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

Monday 30 March 2015


The Government’s Oversight Committee on Muskrat Falls issued its quarterly report just as the Natural Resources Minister, responsible for the Muskrat file, continues to display the liveliness of lichen at the Funks. Come to think of it, the Funk Islands seem a perfect place for indolent Ministers.

The “JM” Post, last week, contained a reprimand for the Oversight Committee, one implicit in the title: “In Nalcor we Trust”. Nalcor can put no claim to public trust, either; oversight remains as absent as it ever was.  For that reason, focus ought to remain on the Oversight Committee; next week's Post will attempt to shine more light on this sham group who reports what Nalcor tells them

But, politicians are ultimately to blame when bureaucrats fail to perform; after all, such recalcitrance is inspired by them. 

While this problem dates back to the tenure of Kathy Dunderdale and Jerome Kennedy, it persists with the current Minister, Derrick Dalley.

I have been thinking of the Minister lately; though not fondly. 

Friday 27 March 2015


David Vardy and Ron Penney are well-known names in this Province, both having served in a number of senior public positions.  Prior to his retirement David Vardy served as Chair, Public Utilities Board. Ron Penney most recently served as Chief Commissioner and City Solicitor, City of St. John’s.
Equally, they will be recognized for their continuing role as critics of the Muskrat Falls project.

Uncle Gnarley Blog has obtained a copy of a Brief Vardy and Penney just submitted to the Public Utilities Board.  The PUB is about to enter into the second phase of Hearings which are part of the Supply Issues and Power Outages Review for the Island Interconnected System called by the Provincial Government last year, following several days of Island-wide power outages.  

Among other issues, the Brief draws attention to the conclusions of the Liberty Report and, as Vardy and Penney describe, the “damming criticism” of NL Hydro resulting from the degradation of the Province’s hydro assets.

Monday 23 March 2015


Written by: "JM"

Oversight is one of those complex words in the English language, an auto-antonym, a word having multiple definitions which are opposite in intent.  Oversight can be defined as either (i) the action of overseeing something or (ii) the unintentional failure to notice or do something. 

Is there no better word to describe the current government committee which is entrusted with overseeing the giant Muskrat Falls project?  

Originally, the Oversight Committee was formed by government to strengthen and formalize existing oversight of the Muskrat Falls Project. It was mandated to provide reliable and transparent oversight so that the public could have confidence in the management of project costs, schedule and risk.  Premier Marshall was clear in this intent when he originally announced the formation of the committee in March of 2014:

"We're listening. We're hearing what people have to say," he said. “It is a big project. It’s the people’s project. We sense that the people want to have more information, they want more oversight, and that’s what they’re doing.”  

For those of us who remain interested in the Muskrat Falls project, the second quarterly report was issued by the Muskrat Falls Oversight Committee last week.  

Monday 16 March 2015


Earle McCurdy is out of retirement; I don’t think anyone will envy him his new job. 

The position which the NDP finds itself is reflected in the most recent CRA Poll which gives the Party 13%; Abacus reports 9%.  McCurdy had better have a new plan; the numbers are proof it will be tough to get more than one or two Members re-elected. Impending boundary changes won’t help.

Like the Tories, the NDP risks being steam-rolled by a Liberal juggernaut as default to that Party is the public’s only option.

McCurdy is intelligent, experienced, and offers management, strategic, and organizational skills.  He is well suited to the job.  The bigger question is whether his world-view has been jaded by too many fish fights with the private sector and with government. Does he possesses a renewal mind-set; one that will put claim to a new NDP political model to replace one most certainly broken?

Monday 9 March 2015


Scramble” is a word that conveys something more than a sense of urgency.  It suggests a disorganized, frantic, confused, even undignified effort to do something or get somewhere. There is a lot of scrambling going on in the Province, right now.

The Premier and his Finance Minister are scrambling to put together a Budget; private enterprise is back in vogue as they contemplate selling off public services; the crown jewels can’t be far behind.

Carol Furlong is scrambling having recognized, too late, the government has public employees in the crosshairs.

CUPE President, Wayne Lucas, says “there will be war”; it’s a safe bet he’s scrambling; some call it leading from behind.

Monday 2 March 2015


Last year, the Minister of Finance, Charlene Johnson, released a PR piece entitled: “Five Things to Know About Budget 2014”. It’s very first claim was: “A return to surplus in 2015-16”! 

The problem isn’t just the price of oil. Johnson forecast $791 million extra revenue next year and assured us $28 million would be left over. It would be foolish to say the surplus constituted a rounding error, because the whole forecast was just made up. 

It’s the stuff that earns Finance Ministers laughs, but not much more. 

Charlene should have known better than to compete with Snook for the Stephen Leacock Award; yes, that’s the one for humour.