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Monday 7 August 2017


NL needs a revolution. It’s just possible that the seeds of revolt are germinating. A recent VOCM “Question of the Day” Poll may have revealed such an undercurrent.

It wasn’t a scientific Poll in the tradition of CRA, MQO or one of the many market opinion research entities offering political parties and detergent retailers essential feedback.

Neither did it offer a representative sample of a defined population or even a statistical probability of accuracy (as in 19 times out of 20).

But it boasted three compelling components which, taken together, stand out: it was strikingly relevant, offered a choice of unambiguous answers, and attracted a high level of respondents in excess of 10,000.

The question read simply: What measures will you take if power rates continue to increase?
VOCM "Question of the Day" July 31, 2017
“Leave the province” was the choice of about 67% of total respondents (there may have been a later version of the exhibit shown above). Though the open poll left plenty of room for flippancy, still it seems NFLDers are prepared for a quite drastic resolution to the problem of increasing power rates.

An application for a rate increase of more than 6% in each of the next two years totalling 13% awaits approval by the PUB. And we haven’t even gotten to the granddaddy of rate imposition: paying for the whole Muskrat Falls project.

The current rate proposal is just a warm-up. It seems we are being saved from “rate-shock” mitigation which may be distinct from “rate” mitigation, though that is not likely.

The Premier has drawn an imaginary line in the sand at 17 cents per kWh, and wants Nalcor to come up with solutions to prevent the number going higher.

Of course, the Premier is just practicing comedy lines for a post-First Ministerial career.

Nalcor has no capacity to perform as he suggests — although they can make the problem bigger! And they are working on that.

Likely they won't willingly confess to having falsely contrived the original estimates, making a Forensic Audit unnecessary. A weak Premier certainly won't tell the bondholders that they have been fools that we are not paying the money back unless the public gives him his marching orders. 

But back to what was striking about the VOCM Poll.

The resolve of many far too many is to leave the province. Rather than fight for their financial well-being, they want to cut and run!

How many are serious is difficult to determine.

Thousands might like to thumb their noses at a bunch of incompetent possibly deceitful, and even corrupt politicians and bureaucrats. But against the realities of why we live here family roots and sense of community, as a start there won’t be more than a few dozen souls who will make the trek across the Gulf solely to escape the cost of electricity.

In fact, if only ten percent of the number that say they will leave actually do so, it will be greater than the number that left the province following the cod moratorium!

So folks, like it or not, the VOCM Poll results seems like an exercise in ‘feel-good’. But it won’t let you escape your electrical bill.

As always, there is an option even if it's not the most attractive.

What you need to decide is whether you intend pay for someone else’s deceit and tomfoolery their big salaries and bonuses and severance packages, and the profits of companies, small and large, who have fed off your naiveté, your partisanship, and your trust.

Or do you plan to look in the mirror with the determination to see a revolutionary looking back?

Like the VOCM Poll, the choices are fairly stark.

The treasury has been ransacked. The question is: are you content to pay a robbers’ ransom?

Have you “rolled over, choosing to play dead”? Is the VOCM Poll just an expression of your resignation your inability to influence your politics?

For sure, if not resignation, the Poll reflects a frightened public. Likely people see themselves faced with the impossible choices those rate increases will demand hence the knee-jerk reaction: “we’ll just leave”.

Ball will let Nalcor keep on spending. He will suppress any attempt to expose deceit or corruption, too. He will let a government — unwise and weak to the point of capriciousness — drown us in debt, oblivious to its consequences.
Dear Reader: It’s time you got your mojo back. That is metaphor for suggesting 'you have to get off your collective asses'.  You have to put behind you your partisanship, your wilful naiveté, even your misplaced faith in Danny Williams.  

It is time that you yes, you became a revolutionary. You need to own up to the existential threat which the public debt and Muskrat Falls poses, to you and your family.

Waiting for another saviour is akin to waiting for Godot.

Waiting for a Forensic Audit is an assurance that the miscreants will have left the province long before you.

So before you choose to lay awake at night contemplating how you will ever get all your things into that U-Haul, you might at least put up a modest fight, and let a quisling Premier know that he must:

1.      Stop the current 13% rate application which is now before the PUB.

2.      Install a “reputable” Forensic Auditor to report on the Muskrat Falls project.

3.      Pending the outcome of #2, await further instructions from you.

Or, you can repeat that threat about packing the U-Haul and feeling even better.

Do I see a “revolutionary” in the mirror?