Monday, 29 January 2018

PUT NAPE DEAL AGAINST A “STUPID” TAX ON BUSINESS

How does the existential threat of insolvency get catapulted into questions about the “no-layoff” clause in NAPE’s new collective agreement and whether it will be embedded beyond the contract’s expiry date?

It is one thing for Gerry Earle to huff and puff and threaten retaliation if business organizations persist in criticizing a deal hatched with a hapless government. But the Board of Trade’s insertion of Howard Levitt, a labour lawyer, as if he were the embodiment of the province’s frustration over its fiscal mess, is tantamount to lunacy. 
The province’s debt crisis is not a collective bargaining issue. It is a leadership problem. The government is happy that most cannot distinguish between the two. It gives them cover for dither. 
Dorothy Keating - President St. John's Board of Trade
Insolvency will have to be resolved, in part, on the backs of labour — and on the backs of everyone else, including business. But describing insolvency as if it were a NAPE issue is, in the vernacular of a former Premier, “silly and stupid”. 
NAPE should accept no more responsibility than should the Board of Trade for the current debacle. In fact the two are equally culpable, having failed to intervene long ago in a string of bad political decisions regarding deficit spending and Muskrat. And the two outfits remain lazy and unimaginative, as much in denial as they ever were, as to the consequences of the province going broke.
On offer is a public forced to watch the Board of Trade match Gerry Earle’s heavy breathing. 
Earle can ignore the fact that labour represents roughly 50% of budgeted public expenditures. He can even deny that it may be too late for a ‘soft rescue’. But all unions do so at the peril of their membership. Huffing and puffing won’t change that inescapable fact.
But no one should be fooled. Protest is not the exclusive purview of labour.  Business can protest, too. They can, if they choose, close their doors — shut the province down — if that is what it takes to raise public consciousness over our massive debt problem and how it will increasingly impact our lives.
It takes guts. It takes a strong will to accept that pain is necessary today in order to ward off a worse outcome later.  
Business won’t be immune if the province fails. A few people understand that. So, what’s wrong with business going on strike in an effort to force the government into a plan of fiscal sanity? 
Business is wont to complain about high taxation. But doesn’t lower consumer spending have a similar — or worse — impact? 
Being proactive might interrupt the flow of conversation on the cocktail circuit. Some “boardroom buddies” might even see such actions as beneath them. 
Of course, the owners of the capital can afford such pretensions. Most locals, including board members, risk only being told to get back to work. The “real” owners of more than 90% of the business interests of our “franchise” economy are located in Toronto, Arkansas, London or some other city.  Most don't care if the NL Office is a blight on their balance sheet.
In place of finding men and woman with the capacity to influence public policy — affecting the very economic foundations of the province — we have cheerleaders picking a fight, sending out moronic Press Releases as if empty expressions of concern mattered a damn to a government that has not made a single tough decision since being elected. 
It’s not just that Gerry Earle can’t see beyond his nose when it comes to protecting the livelihoods of his membership or those retirees who paid dues for decades. He is likely saying: why should NAPE take the fall when the ‘flag-wavers for Danny’ are just as culpable? Of course, any excuse will do. It was the unions who were complicit in their silence, watching as Williams, Dunderdale, Marshall and Davis sank a place given a second chance. Gerry Earle, after all, is only a euphemism for every public sector self-interest. But the Board of Trade still has to answer for its vociferous mindless boosterism of the Muskrat Falls project.


The province is solvent today for essentially one reason. And it’s not because businessman Paul Antle wrote on his Facebook page that he believes the bond market will look favourably upon the NAPE deal. 
Neither is it because attrition is the way to resolve the need for a cut of $2–2.5 billion of overspending. And it’s not because anyone believes that oil is heading for $100/barrel. 
If you talk to any senior banker they will acknowledge — albeit in dulcet tones — that the lenders are confident about only one thing. It is simply that, in the event of a default, the Federal Government will intervene to keep the lenders whole. The province’s ability to borrow billions of dollars has already ceased having a relationship with our fiscal capacity.

Of course, the Feds may well get you out of hot water, but the rescue won’t be a free-ride — including for business. 
In the meantime, 40,000 public servants and another 80,000 pensioners hope that a sudden global event won’t spook the financial system. They watch as leadership at all levels is distinguished by its ignorance as to the depth of province’s plight and its unwillingness to look at the larger picture.
What should business and labour do?
First, they should cut the crap.
Second, find some people who can — absent ideology, self-interest or partisanship — school them in the full dimension of the problem and the options (if any) for its repair.   
Third, for now, they should start talking privately. Their misinformation is too beguiling even for a badly informed public. They should not forget to include some leaders from rural and someone in healthcare who is not a politician.  
Fourth, everyone is going to have to give up something — including business. The latter should pay a “stupid” tax anyway, just for thinking bureaucrats could pull off a megaproject.
Fifth, business and labour should develop a united front with the goal of prescribing (real) solutions that might ward off insolvency. Everything — including NAPE’s deal and higher business taxes — must be put on the table. If business thinks they are already paying too much (and they might be) they need reminding that continuance of the status quo is a delusion.
Sixth, be ready to give the Premier and the Finance Minister their marching orders: a plan. Otherwise, those spineless ones will walk a short plank with you over the fiscal cliff quicker than you can say Tory.  
Seventh, if government refuses, a province-wide strike may be necessary — by both business and labour. (For a long time, I have wanted to see the President and CEO of Newfoundland Power standing up for their customers.)
It’s a long shot, I know. A really long one.
But the alternative is a human tragedy that history will look back on with derision.

41 comments:

  1. What's keeping the province solvent today, in the event of default, the Feds will keep the lenders whole. That's a profound statement by UG. Is that a fact, or is that an opinion? How many others have the same opinion, not nape or unions, or the Bot, or the employers council, UG says the senior bankers. Maybe they know more than any of us, do the have their fingers on the finincial pulse of the province, and can see the big picture better than the rest of us. If so, maybe they should be shouting louder to to business leaders, unions, politicians, both frderal and provincial, and also to the average Joe. Maybe they don't want to spook anyone either. Surely our big university has the mental capacity to understand and comphrend where we are and where we are going, except for lock, of course. Or maybe they consist of a herd of sheep pasture grazing like most of us. Who can save us except for the lenders and uncle Ottawa? And if they do save us, will we be whole again?

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  2. Mr. Sullivan, you nailed it, as you so often do. One question for you, as I am at a total loss for the logic used in the severance payout. How does borrowing $250 million to pay out to NAPE members save the government money? I would think paying out as employees left their jobs would make much more sense, as is the case until this offer is ratified. The federal government did that a few years back, under Harper, and I wondered about the same thing then, and it was many times more in payout then. Am I missing something? (ok, that was a second question)

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    1. The concept is 2 fold (but figuring out exactly the cost vs savings is a good accounting exercise):
      1) todays dollars are cheaper than tomorrow dollars
      2) the government is gambling that over the coming years the trend will be that fewer employees with leave in years 1-10 of public service and not vest or become eligible for severance

      I would suggest that a similar tactic might realize a savings if the PSPP was bought out---getting rid of the PSPP would require about a 20% raise in salaries but eliminate the largest liability on our books. With some grandfathering for current pensioners only and some buyout cash, the government could be free of PP backing in about 20yrs.


      To be on point with the UG posting, I am not sure if NAPE should accept as much of the blame for our current fiscal position as most level their way---NAPE get only what our government is willing to give for appearances; our government has the heavy handed tools such as lock-outs, legislated contracts, and the ability to rewrite legislation to suit they can use.

      PENG2

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    2. This Government seems incapable of making any decision which could adversely affect their chances of being re-elected.
      We are beyond the point of solving our looming insolvency and this Government (and I use the word "Government" loosly) is biding time until the hammer falls.
      The sheer size of our grossly overstaffed Public Service is only part of our problem but it continues to be a part of our problem where we are going further and further in debt daily. The Williams/Dunderdale/governments will historically be seen as the instigators of our impending demise with Williams and Dunderdale personally bearing the brunt--Williams for the insanity of promoting Muskrat Falls and the equal insanity of Dunderdale for barrelling it thru
      leading a generally unsuspecting and vunerable electorate with misleading and utterly false information.
      A lot of people should be held accountable but these two in particular must be taken to task.

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    3. This is a permanent 2% reduction in salary. There are 52 weeks in a year, so one week "severance" per year represents a 2% pay cut. It is deferred pay that would have been collected in the future. On top of this, workers will have had four years of zero increase while inflation is rampant. But it gets worse -- there is really no severance in the normal sense. Some companies still give a month's pay a year to permanent employees that have been laid off for no fault of their own as well as counseling services, resume clinics etc. Gov is a bad employer.

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    4. Anony @ 11:32:

      Is it only a 2% reduction or more---accumulated time (severance, AL etc) are paid out in dollars at your current salary, not your salary when you 'banked' the time?

      My thought is that since severance would be paid out on your departing salary that it would be 2% plus any raises compounded over your term of employment. The same principle would apply to accumulated AL, OT or other employee optioned leave---you earn at say 2017 salary but take at maybe 2037 salary.

      Maybe deferred leaves should be considered 2% owed time but not necessarily 2% salary?

      as you say, severance is not as uncommon as most think---most professional services companies offer is my experience.

      PENG2

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  3. Let's take stock here.
    * We're teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.
    * We have nobody (in charge) who can, or will, stop that from happening,
    * We have people who represent the very backbone of our society, (business),
    * We also have people who represent the lungs of our economy, but not of our society, (outspoken union/s),
    * We have people who are blindly (or willingly) driving us over the cliff, (inept government)

    Each of these three groups are currently demonstrating subjective shortsightedness through their behavior, which publicly proves their ineptness.

    Des has gently spoken to the fact that if we go over the edge, the feds will throw NL a rope. I say (anonymously) that the rope is securely fastened to the lenders. Global banks and quite likely globalist banks. There will be terms. There will be enormous and hugely painful interests and penalties that will be never ending in our (your) lifetime. Paying the principle is not even desired by the banks, as that keeps the money rolling in indefinitely. This was planned from the outset. Nobody wins, including the federal government, because we all become (are?) slaves to the global/globalist banks.

    Muskrat Falls and other hydro dam projects in Canada and elsewhere are ruthlessly engineered to put hands into the pockets of children yet unborn. Don't believe that? They're up to about $25,000 each on your kids, (so far). Why else would open ended contracts be permitted? There's not one BOT member or other business person with a brain that would issue such a (purchase) contract. It defies logic.

    In my humble opinion, we (all) have but ONE chance to (possibly) save ourselves from this imminent outcome. There is some very serious and urgent work to do before Feb 15th. If we do that well AND if we find enough smart people, from among ourselves, to right the course, then there may be some hope.

    Let's get thinking and writing folks.

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    1. So what do you not understand about this?

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/st-johns-highest-wage-inequality-atlantic-canada-1.4507110

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    2. Robert and Wayne @10:24:

      An interesting aspect not mentioned in Fangs analysis is that 30% is about the same size as the public service, or about 65k employees.

      Considering our public service with respect to size per capita and average salary paid, we are 2nd smallest (only NB is smaller) in Atlantic Canada and 2nd lowest paid on average (only NS pays less). Nationally, our PS salaries are in the bottom 25% percentile and we are middle of the pack size wise--per capitia.

      http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/govt62a-eng.htm

      https://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/ind01/l3_2621_238-eng.htm?hili_gdps04

      Provincially, our problem is deeper that most media presents--contrary to popular belief we don't have a lot of bloat, we don't over pay public employees and our history of industrial relations has shown that our governments are no immune to using the legislature to fix labour issues.

      PENG2

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    3. Robert, an academic that speaks to inequality and the social cost of the one percent? Finally a dangerous man emerging from Memorial! No doubt he will be de"Fanged" post haste.

      NL prefers academics incapable of analysis and trite commentary as displayed in the "Democracy Cookbook".

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  4. bmarcocchio@gmail.com
    My comments on PEG2 wanting to cut public pensions were appropriate and in good taste. It was merely pointed and directed at demonstrated hypocrisy.

    It was fair comment and deserves to be included. Protecting an anonymous source from legitimate criticism is unfair and does your readers a disservice.

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  5. If I am allowed by the moderator to reinforce your views of Canadian dam projects reaching into the pockets of the yet unborn let me give two examples.

    Muskrat Falls pushed the normal 30 year debt amortization to a then unheard of 57 years. SNC Lavalin the architect of this "creative financing" to shift costs to the unborn were so successful at MF they pushed that to 70 years!! for the Site C financing. In other words not just to children unborn but to grandkids and great grandkids.

    It seems greedy, short sighted politicians will buy any fiscal manipulation that gives short term advantage.

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  6. Bravo Mr. Sullivan. What else is left to say other than, "Shame on all identified above, and shame on the people of NL for following the Pied Piper of Galway." Keith

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  7. But we had no good alternative to Muskrat.......did we?

    According to Russell's piece at the Telgram of Jan 26 "EITHER WAY , YOU WILL PAY". Russell says that "less power use equates to rate stability"
    So, here is the missing piece that Judge Leblanc will have to grabble with : we could have had rate stability (10 cent power rate?), if only we used less power. This is Economics and Engineering 101.
    This is an astounding revelation from Russell. Surely there must be a formal method to have achieved rate stability, missed entirely by Nalcor, Nfld Hydro, and Nfld Power, and their consultants.
    Yes. there is a formal method. In short :DSM! Never heard of it?
    DND or DNC you may have heard of, but not DSM?
    Russell spells it out: He says " Usually, power companies actively encourage reducing power consumption :it's called demand -side management.
    DSM (Demand side Management) should be on the tips of everyone's tongue, ( familiar just like say KFC), as the major blunder, missed, on the road to boondoggle....DMS ignored, kept secret, buried as a viable alternative, yet dirt cheap, 3 cent solution instead of 60 cent power.
    Recently Russell penned a piece to say the Telegram has published over 3000 pieces on the subject of Muskrat, in support of Brian Jones who stated they (the Telegram) had covered every aspect of the Muskrat fiasco.
    Maybe I missed it. Where are the pieces by anyone from the Telegram about DSM?
    Who, from the Telegram, broke the story on DSM, that less power use equates to rate stability? Was it Ashley, Peter (now gone), Brian, Russell, or Pam? My memory must be slipping.
    Now, I seem to recall that Bruno, and Dave Vardy, and Maurice ( his Efficiency headings), were clued in to DSM, and even MUN economist Feehan, who fears it, ........but the Telegram?
    Vardy even talked about Economics 101 : Elasticity and Electricity.......which must have gone over the heads of Telegram's investigative reporters, and missed also by Wade Locke, MUN economic chief honcho, the financial architect of Muskrat, as long as it did not exceed 8 billion.
    So why is this now a subject by the Telegram? It has to do with 1 of 971 questions posed to Nfld Hydro, question CA-NLH-031. CA indicated it is a question by our Consumer Advocate dennis Browne. The question: What happens to power rates if rates doubles, and demand drops by 10 percent? The answer, reluctantly coughed up by Nfld hydro: the rates must then rise another 8 percent!
    So what is the benefit of DSM?
    Russell explains: "the reason companies want you to use less power is so that they don't have to keep building expensive generation assets to supply more power. Less power equates to rate stability"
    So, Russell suggest we missed the boat for DSM!
    Say it isn't so!
    Here's another X prise offer: 500.00 for information showing when some Telegram writer, before now, broke the story about the secret, cost effective power of DSM to stabilize rates. DSM instead of Muskrat! Post it here on UG.
    Maybe Russell will soon report on ENL, the 'missed opportunity", embraced by other jurisdictions..
    Of course Russell got it wrong anyway: DSM does not actually keep rates stable. Rates would rise a little, but the yearly bills would be stable, because less power is used. There is a difference.
    Winston Adams




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    1. It would be interesting to see if the current water supply issues from Sandy Lake for Howley are an unexpected output linked to HVdc line construction activities(changes in drainage, clearing etc).

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  8. Thanks to Danny Williams the irony of our situation is that Quebec may well have full and eternal control of both the Upper Churchill, Gull Island and Muskrat Falls because of this disastrous legacy Megaproject if we default on our debt. If the feds have to bale us out, Quebec will almost certainly demand they be given control of these vast resources in return for their share of paying down our debt.

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    1. Proper bloody thing too, at least Quebec's politicians and the Hydro Quebec has the competency, skill and expertise to administer it properly... unlike the bloody dimwits and culprits comprising the bulk of NL politicians and the crowd of "world-class experts" at Nalcor.

      Those goddamned arseholes wouldb't be able to run a kiddy's lemonade stand.

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  9. Thank goodness, thanks UG, now there is a plan.
    It may not be perfect but I don't see anyone else coming up with an alternative plan, do you?

    So, how do I participate, man the barricades, as it were, to get the plan into action?
    I am certain cursing and swearing and calling people names isn't part of the plan, is it?
    If so, it is a poor choice for effective solutions, remember, as I wrote before, we know who, why, when, where and how we are in this frigging pickle, but until now no one has suggested a way out.

    Sam Houston drew a line in the sand at the Alamo and asked those who would run to get out while the getting was good. Here, there is no line and no getting away, unless and until we grasp onto a plan and follow it through.

    Fill up the breaches with our economic and social dead; take the sacrifice of our own making and drive the system into shame and surrender. There is no other way.

    This action plan is now needed more than ever as it seems Emera will have to default on the purchase of power they can no longer use for profit, they have more than enough for themselves, it seems.

    So Emera will lose, Nalcor is already lost, the BoT and the sillies at NAPE and CUPE will lose, everyone will lose, but it may be on our terms, terms we can survive.

    My pensions will take a great hit in the current plan by Nalcor and the Williamsites, prhaps it may take a great hit in a new plan, but hope is better than despair, whining, mewling and puking. Oh Yes!

    Front and center all of you who are driven to action; start making nomination meetings for MHAs, base your nominations not on party lines but on people who can lead us through the wilderness to the Promised Land, or at least a land where electricity is affordable and we are not snowed under with careless and unmerciful debt.

    Remember, as a wise man once said, in tough times a man can always count on the sympathy of the banks.

    Ha ha ha.

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  10. So the Shadow Inquiry is in session; We have call former Premier Davis to answer a few questions;
    1. Mr. Davis, considering the current state of the Muskrat Falls project, when did you come to realize that this once very promising Government Energy project was turning out to be as the current CEO at NALCOR referred to as a "Boondoggle"?
    2. Mr. Davis, share with us the actual communications log from your ministers on the project, leading to this realization?
    3. Next question

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    1. And, as a recent comment on UG stated "there is not a competent engineer in Nfld that thought that MFs was the least cost option"
      This question to various engineers: When did you realise MF was not the least cost and what did you do to inform the public of your professional opinion? Did your code of ethics force you to go public with your concerns, including to the PUB and the media?
      Can you provide copies of your emails voicing your concerns?
      What engineers should e asked this? Start with Stan Marshall, then enginners with Nfld Hydro and Nfld Power, and many others. No doubt the Telegram would have a list who contacted them with their concerns? What of the many engineers with consulting firms in Nfld?
      An alternative, to the comment mentioned, may suggest that there are no competent engineers in Nfld!
      PF

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    2. Here is a contribution from years ago - an early attempt to fight Muskrat Falls back in 2012. http://nlcpr.com/AvalonPowerDemand.php Many of is did try to warn and educate.

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    3. Have to agree with you on this one PF. And is there not an association of professional engineers, where were they, and where are they today. Their silence is deafening. But pockets mostly full. Their ethics are at the bottom of their boots, and their rings are not worth the paper they are written on. Now on the other hand there is enough blame to go around, how about the economist, and business people, and even the average Joe, like me. I realized almost immediately that it was mostly lies and half truths they were telling. My common scense, told me, where else on earth do they get as much wind and rain on this relative big island, with such small population, and very little heavy industry, as we do. That told me it was a farce to go to Labrador looking for power for our needs, but then I thought we were going to make money selling power on the mainland and the us of a. But quickly realized that was baloney too, because they were giving it away to ns. That said a lot, and it was only 500 or 600 kW anyway, no big deal. What did I do, as an average Joe, not a hell of a lot, except the candidate that Kathy d. Sent around, told him where to go. Even though they were towing the line, who would you rather give your money to, the big oil companies to keep holyrood going or your own company that you own, called nalcor. I still told him where to go, and look at what was happening in the USA with their fracking program just getting underway, and predicting oil sufficiency in a few short years, plus what goes up must come down, including the price of oil. But he was hung up on wars in the Middle East, only need another war and oil was going higher, up and up and up ...the silly fool. Guess the bottom line when the government has 80 percent of the seats, and riding high as they were, the fear of getting a knock on your door was intimidating. Anyone who spoke out was in fear of getting hauled into court by the strongman. But still think organizations like association of professional engineers, should have been speaking up, rather than trying to single out individuals who did not stand up. That's my take, and I'm sticking to it.

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    4. PF:

      Provided LeBlanc interprets 'including whether' as "at a minimum in his analysis" and not "only in his analysis" we should be OK with the inquiry terms.

      It will be key for LeBlanc to understand the Org charts so he can call the correct persons that will be able to answer definitive questions and not offer only heresay as to why decisions were made.

      His analysis needs to review why the Anglo-Saxon route was never considered as doable before this point and what changed such that someone thought it was a good idea in 2003-2020.

      PENG2

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    5. I am suggesting the reverse order for witness appearance at the Shadow Inquiry; go to the top, cut to the chase. Talking to engineers, including myself, gets bogged down on details, and wastes valuable time.

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    6. Who is we PENG2, the sycophants milking the MF debacle?

      The inquiry is a judicial process conducted by lawyers, no unwashed masses and their pointed questions allowed. No ability to expand the terms of reference to for instance the spur engineering or contracts with convicted fraudsters yet just who will be OK?

      If the point of the "inquiry" is to obfuscate and ensure the truth is never revealed yes you should all be OK hiding under the emperors skirts.

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    7. Anon.......agreed, there is blame to go all around, and the public was sold a"bill of goods" meaning it was deceitful and lies.....and the average Joe can be somewhat forgiven, as compared to professionals who remained silent and therefore enablers.
      The media, who either ignored professionals who knew, or failed to seek out professionals who understood the risks....... It is the duty of investigative journalism to inform the public and the average Joe, otherwise they were enablers of the boondoggle. Sure there was plenty of ink on Muskrat......but how well researched, as most all was mere uninformed opinion, without analysis,.... whether the Telegram, CBC, VOCM, NTV. And how many of those gave a shit about the plight of that project on the locals in Goosebay, or MudLake, as to effect on local food or flood risks? The CBC some coverage, The Independent .........their, editor, Blake, charged with a crime! The only brave journalists in the province with the guts to do his job.
      People hauled off to jail, and now those charges being dropped...shows it was intimidation.
      The Telegram, only now doing a 3 part series as to their concerns! Shame , Shame , shame. With double the power rates looming, and pending bankruptcy, why only now the concern? What date did the Telegram editorials call for a stop and reevaluation of MFs? They never did. Wonder if member of the Board of Trade?
      Board of Trade.a townie organization.........and how many actually do what is called TRADE? What do they trade in? Is there yet one member who says MF is a boondoggle? Are they prevented from voicing dissent? Or birds of a feather, who feather their nests with MF billions in waste?


      PENG2........ if the terms of the inquiry is sufficient and clear..why has Leblanc asked for submissions to define it?
      Agreed that a broad understanding of the correct persons to answer questions is necessary. Perhaps an intervenor like Vardy or Vardy and associates, through their legal counsel can ask questions that Leblanc's team may overlook.
      A good lawyer, versed in the issues of the economics and engineering issues can ask key questions. Without an intervenor for the public, acting on behalf of the average Joe, I doubt if this fiasco will be fully exposed, and a waste of money.
      PF

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    8. PF:

      If we are to believe some of the inquiry dissenters, LeBlanc has already expanded the ToR by doing something not specifically noted---he is asking for public input on how the populace wants him to lead the inquiry, this action is not in any of the inquiry articles.

      My stance is that as long as LeBlanc is willing to use a liberal interpretation and not limit himself to a literal interpretation of the ToR the inquiry can have value.

      His reasoning for doing this is pretty simple---he wants the inquiry direction public knowledge during the current governments mandate so that he can direct needs to alter the ToR to the drafters. Once the ToR interpretation is settled and public there wont be a curfuffle towards the end.

      PENG2

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    9. Well, good on the respected Judge, as long as he does't delay the process. Be open to public input, but call the first witness. I have suggested Davis, then on down a long list. Don't procrastinate Judge, we the public, want some answers!

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  11. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/29/climate/new-jersey-cap-and-trade.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fbusiness-energy-environment&action=click&contentCollection=energy-environment&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=3&pgtype=sectionfront

    Does anyone know if M. Ball's Carbon Plan supports the idea of making utilities pay for carbon emissions?

    Alternatively, as other Provinces did with coal fired generation, (Ontario did, AB and NS plan to do), shut down Holyrood completely. Develop a unique Avalon power supply based on renewable energy, backed up by the Hydro Grid.

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  12. The irony of the Board of Trades crusade against the new Nape contract is that they were silent and still are on this boondoggle called Muskrat Falls. It seems the B o T is still stuck in Mega project mode and is just saliving to get at another one. What a disgrace collection of misfits who call themselves businesses leaders.

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    1. Chasing government contracts is all the St. John's Board of Trade does. They can't wait for mass layoffs so they can reap the benefits of P3 garbage contracts with minimum wage jobs offered to former Nape members. If they think private enterprise can do so much better then how about a buyout of Muskrat Falls?

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  13. At the risk of straying off topic, here we have Gerry Byrne... whose trite, mealy-mouthed platitudes are surely enough to make even a billy goat puke... as this week's poster-child for the lamentable dearth of competent, decisive leadership chronically afflicting NL politics... in this particularly tragic case... to the detriment of the endangered George River caribou herd.

    Rather than follow the scientific advice of the federal advisory group Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada and protect the herd by declaring it as an endangered species, that gutless wonder Byrne "remains hopeful they can come to a co-managed solution".

    Meanwhile the herd's population has plunged by 88% in just 8 years, from 74,000 in 2010 to only 8,900 today.

    It is the heart-breaking, tragic fate of the George River caribou herd, once numbering over 700,000... to be incompetently "managed" into extinction by the same inept, asinine fools who are blindly running the province into the ground.

    Bloody-well infuriating... such a travesty of wildlife management borders on the criminal.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/newfoundland-government-says-no-to-listing-labrador-caribou-as-endangered-1.4510419

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    1. Anon @ 23:21
      You hit it right on the nose. Gerry Byrn's "cop-out" is typical of this so-called Government's policy of "Don't rock the boat" as we must maintain and retain our control over the province.
      He is also displaying his fear of confronting the indiginous community who are hell bent on getting their own way---were there any charges, other than one, against those who conducted the slaughter a few years back when Kathe D was in control??? NO!!! Gerry Byrne's "smooth" talking is just that "smooth" talking.--He is not a leader, only in it to get re-elected to get his 2nd pension and the George River herd will become extinct--simple as that.

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  14. The Uncles proposal is that self interest should be put aside for the good of the province and all citizens, that business and labour need to get together or all will suffer from lack of government leadership.......and be prepared for a province wide strike by a combined labour and business.
    This makes sense, but are we seeing anyone from labour or business support this proposal, even on this blog?
    2 million a day to pay interest on our debt!
    The new proposed hospital for Corner Brook is estimateed at 140 million?
    So every 70 days, every 2.3 months, we pay out the equivalent of a new hospital, to rich people and banks who own our debt. .....and few are alarmed at this situation! Imagine what good it could do, for all essential services, if we had no, or little debt.
    Where is our business and labour leadership? Boycotts.....is that the best can be offered?
    PF

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    1. As others say, business and labour are about maximizing profit. Plain and simple.

      We elect government to legislate and regulate, hopefully for the common good.

      What is the problem? What is not working in our Society other than the Rich/Poor gap resembles France prior to the Revolution and British North America, prior to 1776?

      What have we learned? Look up Piketty's Book on Capitalism.

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    2. Wow! 2$ million a day to service the debt, and 70 days borrowing will pay for the corner Brook hospital of 140$ million. Imagine that! And muskrat 15$ billion could build 100 hospitals and a billion left over. Of course we don't need 100 hospitals, but identified a couple years ago, was the Waterford, the pen and the court house, and would just be a drop in the bucket.

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    3. And as Mary Walsh on TV tonight says: for mental health issues it takes about 18 months to see a professional..............and the Waterford was built in 1855, about the time when Jessie James was a young man, and the American civil war was almost a decade away and almost 40 years before the great fire of 1892.
      I hear the staff there have a trick to scare the mice away,they rattle their car keys at them , and it seems to work, for a while. They should apply to govn for an innovation award......Mitchelmore's dept.
      We can certainly do with more health care not less, but have seen fit to spend 2 million a day on interest. They make a big deal with 2 million for Burin, after 6 suicides.........but 2 million A DAY for interest............no big deal?
      PF

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  15. "Finance Minister Tom Osborne is confident the agreement reached with NAPE is the best deal that the province could have reached."

    http://vocm.com/news/finance-minister-confident-best-deal-reached-in-nape-agreement/

    No doubt the bond rating agencies will be the judge of that...

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  16. DO WE NEED THE POWER? Remember that question pre MF sanction, and anyone who questioned the need for MF was considered nuts.

    For 2016 Nalcor had forecast a peak load of 1836 MW, which naturally occurs in winter when cold, and those baseboard heaters are working overtime. (vision 2041 blog , under the heading DEMAND, shows the forecasts)
    So, how is it working out.their forecast?
    Well, for 2015 it hit 1700 MW
    For 2016 it actually dropped to 1673 MW......a long way off 1836 forecast.

    So how is 2018 shaping up?

    A few cold days as follows:
    Jan 4.........-11C.......1510 MW
    Jan 10........-8.9C.... 1595 MW
    Jan 11........-10C.......1574 MW
    The coldest day did not have the highest load, because the winds were light , 10 mph, whereas Jan 11 was 15 mph and Jan 10 was 25 mph, and we have houses that leak air like sieves.(for a tight house , see Flatrock Passive blog, now under construction, the first Passive design for Nfld intended to be heated with 0.75 cord of wood per year)
    As Nfld power must make their profit in winter time, largely from baseboard heater customers,they must be worried. Loads are likely to go a bit higher yet this winter than already recorded, but so far not very high.
    So, are heatpumps having an impact, reducing loads? Likely so.
    But no one at the power companies saw that coming? In fact Nfld Power said it could NOT happen, as .........they don't really see them reducing peak loads, or saving much energy. NB said otherwise.....and gave incentives so to reduce peak loads.
    And so .....we live with the Myth of Muskrat.....Loads to increase on the grid, according to Nalcor, 0.8 percent a year for the next 57 years!
    Who will Judge Leblanc question on that false assumption? Jerome Kennedy seem to repeat it often.....We need the power. Right on.
    Winston Adams

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    1. 85 Mw of difference between low and moderate high wind, and if this all due t residential air leakage, and electric load at 650 Mw , it suggests 13 percent increase when winds are higher. As some of this is due to commercial buildong air leakage, then 10 percent is likely a reasonable number, so 65 MW extra. Whn very hight winds are encountered this could double to 130 MW extra load when cold and very windy, so about 800 watts extra per average house. (if some other enginer might comment)
      Air tightness is a low cost conservation measure done in NS etc, to reduce grid loads, (not the silly plastic plug in the outlet , promoted by Take Charge, but sealing outside and the wall to concrete joints in particular). 130 MW...we just spent over 100 million for a new gas turbine, for 123 Mw.........instead of reducing air leakage in houses.
      WA

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  17. So, you say that some of the business owners and government should consult someone who is properly trained in business and Economics? Too bad most are too good to listen, I have had one with little more then grade 11 say "don't tell me how to run our business..." (I have 2 degrees, one in Economics the other a B.Comm.). In the long run there is always the "I told you so, but you wouldn't listen", the German's have a word for this: Schadenfreude...

    It would also be a good concept for some of these people, on both sides, to see how other more successful economies of this country operate.

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