Thursday, 1 February 2018

THE MUSKRAT FALLS INQUIRY NEEDS YOU

Justice Richard LeBlanc has started the task of getting the Commission of Inquiry into the Muskrat Falls Project underway by allowing for the engagement of the public. Essentially, the Judge is asking for opinions with respect to the interpretation of the Terms of Reference (TOR). That outcome will govern the scope of the Inquiry.


This is an important phase. The Judge is doing what the Premier ought to have done.  But, unlike the Premier, Justice LeBlanc cannot alter or amend the TOR. He is, however, entitled to give them broad interpretation — as long as he does not overstep their parameters (over which he will exercise a Judge’s discretion). 

Anyone who has followed the Muskrat Falls saga will understand that the project’s origins, evolution and catastrophic failure required a complex web of political machinations, deals, contracts and relationships. Those who were poorly suited to the task, who were arrogant, who let ego or greed get the better of them, who were elected and were unwise or assumed a knowledge or a skill they didn’t possess, or who forgot to whom they owed fealty, will now be confronted with a Judge who will independently assess those decisions, their authors (some of them anyway), and the institutions that enabled them.

Section 4 (a) of the TOR allows the Commission to give “consideration… of the options… that informed Nalcor’s decision to recommend… the Muskrat Falls project.” It is a clause that offers wide scope for a great variety of questions to be investigated. 

In time, people will be shocked to the core of their humanity over the project’s financial implications. Regardless of their ability, they will be responsible for re-paying all the money borrowed. The public will want to know if Muskrat’s official designation as the “least cost option” constituted a reasonable assessment, or if it was just the favoured legacy that won over less “sexy” options. They will also want to know what the other viable options would have cost them in comparison. Section 4 (a) (ii) of the TOR will permit the Judge to consider those issues.

Hopefully Judge LeBlanc understands the level of expectation that awaits him two years from now, as Muskrat nears completion and the public comes face to face with the inevitable frightful economic reality.

An important part of his mission will be to arrive at assessments that are comprehensible, complete and unambiguous — showing the train of decision-making and who made those decisions. He will have to be thorough.

Section 4 (b) (v) of the TOR allows for an examination of “any risk assessments, financial or otherwise” which were conducted in respect of the project.  This clause will enable the Judge to assess, for example, whether the fiscal risk to the people of province was ever considered.

Those are just a few examples of issues worthy of investigation. There are many others and the TOR needs to be viewed as comprehensive enough to include all of them. Muskrat is a big, complex project; many aspects were never given a public airing. Some received analysis only on a few Blogs. For all those reasons, Judge LeBlanc needs the fullest public participation in this crucial phase. 
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In addition to members of the general public, those who worked on the Muskrat Falls project (in whatever capacity) might consider telling their specific stories to him, too.

Section 5 of the TOR — appropriately — provides for participation by Aboriginal groups. They must be permitted to raise a host of environmental issues which the Joint Environmental Panel raised but Nalcor ignored from the start - including the North Spur and methylmercury. It is by no means obvious how the TOR accommodates consideration of them but Aboriginal groups and the rest of us must put our minds to the task. 

The TOR empowers the Inquiry to consider “the need to provide consumers… with electricity at the lowest possible cost…” which will open up the Inquiry to issues of how high power rates will ultimately rise in order to finance the project upon completion, and the extent to which the rates have been “back-end-loaded”. (Don’t forget that even at $6.2 billion, Nalcor’s solution to “rate shock” was to delay employing the full cost even as it gave assurances of “rate stability”.) I happen to think that people will want to know the cost of “rate mitigation” and how that subsidy will affect public services for all taxpayers. The public should make sure issues of this kind are on the Commission's agenda.

The Inquiry ought to also consider issues of truth and transparency, possible interference with the election of democratic government in 2015, and whether Nalcor funded a deliberate program of misinformation to the public over several years. 

It will need to inform us if project estimates were falsified, as some contend.

We need to know if Nalcor “sold the shop” to EMERA, which seems to be the case, if the Federal Government gave an unwarranted level of control over the project to Nova Scotia by giving that province an effective veto over the Federal Loan Guarantee and project sanction, and why Nalcor and the provincial government ignored the joint federal/provincial environment panel’s refusal to endorse the project. There are many, many other such questions.

Judge Richard LeBlanc has truly accepted a monumental task.

A welcomed opportunity to “assist” the Commission’s work is now on offer. The Commissioner seeks public input into the interpretation of the TOR. I don’t think he expects everyone to be a Queen’s Counsel lawyer for this purpose, though it would be unfortunate if some of them didn’t lend their skills to the task, too.

The guidelines for submissions suggest that they must be in writing, not exceed 20 double-spaced pages, and use an 11-point font at a minimum. They can be emailed to (admin@muskratfallsinquiry.ca) or delivered to the Commission’s offices in St. John’s. The deadline is 5 p.m. on February 15. The Link to the Terms of Reference can be found here.

Some people may want to mention just one or two issues which they consider to be the most important. They might also prefer authorship to be “anonymous”. 

As it stands, a submission to the Inquiry is being prepared with input from a small group of ‘veteran’ Muskrat watchers - a very small group.

The Commission needs your participation, too.

If you prefer to remain anonymous with your Submission, I am inviting you to send your suggestions to this Blog at theunclegnarleyblog@gmail.com with the assurance that the authors’ names will be kept in the strictest confidence.  I will ensure that they are sent to the Commissioner as part of a “group” submission or as a separate submission, in keeping with the size constraints imposed by the Commission. 

Judge LeBlanc has advised that he will issue a decision on his interpretation of the TOR subsequent to the February 15 deadline for submissions.

The guidelines which he announces and the scope of investigation that they afford will serve as the first test of whether the key issues will be held up to the light. 

We will also learn if the drafting of the TOR was too limited — that is to say, if the Judge’s hands were tied by the government.

But… one step at a time!

50 comments:

  1. Two of the fundamental questions of the day were, "do we need the power", and "muskrat was the least cost option". Since Dannie, resigned shortly after the project announcement and term paper, it was left to Cathie, her ministers, MHA's, and nalcor executives, directors, etc. and especially Eddie to promote and sell it to the people. Most ministers swallowed it hook line and sinker, because Dannie said, it was going ahead. Anytime Cathy was asked about muskrat she glazed over the very first question, do we need the power, she would say that's a no brainer, lol, and next question. And those brave, fearless, dumb media would accept that answer without engaging a single brain cell, similar to a cod fish swallowing the bait, hook line and sinker. Such a fundamental question which led to this travecy. My God, wouldn't the next question be, well how much power do we need, 200mw, 300 MW, ....? Can we not get more from bay despoir, ( and the grand falls and stephenville mills had just shut down) or from central, or small hydro, or wind. And how about conservation. None of these questions would be asked in the interview. The second question received a similar iron clad, no brainer answer. Our world class experts at nalcor have advised us, that muskrat is the lowest cost option. Next question!!! These two fundamental questions were never answered by any politicians. Nalcor made febel attempts to inquire into other options but they always knew what answer they wanted, and they set up smoke screens at every turn to convince everyone, they were just wasting their time trying to come up with an alternative. Dannie said the stars, sun and moon were all aligned for muskrat to proceed, never a better time in our history, low interest rates, fed guarantee, customers galore, and oil money coming out if our ears. Why wait for spring, start spending money now, even before scantion. And the business people were drooling, rubbing their hands, $ signs danced in their heads, and we were off to the races. The government is good fer it by's.

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  2. It is with sadness that I see UG has accepted the flawed premise of this inquiry and gives it the legitimate status that clearly it does not deserve.

    The inquiry is "asking for opinions with respect to the interpretation of the Terms of Reference (TOR). That outcome will govern the scope of the Inquiry." Huh??? The scope is determined by the decree that the ToR are immutable as you point out. Just what does a paper exercise by the unwashed masses accomplish, save to legitimize a bogus inquiry?

    UG seems to be putting unbounded faith that the process can be saved by a single political appointee despite a prohibition on examining the engineering or contracts. You should know better than being drawn down that rabbit hole.

    The ToR examine only whether Nalcor gave competent advice and ignores that Nalcor acted to justify a political decision made by politicians, one in particular. This singular focus on the actions of Nalcor doom this inquiry to irrelevance. Nalcor may have given competent advice and still the project may have been driven by corrupt intent. This inquiry is forbidden from examining the actual decisionmaking. The engineering exemption makes the inquiry not only irrelevant but further endangers life and viability of the project.

    Buying into this inquiry requires faith that the untested spur engineering is sound despite evidence to the contrary. It requires believing that a single political appointee with an inadequate mandate can do anything but belatedly condemn the hitman, Nalcor, while ignoring the authors of the MF disgrace.

    The judicial nature will exclude many stakeholders most affected. Guaranteeing indigenous leadership input leaves the Labrador Land Protectors and Mud Lake residents and many others like Elizabeth Penashue out in the cold. They would have to submit legal costs in advance and have that accepted by the inquiry. This is hardly a level playing field and will not lead to a fair consideration of their interests.

    This inquiry is bogus. It is designed to delay any conclusion until after the next election. It by design does not examine the political origins, the coordinated regulatory neutering, the role FOI exemptions played in the debacle or examination of the spur, coffer dam, draft tube engineering.

    Please, please spit out the Koolaid and demand a genuine inquiry now with a panel of financial and technical experts. Don't mislead people into believing that a paper submission on immutable ToR is anything but patronizing and useless.

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    1. Was drafting some points along the same lines of the issues you raise here Bruno.

      Havn't decided to submit (but we are on pretty much the same wavelength).

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    2. JohnMichael Lannon9 February 2018 at 00:05

      Thanks Again Bruno

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  3. Another helpful post. Much appreciation to Des.

    The earliest origins of the project deserve close attention. Back in January 2012, I published a couple of posts on my blog identifying what I thought at the time to be major problems with the project. I warned then, "Nalcor has spent approximately $500 million trying to develop a justification for the politically driven but fundamentally uneconomic project. For $500 million one can buy a lot of fancy legal, electricity, and financial tricks but all the smart help in the world can’t turn this dog into gold...When calculating costs, Nalcor (incorrectly) says that you may only look through the wide-angle lens showing the integrated system. However, when calculating production benefits, Nalcor’s says you may only look through its pin-hole perspective that isolates Muskrat Falls and ignores the constraints imposed by the integrated system. You need lots of high priced consultants to cook up a regulatory mind game that sophisticated." (http://www.tomadamsenergy.com/2012/01/29/stop-muskrat-falls/)

    In March 2012, I addressed Nalcor's financial scam designed to conceal costs by shoving them off to the future. Part of that post read "Rather than follow the industry and regulatory accepted best practice for recovering costs of utility investments, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador, through its agent Nalcor, is proposing to innovate with a unique financial model for the generation component of the project. This proposed financial model inappropriately mixes elements of a power purchase agreement (PPA), often used in some elements of the utility industry, and government subsidies to create what Jane Jacobs described in her book Systems of Survival as a “monstrous hybrid”. This monstrous hybrid imposes escalating costs and obsolescence risks on consumers over the next 57 years....Nalcor is proposing to bet the future of the province’s ratepayers on a monstrous hybrid PPA for Muskrat Falls and a production plan that fails to account for the fact that Nalcor does not control key assets it plans to use. Either of these deficiencies alone fails the test of good utility practice. Together, they represent shocking irresponsibility.The Churchill Falls experience was a lost opportunity for the province but it did not create a liability. Muskrat Falls is likely to turn into something far worse than Churchill Falls for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. Ethics matter in the design of cost recovery approaches for essential utility services. The interests of consumers in the distant future should be taken into consideration but are too easily and frequently ignored. Artificially cheap power now serves the short-term interests of the government sponsors for Muskrat Falls, but creates an intergenerational financial risk for consumers." (http://www.tomadamsenergy.com/2012/03/21/newfoundlands-muskrat-falls-megaproject-fails-test-of-intergenerational-ethics/)

    From before Muskrat Madness reached the no-return point, it was entirely obvious that the project would be ruinous to the province. In hindsight, all of the major points raised in these referenced posts remain grave concerns today, some six years and (effectively) more than $12 billion later. Had I been paying closer attention and been more knowledgeable in 2012, I should have also looked more into other major problems where at least some information was available at the time, including quick clay and methyl mercury.

    The governance structures that allowed the Muskrat Madness fraud to start up in the first place and then continue relentlessly on to its logical conclusion must be thoroughly documented.

    It is past time also to expose the facilitators of this rot. Which law firms fed this? Who at SNC-Lavalin? What was going on with Nalcor's board of directors through all this?

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    1. The Inquiry is a waste of money and time. What is in the budget to deal with the White Elephant? Let's get strategic folks!

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    2. Why are you providing shade to Adams UG? My comment that he refused to give evidence to the JRP is factual and speaks to his integrity.

      Why have you excluded factual accounting of the history relevant to the discussion at hand? Censorship for all but good taste is abhorrent. Are hard truths too much for UG?

      I have been demanding action on this boondoggle from the outset. My analysis has yet to be refuted. Somehow the obvious conclusions drawn from the facts are verboten.

      Could this be why NL lingers in a feudal paralysis? Honest plain talk should never offend....or be censored.

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    3. The Blog Administrator retains the right to not publish comments which are off topic, too colourful or too personal. From time to time I will make that judgement and on occasion the decision will seem arbitrary but I assure you it is made with honourable intent.

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    4. Honourable intent is arbitrary, self serving and amounts to censorship however you cut it. Pointing out the hard facts are not "too personal" just an honest evaluation of the politics based on first hand knowledge.

      I will never shy away from speaking my truth and leaving it open to refutation with fact not politically correct shade. Could your shortcoming in being brutally honest when required lead to an inability to move from analysis to action?

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    5. Right on Bruno, keep it up!!

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  4. This is kid of "closing the barn door after the horse left" inquiry. Whether we like it or not, this inquiry isn't going to change a thing and just like other inquiries, the fishery, Mount Cashel you name it there will be an uproar for a year or two, Muskrat Falls will be completed, we will have to pay for it and thousands will leave the province either through their own choice or be forced out because of it.
    It would be nice if the inquiry broadened its scope to include Newfoundlanders addiction to Mega Projects and just why the more we build, the bigger the failure becomes. That is what is needed.

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    1. Failure for the poor and working class, and gravy for the business community. :(

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    2. I get a kick out of these guys and gals that say waste of time and money for an inquiry, where were you when it was announced, why were you not so smart then. Ah, well that was only supposed to be 6$ billion, or 12$ billion, what's the difference. How much will the enquiry cost, I don't know, maybe 6$ million, or 12$ million, (maybe UG knows, or has some idea). Sure nalcor spent that much on a coffee break. Yep...pennywise...pound foolish...what's a few more zeroes....someone please tell us the difference between a million and a billion.$......is it 6 days to count a million at a rate of one dollar per second, and 32 years to count a billion $ at the same rate....?????

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    3. I was not in the province nor reading Tom Adams, and others, who tried to warn the public of the folly, deceit, malfeasance, treachery, hegemony, etc. It's not just about the numbers 16:23. Where were you?

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    4. I remember writing to the premier's office at the time of MF announcement begginG them to reconsider alternatives like wind and solar and localizing these power plants to bring employment to rural Newfoundland. And innovation.

      I was told in no uncertain terms that solar never worked here ( at the time I had one building completely operating on solar) AND that there weren't batteries big enough to store wind energy.

      I was gobsmacked at both the ignorance and condescension of the reply. There was no reply to further documentation sent.

      I remember thinking and sharing with others that Newfoundland was and is a corrupt oligarchy.

      My opinion has not changed. Nothing will ever come of this ridiculous inquiry and the true criminals will never be investigated.

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  5. Lol Robert, I have written many more many times on this blog before, so am sure you know where I was, and wher I am now. I sometimes speak as the average Joe, or Joe blow, what ever you prefer. But can assure I hold the same opinion of muskrat now as I did when it was announced, that's where I stand, and still do.

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    1. Good on yuh Joe. What is your best expected outcome of a rather costly, long drawn out Inquiry?

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    2. "Appropriate and consistent" meaning what?

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/muskrat-falls-inquiry-information-1.4514536

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  6. For gods sake now the inquiry is granted a FOI exemption to ensure that no information is made public until after the faux inquiry is done or the spur fails, whichever comes first.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/muskrat-falls-inquiry-information-1.4514536

    Worse yet LeBlanc is afraid disclosure will "hamper cooperation". Can he not compel testimony and if not why not? I guess he missed that the FOI exemption will block intervenors from information needed to give evidence. Whoops! An inquiry shrouded in secrecy with no access to information. Once again the chumps are left in the dark.

    It is all so perfectly feudal and so NL is it not?

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    1. This inquiry has about as much credibility as the Dunphy inquiry. http://www.releases.gov.nl.ca/releases/2017/just/0627n05.aspx In both cases, people will get away with murder.

      I'd like to see an parallel inquiry by the public. Since we can't get the information we need via ATIPP, we need relevant documents via USB sticks. Inside info is better anyway. ATIPP requests are often sanitized. I've worked on a few of them and was appalled. If you don't already know exactly what you are looking for, you will be told nothing was found "no responsive records". Redaction is also a problem. So is drowning you with piles of useless information and refusing to provide context.

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  7. Firstly... the notion that the Inquiry is a waste of anything, or that it won't change anything, is pure folly. For less than the cost of one obscenely corrupt executive's salary and bonus, we may lay open the harsh realities that lay within. Figuratively speaking, to do otherwise is to force our descendants to, (continue to), walk blindfolded through a minefield of financial explosive devices. Such comments beg questions of their underlying motivations. An MF proponent, or one who stands to lose from exposure of truths perhaps? Maybe it's just a defeatist attitude, which is not helpful either.

    Will the FOI exemption necessarily block interveners from information needed to give evidence, or is Justice LeBlanc empowered to provide specific evidence when deemed appropriate?

    Let's not limit our thinking such that we willingly accept ANY perceived limitations of the TOR whatsoever. Indeed, why not put forth the interpretation, with justifications, that the TOR is far too narrow and shallow in it's overall scope and is thereby required, by the citizens, to be broadened for the very survival and sustainment of our descendants' (citizens') futures in this province.

    David Vardy et al seemed prepared for, or with, this argument at the recent public forum.

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  8. https://goo.gl/LMhpWj Message Sent 26 January 2018 Regarding Independent Submission to Commissioner, The Honourable Justice Richard LeBlanc about the Terms of Reference of Commission of Inquiry Respecting the Muskrat Falls project. Llewelyn Pritchard MA Submitted 1: ‘Share Your Comments’ @ https://www.muskratfallsinquiry.ca/ Commission of Inquiry Respecting the Muskrat Falls Project Commissioner The Honourable Justice Richard LeBlanc

    Submitted 2: admin@muskratfallsinquiry.ca

    Today’s Date: 26 January 2018

    Dear Justice Leblanc

    Since Your Terms of Reference [TR] must be considered in context and since, “7. The commission of inquiry shall not express any conclusion or recommendation regarding the civil or criminal responsibility of any person or organization.” It is my submission that your TR is a good example of bad, clang, crash machine code!!!

    I humbly submit that your Commission’s TR represent dishonourable practice - lacking in honesty and integrity for what they leave out as much as for what they leave in. Your TR do not honourably represent the safety, health and environmental issues deeply concerning Labradorians and all those good people who understand the damage caused by hydro dams. Who wrote the shameful TR and why?

    It’s style reminds me of smart civil service gobbledygook obviously trying to ‘pull the wool over the eyes’ of everybody who reads it. Your TR is so opaque, unclear and unspecific, for example “risk assessments” for whom? Certainly not for those most likely to be affected by the project! So who are the so called “risk assessments” really for?

    Who are the TR really for?

    Your TR means your Commission of Inquiry will fundamentally be a waste of time.

    Your TR fail to prioritize the humanitarian needs of everybody who will be affected by the project.

    They fail to include a provision to halt construction until you publish your findings? Surely by not doing so, your TR betray the very trust of those people you are meant to serve?

    How can anybody have trust and confidence in your results? Your TR taken in context are worthless because just like the madness of the Muskrat Falls construction project they are attempting to ignore public opposition in their path.

    I take no pleasure whatsoever in continuing to ‘gut’ your TR [in context!!!]...How can the Commission rightfully and properly consider the “participation in the inquiry by the established leadership of Indigenous people, whose settled or asserted Aboriginal or treaty rights to areas in Labrador may have been adversely affected by the Muskrat Falls Project” when Canada is not fully signed up to the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous People? Surely that makes certain your Commission’s findings will lack credibility?


    How well-informed were the indigenous leaders in the first place? Application of established principles of Free Consent, Prior Consent and Informed Consent about indigenous land rights around the hydro project have blatantly been abused and disrespected by the Governments and Nalcor.


    Surely your TR should be immediately consigned to the dustbin of history?

    Or should they be re-written with a genuine, real sense of urgency, priority, honour and integrity?

    In other words, start again Justice Richard Leblanc or do the honourable thing.

    Yours sincerely

    Llewelyn Pritchard MA

    Source: Commission of Inquiry Respecting the Muskrat Falls Project

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    1. It seems blatantly obvious that Justice LeBlanc understands the shortcomings of the ToR, and that he genuinely wants effectiveness of process for the citizens. Why else would he request public input?? Let's not waste his "mega"-valuable time with negative ToR bashing.

      By Feb 15th he will likely have hundreds, (if not thousands) of submissions. Our time here on the (vital and important) UG blog is better spent uttering realistic suggestions to empower the Inquiry to 'get real' so it can achieve real solutions. If we want change we need to define said change to assist in the only available method of processing that change.

      What is needed is legally compelling reasons to justify the change that we need. Who among us can develop a constitutional argument for disallowing the extortion-based electricity 'mortgages' that currently see this immoral monopoly raping ours and our descendants' futures?????

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    2. Dear Peter,
      Thank you for your reply it is appreciated. Here is my my best endeavour to clarify:
      https://goo.gl/3R3NVw Message 2/2 Sent 7 February 2018 Regarding Independent Submission to Commissioner, The Honourable Justice Richard LeBlanc about the Terms of Reference of Commission of Inquiry Respecting the Muskrat Falls project.
      All the best
      Llewelyn Pritchard

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  9. Can someone clarify? Does an exemption form the Freedom of Information Act mean that info and documents obtained by the Inquiry cannot be accessed by any individual or intervenor at the inquiry? So pertinent info is under the control of Leblanc and any request can and will be denied? Is this transparency? If so, sounds like the Secrecy Act passed before Muskrat sanction?
    But that all such information may be open to FOI after the Inquiry is finished? What is the good of that?
    Sounds like the procedure for the Mount Cashel Inquiry when a lot of information was compiled separately under the so called David Day report, that to my knowledge was never after made public? For several years someone would call Bill Rowe on Open Line and inquire about the David Day report, and it seems to have got buried.So much more was known that was kept secret, it seems.
    If this is the intent, then this inquiry seems a sham.

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  10. Any inquirey about such a large waste of taxpayers monies that does not lay responsibility at the feet of those who through ignorance or greed let such a waste happen is useless,Why waste more monies if you are not going to try and recover some of the monies stolen?

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    1. And appropriate punishment where it is warranted. We were held captive to be led to the slaughter which is about to take place.

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  11. In the confederation building, most people are too busy surviving and don't really want to think about the dismal future. It is depressing conversation. Those that do vent on about the corruption are unfortunately, planning to move away to escape the ever increasing taxes (carbon tax is next and will about 10 cents to your gasoline/heating oil) and ever reducing services.

    Another common thought is that their children are going to have to move to get a job and likely marry and settle down, far far away. They plan to retire near their children and grand children.

    I'd rather stay and fight but is difficult. The government is the biggest employer, jobs are scarce and it is all too easy to get blacklisted or fired. You can't fix it from within either because upper management is a mix of low educated, low performing, politically or family connected, sycophantic filler. They say things like "that is above my pay grade". They question nothing. Absolutely nothing. They fear change. They strut around trying to look important, or perhaps convince themselves that they know what they are doing.

    Accomplished, highly experienced abroad, those with advanced degrees from reputable universities -- are perceived as threats and seldom rise into management. The job selection process is a farce because the deputy minister can override the top choice from any job competition and the best candidates are frequently screened out. Even if you do get into management, you rapidly realize what "at the pleasure of the minister" means. Imagine being an accomplished banker/accountant working at the pleasure of a finance minister with a grade 11 education. How long would such a person last?

    I believe that someone gave the order that Muskrat Falls will be built no matter what. The sycophantic organization then proceed to manufacture consent with likes about the need for the power and lack of alternatives. Some people reading this blog were part of these conversations, took notes, saved memos or e-mails or at least can tell us what happened. If enough people tell similar or dovetailing stories, a consensus will develop and be likely very close to the absolute truth. If he was a competent Mafia boss, I expect most conversations were off-the-record so verbal accounts may be our best bet.

    Please. Comment anonymously on this blog and tell us what happened.

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    1. One thing is certain; The inquiry is locked, and your conspiracy theory will not be solved by that process. As in "Deep Throat", follow the money.

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    2. One component of the Isolated island system instead of MF was a robust Conservation and Efficiency Plan.......that was never formally put forward. Our heating loads could have been changed to heat pumps, which went big with incentives in Nova Scotia in 2008. One contractor that I new had discussions with government education officials, pre Muskrat sanction, who were considering stepping up the training programs for electricians and refrigeration mechanics,who were in short supply but essential all over the island for residential installations IF Muskrat did not go ahead.
      Of course the contractor was considering stepping up his business accordingly, knowing the impact if incentives were given and the increased demand for residential customers.
      I guess this was plan B, if MF did not proceed, but indicates that officials were aware of the trends in other provinces, the energy and peak load reductions, and the need for qualified workers whether in cities or rural areas.
      Plan A was Muskrat, and so the planning for more tradesmen was abandoned. Now with high power rates coming, Plan B is what individuals are doing, by necessity, to save dollars on heating, and so we continue with failed conservation and efficiency plans from our power companies or government.
      Instead of Plan B for the isolated option, Ed Martin pronounced that Nflder were "not interested" on conservation and efficiency. And so they, the Scallywags, carried on with the con job of Take Charge, designed to mislead and provide no meaningful savings to Nflders, but saddle us with a boondoggle and power rates not affordable to most.
      Efficiency and conservation, in other jurisdictions is big business, employing thousands, and boosts the economy, an opportunity lost here. Were there emails, notes etc on those alternate plans? Certainly the talk filtered down to contractors who were waiting to step up to the challenge. Yet the same contractors feared Nfld Power,and Nfld Hydro, who wielded the power of electrical approvals with these contractors.......should they be vocal on such issues.
      Such is why so many stay silent and not rock the boat, whether a government worker or with many in private business, way too many, directly or indirectly on the government tit, consultants, lawyers, fish plants ......etc
      Winston Adams

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  12. It is refreshing to hear a brutally honest evaluation of the state of dysfunction within the civil service. It certainly confirms what I saw at the JRP. There was a palpable terror by provincial employees who feared saying anything that might cause a wave. It was enforced by Justice strongman who went as far as taking one employee aside and threatening his job if he testified about caribou impacts. On the record he acknowledged the threat and refused to testify!

    With this defacto Stasi like internal spying I see the need for anonymous submissions from civil servants. I am usually critical of anon comments but the real risks to livelihoods justify anonymity.

    I applaud your courage and honesty. It is long past time to rise up.

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  13. These recollections and comments from those who "know the truth" will go a long way in getting to the bottom of the rot which existed and still does. Exposing the perpetrators instead of suspecting who they are (and most of us suspect the same people)is a crucial step in assisting the inquiry and BLAME HAS TO BE LAID or else the inquiry will have been just an effort to appease the masses instead of getting to the bottom of the fraud. The concience of those in the know, hopefully, will prevail.

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  14. Just one comment on the nape contract. If there were lay offs in the public service, then the bumping process goes into overdrive, and seniority takes over, the driving force. Then older workers, near or at retirement become cock of the walk, they bump and keep their jobs, the junior and ones that have the most to offer the public service and the province, are out and probably on their way to the mainland. With no lay offs, the opposite happens, the more senior people retire, and the younger less senior get to keep their jobs, no or very little bumping. They say there are 5000 in a position to retire in the public service, so they should and let the more junior keep their jobs. That's my take anyway says the average Joe, and I am not in the union or a public service. Now take that bot and employers council and put that in your pipe and smoke it, until pot becomes legal, then make a few dollars there.

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    1. You are absolutely correct. A mass layoff would totally scramble the civil service because bumping is like a game of pool. You bump into a position and that person has the right to bump someone else ad nauseum. Once the scrambling is done and everyone has a new, random job, the most recent hires are fired. Those that are close to retirement will remain due to their seniority. A few years after that, they too would be gone leaving an eviscerated civil service. The only sane way to reduce the civil service requires a lot of work - analysis, reorganization, attrition, the elimination of useless programs etc.

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    2. The mass layoffs the Board of Trade are promoting aren't really layoffs but an attempt at privatization and contracting out. What this means is that civil servant positions would be reduced by department elimination, the needed service would be contracted out to the "lowest" bidder and the workers now hired through a government contract would be paid a much lower wage or even just a minimum wage. That is the philosophy of the Board of Trade and always has been its position in this debate. While I agree the civil service needs to be reduced, there is little evidence that contracting out is solving the financial problem the government is facing. The P3P system touted by government has been for the most part a failure in other provinces and in Nova Scotia, the auditor general has even reported that it costs more than previous arrangements. The path the government has taken now-layoffs through attrition-is probably the only way to reduce the size of the civil service without mass economic hardships within NL. Our biggest expense both to the government and the general public is Muskrat Falls and we can do little only bite our tongue and pay for it. The Board of Trade and the Employers Council also are silent as usual when it comes to Mega Projects because their members benefit the most form these types of government spending. By advocating mass layoffs and contracting out of services, they are giving their members another Mega Project which the public will have to pick up the costs. If the Board of Trade wants a fight then try picking it with the former Williams administration but wait-they never said a word when they were spending like drunken sailors.

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    3. Given the fact that up front severance is being paid now and not at retirement, where is the incentive for those "on the fence" making a decision to retire or not to retire. I would suggest they will remain to get the most out of their last years working knowing there will be no layoffs.

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    4. "While I agree the civil service needs to be reduced, there is little evidence that contracting out is solving the financial problem the government is facing."

      Yah right, like the NAPE members staffing a Tim Horton's at the Health Sciences Centre who were making $27 an hour to serve coffee.

      Or the NAPE crew who decided to work a compressed work week then tried to sue government for not paying overtime.

      Give me a break.

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    5. The two examples sited, give me a break, showed the govt. did the right thing in both cases. They changed the system so that serve coffee was turned over to the private sector, and of course disagreed with the overtime you mentioned. But are there other examples, list or state them, so it's all on the table. Also compare and contrast that with some of the examples of waste at muskrat, think that would be considered the private sector, in terms of the contract etc.

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  15. On a lighter side: What's in a name?
    I offer 500.00 for someone to write a piece to show that Bruno's idea that :solar PV is an important cost effective solution for the island of Nfld is a myth,..... and no one wants to claim the 500.00, either too much trouble or can't refute Bruno?
    Bruno's hero, Musk , offers to sell you a flame thrower, a useless thing, for 500.00, and he sells 20,000 of them overnight, so 10 million in sales.
    He calls it a fun thing but cautions people not to buy one, but people do.
    Did Bruno order one? Seems Musk is a super salesman , like Trump.
    Less reported was Musks new arrangement with Tesla; he will work 10 years free of charge, but will collect 55 billion in compensation if he keeps Tesla stock value climbing, needing to go to 650 billion capitization. Sounds a bit like Nalcor promises.
    I had a deposit for a Tesla, that was supposed to ship before now.........past time I cancelled my order.........Musk cannot deliver much in cars , but in flame throwers, no problem.
    Was that a diversion, so few would notice his new pay package? But the faithful will drink the coolaid. I wish him success, as the world needs good electric cars and other technology. But when will we see someone immitating Musk, with a flame shooting 10 feet, and doing real harm? Like a mini version the US marines used on the Japanese in WW2. Fun things, yaah.
    Meanwhile I think Bruno is right about our feudal system here. Can Bruno talk Musk into cleaning out the rot here? Guess we have to do that ourselves. Ches Crosbie says he is angry. Picture Ches with a flame thrower? Might get him votes.
    WA

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    1. Solar PV is not a solution for us. If we didn't have the heating demand the PV could easily managed the other loads (electronics, lighting, small appliances). Other areas of Canada use natural gas for clothes dryers, domestic hot water, heating and cooking. A PV system in such a house can easily result in monthly income with a net-metering system.

      The solution for Newfoundland is Demand Reduction so that we can thrive on local generation. We have ample hydro generation and could have built many more small ones on the island. There is about 800MW untapped on the island. We also have huge wind potential and maybe a Tesla battery (like Australia) would help with stability and reliability.

      Here are some reasons PV won't work as a solution to our general problems. Most homes are randomly aligned. A south facing roof is ideal, but many are east/west. You could have an east grid for morning energy and west for afternoon energy, but this as doubled your PV panel cost. Our current housing stock is generally horrible - drafty, too many windows, not enough insulation and heated with electric baseboard.

      Lets assume that we were to use solar PV to make a dent in the grid. Who pays for it? If we simply allowed the meters to run backwards and billed for the net energy used, we would be paying those with solar PV Muskrat Falls rates and it might pay off for the home owner. However, it is a small contribution to the annual electricity usage. In jurisdictions where there were generous net metering subsidies that were so high that net-metering was guaranteed profitable, it increased the cost for power for everyone else and got out of control. As a society, why pay some individuals 25 cents for power that you can generate for 4 cents with the difference coming from your neighbours? In our case, it is worse. It isn't like we have to offer a subsidy because the MF power will already be 25 cents so people are doing to do it anyway. And it isn't like PV will save on generation costs since we all have to pay for MF even if the darn thing was mothballed (unless we default).

      If money was no object because we were all wealthy, all the housing stock would be rebuilt. Homes would be smaller. Streets would be parallel so that the fronts of homes would face south. We would all have solar PV arrays on the south roof. Homes would have double walls with insulation in-between and glazing would be triple glazed, argon filled and have special coatings. Windows would be strategic -- mostly on the south side, with a few on the east and west, none on the north. Electric baseboard would only be for special situations with most heat coming from heat pumps or biomass stoves. We would have a thriving wood pellet industry. The heat recovery ventilator would not be the junk we have now but a nice counter current heat exchanger or a rotating enthalpy disk like you find in Europe. It would monitor carbon dioxide, humidity and radon levels and keep the air fresh. Most homes would be at least net-zero.

      Robin Hood bay would have a state of the art incinerator and a steam generator plant like Holyrood. Either we burn it or let the bacteria/fungus do the same thing more slowly. The hot water could also be used for district heating meaning that hot water would be service to sub-divisions nearby. New York City does this with steam. The Con Edison electric power plant provides steam for three million people.

      Since this is a fantasy, lets add one final element. There would be serious consequences for sociopaths that cause billions of dollars of damage to society.

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    2. As a civil student at NSTC, (Daltech today), we had a brilliant scholar, Warner, who tried to teach us the basics of Thermodynamics. I was at best a "C" student then, and struggled with concepts like "entropy". When the OPEC powers manipulated the price of oil in the 70s, I came to understand the world politics of petroleum, $US petro dollar, engineered between Nixon and Saudis, etc. the importance of thermo came home to my educational limitations. The NEP was about reducing oil dependency, and finding oil alternatives to keep the heat on and production/transportation rolling down the highway of prosperity. Geopolitical forces are still at play, and bring our own PM and Western premiers to conflict over extraction/shipping "rights" across provincial borders. We all need to look closely at our back yard community potential to draw on the natural source for local needs. Consider this concept as applied to the Avalon. Sun heats water, thermal storage along with battery stored electric will provide ample power to get through winter. Repeat. Island Hydro backup will get us through the imminent socio/economic crisis.

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    3. Why don't you put your money where your mouth is, Winston?

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    4. Robert, my mouth is not all that big.( Some might say I have more money than brains.......my past offer of 4 to 1 odds that the North Spur will fail within 1 year of the reservoir being filled, and 500.00 for the BRUNO ESSAY ON MYTH OF PV SOLAR FOR NFLD ISLAND.
      So what do you propose?
      I could pass along the 500.00 to the UNCLE and he open his blog for such an essay.......the Uncle or someone decides the winner.
      I had considered approaching Efficiency Consultants for proposals for best measures, the energy savings, demand reductions, cost effectiveness,incentives necessary and rate effect to ramp up tens of MW per year of reduction.
      Not sure what that would cost, but I would commit to at least $10,000.00, and whether others or a crowd fund could add to it?
      Make some suggestions. I know the power companies pay out $300,000.00 or more (of our light bill money) for largely worthless studies for no meaningful savings to customers.
      Winston

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    5. You may have more money than brain, I know that I have more brains than money. I just need to go after the Money and I be a Billionaire soon enough.

      For $2B we could have had 600 Solar arrays like this. $2M per 600 homes. We could have one in every community for it's double capacity. http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/kimberley-sunmine-oilsands-teck-1.4178082

      For $2.5B we could have had 2,000 of these. IF GOV went this way We could have started an entire NEW Industry, with 1000's of jobs, building, supplying, maintaining systems all over the WORLD! http://www.windshare.ca/

      @ $5K-15K Each home in NL could had a solar/wind hybrid power system and or pay for it yourself and be bill free in 5-7 years. So get OFF GRID.

      Through Net Metering NL we are currently looking for and working with partners, for doing just this in NL. Go to Like and PM me if you like to have your own Power System and get on to NEt Metering or Get OFF the Grid. https://www.facebook.com/Net-Metering-NL-223935411461082/

      Or say ON GRID and get NALCOR to pay you for the power that you generate.

      Don't get a Battery Bank (Less cost upfront) yet get a battery bank (Tesla Powerwall) Charge it, you get your power from it and all power generated will go back onto the grid, and build you credit. GEt more $$ from NALCOR.

      With Graphite, which I have a 100 million ton in my backyard, we can create Graphene Supercapacitor, Graphene Solar, Heat Radiating, Conductive Paints. The Solar paint you cover your roof. The conductive paint are the wires, which goes to Graphene supercapacitors, that stores the power. Recharge in 20 sec to a few minutes, and have power for days. Paint the walls of your home/floor, with Graphene Radiator paint, and now you heat your home. THIS IS THE FUTURE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9tZ_2PVvwY

      I've been in contact with Dr. Smith and looking at manufacturing paint and supercapacitors. These are the Batteries for Electric Vehicles/Drones/Powerwalls (HUGE TRILLION $$ INDUSTRY) We have the Graphite and soon to be listed and looking for investor. Planning a second Drilling program, this summer and move project forward.

      This is or can or Should be the Future on NL. The one's in power know so little about the potential that we have in NL.

      From a Wind Turbine in every community, we could have had a Kinetic Power Plant like this attached to each tower. (I called Beothuk Energy and let them know about this tech. See if teh want 3X the power output or just wind power?) https://rosch.ag/uk_kpp.php
      I can design better, that would give 3x the power through Electrolysis, and Gas Turbine power generation)

      A system of my design would create hydrogen gas that would/could have been the fuel for the future in NL.

      Yet for a bunch of Rhode Scholars and Educated Experts (NOT), they can't seem to figure out the Least Cost Option for Power Generation for NL.

      We end up with a broken province and a bunch of crooks and Mental retardation. For it is known that that 1/3 or the population have a mental issue and most are in GOV!

      WhatEVER GOV or anyone say's "Can't Be" Don't Listen to them and just find the answers and solutions that CAN! https://pesn.org/

      The FIRST Step that GOV Could, should and STILL should do, was Spend $12-$15M and replace ALL the Light bulbs in NL with LED which could lead to 90% reduction in power consumption.

      I can get them for $1-$2 each and did. I replaced all bulbs in my home. Now I'm building a website http://mrbulbs.ca/ to help others to save and KEEP their Money.

      No Matter what this Inquire uncovers or not. KNOW that 2019 will be the YEAR of INDEPENDENTS :) NO PC, NO LIB, and NO NPD. Replay ALL 40 MHA and SEND the STRONGEST MESSAGE EVER and WE'LL get to the BOTTOM. All the ways back to 1949, if need be. I know that the Corruption goes back to the Terms of Union, with some Families in NL!

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  16. To the editor,
    This unfactual, rambling, incoherent rant passes the not "too personal" test yet censored is my factual accounting of Adams hypocrisy for now patting himself on the back for his blog posts when he refused to give evidence at the JRP.

    Why the jagged line?

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    1. For clarity.......I assume the "unfactual, rambling, incorherent rant" refers to my (Winston Adams) posting at 00:43.
      But that your reference to Adams hypocrisy refers to your wanting to post comments about Tom Adams, that the moderator did not allow.
      With several Adams surnames on this blog,(Tom, Maurice, Winston) readers might be confused.
      Meanwhile at 10:19 there is a great piece worthy of a $500.00 prise, but could be improved on, if citing PV low power output and high cost per house ($50,000 or more), and of course Robert Holmes insights and interest in cost effective alternatives.These see value in not going to far down the road with solar PV here.
      Bruno suggests the editor is unfair.
      Well, I have cited, in past comments my agreement with Bruno about 65 percent of the time, and I can say close to 100 percent on his views of our feudal system here.
      I disagree with his bias for PV solar for Nfld island. I suppose the editor did not think my RANT was unfactual, rambling, and incohorent. Well, I admit,maybe a bit rambling, being subject to a bit of tangential thinking.......but not enough to get censored.
      Of course, Maybe the editor likes me better than Bruno.....appearance (more handsome than Bruno), experience, more thoughtful of others (at least sometimes), sense of humour, overall character, more technical knowledge (technobabble), humble, etc.
      I have even supported Bruno's right to comment on this blog (VOCM having banned him), when others have suggested he be banned.
      But in the end, it is the editor's call. Occasionally a comment of mime gets deleted. No problem, and I have never complained.
      Winston Adams

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    2. Seems I have accomplished the near impossible: leaving Bruno with no rebuttal, so one might infer that he agrees with....most, if not all of my comments.
      I thought that 2 technical people had good comments in response to my PV RANT was pretty good, but leaving Bruno speechless.......my lucky day. Feb 4 2018. And this an outstanding sunny day here on the Avalon, after -12.3 C last night, coldest so fa this year. What beautiful heating energy charts recorded since yesterday......expect to submit them to this blog in the near future. One needs patience and be prepared when mother nature provides such opportunities.
      Perhaps if Bruno emailed me his remarks to attack Tom Adams, I could polish it up, for resubmittal to the editor? No charge.
      Winston

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  17. End-use model has little meaning to the average Joe. It means that if one claims that a heating system is 3 times better than another,don't just say it is so, let the proof be in the pudding approach, that is , test it in our climate under real operating conditions.
    For those following my comments on a attic mounted minisplit heat pump, we just had our coldest day this year, with nighttime at -12.3 C, on Feb 4th.
    The unit is rated for 1575 watts input but puts out about 3 times that power in heat. So how did it perform for this cold night.
    For old standards, this 1000 sq ft would have had 10,000 watts of baseboard heat needed. As there have been some upgrades, 5000 watts of baseboard likely would have been installed.
    At midnight the outdoor temperature was -10.2 C, the unit power consumption was only 890 watts. By 5 am the power being used was 1090 watts.
    About 6 am it was 1250 watts, By 7am 1320 watts. Thereafter the power rapidly declined to just to just over 500 watts by midday.
    For comparison, a toaster uses 900 watts of power.
    At 5;08 am there was just one defrost cycle, putting heat back into the remote section for 4 minutes to defrost. Relative Humidity was lower than normal outdoors and wind was also lower than normal.
    Under those conditions, the unit operated at most, over 1 hr interval using 1320 watts, 84 percent of it rated capacity. Most units can handle 120 percent of rated capacity, so should be able to handle -20 C conditions.
    The monitor has recorded and preserved this data. Perhaps only 2 or 3 days all winter can such low temperatures be captured, during cold snaps. I hope to see colder temperatures this winter to further data.
    This type of data is what end-use modeling is all about.
    When such technology is widely adopted, it can reduce our grid peak load by hundreds of megawatts, and save residential users about 1000 dollar a year on heating bills. This in not new technology, the first such unit being installed in Canada , in Montreal in 1992!
    Question: What analysis did Dr Locke do as to end -use models for our energy needs, given heating is such a large component? What analysis did either Nfld Hydro or Nfld Power do?
    How can one expect good forecasting if one avoids doing such end-use modeling and verification of results?
    Winston Adams

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  18. https://goo.gl/3R3NVw Message 2/2 Sent 7 February 2018 Regarding Independent Submission to Commissioner, The Honourable Justice Richard LeBlanc about the Terms of Reference of Commission of Inquiry Respecting the Muskrat Falls project.

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