every before, and Pollies don't answer questions anymore, for they created a system, where they don't have to. They Tell themselves, they OWN US, the People are they are GETTING AWAYS with IT! People of NL are just too simple, to know that they are being taken for a long ride, that never ends and never get better. 70 years in Canada and we are worst then Ever.

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  3. Coady, like the rest of them, is out her depth. Forrest Gump could also be a literary reference about her. A happy fool who finds herself in amazing situations of which she holds no understanding at all.

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  4. This government has been waiting for Godot since their election. They have no interest in protecting the rate/taxpayers of NL. It is stunning that they have squandered their political capital and trail the PC's, the authors of the Muskrat Falls boondoggle.

    The Liberals fealty to the NL oligarchy is absolute and stunning. Instead of exposing the corruption, bringing transparency back to government decisions and acting in the public interest they obfuscate, collude with Nalcor and surreptitiously give away transmission resources for quick cash to cover up Nalcor fiscal incompetence.

    How long can Coady and Ball keep hiding the truth? Why are they not being pursued to the far corners of the province and forced to admit no audit of Nalcor is underway by the AG? Why is the AG giving political cover to a government he knows is not interested in exposing the cost underestimates at MF, the credibility of the engineering costs of the spur plan and a close look at the contracts for the boondoggle with several shady outfits like SNC Lavalin?

    It is clear the media will sit under the tree and await Godot til eternity. It is time Lane becomes more strident and starts a movement of independents to expose the lies and collusion of silence. Newfoundland residents must take a cue from their Labrador cohort. It should be impossible for politicians to engage in public without being confronted, ridiculed and defied until Nalcor is disinfected and held to account.

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  5. Russell has a piece in the Telegram today titled `We all have a right to our opinions`
    He finally mentions Beatrice Hunter......that she was an advocate for her cause, and that she expected consequences, and that what happened to her brought more interest to her cause. Well yes, even Patty Daley speak s on it. Their poll initially showed 46 percent supported her, but popped up to 65 percent by days end, with 7500 votes on the question.
    Well gee.......more interest in her case......... but what did the Telegram or Russell to to bring more interest to her cause.......he waited until she was finally freed, before making a peep on the subject and her mistreatment. Never said she was mistreated.
    Russell cites his 33 years of this business giving opinions and giving access to others give opinions, and suggests some say he should not give opinions.
    Not me. I want more of Russell`s opinions, fact based opinion, opinions with analysis. Otherwise opinions are like assholes, as they say, everyone has one.
    Now Russell is no asshole..... but he has the power of the main media to sway the public with his opinions. So all opinions are not equal as to their affect on society.
    I like Russell, little that I know of him, though I sometimes disagree with his opinions.
    As to Beatrice, well , I think she suffered from structural racism, that is built into our society and justice system, from colonial attitudes. There are many subtle ways this occurs.
    And has the Telegram even mentioned that much of coastal Labrador residents presently suffer from fear of lack of food! Over 80 percent in Hopedale, Beatrice Hunter`s home town. Over 60 percent overall in coastal Labrador. CBC reported online on this, but not the Telegram........or did I miss it.
    12 billion dollars being wasted on MF, and most people om the Labrador coast with actual or fear of food shortages.
    If that was happening in most communities on the Avalon.....it would be a mayor scandal. Why does this exist on coastal Labrador. And why did MUN not do the research on this situation. Why has the Telegram been silent on the matter.
    Opinions,....... Russell.....lets hear them. Don`t say quiet. Give us opinions that bite.
    Winston Adams

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    2. I agree with your opinion and concern for coastal Labrador. And with the injustice in the Hunter case which is emblematic of the long relationship Nfld has had with Labrador. A history of resource extraction and very little concern for those who live there. But Wangersky has become silent on most major issues since Transcontinental took over. It's not that we lack good reporters who will investigate but rather we lack news agencies and networks that will encourage or even allow reporters to dig deep into the muck that smothers us.
      JDW

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  6. An excellent posting Uncle. Regrettably, we expect leadership, help and understanding from our elected officials in times such as these. I truly believe Minister Coady simply does not know how to address the complex problems presented but has an ego that makes her respond foolishly while convincing herself she has pulled the wool over people's eyes. She lost her seat as MP after half of one term. History is likely to repeat itself where she is concerned.

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  7. Could it be Political Science at play?? Call a forensic audit now and the results are out in about 6 months perhaps followed up with intense media scrutiny and even an inquiry. It's all over a full year or more before the next election.

    It's not likely going to look good for the Conservatives of old. They have time to react and ensure the new leader comes from outside such as Ches Crosbie or Bill Barry, either of which will clean house somewhat and having a good chance to regain power.

    Wait a year and most of it plays out after a hapless Paul Davis or Steve Kent is elected leader and the Liberals are seen as the only alternative unless the NDP rises. As for Paul Lane, he was a big part of the problem. Wasn't he one of the leads stuffing telephone surveys and other sheep like activities to support Muskrat Falls.

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    1. Possible, however I am not sure the Liberals have the political savvy to think of this or execute it. Their approach on most everything is to stick their head in the sand and hope it goes away.

      Likewise, perhaps the NDP are holding off as well on an offensive on this topic to sometime closer to the election.

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  8. Would it be reasonable to think the AG would have been aware of Minister Coady's remarks about 'what he may uncover', implying MF? Unless he was unaware (highly unlikely), would it be likely he would want that corrected either through an official government statement or by his own accord? One would think with the evading of issues and allegations he too may risk a perception to the collusion. I'm perplexed at how so many people responsible for the public's interests have ABSOLUTELY NO INTEREST in sorting this. I feel like when this unfolds, it's going to be a lot more DAMning than we may think.

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  9. Russell at the Telly has a good piece today titled `Sense and Memory`
    It cites the good memories that our senses allow us versus the the lack of joy from blaming others for wrongs of the past.
    There is much to that: but sometimes I say happiness is overrated......take the Nfld licence plates in Joey`s day: THE HAPPY PROVINCE.
    There is the argument that IGNORANCE IS BLISS
    Take the wrongs against aboriginal people and the findings of the Truth and Reconcilation Commission......yet we jailed Beatrice Hunter, in essence , we continue the wrongs........should it be forgotten!
    It is June Russell says.....and describes beautifully the bursting of springtime, late as it is, and the joy it brings to our senses.
    Yet, can we ignores the wrongs of the past, and stay in La La Land.
    Once your batteries are recharged, Russell, switch again, as you do, to real issues of right and wrong, though they bring little joy.
    Winston Adams

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  10. UG and others on this blog all got it wrong. Muskrat Falls was the lowest cost power after all.
    According to a government flyer in my mailbox, power rates and our electricity bills will be lowered by 2020-2021.
    Here`s the wording:
    `It`s not acceptable for residents to pay excessive electricity rates. Our action in Budget 2017 and an initial allocation of 210 million dollars will lower rates starting in 2020-21` And it also shows a sign that reads ELECTRICITY BILL with a arrow pointing downward.
    So both power rates and actual bill is to head down.
    Now I knew that aggressive energy efficiency measures, while increasing rates some, could bring down bills, by needing less power. But there is no indication of efficiency measures, yet they, by some miracle will bring down both rates and the power bill.
    Is it possible climate change will eliminate our winters altogether in 4 years, and we need no winter heat......
    Is there a secret payout by Hydro Quebec to Nfld, or the free power to Nova Scotia has been renegotiated....
    Is Danny Williams donating to the 12 billion MF from his non-profit family foundation.......
    I`m just baffled by it all...........and in disbelief.
    But I`m sure the average homeowner will be much relieved, and reassured that all the naysayers on Muskrat were wrong.
    Uncle Gnarley might as well shut down. Stan Marshall has put Muskrat on track for lowest cost power. How it was achieved ......who cares.
    Maybe the new Oversight Committee actually has teeth.
    No need of a forensic audit with power rates going down. No fake news there. The flyer shows the Nfld symbol, with that Nfld cannibal flower, the one that deceives, traps and eats insects alive. So it must be official, right from the lips of Premier Ball.
    June and the coming of spring.....oh the joy.....low electricity costs on the horizon.
    Winston Adams

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    1. I also saw that propaganda flyer. Rates will go down (lies and deception, the big lie), a disastrous white elephant of a multi billion dollar project is reduced to nothing much at all (oversimplification, minimization) and the lies are repeated often enough that people start believing it (ad nauseum) and naysayers start questioning themselves (gas lighting). Government is protecting us (appeal to authority).

      I threw it in the garbage and it disgusted me.

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    2. Blame it on the Russians, everyone else does!! Or is it climate change, everything else is!!

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  11. Imagine the likes of Beatrice Hunter unhappy with the premier of the province who has been duly elected by the people of the province! She has a right to express that opinion but it should surely be ignored by the majority of the people who elected the government. Who the hell does she think she is!!!!

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    1. What "White Supremacist Group" are you a member of??
      There should be more Beatrice Hunters to protest what All Powerful Corporate Entities such as NALCOR have, are and will continue to do with little regard for the lives of those they are affecting. Our so-called "Government" is but a pawn of Nalcor. You should be totally ashamed of your comments--smarten up!!

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    2. She thinks she is a human being worthy of being treated with respect instead of being like a criminal.
      She thinks she has rights that should be protected by The Charter of Rights and constitution.
      She thinks she should not be bullied , even by a judge, and not treated like a dog. I think she is very brave and cares for her people. She is much more honest than our Premier,

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  12. There is a recent news story that Ball is bringing in a considered-by- some expert in ice studies from Saskatchewan to work with an engineering consultant to determine to what extent the Muskrat may have affected the flooding at Mud Lake. This is the appropriate action to take and shows some leadership on his part. The project should pay the cost or appropriate portion if it is found to be at fault. Of course, that will mean the tax and rate payers of the island of NL who will be paying over time.

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