The Uncle Gnarley Blog has a new website. Click here to visit to view the latest posts!

Thursday 28 February 2013


“May you have sensible leadership”, is a mantra that ought to replace our copious use of the Chinese proverb, “May you live in interesting times”.  Most of us don’t recognize good leadership until it disappears; appreciating it only in the context of more recent comparisons or with the hindsight of history.  Naturally, we always hope for the energetic and visionary type, though its arrival is as fleeting as an apparition in a warm mist. I’ll take the sensible kind any day.  That will keep us on course in case the visionaries never arrive or we are unlucky enough to be visited by the quixotic and absolutely reckless.  Regrettably, the latter group recently got elected.  “What is in their wine?” seems a suitable, if somewhat immodest, question.

A recent MQO Poll plotted the Dunderdale Government’s popularity in free fall, since the last election.  A 19 point difference separates the MQO numbers and the popular vote of the 2011.  The figure offers proof, not only of how strongly the Premier basked in the afterglow of the Williams firmament, but how irresponsibly she squandered the goodwill of election night. 

Monday 25 February 2013


Speaker: Order Please, Order Please, The Honourable Member for Blustery Bay.

Honourable Member: Thank You, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today on a point of personal privilege.

Mr. Speaker, a few days ago, the Member for Windy River South rose in his seat to decry the recent appointments, to the C-NLOPB.   
What did the Honourable Member say, Mr. Speaker?  He stated that neither of them know a ‘cod from a sculpin’! 

As if, Sir, ‘knowing a cod from a sculpin’ is some important induction or even a precondition for senior management positions of this government and its Agencies.  I will demonstrate that, not knowing a cod from a sculpin, is neither important nor even desired within this Administration.
Sir, I harbour the strongest suspicion that most Honourable Members, including the Honourable Member for Windy River South, wouldn’t know a ‘cod from a sculpin’. 

Some Honourable Members: Hear, Hear.

Member for Blustery Bay:  Indeed, Sir, if I might speak plainly and without any disrespect, I expect you, too, Mr. Speaker, would make the same claim.

Thursday 21 February 2013

The Great Revolutionary from The Shore

Since the sanctioning of Muskrat Falls my relationship with Uncle Gnarley had returned to a more normal state.  Once a week we would share a 'wee dram' while he proceeded to educate me on some of the finer aspects of the liberal arts.  These discussions, as one sided as they may be, were always a welcome diversion from everyday life.  As I was driving down the shore I wondered what would be the topic of this evening’s discussion.

I opened the door and saw my old friend hanging, what appeared to be, a framed picture on the wall. 
"Nav... as usual your timing is excellent.  Tell me if this is level to the mantle?"

"Good to see you too, Uncle Gnarley.  It is level, but what is it?"  It was clear that this was no portrait; it seemed to be a legal document of some sort.

Monday 18 February 2013

Faster than a Hammer Squad

Against a backdrop of massive risks and severe criticism of the $7.8 billion Muskrat Falls Project, the NL Government has ignored it all and is pushing full steam ahead. This is despite the fact that a key player in this development, SNC Lavalin, is under a massive cloud of suspicion with allegations that several of its senior executives have engaged in some very dodgy business dealings, misappropriating millions of dollars to influence big contract awards.

You may well ask: Why should this make any difference to the NL Government when nothing else seems to slow their gamble of NL’s future?

SNC Lavalin may book  ±$600 revenue from the Muskrat Falls Project for engineering, procurement and construction management services (EPCM). EPCM companies generally take no risk on cost overruns or schedule, but have an enormous impact on the outcome and success of a project.  No doubt, this is the case with SNC Lavalin on the Muskrat Falls Project.

Given this situation, trust and integrity are absolutely vital.

Monday 11 February 2013

MQO Poll Darkens Dunderdale’s Destiny

The recent MQO Poll, on the performance and popularity of the current Dunderdale Government and the other two Parties, has been dissected by others.  A few additional observations are on offer.
First, to state the obvious, the NDP strength in the St. John’s area is the main story with 48% of those polled indicating support for that Party, if an election were called, against 35% for the Tories and 16% for the Liberals.  A three way split greets the Tories in the rural areas, giving them a slim lead (37%), against 34% for the Liberals and 28% for the NDP. On a province wide basis the Tories and the NDP are in a statistical dead heat with 36% indicating support for the PCs, 35% NDP and 28% Liberal.

As to which leader would make the best Premier, Dwight Ball is a washout in St. John’s (12%) against 37% for Premier Dunderdale and 51% for Lorraine Michael. In rural districts, Dunderdale is on top with 51%, followed by Ball 30% and Michael 19%.
The numbers, should they stay the same or deteriorate further, suggest the Government is in trouble, Dwight Ball is in a tough spot (even if the Liberals’ rural roots are still strong) and the NDP is the real challenge to the current leadership. The Government’s advantage, chiefly, is that it is still early in the mandate.

Monday 4 February 2013

The Auditor General is Full of sh’Shakespeare

June 1, 2012:  Premier Kathy Dunderdale announced, today, the appointment of a new Auditor General for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

ACT I: The Fairy Tale A-G

Eight months later…..

(The Auditor General, preening in front of the mirror, is getting ready for his first Press Conference).

A-G:           Mirror, mirror on the wall
                  Who is the most courageous one of all?
                 You, my dear A-G, you are the most courageous one of all;

Holeass:   But, there are so many others even more courageous!