Monday, 12 February 2018


David Vardy, Ron Penney and I have responded to the call of the Muskrat Falls Commission of Inquiry for submissions from the public on the interpretation of the Terms of Reference.

Our submission encourages the Commissioner to give the Terms of Reference a broad interpretation. It proposes a complete review of the project - one that provides full context for the public policy decision to announce and then sanction the project. It also seeks an investigation into matters relating to the management of the project and its long term effects on ratepayers and all the citizens of the province. 

David Vardy
Writers on this Blog have been strong opponents of the Muskrat Falls project and equally strong proponents of processes of oversight and transparency. David Vardy and Ron Penney have been - and still are - two of the most articulate and forceful advocates.  David Vardy, in particular, has done the heavy lifting for this submission and Ron and I want to acknowledge that fact.
The submission offers a list of forty issues which we feel should be examined. Issues already identified in the Terms of Reference have been excluded. The submission highlights how each issue is a suitable fit for investigation by the Commission.  
Ron Penney

We make no pretense to having covered every question. The Muskrat Falls project is both large and complex. Many people, whether they have worked on the project or are members of a citizenry waiting for the bill, will have a view as to the reasons we are in the current mess, the implications for the future of the province and how those matters should bear on the focus of the Inquiry.  For those reasons the Commissioner needs to hear from as many people as possible.
One point needs stating however. We haven’t included in our submission a request for examination of the role of the Government of Canada in the debacle. Without the federal loan guarantee it is highly unlikely the project would have been financed. 
David Vardy and Ron Penney, along with other naysayers, wrote the then federal Minister of Finance urging caution, with no effect. While the bulk of the blame is ours the Federal Government was our enabler. Unfortunately the constitution doesn’t allow a provincial inquiry to examine the actions of the Federal Government. This is an issue to which the Uncle Gnarley Blog will give further illumination in the coming weeks as "solutions" to the fiscal crisis are considered.
The text of our submission to the Inquiry can be found here.  
Members of the public are invited to support the submission's overall thrust by emailing the Inquiry Commissioner, Judge Richard LeBlanc at:

Support letters or additional submissions should be sent by February 15th. Following that date the Inquiry is committed to provide "an interpretation of the wording concerned" with the Terms of Reference only and "will not be an explanation of the work to be undertaken by the Commission relevant to each Term of Reference or a determination of any matter to be inquired into."
Should readers decide to submit additional issues for investigation, in keeping with the Commissioner's request, we suggest that you indicate where you find support for them in the actual wording of the Terms of Reference. 
For easy reference, I have provided links to the Public Notice calling for submissions and to the Inquiry's Terms of Reference. The Inquiry's web site is found at this link.