Monday, 22 February 2021

OF TWITTER, VIRTUE WORSHIP AND CABIN FEVER

Cabin fever is consuming the Province. The latest manifestation is on social media, and the Chief Medical Officer of Health acknowledges, dozens of people are sending her gifts. Some propose that a street should be named in her honor. Some call this virtue worship.

Dr. Janice Fitzgerald is a busy gal to be sure and we should applaud her work - and those who support it – but I find myself in the group that will let time and perspective evaluate the enduring contributions of society’s presumptively worthy.

The idea of virtue worship, the unwavering belief in and an unquestioning reverence for authority figures, was something to which I gave mental notice recently. It happened as I took a hard right at the bottom of “Danny Way”, the stark empty landscape confirmation that I had either come face to face with prophesy or landed in a place reserved for Mars' Perseverance. Worryingly, I reversed and drove in the other direction; my intended destination, the site of COVID-19 testing, was situated a little to the east.

Thursday, 18 February 2021

The Variant and the Election: throwing the Chief Electoral Officer under the bus.

 Guest Post by Ron Penney

The announcement on Friday night that we now have the UK variant has certainly got our attention. It is much more contagious, and contrary to what was said at the press conference announcing the arrival of the UK variant, it is also likely more virulent and may have an increase in mortality of 35%. 

This is a serious escalation in the pandemic and it did not need to happen. 

It is only recently that we have started to use rapid tests. Nova Scotia has been using those tests for months to gauge community spread. If we had followed their example we would have likely identified community spread much earlier and taken the appropriate public health measures also much earlier and likely nipped this in the bud, instead of being in the situation where we find ourselves now. As a result NS has 14 active cases and we have 338. 

We had cases over two weeks ago which were of unknown origin. That was the time to have gone to level 5. 

Monday, 15 February 2021

MORE "INCIDENTS" ON LIL PILE ON COSTS AND POWER INSECURITY

A new “Major Incident Announcement”, reported internally at Nalcor and, otherwise to the PUB, reports additional damages to the Labrador Island Link transmission line (TL). It stated that “While conducting repairs to the electrode on conductor 1…the electrode conductor 2 broke and fell to the ground.” The Report is dated 02/07/2021. It also states that during the operation, pieces of ice fell to the ground “in the vicinity of employees” causing work to be stopped pending an “evaluation” and preparation of a “safe return to work plan.” (Nalcor should clarify if this was the incident that occurred on February 3, 2021 so that the public can see how many of those incidents have occurred and when.)

Nalcor’s reported an earlier January 11, 2021 incident, made to a select mailing list, about damages on 8 towers (the electrode cross arm circled in red in the picture below is reported by Nalcor as the location of the damage on the towers . We now learn from the Liberty Report for the PUB that "16 areas have been identified as experiencing electrode line conductor damage..."

Multiple engineers have confirmed for the Uncle Gnarley Blog that the damages from icing on the LIL are far more serious than Nalcor admits.

Thursday, 11 February 2021

PREMIER FUREY MUST ASK TO POSTPONE THE ELECTION

Dr. Fitzgerald’s body language did not betray her when she shuttered most of the Province’s economy for the second time on Wednesday. Her demeanor and countenance suggested that she had just endured the kind of pushback from the politicos on the 8th Floor that lets you know “doing the right thing” is not easy especially during an Election; she might have still been feeling the bruising. She was probably thinking, too, of the unwise Premier sitting six feet away and of the arrogance required to play Russian roulette in a pandemic.

Where have we seen it before? Danny Williams and Kathy Dunderdale come to mind; too smart by half, a pair of Wiley Coyotes so full of themselves seeking political advantage by crushing common sense. Premier Furey’s manoeuver – too slick by half - now sees him looking down the wrong end of the gun.

If it was only about winning an election, a healthy society and economy would work its way through one more dalliance with “amateur hour” he exhibits. We have certainly seen this before: Danny, Kathy, Tom, Paul and Dwight have not defeated this place, even if they have given it a good shot.

Monday, 8 February 2021

A FOOL'S PARADISE

 Guest Post by Ron Penney

In my recent guest blog, the Timing of the Next Provincial Election, I urged Premier Furey to await Dame Moya Greene’s interim report, due at the end of February, and her final report due at the of April, before calling an election. 

Not surprisingly, that advice was ignored and the resulting campaign is exactly what I had worried about. One conducted in total denial of the reality of our situation. 

As former Premier Smallwood used to say, “the first job of a politician is to get elected, the second job of a politician is to get elected, and the third job of a politician is to get elected.” You get the point. 

Premier Furey, while a political novice, has taken this to heart, with advice no doubt from a certain former Premier considerably more experienced than him in running successful campaigns. 

Thursday, 4 February 2021

LEADERS' DEBATE CONFIRMS ELECTION AFTERMATH

When the Province’s dire fiscal position ought to be center stage in Election 2021, it  is not.

This is a place where, it seems, neither politicians nor reporters are willing to even describe the full extent of the problem.

A few days ago, Premier Furey could be heard saying that the “fiscal gap” – the difference between revenues and expenditures - is $800 million, when the correct number is around $2 billion. In the same breath, he added that the Feds had taken care of the initial debt payments on Muskrat Falls of $844 million – forgetting to note that they were only deferred.

The great majority of people likely have no idea how high the public debt has grown or what it means to have debt beyond our capacity to pay. They do know, by and large, that we are in financial trouble; otherwise, there is widespread confusion. 

On the other hand, few who know better would put their hand up and tell Furey, Crosbie and Coffin to cut out their nonsense. While the Employers’ Council is showing Polling data offering widespread public support for measures to deal with the fiscal mess, where is the clamor of advocates for such change? 

Monday, 1 February 2021

A Fair Price for MF Energy Is All Ratepayers Can Afford

Guest Post by PlanetNL 

PlanetNL32: A Fair Price for Muskrat Energy Is All Ratepayers Can Afford

It is an indisputable fact that Muskrat Falls was an enormous mistake filled with stupid errors and driven by fraudulent assumptions.  The biggest miscalculation of all was committed by the Province and the Government of Canada in legislating Island ratepayers to wholly pay for the project.  It is high time both levels of Governments face the facts, remove the severely misguided and harmful legislation, and get on with an extensive restructuring of project financing.  Island ratepayers can be billed for energy they use but only the same equitable terms as the project’s main customer, Emera, in Nova Scotia.

Friday, 29 January 2021

ICE DAMAGE TO 8 TOWERS ON THE LIL; NALCOR/POLITICIANS QUIET

A Nalcor communication memo dated January 27 describes damage to “a small section of the electrode line” on Transmission Towers located on the Labrador Island Link (LIL) in an area between from L'anse au Diable to Muskrat Falls. The incident, it said, occurred “following a recent winter/ice storm in Labrador.”

The note stated that the section of the electrode line “broke and fell to the ground”. (HVDC electrodes are used to improve reliability on HVDC systems permitting continued operation but at reduced capacity.) The Nalcor statement also noted that “Repairs are required to be made on eight of the 1,282 towers.” It states that “(t)he main components of the transmission towers and the primary transmission lines were not damaged.”

The statement does not say when the event occurred (though mid-January is likely) or what the impact would have been had the Holyrood Generating Station been shuttered as part of Nalcor’s scheme to give economic justification to the failed Project. The Statement does not appear on Nalcor’s Web Site; the incident is embedded with information of the more innocuous kind, and it has not been reported in the media.

Nalcor does not acknowledge that all it takes is one damaged tower to bring down the whole system; damages to eight towers constitutes a catastrophe.

Thursday, 28 January 2021

FISHERY ALLIANCE ISSUES "Fish Challenge" for Election 2021

Guest Post by the Fishery Community Alliance

Rising to the FISH Challenge?

Preface

During Election of 2015, the Fishery Community Alliance (FCA) was asked to provide the then Liberal Opposition Leader with a guide to develop a fisheries policy should the Party be elected to govern the Province.   This document was followed up with a number of meetings with Dwight Ball at his request, so he could be better prepared to tackle the fishery file.

Following his election in November 2015, the Premier and his MHAs not only ignored the document and its recommendations, but avoided any reference to the state of our fishery and the fact the Province lost 30,000 jobs and thousands of people since the 1992 Moratorium.

In fact, no effort, whatsoever, has been made to rebuild the fishery by the Federal Government, who is responsible for it management, since Clyde Wells was Premier over 30 years ago.

Monday, 25 January 2021

THIS MUSKRAT PLAN WON'T CAUSE MAXIMUM ECONOMIC DESTRUCTION

Guest Post by PlanetNL

PlanetNL31: Muskrat Must Be an Unregulated Government Business Enterprise

Rate Mitigation platforms presented by the Liberal and Conservative parties are way off base and pose great risk of rate escalation when difficult and contrived mitigation measures fail to work.  Worse is that the mitigation strategies completely fail to recognize that ratepayers should not be responsible for paying Muskrat project costs at all.  Muskrat must be made into an unregulated export-focused Government Business Enterprise with energy made available to any buyer, including NL Hydro, at competitive market rates.  There is a compelling case to do so, yet the political parties appear indelibly committed to the deceitful plans laid out by past governments, setting a course for maximum economic destruction.