Monday, 7 May 2018

BULLYING IN HIGH PLACES: THE CASE OF CATHY BENNETT AND PREMIER DWIGHT BALL

A former Cabinet Minister suggested recently that when partisan politics comes in contact with any issue, it becomes distorted. I thought of the comment’s applicability to the current furor about bullying in the Ball Liberal Caucus, especially the case of Cathy Bennett. Is politics a motivator in how it is being disclosed? How pervasive is the problem? Is it endemic to political office anyway? Who must take responsibility? What “fixes” if any are required?

Those questions beg one more: if the allegations are proven true, what fixes are required, that is to say what effect should the outcome have on public policies?
Bullying is complicated even in the words and context used to describe it. Now that vile behaviours have joined the day-to-day experiences of Ministers and MHAs, and are increasingly part of the political lexicon, commentators and the public have an obligation to include them in debate — as fraught with risk as such a polarizing issue may seem. 

Former Finance Minister, Cathy Bennett (Photo Credit: CBC)
To begin, many advocates believe that allegations of bullying should be accepted on their face. Such a position underscores the complexity of the matter for sure, but the suggestion is contrary to how our legal system works and to notions of fairness, too, which affords the presumption of innocence of alleged misbehavers until proven guilty.
Adding to the complexity is the inherently competitive — sometimes aggressive — arena of politics. Is this not context for oxymoron? Isn’t this the place where this admonition is most often invoked: if you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen? Of course, those who have experienced or even have simply studied bullying would certainly not think the issue nearly so simple. Indeed, no one should.
Still, it does seem a pity that Roosevelt’s euphemism for high office —“bully pulpit”, the word bully once meaning “superb” or “wonderful” — should now share an association with violence of the nastiest kind. 
Why would we be surprised? In the post-Harvey Weinstein world there is, rightfully, little tolerance for the crude and the unruly. Sufferers are all too aware that bullying is as insidious as it is cruel, hurtful and soul-destroying.  
Whether it occurs within corporations, governments or legislatures, whether the most senior perpetrators offer a sneer, utter a disparaging remark or exhibit the equivalent in body language, people are made to fearful and unwell. Unhealthy working environments result, and productivity is affected.
No one can deny that Cathy Bennett likely suffered an enormous pounding from a good many miscreants before she went public with her experience. It took a lot of guts to stand up and be an accuser, especially when tolerance for many types of behaviours in the political sphere will often default along partisan lines. There is an even more challenging problem, however. It is in the nature of bullying that it is not so easy to point a finger at one specific person or to a single comment or event. 
In her extensive interview with CBC, Bennett stated that, in her case, “the bullying she experienced was often very sophisticated and nuanced, and pointed more to a cultural problem than specific earth-shattering examples.”
The point she makes confirms the reason that those caught in that tricky, embarrassing and hurtful place don't come forward and don't file formal written complaints.
There is nothing new in any of these comments. What is new is that Bennett has essentially put the Government on trial, such is the extreme level of bullying she experienced. Other MHAs have now joined her in bullying’s miserable grip.
Bennett claims that her “work space” had become toxic, contaminated with behaviours from “bullying” to “isolation”. She invokes the term “mild gaslighting” (whose definition I had to look up) as well as “intimidation”. Bennett states that she experienced “real fear”.  
These are serious allegations to be made about any work environment, but they assume an even greater urgency when the highest levels of government stand accused. 
Indeed, her descriptions are so patently disturbing that, notwithstanding ostensibly legitimate personal reasons, it seems to be in the public interest, if not her own, to have them investigated. Without investigation and an independent assessment of their veracity, taking into consideration, as she states, the absence of “specific earth-shattering examples” of the torments, how are we to know her allegations are not, at least in part, politically motivated?  
Some who better understand bullying and its debilitating impacts will bristle at the suggestion of independent examination, while others will suggest that the victims just need to be tougher. The fact that we all know that bullying is a huge problem on school playgrounds, in businesses and in government offices suggests that when the same behaviours are associated with high office, the accusations present an opportunity for even the more obscure aspects of bullying to be held up to the light. And for that reason, I want to take the conversation along a slight detour. 
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Politics is a place where conflict — though not necessarily bullying — is endemic.
In this arena, opinions are raised to the level of passions. People feel very strongly about political decisions, whether they are fighting over money to fill potholes or for a school whose repair has long been neglected. Indeed, public policy debates of all kinds are often so argumentative that it is very easy to imply that one or more actors have engaged in bullying. Those conversations occur all the time in Cabinet, Caucus, the House of Assembly, and in various public forums.
But just as politics isn't always about public policy, bullying isn't just about aggressive and heated argument.
A complicating factor is the nature of politics. Ultimately, it is about power — attaining it and keeping it. People will use a lot of energy, ingenuity and even the tools of backstabbing and innuendo (and a whole lot more) to stay on top.  To that extent, at least, the problem is cultural or worse. It maybe the way we are hard-wired.
Sometimes such behaviours are matters of give and take. And while it may seem unfair to even raise the prospect that Ms. Bennett is using the advantages afforded by the “bully pulpit” to skewer through innuendo and vagueness, we know that she is refused complete validation. Even inside the Caucus occupied by her colleagues, including the Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, there are different interpretations of what occurred. 
One of the three female Ministers has made a formal complaint against Eddie Joyce. Two deny having experienced the intimidation and bullying “alluded to” by Bennett, according to the CBC.
Lisa Dempster commented: “From my experience at the cabinet table and in caucus. I have not seen [that], nor have I experienced [it].”
Siobhan Coady, the Minister of Natural Resources and Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, said: “Did I feel it was bullying, intimidation to me? No. But every person's different in how they interpret things, aren't they?”
Dempster neither saw nor experienced intimidation and bullying, yet the behaviours were pervasive, according to Bennett.
Coady, on the other hand, seems to have witnessed certain behaviours, but judged “it” to be not bullying or intimidation. The “it”, she asserts, is a matter of interpretation — essentially a question of how differences are perceived, suggesting that one person’s “bully” is another’s “boor”.
There should be no expectation that either Dempster or Coady was always present when Bennett suffered insults or innuendo. But their comments confirm how difficult it may be for Ms. Bennett to be believed. Each is entitled to their own appraisal by proximity to the people and the place at issue but we also know that, apart from perspective, they have personal and partisan self-interests to offer, too. We cannot give more weight to them than to former Minister Bennett.
In the same vein, Bennett’s suggestion that some of the bullying is “cultural” would have one believe that at least some of the men and women who have served in politics over the years were poorly treated within those Offices. 
Naturally, an appraisal such as the one given by Bennett gives pause for reflection on an earlier time in politics. Though I was never a Member of either Cabinet or Caucus, I typically witnessed an immense amount of camaraderie and mutual respect among Members and Ministers. For all the talk of politics being a blood sport, if you talk with (male) Ministers and MHAs who have served in the past, and other public servants who witnessed their behaviour, you will find agreement that disrespect — or worse, “bullying” — is not something to which they were exposed. Admittedly, I do wonder if the female Members would be unanimous with the males in this assertion, though most former Caucuses contained far fewer than presently. 
Cathy Bennett’s recent experiences appear to be very different. Her narrative suggests that she operated within a toxic cauldron of misbehaviour, isolation, bile, and boorishness. Bennett only served in one Government: that of Premier Ball. 
It may be natural to wonder if her insertion into the issue of bullying is coincident with the timing and the grievances of her colleagues and, indeed, whether it has any relationship with the forthcoming Liberal Party’s AGM on June 15. Likely the next part of this narrative will confirm that the latter concern is unwarranted and that it is simply borne out of the persistent search for linkages that occupy the mindset of those who constantly assess the political business – or it could simply be pettiness.
Politics has one dynamic that affords illumination regarding practices that are opaque. It is that a great deal of politics is practiced in a very public way. This is, in fact, the part of the narrative that unreservedly validates Bennett’s claims. Her loss of political power, upon leaving the Ball Cabinet, involved matters played out quite publicly. 
Bennett’s 2016 Budget was a political failure. The tax measures and the poorly-conceived cuts it contained, especially to the library system, caused a public outcry so vociferous that many turned on their local MHAs. (I have characterized her Budget far differently, but that is another story.) Some of them, in turn, invoked the same wrath towards Bennett, and it is common knowledge that she received no support from Premier Ball, though he was her co-architect in the Budget’s design. 
As public rancour grew, she was isolated by him (one of the types of bullying Bennett says she endured) from the normal consultation processes in which his Office engaged - which, in the case of the Finance Department, are frequent. This fact was well known throughout the Government and within the small circle of Ministers and MHAs. (I wrote about it several times on this Blog and wondered why she chose to stay in Cabinet under the circumstances.) This inability to be either decisive or astute, however, is no basis whatever for meting out or accepting abuse. 
Unquestionably, the soured relationship between Ball and Bennett effectively constituted the perfect environment for bullying to occur. The Minister’s open isolation constituted a signal, sent wittingly or otherwise, to those with a penchant for such behaviours that she was fair game. 
Ball ought to have seen the emerging environment of disrespect and demanded that the behaviours stop. They were competitors before, both having competed for the Liberal Leadership. Now they were arch enemies; Ball holding all the cards. As Premier he ought to have understood that anything except an atmosphere of mutual respect would be corrosive and destructive. Members of his Caucus, as in any business or organization, needed his enforced example — his respectful leadership — to ensure a constructive, respectful and collegial working atmosphere. 
The alternative was to fire the Minister as soon as their personal relationship broke down, which he ought to have done; else she should have quit his Cabinet. Such a choice would not have saved her from the worst behaviours exhibited on social media, but this kind of decision – from either party - constitutes an integral component of working in or managing people in a stressful, rough-and-tumble working environment.
That said, for all its persuasiveness, the narrative is still incomplete for the purposes of altering public policy. The question remains: does Cathy Bennett’s story meet a standard of proof that the problem is so pervasive that new rules are needed to govern the behaviours of the elected, and that a new adjudication mechanism is required, too? 
In the CBC interview and others, Ms. Bennett’s characterizations of her own experience seem to exceed the limited purpose of supporting complaints made by Sherry Gambin-Walsh and Tracey Perry. In the crosshairs is Premier Ball who, few would disagree, Bennett — in the vernacular of the street — throws under the bus. 
Was it reasonable for Bennett to ascribe to the Premier the status of villain in such circumstances?
Seen from the perspective of either the victim or just of fair-mindedness, who can argue that she has rightfully saddled him with responsibility not just for failing to provide leadership at its most basic level and at a critical time but, in fact, for enabling some of the very worst behaviours she describes? 
Again, publicly-known facts direct attention to the Ball Administration as a place of dysfunction. Elements of the Sherry Gambin-Walsh complaint, in which the Leader of the Opposition — not the Premier — is the (real) whistleblower for the Liberal Minister, is confirmation that Dwight Ball is oblivious not just to the existential economic problems facing the province, but to important and destructive events going on around him. 
These are not necessarily “cultural” issues in the manner of historically successive failures of leadership at the highest level. Doubtlessly, other Liberal and Tory Administrations have been populated by their share of boors, but unless new information is uncovered, we can assume that the most egregious problem of bullying is a toxic product of this largely leaderless Administration.
Does this conclusion suggest the need for a range of policies that govern behaviour among the elected? I don’t think so. I do not think the case has been made that we have to alter the way politics is played, or that there is any need to inhibit politics as a forum where passions are on display and social, economic and political priorities are debated.
That, however, is not a manner of suggesting the status quo. I would quickly offer two thoughts, in addition to the repeated assertion that the Government might operate more effectively on several different levels if this Premier was told to go:
1.       The idea of a male adjudicator, including the Commissioner of Legislative Standards, adjudicating issues of bullying made by women only underscores how misunderstood the issue is by the Premier. Tracey Perry’s assertion that complaints should be handled “completely independent of government” misses the point, too. At minimum, such issues should be heard by a tribunal having cross-gender representation.
2.      What better place than the Legislature, which is first and foremost where laws are made, to debate public policies? The House of Assembly, for years, has been underutilized; the need to vote supplies its primary purpose. This limited role only perpetuates the notion of politics as a vehicle to secure each district’s piece of the pie. Political passions, in a province with so many problems including deficient institutions, should be raised in pursuit of more enduring outcomes. Debates about the pervasive problem of bullying are long overdue. Cathy Bennett, Sherry Gambin-Walsh and Tracey Perry could lead off.
      I am sure that the Speaker could find a way to require the miscreants to be present, if not to listen. And when Members are tired of this particular issue, the Speaker could select a few more from the Democracy Cookbook edited by Alex Marland and Lisa Moore, many of which underscore the dearth of considered public policy debate in this province. That the House of Assembly is closed for much of the year constitutes all the evidence needed to confirm that we have a fundamental inability to recognize even our most protracted problems.
It is time that some elected Members were required to use their minds, rather than their mouths or some other body part. The toxic atmosphere inside Cabinet and Caucus illuminates the bullying issue, but it confirms the larger problem too.
NL is suffering a crisis of leadership, and it permeates not just public policy but also the fundamental relationships between elected Members. 
At the moment, the most proper and effective “fix” is that this Premier should go.

50 comments:

  1. I work in the Treasury Board Support division of the Dept. of Finance.

    We routinely saw Cathy Bennett verbally threaten staff or question professional ability of staff.

    The biggest bully in Confederation Building was Cathy Bennett.

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    1. ""Bennett claims that her “work space” had become toxic, contaminated with behaviours from “bullying” to “isolation”. She invokes the term “mild gaslighting” (whose definition I had to look up) as well as “intimidation”. Bennett states that she experienced “real fear”.""

      Translated: "Cathy Bennett never got her own way in politics like she was used to when she ran several MacDonald franchises. She found herself opposed by people of just as high education, career status and ambition and not low wage earners who either feared for their immigration status or couldn't care less because they weren't going to make a career out of her employment offerings."

      Just because someone doesn't get their own way doesn't mean they are being bullied.

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    2. Won't be voting for her, if she ever runs again, not that I voted for her in the first place. Won't be eating at MacDonald's either.

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    3. Right on. You hit the nail on the head. That's the real story here.

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    4. Cathy Bennett constantly tried to bully the public sector unions to the point that negotiations were at a standstill until she was replaced.

      She also bullied all minimum wage earners as well as her own employees by being a major proponent of "temporary foreign workers". In effect saying - accept these starvation wages or we will bring in people from other countries to replace you.

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    5. didn`t NAPE bully downtown businesses, didn`t Dwight give in to their bullying and give away the shop.. CB may have been a hard bargainer, but at least she stood by her principles.. unlike timid Dwight who caves and lies about it as always

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  2. Looks like the boys are up and at it early. Good ole NL misogyny at work already in comments. Let's hear some more of these "inside" stories from insiders; funny though they won't use their names. Come out from the shadows of your caves troglodytes, be a real man!!!

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    1. Right on anon:9:34, come out like you and me, and state your name. Stand up like a real person, says Joe blow...lol...

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    2. You replied as Anonymous, not much courage from you either.

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    3. Right on Blair, you are a real man, just what I like to see, but why not make a real contribution and say something, that is enlightening and that I don't know. AJ.

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    4. I'm not passing on "stories", or claiming to be somebody in "Policy Analysis". Just commenting not slandering.

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  3. A very revealing and disturbing commentary. Is this bullying and personal disfunction another symptom of government corruption and failure?

    The next election may be an opportunity to alter this tragic decline of civility.

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  4. Reflecting on Mr. Crosbie's leadership, and best prospect to replace the disfunctional Ball regime, will he have to contain some "extreme party" infighting? Springdale difficulties come to mind.

    http://edmontonjournal.com/news/politics/graham-thomson-ucp-founding-convention-hits-socially-conservative-pothole

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  5. forever toxic, puerile and bullish, theatre-absurd to simply look foolish, this House of asses in Assembling are crass at harassing, ever meddling

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    1. A typical day in a democratic society.

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  6. Bob, are you just describing this house, at this time, or are you describing this house for decades. Or are you describing other democratic assemblies, across the nation, and beyond. A little closer to home of a few years ago especially, with our we'll know mayor, Andy. Just trying to get things in prospective...are things getting worst, better, or staying the same, and with the odd intrusion of beyond the normal. Just wondering of your prospective. Cheers, AJ.

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    1. Anom @ 12:11

      There seems to be a fear of the democratic process called debate in our society. Remember Andy Wells? Sure and how about Danny Williams and Tom Rideout? Clyde Wells and Mulrooney? Brian peckford and John Crosbie? joey Smallwood along with Jon Crosbie and Clyde Wells?
      This is all a part of the normal democratic process and I would suggest if anyone doesn't like it-don't enter politics. The last thing we need is a fear of discussion because someone may be labeled a bully.

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    2. Agree with you anon 12:48. Think there is a difference between great debates and bullying, but if you want to call it that, it may be two bullies battling it out. But think it should it should contain some civility too, like after the debate, shake hands outside and congratulate you opponent, in a sincere manner, rather than avoid them. That use to be the spirit of political foes, hope it is still alive and thriving. Like rival hockey teams do it all the time, as well as in other great sporting rivalries. And not saying it in terms of males only, but should apply for females too, and sure it does in most sports. Think there were some females that could take on Andy in their time. And let's not forget Margaret Thatcher, that could shame grown men, and cut them down in size, with a few witty words. Amen. AJ.

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    3. OH! Yes...just remembered this one. In the second debate, the camera showed Trumpie stalking Hillary, she just avoided him. But as she said in her book...should have confronted him, and said," back off... You f.....g creep......" she may have won the election....Joe blow...or maybe "pethetic creep"

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  7. Related topic; Senate Committee on Canada's Low Carbon Future; Electricity sector

    https://sencanada.ca/content/sen/committee/421/ENEV/reports/Electricity_e.pdf

    I will allow you all to see where NL is positioned in the struggle with Climate Change.Do some still not believe we should even bother, Premiers in waiting want to tear down the important efforts made to get to less dependence on carbon. Does anybody have any info on the extent that Muskrat pushed the goal posts further into the future? What discussion is taking place to alter NL's dependence on carbon fuels?

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  8. https://thetyee.ca/News/2018/05/07/Uncomfortable-Canadian-Energy-Facts/

    Reason No. 1 why Kenney, Ford, and others who deny climate change action, are wrong for leadership roles in Canada's future. I invite Keith to express his views on what he refers to as "leftist" agenda on Energy.

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    1. Thanks Robert. Here's one for the audience.

      /www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/02/things_your_professor_didnt_tell_you_about_climate_change.html

      As I have stated the difficulty I have with this debate is it belongs as a scientific debate devoid of politics. This is not the case here and once the political elite, such as Trudeau and Obama, have declared that this is now public policy one, including yourself, should be concerned.

      To be perfectly frank, you and I know as much about this subject as most people and that is very little. I do not want the dogma of the ideological left or right being taught in schools. Unfortunately I am seeing more and more cases of leftist BS being thrown at kids. And I can provide many examples of it already in my kid's schooling. And yes I have difficulty with that. And so should you. Cheers...Keith

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    2. Keith, I am not really into this stuff, climate change, but take a glancing look every once in a while, and as just general information, doesn't the scientific community, i.e. Like 90 percent support and express that view of climate change. Then any political leader accepts the advice and findings of the scientific community, weather that be right or wrong, it' what the experts are saying. And as you point out Trudeau or Obama etc. Accept that they are not the experts, so they take the advice of experts, as most world leaders do. Now, as for, Trumpie, and left or right has no meaning to me, he is all over the place, and takes no ones advice but Donald's, whatever day that might be. So, I think too many people are hung up on this bs about left, or right, or centre, or sideways to centre, or right of center, whatever that might mean, just to label people. I refuse to be labeled, but try and look at the majority of the facts, and try and call a spade a spade. And I don't care if that spade is right or left or sideways, out up side down it is still a spade, no mater what label you put on it. Amen. AJ.

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    3. Keith you really seem taken in by this:


      American Thinker
      American Thinker logo.
      Type of business Private
      Type of site
      News, commentary
      Available in English
      Founded March 2005; 13 years ago
      Headquarters El Cerrito, California, United States
      Founder(s) Thomas Lifson
      Key people Thomas Lifson, Editor-in-Chief
      Ed Lasky, News Editor
      Website americanthinker.com
      Alexa rank Negative increase 10,647 (April 2014)[1]
      Launched November 2003
      Current status Active
      American Thinker is a conservative daily online magazine dealing with American politics, foreign policy, national security, Israel, economics, diplomacy, culture and military strategy.[2][3] It was founded in 2003 by Ed Lasky, a Northbrook lawyer, Richard Baehr, a Chicago health care consultant, and Thomas Lifson, a Berkeley, Calif., sociologist and business adviser.[4]

      Writing in The New York Times, Felicity Barringer credited American Thinker with initiating a public outcry over a California plan to require programmable thermostats which could be controlled by officials in the event of power supply difficulties.[5]

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    4. Last time I checked the science of climate change was that there was concenus of 95 percent certainty, and that changes are happening much faster than science predicted, so less time to make corrections, more likely temperatures will not be held in check, and too late but to watch our climate go out of control over coming decades, and like the cost of MF, leave that a legacy to our children and grandchildren.
      I find it laughable to say we teach our children to make the solutions, as our generation do nothing with such certainty of science. Like believing it was impossible to make an atomic bomb.......the scientists knew better and governments acted, but on this no real action, the world uses up equal to one Hibernia field every 12 days, then there is the gas and coal on top of that.
      Little chance to stop it, when we are not even trying.
      Winston Adams

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    5. Robert...you asked me for my views and I sent an article, among many that I have read, and for some reason it is invalid because it is a "conservative daily online mag"? Is that what you are saying? Please say it ain't so? Are you saying the only view that should be heard is one that agrees with you?

      Would you please comment on the content of the article? Or should "deniers" be silenced? Who would you recommend to lead Canada into the future? I would like to know.

      My problem with the ideological left and right is that they only want to hear the sound of their own voices and anyone who disagrees or challenges their thinking is to be shouted down. Civil discourse seems to be a rare commodity these days. This has been happening for some time and it is worrisome. Would you not agree? Keith

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  9. Guess you are still following the water levels at muskrat, Winston. Appears with cooling of temps in the area in the past couple of days, flow rates and water levels have stabilized or dropped slightly in most areas, which looks good for possible no flooding at ML, which of course is a good thing. Guess with slow thaw allows run off to normalize, as opposed to a quick thaw, as is currently being experienced in NB on the St. John river. Temps forecasted at muskrat seem low for the next few days, which should mean no big increase in water levels. Also noted that water level at English is a little higher than past two years, where ice jams occur, so should mean less water to come later. That's my observation of the charts. You may have a different opinion. But another 10 days or so to go, before risk subsides. So, I think depends on potential for ice jam at EP, and no doubt difficult to predict, as can build up quickly, and release quickly. Just a lay persons observations. Cheers. AJ.

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  10. Joe, last time I checked there was new info on ice thickness at English Point or other locations.
    Seems a lot of snow has melted in area from Mud Lake right back to near Churhill Falls, some two thirds gone, but west of the Falls much snow, hardly any gone.
    Any time the water elevations rise at ML, they scale back the flow at the CF plant,(to offset snow melt increase) and so are able ,so far to keep MF reservoir steady at 23 m within a few inches up or down. The weather has aided the control also.Have not seen any reports on ice flows, maybe still ice covered and no break up yet on the river in Happy Valley area, I wonder.
    The higher the MF reservoir, the less the impact downstream, as the water holding area gets larger to permit temporary storage, while gate modulation can fine tune the flow downstream.......within limits, and if mother nature cooperates etc. So 39m level at MF should allow better control than now (unless the Spur gives out, as it probably will, I fear).
    Winston

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  11. OK Winston, understand what you are saying, but when you say: " Any time etc. ..... up or down. Are you observing that from the charts, or do you know that to be a fact otherwise. Just wondering....thanks, AJ.

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    1. Joe, I observe that from the charts, the MF reservoir has been kept fairly steady, inflow vareis widely, with increasing snow melt, but then CF reduces flow to help offset if snow melt is too much, at ML starting to rise some.
      Meanwhile the fact that the MF reservoir stays relatively constant also means that they modulated the gates to increase and decrease flow, keeping watch on Mud Lake and English Point and Happy Valley.
      To me this seems factual, unless water is being lost through a sink hole somewhere!
      I would welcome PENG2 to comment if my reasoning is correct.
      Indeed, with feedback from monitors, such control of the MF gates, and reduction at CF, with a computer program could in theory be all automatic, even allowing for rainfall, rate of snow melt, and air ambient temperatures.
      With successive years of data, it could be refined and improved. But always with someone watching that the result is what the program predicts, as things can go off track off pretty quick with a ice jamb.
      In the future , flow through the generation plant would be modulated as CF is now, as usually little would go through the spillway gates.
      But I feel that things went so wrong last year that blaming mother nature is, as PENG2 acknowledged to me on UG, was a 'Nalcor plausable deniability" result of the investigation. In other words, that's Nalcor's story and they are sticking to it, but not likely based in fact, and assuming no one will spend money to challenge it.
      A good analysis will likey show Nalcor was indeed at fault. As this is civil and not criminal , I assume that more than 50 percent probability counts. I fell 90 percent probable, if proper analysis was done. And I am sticking with it, but would like to see a real INDEPENDENT review of the cause of that flood at ML.
      Winston

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    2. Ok Winston, I understand you saying that from your observation of the flow charts etc. that there is coordination and cooperation between the upper Churchill and the lower Churchill to modulate the water flows to help prevent possible flooding at Mud Lake this year. Guess in a way that may be different from last year, and good to see that kind of cooperation. If there is that kind of cooperation to prevent flooding, then there may be cooperation in terms of of the river flow to allow the lower Churchill to produce power at or near its maximum. Or is that a leap of fate, or wishful thinking on my part and maybe on the part of others. Or is there actual negotiations going on behind closed doors to bring this about. When will the government and nalcor keep us informed and let us know what we have to give up in return for the coordination by HQ to give us this water flow when we need it???? Am I out to lunch on this thinking?? Cheers, Joe blow.

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    3. During the spring thaw, it is to the advantage of CFLco,Nalcor, and HQ to cooperate and reduce the risk of flooding. THis is also good will for HQ.
      As to MF electricity production, our winter needs, critical at cold snaps, may not agree with HQ needs, as their power loads are for different locations. So when MF may need high water flow coming into their reservoir, HQ needs may be the opposite, and the have the legal right to address their own needs as a priority.
      Can they be flexable,to some degree yes. But when HQ is at constant legal battles with Nfld over CFs,it limits the degree of cooperation.
      When there is future reasons to cooperate, that both benefit, there is more reason to cooperate. For that reason, it seems better that HQ operate MF, if it is safe(the Spur holds up), and mazimize CF and MF. That Gull Island in the future be part of that would make sense, as all 3 plants must operate on the same water.Maybe Fortis might invest in the future, Nfld having so much debt. With HQ having oversupply of hydro power, timing may be someways off for the economics to make sense.
      That the Supreme Court is delaying the result of the recent case suggests that politics is at play, to get a win win between provinces to counter another loss by Nfld.
      That is how I see it. And control of the water is key to the economics, and goes to the stupidity of MFs sanction without that sorted out in advance.
      A Danny Williams screw up......and Bruno would suggest his Galway problems is karma.

      So, is Bruno still alive and well, or get tired and signed off, .....miss his spirited input to the blog.
      Winston

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    4. Winston, You qualified/described very well the type of cooperation that can be achieved with HQ, despite the current regime of continuous litigation.

      On the production side, I find interesting l when you say
      "...our winter needs, critical at cold snaps, may not agree with HQ needs.."

      Actually, that's exactually when conflicting priorities would generally occur.

      During those times, HQ needs all the power it can get from CF, therefore would not have any power left to divert to NL (And MF would get that CF "water flow surge" only hours later - so no timely power capacity available here).

      Possibly the above conflict could be mitigated by having CF producing at max power continously during a longer period (like a few weeks, starting end of December etc). This way, MF would also produce maximum power with more usefull/predictable timings. (Heracles would definitely know better here)

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    5. Above idea might have many flaws though, including risks of flooding downstream...

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    6. Ex_Military, you are right that at times in winter our and HQ needs vary, and HQ has priority for their need, and MF has a small time frame for peak production of 824 MW on their small revervior, and average is much less, and often no surplus available from CF to Nfld.
      You are also right, in my opinion that max production needing high water flow has risks for flooding, in particular I think flooding over the ice but under the snow on the river , creating slush that impedes skidoo crossings, from Happy Valley to Mud Lake. Some of this in March this year, and a senior Innu woman had an injury reported on CBC. I once encountered such conditions in Nfld and had to abandon our sled and supplied and get them the next day. That with 4 healthy men challenged by those conditions far from shore.Luckily our cabin was just a few miles further to go , as dark was closing in, and doubtful for a while if we would make it.
      So, seems likely St Johns gets a cold snap, and they may cause such problems in Labrador with water flow.
      Ideally, much cooperation of the power companies is needed, and with due care of the effects downstream.
      With one river and little cooperation does not bode well as to the end result and residents downstream. Again, goes to the sanctioning without thinking this through.
      Politics is called the art of the possible. And if so, good politics can be a benefit for all. If the Rocket Man can cross over and improve things over there, why have this issue dragged on so long with such bad results. Nfld and Que issue about the same time as Cuba And the USA, and almost as long as N and S Korea at odds. And we all one country. Shameful legacy for politics here, as well as poor treatment of Labrador by Nfld, so those with power at the Nfld Confederation Bldg are mostly to blame, a place where bully tactics and little reasoned debate takes place. I cannot think of a single MHA there that I admire.
      On TV I see the civility in the English House,or the USA, but here they are like children.
      I recall Danny Williams on TV debate years ago, shouting over his opponent, and so could not hear either one what they were saying. Perhaps a bully is admired, as DW got elected.
      I only assume other provinces are not that bad, and are more civil and mature.
      Have not seen any Nalcor official questioned by media as to flood mitigation this spring.......so uncaring considering what happened last year. I suppose, here, hopes run eternal that our salvation is with rebounding oil prices. And that is what got us into this mess, temporary `have province` from oil revenue, and they went nuts.Norway bankrolled a Legacy fund approaching a trillion dollars. Maybe less bullies over there!
      Winston

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    7. Above approach explained by ExMil is indeed interesting, short of an agreed upon water management agreement (WMA).

      But depending on the terms, having both UC and MF managed by the same entity would definitely be (by far) the optimal solution...

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  12. Quiet before the storm. Does anyone have a clue why the Americans continue to practice hegemony and punish Iranian people?

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  13. If I may repeat a point I have already made here: you cannot, in a democracy, expect politicians to be in any way better than their electorate. They are like a mirror: you may loathe the image you see in the mirror in question, but cursing or destroying the mirror won't change the reality from whence came said image.

    Many Newfoundlanders commenting here seem to believe that their politicians today are somehow uniquely incompetent and/or dishonest, and that if only different people, the right people, were in charge, well, everything would be...not perfect, but at least tangibly better.

    Well, here are a few quotes on politicians (by non-Newfoundlanders!) which seem oddly relevant...

    "The men whom the people ought to choose to represent them are too busy to take the jobs. But the politician is waiting for it. He's the pestilence of modern times. What we should try to do is make politics as local as possible. Keep the politicians near enough to kick them. The villagers who met under the village tree could also hang their politicians to the tree. It's terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hung today."

    -G. K. Chesterton

    "In religion and politics people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing."

    -Mark Twain.

    Now, neither gentleman was a Newfoundlander or writing about Newfoundland: but who would deny that both quotes are *quite* relevant to politics today in Newfoundland (and indeed in most of the world)? Indeed, if either or both of them could be brought back to life in Newfoundland, I suspect they would find Newfoundland politicians to be quite boringly typical, and not uniquely wicked or unusually incompetent...

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    1. Agree with most of your comment, except probably you are not familiar with our now passed on Ray Guy? We once had a Mark train here locally, and need another. Too few learned the lessons he taught us. It would not be boring if Ray was now here.
      Winston Adams

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    2. should read Twain, not train.

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    3. Etienne, Agree basically with your comments, as some time ago I briefly described our 10 or so premiers, and 3 or 4 most prominent federal politicans serving in Ottawa. And that was my very point, that the political leaders we elected were a reflection of the people and how they thought at the time, and we were no different than others across the country and in most other democracy's around the world. When it was being suggested that we were in some way different, and brainwashed by our elete leaders, I pointed that our leaders that we elected were very mundane Newfoundlanders, most came from meger means, with just a couple that might what be considered our elete. I could have told you that in one scentence, but I went through the entire fleet of them, saying who they were. And to let you come to your own conclusions of who we were and the kind of leaders we elected. Guess you came to the same conclusion. Hopefully my writings helped you in coming to those conclusions, or at least that's my understanding of that discussion we were having at that time. Cheers, AJ.

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  14. The little man from Galway is on CBC trying to place the blame on City of St. John's for the development failing to sell houses.
    Galway is like Muskrat Falls-an overly expensive development that was poorly planned.

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    1. If there was ever a bully then he is one.

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    2. DW wrote the book on Bullying. He is also the author of the perilous demise of Nl as a proud province with a bright outlook on the future. Because of egotistical little men like him,our children and grandchildren have nothing to look forward to here in NL except to probably visit occasionally to reminisce on what it was like and what it could have been while looking out over the Galway desert.
      His MF legacy will make it so expensive to live here on the rock, only the well-to-do would consider building at Galway. That's karma for ya DW. You were a bully when you entered politics, and after you left by pulling the strings of those with influence. You have not stopped as it shows with the last confrontation with the City of St.John's and the current one you now have. For Ch--st's sake man, let up a little! Act like you're just a cog in the wheel like everyone else---not be the wheel. You're fast becoming an embarassment of Trump proportions. If Galway fails, it will be of your own making. But hey! you can blame it on someone else, right?

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    3. Hi Wayne,
      As mentioned to Average Joe, DW has characteristics of being a croc, and evident from his smile, that he cannot do a proper smile.....this cutting edge scientific, worthy of a Nobel.
      Example Kim , the Rocket Man, observe his smiles Wayne, he displays a lot of teeth both top and bottom, and can produce no upturn of a proper smile, as I have defined it to AJ.
      Now Kim has both his brother and uncle murdered, and 300 of his offcials, one of whose crine was to nod off and fall to sleep during one of Kims speeches. Likely one of the worse crocs on the planet. DW is a baby croc in comparison. But to expect him to to be a mere cog.....a croc can never become a cog, unless a near miracle.
      And to expect him to change for Christ`s sake!
      He has half his 200 million pumped into Galway, and boasts of this, least we forget he is a rich man.But he may lose all of that if the economy sinks, due to the the MFs boondoggle, which he calls OUR legacy project. So the legacy project is dead.
      So he has 100 million left, so still a rich man,but he now getting to be an old man.
      Now if he does something for Christ`s sake, he might give away all the balance of his wealth for charitable causes, to help the poor, especially those most impacted by double the power rates.
      I suppose miracles to rarely happen. Would I bet that DW might become a true follower of Christ, as you imply he should, .....Hell No. But St Paul converted, having come to know the wisdom and love as taught by Christ, so it is possible for DW.
      But a big Tory calling on the Liberal Premier to transfer Galway to Mount Pearl to get his way, thinks the Mountain should come to Mohammed. We live in interesting times Wayne.
      For what does a man profit if he gains the whole world but lose his own soul, asked Christ.
      Question is , does DW believe he has a soul to lose, but even if not, others suggest he is nevertheless subject to the law of karma( what goes around comes around). Imagine DW becoming like Warren Buffett,as to what he will do with his wealth. Danny has a long way to go, and unlikely to get there. Stay tuned, and observe that fake smile of his.
      PF


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    4. Wayne, non only males are croc. The CIA woman who Trump wants to appoint, today undergoing questioning, she was the one who drafted the articles for torture, and that it filmed etc. Today on TV I saw her give the Hugh Heffner croc smile, and once, she gave the Dwight Ball one sided smile, which is a fake real smile, but somewhat effective to hide the croc character.
      Now I have noted mostly those with croc smiles, but lately I have tuned into the old TV series MASH, on Bell channel 6 around 7 pm. Most of these have actors have good non-croc smiles, which one might expect with actors in comedy. But a croc cannot act or fake a good smile, meaning these actors are definately not crocs. And observations, by me at least, continue to support the concept, as likely valid science. Joe is following that I know.
      Of course the scientific value is to identify a croc in advance. So eliminate them as leaders, and help avoid boondoggles. DW could be a poster boy on the local scene.
      Not getting much feedback on this, so that this is wacky science is likely the first response.But as the CIA monotors everything, including this blog, they will probably be quick to utilize this idea, if not steal it and I never get the Nobel. Of course, a Nobel is secondary......avoiding crocs is primary to avoid boondoggles, and so I put it out there free of charge. I should check Google for Wade Locke for smiles. If anyone knows him personally , maybe they could comment, as Google offers few smiling photos.
      PF

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    5. My Christ,(meant respectively, not a swear word), this is getting frightful. I googles: Wade Locke images nl,and about 10 or 12 photos, most with that croc appearance, and nothing to suggest he is not a croc. Among the photos, mixed in, was one of a big smiling Dave Vardy, and a close examination suggests he in not a croc. He has a bit of turn up, with a big smile, so passes ok.
      Of course there are other Vardy characteristics that would suggest he is not a croc, but now it is , sort of, official. A good choice for Premier, but his advanced age might deter him now.
      PF

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  15. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of fear. I heard that that description this was written by Mark Twain.
    If that is true, that it seems that most Nflders life in fear, given that most all who post on this blog are anonymous. Some have explained this by saying they have a relative who works for government and would suffer reprecusions if known.
    Few have mastered their fear, and no doubt the fear is real.
    But what does it say about our existence and and belief that our dead young men from WW1 and WW2 died for our freedom. Freedom should mean that we have the freedom of expression to live without fear, of those in power, by expressing our opinions.
    I am one that usually puts my name to a comment, but not here, and not because I fear to do so, but that my 2 cents worth pale in comparison to those that write for UG on a regular basis, and show that they indeed have mastered fear.

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    1. Hi Anon 21:00,

      As I mentioned in other post, I am an engineer and I specialized in IT security. About what you wrote, just think a little about this :

      When you have a talk with a friend in a place, what you say and do at that moment has an impact THERE, for YOU and AT THAT TIME.

      When you write something on Internet, THERE means everywhere, YOU means everyone and AT THAT TIME means for Eternity.

      How can you be sure that what you write will not have bad consequence for ANYONE, ANYWHERE, at ANYTIME in the Eternity ? No one can ensure that. As such, to write anything on Internet is always a risk.

      Such a precaution is not as much form fear as it may be from wisdom, due care and due diligence.

      Have a nice day,

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  16. Is this "scandal" for real? The Finance Minister comes out on the losing end of a few battles in Cabinet and caucus and calls that bullying? I call it politics. A "mobbing" effect? It's when you're on the losing side and the majority turns on you. "Mild gaslighting," when a person is made to feel crazy for being out of line with the majority? Ditto. Has anyone pointed out that while Cathy Bennett felt so bullied she couldn't keep her job as the second-most important politician in the province, her government's constables were arresting grandmothers on a court order obtained by her government's hydro company and throwing them into her government's decrepit jails a thousand km from their families? How is that for bullying and when will Cathy Bennett call herself and her government out for it? I'm not holding my breath.

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