Thursday, 25 January 2018

LOOK WHAT'S ON OFFER IN THE DEMOCRACY COOKBOOK

The Democracy Cookbook, subtitled “Recipes to renew governance in Newfoundland and Labrador,” was spearheaded by Editors Alex Marland, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, and Lisa Moore, Assistant Professor in the Department of English. It is a “collection of short and snappy, non-partisan opinion pieces authored by a cross-section of opinion leaders, academics, creative writers and other citizens.” 

This blogger feels fortunate to have made the latter category. As the editors suggest, the collection “brings together a wide variety of voices to speak to the matter of ‘fixing’ democratic governance in Newfoundland and Labrador…” Imagine that readers of the Uncle Gnarley Blog might have a view on a subject such as that!



To celebrate the digital release of the book, starting today it is available as an Open Access text at www.hss.mun.ca/iserbooks/title/114  or at  https://goo.gl/hpCWfy.  Also released are short videos of six authors talking about their contributions. They will be posted online by ISER Books over the next week, appearing on Memorial University’s YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/MemorialUVideos/videos) and shared by ISER Books on their Facebook and Twitter feeds. An information post is also available at: ISERbooks/news.

Today I am also posting my offering to The Democracy Cookbook. It is far from a complete “fix” for what ails the governance of our institutions, but it might be a recipe worth adding to the “mix”. If it stimulates discussion right here, that would do just fine too. As always, leave the fisticuffs to the House of Assembly.


POLITICAL PARTIES AN ESSENTIAL LINK TO BETTER GOVERNANCE PROCESSES
By Des Sullivan

      The strengthening of governance systems is a frequent preoccupation of democratic politics, including in this province. One approach is to enhance the role of elected members. On the surface this seems a sensible option, except that our elected politicians as a group, governing or in opposition, are already under-qualified. The problem needs remedy. This article proposes a modified district nomination system, one more broadly focused on securing the right mix of Members of the House of Assembly (MHAs) and skill sets.

Governing parties are frequently challenged by MHAs’ inability to assess public policies and to engage in governance and oversight roles. A “more sophisticated and professional approach”1 will both screen candidates and advance gender balance — a goal of modern society that is substantially unfulfilled. There is ample evidence to justify such a reform.

In this province, an incomplete and impermanent governance system has evolved in both the legislative and executive branches. During the Smallwood era no institutional framework grew to permit detailed legislative review by dedicated parliamentarians. Similarly, economic, resource, and social programs underwent no structured involvement at the executive level until they reached the cabinet table.      

Following the Smallwood years, and possibly as a reaction to that time, all-member committees appeared in both branches in the early 1970s. In the legislature, the system was functionally weak and remains that way. Within the executive branch, policy and planning committees became a distinct and important source of review and analysis by ministers. It also enabled a collective style of leadership — likely because it had the backing of successive premiers of different political stripes, a formalized structure, and strong bureaucratic support. By the early 2000s even this governance mechanism began to fray. What seemed an essential model, albeit with tenuous roots, proved not to be embedded at all. The reasons for this breakdown are clearer than any precise remedy. One is that collective leadership threatens to diminish the power of the premier. Then, too, ours is a society that favours strong and charismatic leadership. A collective style of government is not a demand of democratic outcomes. Parliamentarians are not valued as policy wonks or as legislators. Proof is the limited use of the legislature except to vote supply and to amend statutes. More pervasive is the view that they are procurers of a share of the fiscal “pie.”

 In contrast to this assessment, politicians should be viewed as people possessing good judgment, capable of evaluating public needs and mediating policy conflicts. When public policy is thought to be the creation only of the premier or of bureaucrats, essential connections to an important skill set and to benchmarks of performance are lost.

Lopsided election victories also affect critical mass and diminish the effectiveness of legislative committees. The reduction in the number of electoral districts from 52 to 40 since 1975 threatens to exacerbate this problem. One might suggest grossly uneven electoral results make more talent available to the executive branch. A numerical advantage alone offers no such assurance.

All societies want to be governed better. Yet it seems foolish that we should expect, from a relatively small legislature, the diversity of talent and intellectual heft afforded by a large one — unless we have a better plan. The portal to the House of Assembly is through the political party system. Parties consistently promise to supply politicians who inspire good government and good governance processes. But it is an empty gesture, notwithstanding an earnest commitment to serve, if their ideas remain concepts and parties fail to match political exigencies with essential human resources and political leadership.

 The idea of a pre-selection process assumes that political parties will establish criteria for what constitutes “qualification” and that they will form resourced and ethical committees to conduct the screening process. Active recruitment should be followed by candidate interviews and possibly other means of assessment. Screening implies some potential candidates will be disallowed. The most optimistic outcome is that the enlarged process will result in both gender and skills balance across each party’s slate. One might reasonably expect a well-balanced slate to serve as a counterweight to authoritarian leadership.

This proposal is not a substitute as much as it is an enhancement to the current party nomination system — one that some believe favours not the best, but the best-funded candidates and those advantaged by name recognition. Its success can be judged by how well the goals of skill and gender balance are met.

Naturally, any pre-selection system will incite worries over favouritism and elitism. Indeed, large democracies, like those of Great Britain2 and Australia,3, which have used pre-selection systems for decades, are encouraging their parties to adopt more inclusive practices. Still, pre-selection remains an integral part of their political systems.

            Jurisdictions with relatively small populations, like ours, need to innovate. The status quo is not working. It is costing us more than we realize. Governance systems have implications both fiscally and for our quality of life. Parties don’t need to mirror each other’s pre-selection practices. But they do need to understand that their raison d’être is inseparable from the institutions they serve.

Notes
1. Margaret Reynolds, “Women, Pre-selection, and Merit: Who Decides?” Parliament of Australia, Papers on Parliament No. 27, Mar. 1996, at: http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Senate/Research_and_Education/pops/~/link.aspx?_id=DB87E15C703242179906EACC1253891C&_z=z.
2. Susan Scarrow, “Candidate Selection for the 2015 Election: A Comparative Perspective,” 11 Jan. 2015, at: http://britishpoliticsgroup.blogspot.ca/2015/01/candidate-selection-for-2015-election.html; Rhys Williams and Akash Paum, “Party People: How Do — and How Should — British Political Parties Select Their Parliamentary Candidates?” Institute for Government (2011), at: http://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/Party%20People.pdf.

3. Library Council of New South Wales, “Information about the Law in New South Wales” (2016), at: http://www.legalanswers.sl.nsw.gov.au/guides/hot_topics/voting_and_elections/who_can_stand/choosing_candidates.html.

34 comments:

  1. On the fact that the status quo is not working we all agree. Rearranging the deck chairs after having hit the iceberg is unlikely to make a difference. Preselection does nothing to deal with the root of the crisis, authoritarian decisionmaking unfettered by the Opposition or government members and a neutered civil service unwilling to speak truth to power.

    The root of the problem demonstrated emphatically by Muskrat Falls is a lack of transparency and accountability accompanied by complete regulatory dysfunction. The result, feudal control by self serving and often narcissistic strongmen, is unchecked control of the treasury and corruption.

    Preselection addresses none of the rot. How could a functioning democracy stand by while freedom of information laws and regulatory oversight guided by a civil service speaking truth to power are swept away to facilitate an unneeded project with corrupt companies? Preselecting the corrupt and impotent members of a dysfunctional democracy changes nothing.

    The solution requires digging deep, confronting the feudal reality and enshrining in stone the democratic principles, now merely quaint notions. Frankly it it requires the balls to confront the tyrants, something in very short supply in NL.

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    1. Bruno, you say, ".......a civil service speaking truth to power are swept away......" So you are saying our real democracy problem is a weak civil service, maybe an incompetent civil service, deputy ministers are serving at the pleasure of the strongman, or they get their simply by time served, just there to fill a position, not to do the real job, but to simply stay with their heads down to collect a pension. Would some of these be like the oversight committee that was appointed for muskrat. Don't think they produced a single page in their oversight, a committee in name only, and they were happy to do that. Don't rock the boat, I don't know notin' about dams, but we were told to be on the committee, and stay quiet, and we're keeping our heads down. Is that what you are talking about Bruno ....

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    2. A weak civil service is a symptom of the problem.

      I am talking about my first hand witness of one civil servant after another quaking in fear and refusing to utter the words "significant environmental impact"at the JRP. They twisted themselves into pretzels avoiding causing waves. One went so far as to testify that if he gave evidence on caribou impacts he would lose his job after a Justice lawyer, riding shotgun on every word spoken, took him aside and threatened his job.

      There was nothing subtle about the repression. It was overt and the bureaucrats trembled in fear. The message was clear, if you want your job shut up. Why are any of them employed if they are just window dressing?

      Still even now nobody has asked the fundamental questions. Is this project driven by corruption? Where are the contracts with SNC Lavalin and Astaldi? Where is the detailed engineering on the spur? Why have the Liberals continued the fraud without demanding to see the books at Nalcor?

      The problem is you have a democracy in name only that has become an empty and meaningless ritual every four years. You have a defacto feudal state and all fear upsetting the narcissistic emperor that is responsible for the destruction.

      Who will stand up and and say he is naked and very ugly?

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    3. The above comment is almost funny because I live it every day in the public service.

      "a weak civil service, maybe an incompetent civil service, deputy ministers are serving at the pleasure of the strongman, or they get their simply by time served, just there to fill a position, not to do the real job, but to simply stay with their heads down to collect a pension"

      I would remove the word "maybe" - the civil service is absolutely incompetent. Most good people do not stay long in the civil service for many reasons: you have to be a sycophant to get promoted, the pay is poor for good people, senior management is grossly incompetent and politically connected, SNAFU and FUBAR are terms that fit exactly, education and experience is not valued. Most good people move on. What is left is are mostly people with no other options and many of those would be unemployable above minimum wage in the private sector.

      There are hundreds of highly competent people in the public service but they are a minority and not in positions of power. Most of these people are simply waiting for their pension. They are disillusioned and survive with a dark sense of humour. It is pathetic really.

      Sometimes we tell outrageous stories to colleagues. More often than not we then get told, that's nothing, let me tell you a story. Sometimes at the end of it, everyone is speechless. It is as we are living in the film "Idiocracy".

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    4. This says it all.

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  2. If the Kruger P&P mill closes in CB then it will make MFs redundant and not needed at all. The mill uses about 200 MW of available power and the power plant at Deer Lake produces about 175 MW along with the 300 MW recall from UC and the extra 150 MW from upgrades at Bay Despair will make MF's redundant before it even goes into production. We may be looking at a $12 Billion dam from which we can't sell the power neither domestically not beyond and still have to pay for it. Thanks Danny Williams.

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    1. Don't forget to thank Dunderdale for her colossal naivete as well... like taking candy from a baby.

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    2. There is a lot of truth in your assessment. The Kruger mill needs about 200MW available at all times so if the mill closes, that 200 MW will be freed up around the clock 365 days of the year. Even though it produces its own 175 MW at Deer lake, the 200 MW must be available at all times to service the mill. With the mill closed, that 200 MW will be avaiable for the general population.

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  3. I think your estimates of the MW are high across the board, however, you did not mention declining which should more than make up the difference. Therefore your conclusion has a high probability of being correct.

    To UG's point, if only we had cabinet ministers who could do the basic economic math like this. But wait a minute... they are surely not that dumb. Yes, they need skills but they need to use them and stand by their judgement. There needs to be a secondary mechanism to hold our elected officials accountable by means other than elections every 4 years.

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  4. Yes, that sounds about right an. 1148. If the mill were to shut down. We need to develop a couple hundred MW of wind preferable on the Avalon, mainly where it is needed, and the 300 MW from UC we could get hydro Quebec or emera to sell it for us through the Quebec grid whoever gave us the best deal. Then the power shoestring power line from muskrat to solders pond would be come redundant, and we could shut down holyrood. Yes, should include lower demand through conservation. I am not an engineer, so could our learned and experienced engineers care to comment. For those of us that condem muskrat we must have a viaiable alternative.

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    1. As one engineer with experience in power systems and efficient electric heating systems that reduce energy use 65 percent for heating: here is what could have been
      1. The reason proposed for MF was to address our winter baseboard electric heat loads, then needing Holyrood in winter. ...........and so the 12. 7 billion solution to a simple lows cost problem.
      MF : 824 max generation but only 500 MW can be delivered to Soldier's pond on average, so less power than Bay D"espoir can produce and about the same as Holyrood 3 thermal units combined output.
      The isolated option, which they said would be 2 billion more expensive identified 78 MW of additional hydro on the island. Wind was largely dismissed , we have 54 MW now that produce at 43 percent capacity .so about 23 MW on average. That option envisioned to keep up the Holyrood plant instead of reducing loads in winter, to avoid thermal generation.
      We could likely ramp up to 15 percent wind, so .15 x 1750 MW = 262 Mw, so could incrementally add say another 208 Mw, which at 43 percent capacity gives on average 89 Mw.
      New Hydro and wind gives 78 + 89 = 167 MW
      We currently use about 350 Mw at Holyrood on average, so about 183 MW short, and thermal would still be needed with above options.
      Now back to the heating solution:
      We now use 650 MW for baseboard heating. If efficient HP conversions on houses with 65 percent energy savings and 50 percent reduction on the 650 Mw heating component, the grid peak load at cold snap conditions, this give 650x.5 =177 Mw reduction from efficient domestic heating,. so 183-177 = just 6 Mw shy of, on average, not needing any thermal generation, except during cold snaps for about 9 day per year, we could need some, an extra say 150 Mw short term need.
      Meanwhile, other conservation measures, with basements insulated, reduced house loads by 30 percent. Commercial and institutional building are highly inefficnet and can reduce loads substantially. And hot water loads , domestic can reduce loads by about 75 MW.
      In all, some 600 MW is available for reduction on the grid by efficiency and conservation ( way more than we actually need to reduce)......
      Nova Scotia is reducing loads by these methods at a cost of 3 cents per kwh ,and saves customers via less energy used.
      These conservation measures can ramp up,(NS knocking off about 50 Mw per year, and can take 8-10 years to fully achieve our goal.
      This approach could have held our yearly energy household cost stable, instead we get the high costs to pay for the boondoggle that may bankrupt the province. Seems like I proposed this option in 2012? We were already about 85 percent renewable energy on the island (NS was about 20 percent renewable). So we build MF to make NS green, and we had so little to do to become almost 100 percent green on the island, and costs, in our bills from Nfld Power, to households need not have climbed, maybe not at all. Fortis, could have smelled like roses , if only they challenged Nalcor and Nfld Hydro............now they too seek to lay blame, 5 years too late.
      Winston Adams



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    2. Holyrood is needed for winter heating load and is often idle in the summer. You can reduce winter electric heating load by 100% if you switch to wood/pellets/propane/oil or 60% if you go with a whole home heatpump solution. In the last three years, I have yet to have a day cold enough the heat pump couldn't heat the home. We could easily have slashed demand such that Holyrood was only a backup station.

      There is a study of every potential hydro site on the Island. They total to about 800MW! Then there is wind power, carbon neutral wood pellets, solar passive designs and so much more. The power that was used by the pulp and paper plants is also available.

      No competent engineer in the right mind ever believed that MF was the low cost solution.

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    3. Thanks Winston and an 21:05, but my point is if someone came to you today, not 10 years ago, ( appreciate your solution back then) and said give us a plan that can meet our current needs. What could be a simple solution. From my understanding we need an additionally 5oo MW added to our current 1150 that is currently available, or you tell me the correct number. As previously mentioned, if corner Brook were to shut down (not saying it will happen or not wanting it to happen) we add 200 MW, Bay despair adds 150 MW with up grades, with 200 MW added in wind, we are approaching the 500 MW that is required for wintertime, of 1750 MW. So the 1150+200+150+200=1600mw, that is getting us close to the requirements without holyrood, muskrat or UC. And these numbers may not be correct, but you tell me and correct them. Remember we are the third windest city in the world and province too I guess. They say the wind vanes can operate in winds up to 60 mph, or 100 Klicks as we say, before allowing them to free flow. Now how much can we realisticly conserve, through heat pumps. Are we not in the ball park of our current energy needs year round. A non-engineer just asking.


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    4. Anon,
      1750 Mw peak load minus 1150 hydro leaves 600 MW by Holyrood and gas turbines , during cold snaps, 350 MW by Holyrood during winter average.
      During summer , our peak load is only 600 MW, so we have a winter time problem, caused mostly be inefficient baseboard heaters..650 Mw load for domestic heat, not including for commercial and institutional buildings.
      New generation, whether hydro, wind , thermal , solar , nuclear, storage (via hydro pumped or battery with wind) is not cheap.
      Efficiency and conservation measures beats them all to hell in low cost and savings to customers on yearly heat bills.
      The most obvious low cost and efficient conservation measure is insulation. Would anyone these days not well insulate? Then there is air tightness, and argon gas windows. Many have done this.........so baseboard is obsolete technology, 100 percent efficient yes, but heatpumps 200 to 600 percent efficient depending on the season and ambient temperature and outdoor humidity.
      But replacing baseboard heaters with heat pumps is just awesome for energy savings, and more important, the grid peak load reduction.
      I estimate 600 MW reduction potential from all sources including HPs for our grid, but not that much needed , when reasonable wind and some more island hydro is added. Wind can be brought on line in 18 months ,island hydro 3 years, energy reduction about 30-40 MW per year, so need to be ramped up. 10 years yield 300-400 Mw reduction form energy efficiency and conservation.
      So we can kick oil burning even if Corner Brook mill stays operating.
      Many houses are saving 1000-1200 dollars a year with minisplits. Gnd soruce saves even more but are much more expensive. Ontario now pays homeowners up to 20,000.00 to install gnd source, but our winters are much milder , so most of the province air source minisplits are much more economic.
      160,000 houses reducing from 6 kw baseboard to 3 kw , at minus 15C, means 480 MW reduction from that alone.
      What is realistic requires a good efficiency plan , that is separate,from the power companies, going after the big energy wasters , not lights etc, using best methods, quality equipment for our climate, not junk units, and knowledgeable installers who are taught the best practices.
      That is the cookbook to not need MF power, nor Holyrood (except for emergency backup, if hydro lines goes down feeding the Avalon.
      These methods are being practiced in other jurisdictions for 20 years or more, and big time in NS since 2008. The method to fund by adding less than a cent to power rates and so have a large fund to feed back to customers to pay 35 -50 percent of the cost of installations...and that brings success and quick ramp ups.
      Ed Martin said Nflders were not interested in efficiency and conservation. Martin is full of shit, to be blunt. ..... as they intentionally misled the public and adopted conservation measures that provide very little value to the customer, and so keep power sales up, and high dividends for Fortis, and Danny's Dream of the legacy project.. which became our boondoggle.
      For heating 1000 sq ft at 22C indoors, , yesterday...my monitor shows: 500 watts needs at 1am,(33.4F) 610 watts at 7 am. 550 watts 1 pm, 700 watts at midnight, at 22.8F.
      At the old rule of thumb, of 10 watts per sq ft, this would need 4000 watts of baseboad heaters. At -11C, the coldest so far, I have needed only 1150 watts! Homeowners need to Take Charge by ignoring the Take Charge Scallywags, and complaining to their PR people, and CEO, who continue to mislead and ...who have saddled us with 12.7 billion in debt..for what reason? Leblanc will tell us?
      Efficiency and Conservation is an industry in itself, a job creator. a money saver for households, business and government. We need it more than ever...and yet we cannot learn from other jurisdictions. Why? Ever see one piece by Telegram reporters or editorials on achievements of other jurisdictions? Why their silence?

      Winston Adams


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    5. To correct: should read " at the old rule of thumb, of 10 watts per sq ft, this would need 10,000 watts of baseboard heaters. At -11c, the coldest so far, I have needed only 1150 watts"
      10 watts per sq ft was ok in the 1960s with 4 in walls, poorly insulated and not tight. Now with better construction, with baseboard heaters, 4 watts would do with baseboard, and 1.5 watts per sq ft with HPs, properly sized. Yet Nfld power do not even formally recommend lower than 10 watts, and so keep up the high winter grid peak loads, especially with programmable thermostats, that kick in all heaters at the same time in the morning........what a joke!
      Winston

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  5. Out of topic news here.

    Massachusetts just picked Northern Pass (Hydro Quebec). It's the biggest HQ export contract to date.

    http://nhpr.org/post/massachusetts-picks-northern-pass-major-energy-contract#stream/0

    There should be slightly less surplus electricity "dumping" from now on I guess.

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    1. 1-"Surprise" in French is a feminine noun, and thus it should be "Quelle surprise", not "Quel surprise" (A pure matter of spelling, as "quel" and "quelle" are both homophonous).

      2-Indeed, it seems to me that a more widespread knowledge of the country's other official language might be especially useful to inhabitants of Newfoundland and Labrador: should they wish to clean up their government, for instance, well, I'm sure one could do worse (as a starting point) than to examine such recent events in Quebec history as the Commission Charbonneau and the good work done by the UPAC recently. In like fashion, finding out why Hydro-Quebec avoided building a Muskrat Falls-, Site C- or Keeyask dam-like White elephant should be a matter of more than passing interest to readers of this blog.

      Tellingly, neither endeavor, I think, is possible without a very solid command of the country's other language.

      3-More broadly, Quebec and Newfoundland are amazingly alike: such classics of Quebec literature as UNE SAISON DANS LA VIE D'EMMANUELLE, L'AVALÉE DES AVALÉS or BONHEUR D'OCCASION are works which the average Newfoundlander (if my own experience with Newfoundlanders and other anglophone Canadians is anything to go by) would *get* in a way other Canadians outside Quebec could not.

      Perhaps if Newfoundlanders had had a better understanding of their neighbor they wouldn't have so willingly taken the bait whenever some demagogue of a politician blamed Quebec for...well, anything and everything, really.

      4-And finally, more pragmatically, for those Newfoundlanders considering moving to another province in order to find more stable employment, well, compare housing costs in Montreal versus those in Toronto (or, Heaven forbid, those in Vancouver). 'Nuff said.

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    2. Hi Etienne, agree with you. As a young matelot or matlow(you tell me the right spelling) on Canadian warships at the tender age of 17 to 20 years, I agree with you. The guys that flocked together both on board and going ashore were québécois and Newfoundlanders, maybe as we say birds of a feather flock together. Seemed we had more in common from all the rest of Canadians, except maybe, Nova Scotians. Guess it was mainly our up brining and childhood similarities, but I am not Catholic either.lol and of course back in the fifties and sixties, most Newfoundlanders favorite hockey team was the Canadiens. You are our nearest geographical neighbour sharing a common boarder, yet most Newfoundlanders, don't know a word of French except for bonjour etc, including yours truely, and certainly can't carry on an informed conversation. I always said every Newfoundlander that went to lab city or wabush, should be required to take conversational French, not to become French scholars but simply to be able to carry on an intelligible conversation. If you can't talk to each other then you swear on each other behind their back, lol. Not a good idea. So if language was not a barrier we would be best buddies in all respects. Just from my prospective and experience. Hope I am not too far of topic for UG.

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    3. I had the same experience.

      My best buddies in the military were from Newfoundland. Laid back, no BS and good drinkers...

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  6. Weeding out the incompetent dimwits and dodgy skeets that have, by and large, always comprised the bulk of NL politicians is one thing... it's another thing entirely to rid the bureaucracy of the entrenched vermin that enables them.

    No... as many others on here have observed, the dismal lot of so-called "leaders" the province invariably produces have demonstrated time and time again that they are incapable of competent governance. The only self-governing "democracy" ever... that was forced to turn its destiny over to an outside commission of government due to horrendously corrupt and inept governance... is indisputable proof of that.

    Those bloody fools and their political appointees obviously don't have the capability to properly discharge their duties in the interests of the common good, therefore... serious consideration should be given to turning it all over to Ottawa, before the NLers still left in the province revert back to living in abject poverty, riddled with TB and nar toot' in their heads from scurvy due to malnourishment.

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  7. I was not impressed with the half dozen pieces published on the Democracy Cookbook by the Telegram.
    Much more interesting is the report on how we LOST our democracy in the 1930s
    High ranking officials came from England and arrived in St John's on Mar 13, 1933............our debt topped 100 million, and we could borrow no motre money, with unbalanced budgets for a decade or more, so essentially bankrupt......with poverty and facing starvation.......70,000 of 280,000 population on the dole, 6 cents per person per day, salaries and expenses and jobs slashed , whether teachers, hospitals or the railway.
    This mission was authorized by the British govn on Feb 17, 1933, so in less than a month they were here, and unlikely they traveled by air.
    They commenced work on Mar 16, to Apr 14, hearing evidence.
    On the 17 of April they started visiting parts of Nfld to see the actual conditions and seek opinions and evidence.
    By April 28 they were enroute to Ottawa via train, and stayed until May 22, and back to St johns by May 29 to resumed hearing until may 30. There were 100 formal hearings and 260 witnesses. Their draft report started early July, and was finished early Sept. It was 406 pages.
    What is interesting, having just read this since yesterday, is how much the Leblanc Inquiry could copy from this report and use now, ........the lack of good governance, corruption, inefficiency, the type of politics, the gambles on useless schemes, the indifference of the public and business leaders.....etc
    They say history does not repeat, but it rhymes.
    If you, like me, had never before read this report, it is well worth the read. Google Amulree Report, at the bottom of the first page under Amulree Report Project, click for the full report. In 2002 A MUN student, Hong, got this online , that we can all know how we went down this road before.........and it seems little has changed as to why we are again at this tragic point in our history...........
    This significant report finished in 6 months!. And even in 1933, they remarked about the future importance of air travel,( ignored by our politicians here) we being on the fovored great route between North America and Europe ( a local engineer referenced more formal meeting in 1944, and suggested we have lost some 8 billion from air space rights). Even in 1933 , the Italians were landing float planes here , in Shoal Hr.
    And even this report cites our better winter temperatures than Nova Scotia, small detail, but which even now shows efficient HP are some 10 percent more efficient here than for NS! Did the world class Nalcor engineers not be aware of this advantage when assessing the boondoggle and least cost for household heat energy here? Of course, Weather Canada would show the same thing, and more.
    Perhaps someone could more fully compare our present situation, with 1933, and why this has happened all over again.
    Winston Adams


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    1. And using the Bank of Canada inflation calculator, 100 Million in 1933 would equal around 1.9 billion today. We have a current debt of 12 billion (so says the NL Gov), but don't worry, nothing to see here...

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    2. We have 1/2 million population, the USA 324 million. So they have 648 times our population.
      There, in the USA, there is great controversy whether they should spend and waste 25 billion on a wall to keep out millions of what Trump describes as murders, rapers etc. They don't readily let pass wasteful spending on stupid ideas, and most say the wall will never be built.
      Yet 25 billion is not much for 324 million population.
      If the wall was in porportion to cost of the 12.7 billion on our poputation, the wall would cost about 8 trillion dollars! Can that be right? Imagine the outrage for such a boondoggle as that! 8 trillion dollars, when all of the American defesce spending is about 0.5 trillion a year.
      Sort of puts our Legacy project , MF in context as to how bad it is.....like the spending 8 trillion on a useless wall.
      WA

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  8. Oh poo, isn't it obvious thet democracy is only as strong as the populace wants it to be?

    An enfranchised, aware public tat wants good representation will get up off their asses and put forward those few who they trust to carry the popular agenda. Party be damned,all the party does is stupify the elected, herd them into controllable groups and take away their ability to truly act as peoples' representatives, with a figurehead despot to lead the way into obfuscation and williwaws.

    Until we all stand up and ask what the HE two sticks is going on and what can we do to sort it out, we are doomed to Uncle's scenario of the inept and morbidly dumb co-opting each other and ignoring what they were meant to do in a democracy.

    Look to the nomination process for real siolutions; have hope that mass involvem,ent and truly open discussions with candidates can happen; get out the vote, should not be a party responsibility, but everyone's ability.
    Australia had a mandatory voting process, a good first step to making representation work effectively.

    There is nothing a political party fears so much as democracy.

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    1. What is obvious is that democracy in NL is only as strong as the most narcissistic diva strongman lets it be. The evidence is not damned much with no access to info, no contracts or engineering studies, no compliance with promises of mercury monitoring etc.

      Don't blame the victims, attack the villains.

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  9. An Insight into Governance Issues arising from the Commission of Inquiry into Nalcor Crown Corporation and its Subsidiaries regarding the Boondoggle Muskrat Falls hydro project in Practice [NB.sadly not into Governments of NL, CA - a missed opportunity to improve for example, due diligence]: goo.gl/4uthC3 Message Sent 26 Jan. 18 Regarding Independent Submission to Justice Richard LeBlanc about the Terms of Reference of Commission Nalcor Muskrat Falls Nunatisvut Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

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  10. Perhaps we should join Quebec, if only for their 7 cent power rates that they could give us, and let them run our whole province. My grandchildren now learn French, and I read that knowing 2 languages reduces the risk of Altzheimers........
    See Ex Military post above and the nice words of Etienne post above......
    Here the story: Massachusetts (which they call a Commonwealth), tendered for clean renewable energy..1090 MW, about twice Muskrat Falls capacity, as the 824 MW can only deliver about 500 Mw on average.
    Now Mass., to Quebec City is only about the same distance as from St johns to Corner Brook, and to get to Mass. they have to cross New Hampshire.
    Hydro Quebec seems to have won the contract to sully power, and the transmission system ., I assume will cost 1.6 billion, which includes to bury 192 miles of the power line so not to spoil the view in Hew Hampshire, and affect tourism with those ugly towers Recall, the Maritime link alone cost 1.7 billion (about 95 miles of undersea cable capable of only 500 Mw, ) a portion of the 12.7 billion boondoggle.
    New Hampshire will get construction jobs.
    This should get the green light in March and be operational by Dec 2020, so 2.75 years to have the juice flowing. Now that sounds like world class operators. This should be operational before the Corner Brook hospital, which has been promised for 10 year past. Maybe these guys can help replace the 1855 Waterford Hospital build before Abe Lincoln died.
    ANYWAY, This will displace coal and oil and natural gas generation..who would oppose that? LonG distance transmission is dead says Bruno........well old Tesla much be smiling somewhere in the ether.
    New Hampshire Governor calls it a win for everyone. Gosh, as we get winds here in Nfld from the USA, there should be a bit less polution coming our way, so a win for us too. of course, hydro does have some environmental impacts.
    Not so much good news for Nalcor's dreams of sending power to Boston.
    Pray tell, Judge Leblanc .where did we go wrong?
    Can you do as good as Quebec with public inquires? That project to power up Mass with 17 percent of its power will likely be finished before our inquiry is, I wonder, with no blame laid, I wonder?
    Winston Adams

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  11. You don't just skim the surface Winston, with a one track mind or can't be accused of tunnel vision, your all encompassing mind embraces the entire universe and beyond, lol no, not looking for a free mini split heat pump either.

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  12. Good examples inferred here as to the degree of blind incompetence afflicting the politicians responsible for running the province into the ground. The state of naive denial Paul Davis appears to be in is astounding...

    http://www.thetelegram.com/opinion/letter-to-the-editor/letter-no-magic-money-pot-at-muskrat-180422/

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    1. To gain credibility for the Inquiry, I would work backwards with the List; Davis, Dunderdale, Ball, Past Ministers of the crown, Winston, Vardy, Martin, Gordon, Ex. CEO, etc. leaving the best (or worst), for last. Winston will win the Day, and those following will enlighten the news media and general public.

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  13. Tom Hawco needs to learn how to use Google maps... he erroneously states Hoover Dam is "only 500 miles from Las Vegas"??? In fact it's only 33 miles. Other than that, I fully concur with Mr. Hawco's assessment of Paul Davis's dreamworld state of denial regarding the MRF fiasco.

    http://www.thetelegram.com/opinion/letter-paul-davis-must-be-dreaming-in-technicolor-180471/

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  14. Unions are in control of this Province. Unions have one objective, to increase membership. Do not kid yourselves, it is a business like any other.
    Unions will yield at nothing to improve their position. They are structured not to care about the long term, because that is someone else’s problem and someone else will take the blame. They are focused on one thing in the short term, better contracts for their members, PERIOD.
    Until some emerges, as a scapegoat, to make the hard decisions which need to be made, who neither is reliant on re-election or union membership support, we will not find a way out of this situation.
    Who can this be? The person/group who will take all the responsibility and heat, for making the hard decisions, without caring about provincial politics or unions? Someone who, may actually improve, their popularity by doing it?
    Let's think big picture, the Feds step in to bail us out. The province has no choice but to yield to their demands. Provincial unions too. To the rest of Canada, the Feds spin this as a mission of mercy and highlight the stiff requirements/penalties, imparted on the province for the bailout. Essentially punishing us for our years of mismanagement, much like disciplining a child. The rest of Canada applauds this, Feds win Big, NL looses big. Unions blame the Feds, NL government blames the Feds (or remains quiet).
    In the end, our short-term future is lost. Financial instability and fear rule personal financial decisions. Unemployment races, spending grinds to a halt. Stores, shops, restaurants close. Public services are reduced, public layoffs take place on mass. 20 years from now we'll be better off. The death grip of the unions, around the neck of the government, will be broken.
    Can strong, COMPETENT, leadership emerge from the rubble? If history teaches us anything, maybe. I hope history is not doomed to repeat itself, as has so often been the case here in NL.

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    1. Yes, strong, European white colonials have led the rape and pillage of places like Labrador, which was deemed part of the old colony. Why would you not ask our Indigenous Canadians, protectors of this great resourceful land, what true leadership is about?

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