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Sunday, 29 November 2015


I have always found voting day invigorating, reassuring, and a source of pride.

There is something unmistakably dignified about civil society exercising its right of self-determination, bringing change to democratic government. It is impossible not to think how lucky we are the process is conducted peacefully and within the rules of a constitution which receives almost unanimity.  

Yet, it has been a long four years. Public exasperation with recent Administrations is palpable.

Poll results, social media, and radio talk shows seem to confirm that the Tories have rubbed raw every fiber that constitutes our collective patience.

Likely, that is why evidence exists of a persistent and unveiled determination to put an incompetent regime out of its misery, and out of our sight. This time ‘round even those who are normally careful to reveal their voting intentions don't bother.

Thursday, 26 November 2015


Premier Davis has belatedly taken aim at Liberal Leader Dwight Ball suggesting his spending plans, and his approach to finding savings, are a fantasy. 

This kind of speak is tantamount to one drunken sailor accusing another drunken sailor of not being drunk enough.

Davis doesn't credit Dwight Ball with having adopted the “Wiseman Plan”.

That’s the approach to Budget making devised by his Tory Finance Minister Ross Wiseman. It is based less upon economic fundamentals than upon “hope”.

Hope is important to be sure, but it does not influence the direction of oil prices. Nor is hope something against which we can underwrite health care services or education. Hope is not a “bankable” commodity. It would be like applying Tina Olivero’s approach to the Budget: it’s mostly attitude. The rest is in the water.

Monday, 23 November 2015


Politicians can’t seem to figure out, like other people, that public servants, like other people, are offended when the political leadership fails to tell the truth.

No one likes “cover up”.

Some readers may remember the recent assertion, by the Minister of Transportation and Works, that the discovery of the fuselage of an old military airplane was responsible for the increased cost and delay to the new Virginia Park School Elementary School.

The CBC reported: “Brazil said that safely removing the airplane required a lot of time and an additional $6 million….securing the extra funding also held up the process.” Other media gave similar reports.

David Brazil would have us believe he was working hard to expose the former Fort Pepperell army dump site. He was actually trying to bury a significant cost to the public purse, knowledge of which he preferred people stayed ignorant.

Saturday, 21 November 2015


Guest Post written by Ron Penney

Premier Davis has recently compared Muskrat Falls with the Hoover Dam project.

The Hoover Dam is one of the wonders of the modern world.

It was constructed during the Great Depression and came in under budget and two years ahead of schedule.

It cost $219 million dollars (Canadian), which is equivalent to $3.3 billion dollars today. Its capacity is 2000 megawatts.

In contrast, the Muskrat Falls project is almost 50% over budget, nearing $10 billion, and rising, and its capacity is 824 megawatts. And it is well behind schedule.

So the Muskrat Falls project is at least three times the cost of the Hoover Dam for less than half the power.

Thursday, 19 November 2015


Faced with having to admit “cover-up” at Waterford Valley High, the Department of Transportation and Works asked the contractor to accelerate installation of the lateral steel supports which were overlooked during the construction of the School.

Double overtime, nearly $100.00 per hour, was the incentive for workers to work longer hours.

Originally, Government was prepared to continue to let the School operate until Christmas, even though the building failed to meet National Building Code standards. The disclosure of this second “cover-up”, the first occurred at Roncalli, caused the work to be rushed. As a result, the final lateral support was installed at the end of last week.

This should not be the end of the matter.

Monday, 16 November 2015


Barring a catastrophe, the Liberals will win a landslide victory on November 30th

It would be a fine tribute to “Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition” if this outcome could be attributed to their advocacy of good governance.  Sadly, no such claim can be made.

Could that be why a review of the “Red Book’s” contents reveals few ideas for how the Liberals might run the processes of government better than did the Tories?

Ball may bristle at suggestions the Tories are the sole authors of their demise; but the facts don’t help him much.

Ed Hollett’s Blog, The Sir Robert Bond Papers, recently offered an excellent review of Tory blunders. I suggest the seeds of public discontent predate even his enumeration of what brought them down.

It is good to remember that Premier Dunderdale’s banishment culminated with her stumbles during DARKNL. They did not begin there. The removal of the PUB from the Muskrat Falls review, Bill 29, and her own incoherent logic, won her no friends.

Monday, 9 November 2015


Guest Post written by "Agent 13"

We have all heard of “The Dirty Dozen”, the D-day British pre-invasion team, glorified in the 1967 film, of the same name.  The “Dirty Nineteen” are nothing like them and have earned no glory.

Let me introduce them.

Back in June 14th 2012, the Provincial PC Government was in the final stages of voting on Bill 29. The Bill amended the province’s access to information legislation.  The changes constituted a massive step backwards for democracy, having permitted a level of governmental secrecy never before seen in Newfoundland and Labrador or Canada.

Much of the secrecy around the Muskrat Falls Project was afforded by these amendments.

Friday, 6 November 2015


A Department of Transportation and Works spokesperson told VOCM on Thursday, November 5, 2015 that “the walls within Waterford Valley High that need further supports are walls between classrooms, and says there are no issues on the walls that provide the main structural integrity of the building.” (underline added)

The Spokesperson was commenting on Uncle Gnarley Blog’s exposure of a cover up of structural deficiencies in a second St. John’s school; this time the new Waterford Valley High.

But a highly experienced engineer, who advised me on this file, says the Department of Transportation and Works is downplaying an important structural issue. 

Wednesday, 4 November 2015


Wall supports lay in the parking lot of Waterford Valley High
awaiting installation
When NLESD chief, Darrin Pike, gave a tour on September 3rd, 2015 to Premier Paul Davis, the cabinet, and community members, the brand new $38 million Waterford Valley High School was not ready for occupancy.

But the 800 students of the school and their teachers were permitted to start classes anyway in early September. They could not have known a “cover-up” was underway.

The contractor had failed to install steel wall supports which were part of the structural steel package necessary to warrant a “sign-off” from the structural engineer.

Monday, 2 November 2015


COVER-UP AT RONCALLI SCHOOL  posted on this Blog August 31, 2015 was, regretfully, not followed up by a demand, from any quarter, for an independent investigation.

At issue wasn’t only the “cover-up” but “what” was being covered up.

I had hoped keen questions would be asked; that the authorities would be required to show proof newly constructed walls of the school were structurally sound.

Received was just rhetoric from the Minister of Transportation and Works.

But two informants contacted me, following publication of the item, with important information; both were familiar with the incident. One was a worker on the construction site; the other a professional person.

The information prompted three requests under Access to Information legislation, known as ATTIP. A new request was made to the Department of Transportation and Works, and first time requests were placed at the Newfoundland and Labrador English Language School District (NLESD), and ServiceNL.

I wanted the answers to two fundamental questions: