Monday, 21 May 2018

MEMORIAL LOOKS ELSEWHERE FOR LEADERSHIP. IT SHOULD LOOK AT ITSELF, TOO.

It seems that Memorial University President Gary Kachanoski is frustrated with the Government, though it is a bit late to express that sentiment. Memorial largely ignored the warning signals about debt and risk to civil society from a decade of overspending by successive government Administrations. When the University ought to have sounded the alarm, it instead finds itself in the same boat as every other institution.

Memorial was forced to cut $8.9 million from the University's operating budget this year. In addition, the Government threatened to cut the subsidy to the University by a commensurate value of the increase if tuition fees were hiked for local students. Said a clearly disappointed University President, the province has to decide what kind of university it wants.
Memorial University President, Dr. Gary Kachanoski
Dr. Kachanoski is right to be upset about the use of tuition as a tool for anything other than pricing the quality of its offerings. But diffidence over this issue has a long history. Local students are still paying the 1999 course rate! By what measure, except in the arena of raw politics, is that sensible; inflation never having been declared dead, especially in the over-heated economy (until recently) of this Province?
And Kachanoski is right to be upset with Minister Gerry Byrne. But what did he expect? It’s not as if the Government is equipped to recast complicated public policy issues any more than it is willing to acknowledge the current fiscal crisis. From a more competent Minister, the University President may not want to hear the limited range of options anyway. The question Kachanoski raises is not a matter of what the Province wants but what it can afford.

Admittedly, Memorial is not alone in this circumstance. Every institution and employee touched by a provincial government dollar, from healthcare to education, from MUNFA to NAPE to CUPE, hopes that, at worst, the status quo will be maintained. It is faint hope to be sure and held only because all have been willingly complicit, with the government, in the denial of our fiscal circumstance.

Few would argue that Memorial is a cherished institution in Newfoundland and Labrador. Whether or not individuals have attended as students, most have a notion of how it impacts our economy, our society and our people on a personal level — their intellectual development, quality of life and careers.

For many, the faculty and staff are members of our family; Memorial is integral to the conversations held in our living rooms and at the dinner table.  No one wants to see Memorial upbraided or in any way diminished. This is not merely sentiment. A diminished Memorial University implicitly represents a poorer province, a fact reconfirmed in a recent story by the Economist magazine based upon a look at “1,120 studies across 139 countries” which confirmed “rising returns” from investments in education. Such a conclusion won’t surprise many in this province. But, realistically, when the coffers are completely empty and the fight begins over what institutions and services are most entitled, Memorial will still be in a scramble against health care, social services and a whole lot more. 

There was a time — not that long ago — when Memorial complained that its infrastructure was poorer, its offerings fewer and its salaries less than that afforded by its counterparts in Atlantic Canada. In the past decade, many of those deficiencies have been sated — though not all. Infrastructure still lags. The pension plan is still modestly deficient, prospects for growth, including a Law School, are in tatters. The initial cuts to its operating budget are likely irreversible. Indeed, it should be dawning on Memorial that this might not be another ‘one-off’ but the start of a trend. 
It does seem implausible that President Kachanoski and, indeed, all Memorial's senior leadership, were unaware of the extent to which the fiscal integrity of the province has been imperilled. 
When Stan Marshall confirmed $12.9 billion for Muskrat and the Government gave official acknowledgement that, by their own numbers, more than $400 million (more objective analysts put the figure at $500 million-plus) will be required for rate mitigation, was this not the clincher?
How could this institution not know the province’s dreadful financial state, the Premier having declared in February 2016 that it was having problems raising debt in the long-term bond market? Has not the Net and Total Debt of the province continued to worsen?
What does Memorial not understand about six deficit Budgets in a row — all well exceeding $1 billion — with the promise of more deficits to come? Is not Kachanoski’s upset over what might be a very modest cut in its operating budget premised on anything more than — dare I say it — ivory tower thinking?

There is another issue that demands stating. 
When governments fail and other institutional, business and union leaders cower over the potential costs to giving the government rebuke, to whom should the public look for leadership? Should it not be to the province's only University — both its administrative and academic leadership? 
Should they not be counted upon for sound and persistent analysis as to the implications and seriousness of the problem, for solutions and for guidance as to an appropriate public response? Is this not also how institutions cement their indispensability when threatened by competing interests?
Are these comments an overstatement of the role of an institution whose first claim is to objectivity and independence, and to the assertion that it is not the Government’s but the Province’s University? 
No one expected President Kachanoski or any of his Vice-Presidents to publicly chastise our recalcitrant political leadership. But Memorial has other tools — the ability to draw on national and international expertise, to provide larger-than-life focus to issues, including through the Harris Centre, to ultimately sound the alarm for a society clearly and unmistakably in a state of peril. Alongside the others, Memorial refused to be offside.

It may have been a terribly improvident bet, but it was a decision the University consciously made. The academic and the administrative leadership can point fingers at each other if they wish, as to who should have stepped up. But such an argument within a single University, in this small town, is likely to invite questions of dysfunction more than any other.  

Perhaps, too, it is too much to expect that Memorial students might have openly campaigned for better public administration, including for more realistic tuition fees. I suggest that they have something to learn about democracy and about public policy. In the Joey Smallwood years, when Newfoundland and Labrador was much poorer, students loudly opposed his arbitrary and often corrupt leadership notwithstanding his famed — and short-lived — policy of free tuition.
As for Memorial, the institution, it has much work to do. And not in respect to giving Dwight Ball or the Gerry Byrne enlightenment; some things are beyond everyone’s grasp. But whether the perception is the reality or not, Memorial has assumed a reputation for bloat — not unlike the government — which it has failed to dispel.
Memorial needs to look at itself in at least two respects.  
Getting more public money is not one of those. That is not an option. 
Rather, Memorial should assess how it has failed a society nearing bankruptcy, and whether it could have been the one institution that stood tall amidst so many on bended knee.
 Otherwise, it will want to assess if the standards and innovations to which it lays claim will now also include the word lean.

77 comments:

  1. At a rate of provincial borrowing of 4$ million per day, the university has cut its operating budget by the equivalent of around 2 days of borrowing by government, taking a cut of 8.9 million in its budget. So for the other 363 days it's business as usual, is that Memorials contribution to the provinces financial crisis? Just asking! Tel me MUN guys. In addition to the top administration being rather mute on this issue as well as other public policy of government and such institutions as nalcor, their silence has been deafening. Is it because the same people at the top of nalcor been the same people at the top of the university board of directors, and other boards that determine how much oil and other industry money that will go to MUN. So not wanting to appear to bite the hand that feeds them. Or as we say all in the same bed, or birds of a feather flock together. Have they been all muted. The most vocal has been Mr. Locke. I cannot comment on the inner workings of the university as I am not in the know. But just trying to raise some questions that those at MUN are quite knowledgeable about and may care to comment, anonymous of course, as yours truly. Or is it that the attitude of those at MUN including senior students, what does the financial situation of the province have to do with us? Yes, so maybe it is a question of what kind of university do we want, or what kind of a university can we afford. Just the average Joe asking.

    ReplyDelete
  2. A timely piece. Recently on UG I suggested that MUN be shut down,an overstatement, to save 300 million a year to help mitigate the MFs impact on power rates.
    Last week I asked my wife and our neighbour how much in Nfld (assuming all would pay the same) must each family pay to cover MUN`s cost each year coming from the government,which is our tax dollars. Initially they assmesd MUN was not costing families anything, perhaps thinking they pay their own way, until I explained the 309 million subsidy each each. Then one guessed 500.00 per year per family, the other guessed 800.00. They were shocked when I told them about 2500.00 per family. With low income families paying little tax, this means others are paying double of triple that to support MUN. And for what!
    With many being squeezed to pay winter heating bills at 11 cent rates, and faced with 17 or higher rates, who can afford the MUN albatross, with buildings needing 400 million backlog in maintenance,buildings tha are energy inefficient, and intended to stay that way, and perhaps more worried about their pensions that the state of our economy, (the I`m all right Joe approach)
    And what great innovations and research come to mind , I wonder, has come from MUN this past 25 years, or scholars that brought enlightment. MUN indeed seems to be largely a subsidary of Nalcor, with fake world class credentials.
    Instead of bringing enlightment,for the most part, they circle the wagons under the cone of silence. Some serious changes are needed.
    Winston Adams

    ReplyDelete
  3. But MUN was the incubator for their darling of the Economics Department, Dr. Wade Locke... wasn't he one of the colossally-naive Kathy Dunderdale's "world-class experts" who proclaimed... in public forum no less... that Nalcor's Muskrat Falls fiasco was a fiscally sound project?

    Notwithstanding that one who would profess to be such a crackshot marksman of economics could be so horrendously off-target... but surely MUN is beyond reproach for producing and nurturing such a seemingly brilliant and formidable number-cruncher whose mission was to enlighten the low-brow ingrates and similar intellectually-stunted ilk who pay Locke's and his associated MUN elite's generous salaries that fund their sumptuous lifestyles?

    Fortunately that group of learned fat-cats should be able to absorb the doubled electricity bills and consequent increased ripple-effect costs precipitating from such.

    (that steady "drip, drip, drip," is the flow of bitter sarcasm)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wade Locke basically told the PC's what they wanted to hear and not what should have been said.

      Delete
    2. Mr.Locke made a substantial income.
      Selling the Monster Muskrat falls to us all. Sadly the media stil think he has something valuable to say.

      Delete
    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  4. Are there any MUN professors or students who can comment on what was or was not being discussed in the lead-up to Muskrat sanction? Besides Wade Locke, a frequently Government/Nalcor-paid project supporter, the only names that come to mind are economics prof Jim Feehan who was against Muskrat, and Stephen Bruneau, an Engineering professor who advocated for natural gas to come ashore.

    Was MUN that detached from reality that so few saw the possibility of the fiscal cliff we are soon to fall over? Or was it a case of dependence on Nalcor and industrial handouts that silenced all criticism?

    For MUN to have been so easily neutered is quite the embarrassment to former students like myself. The only bigger embarrassment for a society is to have the judiciary and law enforcement doing the dirty work of crooked politicians and business people which has been demonstrated during the construction phase. There are many dimensions to the failure of a society and we just might have them all in the case of Muskrat.

    Hey academia... time to chime in... this sure looks like a large case of wilful blindness committed by a vital institution.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or a case of turning a blind eye for fear of ????

      Delete
    2. Professors that offered alternative views were threatened, directly by challenging tenure applications or indirectly by various means. I can't be too specific without doxing some of them. This sent a message to the rest of academia that anything that displeases powerful players will have serious consequences. It is quite easy to harass professors. You can deny ask them to teach courses they have no interest in, refuse to consider them for tenure, yell at them in the deans office, fail to renew their contracts (if not permanent) and all sorts of things to make their lives miserable and hate the place.

      Delete
  5. There are online universities... many in the USA, offering bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and even doctoral degrees - accredited and world recognized... I'm sure we could get by with a reduced/smaller MUN if we had to...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you there. As a matter of fact, I would go as far to say that a lot of the mess we are in today is directly attributable to MUN who never really exercised their academic freedom for fear of rocking the boat to much especially when discussions about the courses needed versus the courses thought. Many of the courses they thought (ie German, Spanish and Russian as examples) while even though they we a small cost it showed the total disconnect that the MUN faculty had for the province as a whole. Mun existed for years before even an attempt was made to study the aboriginal languages and culture of this province but it was full steam ahead for European languages.

      Delete
  6. Very well put Uncle. This is the same President that bought The Battery hotel for $16 million and put $35 million into renovations (so far) for a few graduate student rooms and additional meeting space. Same President who proposed the idea for a law school for MUN. And called for a new science building costing at least $350 million and counting. Pays his secretary $265 thousand a year. The first step is get rid of Kachanoski.

    ReplyDelete
  7. $265,000,00 for his secretary???? That can't be factual can it??
    If it is factual, a list of salaries for all administrative staff should be made public given the fact that we are footing the bill in a large way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And a clothing allowance

      Delete
  8. "...prospects for growth, including a Law School, are in tatters..."

    The above statement is the very poor thought that has got us into a mess in this province in the first place.
    First of all NL does have a Law School just that it is not located in the province. The arrangement by which 40% of the seats in UNB's law school are reserved for NL applicants in return for a reserve of 40% of the seats at the School of Medicine at Memorial is exactly the types of arrangements we should be looking at to reduce the costs of education.

    We no more need a Law School here than New Brunswick needs a School of Medicine and if we do start a Law School what will happen if UNB decides to pull its support for MUN's School Of Medicine? I can't believe taht a comment like the one above is coming from UG all in the same publication that he whines about over spending It just goes to show that neither the past not present civil servants have a clue about financing and reducing waste. It is no wonder Gerry Byrne is chastising the mun administration for extravagance. He needs a scapegoat somewhere the incompetence of elected officials.

    ReplyDelete
  9. MUN and CONA need to be brought together.

    It then needs to be rationalized for a province of 500,000 people.

    We then need to do a review of what programs we need, and what programs we dont. We then need to focus on key areas.

    Lastly we need a university where the research completed is for the benefit of the economy, and not purely for the point of publishing journal papers!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have zero faith in MUN anymore. I remember hearing Dr. Wade Locke talk about the amazing opportunity Muskrat Falls would be. He had done the numbers and it would provide significant benefits for NL not only in the short-term, but for the entire lifetime of the project. Many in the audience were disgusted by his pandering at the time, and it has not gotten any better.

    There was a time when MUN could have been part of a possible solution. But that time is long gone as this bloated institution of greed and ignorance has been as complicit in our economic downfall as Cathy Bennett.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen to that.

      No doubt the citizens of this fiscally crippled province will be taking a keen interest in Locke's testimony at the MRF Inquiry.

      Delete
  11. In the mid 1960s , of 380 people in my home town of Bishop's Cove, about 30 were attending MUN, so about 8 percent of the population. Prior to this only half a dozen had university education. Now with the population reduced to about 200, only about 6 attend MUN, so about 3 percent of the population. Six children in a family was typical then, and about 2.
    Then MUN offered a 3 year engineering program, requiring the last 2 years at Nova Scotia for a degree, which I and many others did. Nfld was way behind then, and needed the investment in higher education to do catch up. Now with fewer students and an aging population, seems doubtful we can afford MUN costs, and subsidy of 300 million a year. A benefit to cost analysis likely would show a need for other priorities. At 4 million a day for interests costs, we are past the point of diminishing returns.
    And MUN itself offers no ideas of how to solve our economic problems, with the MUN president asking the govn what type of university does it want. The question should be : What type, and quality of university can we afford? Are we now getting good value for money being spent? I suggest the answer is no.
    And why has no one from MUN have the gumption to defend their existence
    and cost to the tax payer on UG 's blog here? Like Nalcor , they feel they are not answerable to the public, they want their independence to take, but not be accountable. Joey brought over Lord Taylor from England, to impress the locals. MUN,..... for a long time now I have not been impressed. An overhaul is past due.
    WA

    ReplyDelete
  12. I would expect some MUN professors in varied fields of study will be seeking more secure jobs elsewhere and jump ship ASAP - before MUN makes the necessary cuts at the faculty and department level, thus making the "cuts" decision easier.

    ReplyDelete
  13. So the province subsidies MUN to the tune of 309$ million per year, and if we consider the provincial borrowing at 4$ million per day, that equates to 77 days of provincial borrowing. Despite MUN having millions of dollars funnelled their way from industry, especially the oil industry over the past decade and more, they still received their govt subsidies. One official of MUN was overheard to say, at one time we had to fight like hell to get a few dollars from industry, but now we have to work like hell to spend it all, that was in the days of milk and honey of a few years ago. It seems a triangle of govt - nalcor - mun, all in the tangled web they weave. Govt. created a monster, nalcor Frankenstein, and the finishing touches and refinement was completed at mun where it was turned loose and ranged the wilds of the island and the cold winter hills of Labrador to muskrat, in preparation for the 1100km pole line. And totally out of control it could not be reined in, no matter how many million they threw its way, they ran out of money and went to the well for more this time from more friendly mr. Justin. Then Stan the man came on scene and was finally able to tame the monster and contain it within the depths of the reservoir in 2016. But in the spring of 2017 it trashed in its dying days causing the water to flow and flooded Mud Lake downstream. Finally in 2018 ball et al in dire financial state, severed the tamed nalcor from control of the purse strings of the oil revenues. This is the tale of uncontrolled spending over the past decade and a half. Where will the next decade take us???? Cheers, Joe blow.

    ReplyDelete
  14. What has purchasing the Battery Motel cost MUN? What are the benefits? Was the new core Science Building the less expensive option? How are the salaries at Mun comparable to other businesses in St. john’s? Maybe President should look at these items.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anna,

      I'm part of the team working on the development of the Battery Facility. Here's a link to an FAQ with information related to the costs of the project.

      http://www.mun.ca/battery/learn/learnFAQ.php

      Delete
  15. I think people are justified in being frustrated with the failure of MUN's senior administrators. They are by any measure a total failure. Not just Kachanoski but also the various vice presidents and associate vice presidents that are his underlings. That said, I also think that it's worth keeping in mind that there were critical voices coming from the university. I attended a talk at the Rocket downtown where a couple of people from the university criticized Williams-era tax and other policies. There is a larger story here I think. Even though there may have been fewer critical voices at MUN, the audience bears some responsibility. Let's not forget that many of the people now complaining also voted in the very people who have brought us to where we are. There is a reason that Wade Locke got lots of airtime and Feehan and other critics got very little. In part that may have to do with corporate influence and a want of competitor. It also had to do with the fact that people listened to what they wanted to hear. The university needs attention to be sure. There is no excuse for the wasted money at the Battery. There is no excuse for the overpaid, incompetent administrators who seem to be wandering aimlessly. But people in this province supported the policies that are now in force. Would they really have consulted the folks at MUN when deciding at the polls?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe the problem here is that MUN has always been an orphan of government. Heavily subsidized, while Alumni grew their families and business, and had too little funding capability to take interest in the operation of the highly rated institution. Corporate interest and influence grew and pushed academia goals aside, and faculty and Admin became just a rubber stamp of government policy.

      It was wrong to expect that MUN was the intelligent counterbalance to government policy. Rather than beat up on what MUN has become. Fix the problem. Step up MUN Alumni. And while you find your voice, do the honourable thing; turf this incompetent bunch of politicians!

      Delete
    2. So, where is the vote of non confidence? Where is the General Strike of government workers? Tor, where is your "Swarm"? How many of the new MUN grads have jobs in NL?

      https://bondpapers.blogspot.ca/2018/05/a-cabinet-caucus-and-legislature-walk.html

      Delete
    3. Good comment Robert,
      However , consider this:Robin Whitaker piece in the Telegram(Gutting MUN won`t solve Nfld and Labrador financial woes), in response to Wangersky piece (Hogtied and hamstrung) suggesting perhaps MUN needs to take drastic action, the province can have the university it has now for much longer, and says the province did not practice the austerity it preaches to MUN, otherwise we be close to a balanced budget now.
      Robin`s piece ends saying `MUNFA members all understand that we have been put between a rock and a hard place by disastrous decisions made by previous governments, the folly of Muskrat Falls chief among them. But that destroying NL public university is not the solution we need.`
      Now, if we go to the Independent piece by Robin dated May 18, 2017, (Seize back our university), it says there is ample evidence that Memorial is a significant economic engine. And that a university is a place `to turn out thinkers:people who can figure things out for themselves, access evidence critically, and make informed judgements and communicate clearly and precisely.
      It also says there are many serious questions and concerns about the Board of Regents at MUN. That in the March 2017 Canadian Association of University Teachers Bulletin, MUN`s board structure was listed as the the worst at any Canadian university.
      As to ample evidence of MUN being a significant economic driver, she has a link to a report from Feb 3, 2015 : it cites MUN accounting for more than 1 billion in overall economic activity per year, 11,200 full time jobs, being 5.6 percent of the provinces employment. MUN pays 560 million in salaries, and generates 250 million in revenue....so MUN has facilitated some of the prosperity that we are now seeing in Nfld`the author of that report told the CBC. He says `the more educated you are, the higher will be your productivity, the higher will be your innovation, through research and development...without MUN there would be fewer degrees and employment would be down.
      Thar CBC piece is dated Feb 3, 2015 (Professors calculate Memorial University`s contribution to economy)
      Now Robin cites that report as to MUM being a significant economic driver.
      1. The report was done by MUN professors, so not an independent assessment.
      2. The main professor and author of this report was: Wade Locke!
      Now this type of ability to `access evidence critically`, seems to me to be perhaps circular reasoning: say MUN is a significant economic driver, have MUN to the report to show this in dollars and cents, and have the author be Wade Locke , who pushed Muskrat Falls, and Robin now says Muskrat Falls was the chief folly of past governments! Somehow, by a lack of critical thinking, she left out MUN and Wade Locke from the folly of MFs. So round and round it goes, MUN shares no blame, right!
      Winston Adams

      Delete
    4. Now think of the MUN alumni who have prospered by the evident collusion between the house on the hill, and the college; business elites along with the engineering/construction groups. O yes, a few petro boosters too. We all had hopes that the ocean research efforts would be more than just an assist to the offshore.

      Delete
  16. And this;

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/power-outages-across-newfoundland-1.4672679

    Is the sun shining and the wind blowing, somewhere along the Avalon?

    Is this bad management or something else?

    ReplyDelete
  17. What happened with Muskrat Falls was a failure of governance. It was mostly the fault of the Provincial Government (including Nalcor), but we are all to blame: Memorial University, the media, civil society and voters. The Provincial Government is mostly to blame because it: (1) willfully underestimated the costs of the project to gain public acceptance for it; (2) withheld any negative information from the public; (3) prevented the Public Utilities Board from having any oversight of the project; and (4) dismissed and attacked any criticism of the project. We all recall that critics of the project were referred to in traitorous terms by the government of the day.

    But just because the government shoulders the most blame doesn’t let the rest of us off the hook. The majority of voters kept voting for the party that had started Muskrat Falls, long after it had become clear that there were serious problems with the project. Business groups – representing most small- and medium-sized businesses in the province – supported the project. The media was mostly silent on opposition to the project for a long time. Even the Opposition in the House of Assembly was mostly quiet; if I recall, formal debate on the most important project of our generation lasted only one afternoon.

    So, while it may feel good, after the fact, to jump all over Memorial University for having failed in its duty, let’s be careful about throwing that first stone. Only a few brave souls (David Vardy, Steve Bruneau, the Labrador Land Protectors, Group 2041, etc.) dared speak out in public.

    Another important fact to remember is that Memorial University is not the Official Opposition to the ruling party. To expect it to have acted as such is to misunderstand its role in society. Yes, it can bring clarity to complex issues and likely could/should have done more. But to blame it entirely for the problems currently facing our society is not only unfair but inaccurate.

    The President and the senior executive are among the most experienced and qualified people in this province, and their hearts are in the right place. It is not an indictment of their abilities for them to ask, “what kind of university does the province need and want?” This is a question that all leaders should continuously be asking about their organization; times change, and organizations must change with the times. The fact that this question is being asked during a time of fiscal restraint is irrelevant.

    I will close with this quote from a former President of Harvard University: “If you think the cost of education is high, you should look at the cost of ignorance.”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It seems to me that it was the most educated of NL --- government, academics/economists/engineers, business groups, unions, etc., that did the most to enable and support this Muskrat boondoggle.

      It would not have been possible to pull off this deceitfully planned and designed project without the aid of the most educated.



      Delete
    2. In my home community, a long time school principal, a MUN graduate, was for more than a decade protected from his incompetence by fellow teachers, and that he was also an alcololic didn't help. He hung on to retirement and a good pension. Many, in hushed tones, remarked about his strange behaviour, and general ignorance. One, not so shy resident, much less formally educated, but self educated on many subjects, summed it up to me , explaining that the man was an "educated fool".
      Fortunately, most educated people are not fools. But all that are not highly formally educated are not ignorant.
      As to throwing the first stone: We expect the Leblanc Inquiry will throw plenty of stones, but the Shadow Inquiry of UG is pointing the way of where to throw the stones. The naysayers have been stoned for far too long, me thinks. Did not Nalcor keep a naysayer list, and if so, for what purpose?
      Winston Adams

      Delete
    3. Michael Clair:
      No one is blaming MUN for our woes but they have contributed to the problem with their uncontrolled spending. Reigning them in is essential but will not solve our demise.
      Our demise was with the Williams/Dunderdale era. They have saddled us with the biggest blunder in our history and the Ball government is complicit in its "steady as she goes" philosophy. We WILL lose majority control with the UC and QC will take control, as it should be, given the fact we are totally unable to manage our own economy. the only satisfaction the populace of NL can hope for is the "bringing to justice" those who inflicted this scourge starting with DW.

      Delete
    4. The construction unions pushed for MF's as much as anyone.

      Delete
    5. "The President and the senior executive are among the most experienced and qualified people in this province..."

      "Most experienced and qualified" at what?

      Knowing what side their bread is buttered on perhaps?

      Delete
  18. I find it interesting (living in Alberta) that many students that attend MUN are from the so called "rich provinces". In reality, this amounts to NL taxpayers subsidizing these students. In my return trips to NL I see MUN as having increased bricks and mortar. I am not sure that serves anybody well, most notably the students. When I attended in the 70's we were then complaining about class sizes/student teacher ratios. We need to face facts. It is not the 1960's any more. MUN leadership should not ask what kind of university the government wants. Governments have a four year mandate and short term thinking. The leadership of MUN need to take this as an opportunity to reinvent itself. Going up against health care, etc - simply put - they are going to lose. They need to depict a vision - be it on line learning - less reliance on bricks and mortar - whatever - but it is not the 1960's delivery model. I know much has been done, but much more has to be. Otherwise it will discontinue. NL cannot afford it - look at the amalgamation in NS. The student's needs are different now. It is not our father's education system. Most of today's students have already experienced some level of on line education/training by the time they finish high school. The romantic notion of going to "experience the big city" as a pillar of growth in one's life are now the fiction of paperback novels.

    Time to build a educational delivery model rooted in this century and suiting the economy.

    ReplyDelete
  19. What does Hydro/Nalcor have in common with MUN? They both have monopolies within their market. And what traits do monopoly executives have in common? They conduct their business in a slow and lazy way attempting to grow their rate base and maximize their revenue. Monopoly myopia has cost this province dearly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The best summation ever.MUN seems to be a grazing ground for the overpaid, entitled,and silent, monopolists.

      Delete
  20. no one in MUN admin ever considered right sizing MUN,we have a population of 500,000.Every dollar or credit they recd they built a building assuming the government would pay the cost .we do not have sufficient NL highschool graduates to fill half the yearly MUN entry positions.Grenfell ((Gerry Byrnes district))has a little over 2 students per employee,,who can support this?The battery,still a work in progress,with a cost of who knows,maybe $30,000,000 for an off campus dorm that has to provide a free shuttle bus.A recent letter to the telegram by a MUN union rep was upset the government hesitated to borrow money to top up the pension plan,should the pension plan issue be address in house..MUN still has a $20,000,000 budget for entertainment and travel.Hard to believe the only action taken to control costs in recent years has been to cut building maintenance.MUN is a great asset but must be forced to adust costs to reflect reality.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All universities are hell bent on empire building. MUN is no exception. MUN has run out of local students and wants to be a "university for the world", complete with a recruiting centre in China. They dream of doubling the size of the engineering department for example. Here is a quote from the MUN magazine "Benchmarks", Winter 2008:

      "visited 14 Chinese universities. While there, they met with the administrators of 11 institutions to explore potential collaboration with Memorial and delivered presentations to a number of them." - this is a way to fill up the masters programs with Chinese students looking for a cheap western degree.

      Most of the administration of MUN could be fired and students wouldn't even notice. Professors could take turns being dean. No vice presidents are need. Look at the antics of the Provost. Is that position really important?

      Delete
  21. With my own business, I have had 4 occasions to interact with MUN direct, on technical issues:
    1. In 1979, for a special sound floor design for the Taxation Data Centre. It was beneficial,and I paid for the service. and the expertise of the mechanical engineering dept, was essential to the positive outcome for this project.
    2 . About 2011, an issue related to capelin research and 10 years on ocean temperature monitoring I had done; no one there was interested in the data, or returnd my email inquiry.
    3 2012: Made contact with Wade Locke concerning Muskrat Falls and energy reduction and peak load reduction potential, Wade was not interested.
    4. 2016: Made contact with electrical and mechanical dept , re verification or peer review of huge energy saving and demand reduction with mini-split heatpumps, per my installation and monitoring results; the guys were too busy with links to the power companies, or expressed no interest, or displayed ignorance on many technical details, so it went nowhere, and apparently they appeared to have conflicts of interest with the power companies here.
    So what was once an institution that I had personal experience being of value to our local economy and social benefits, something changed drastically, from my experience.
    Being a graduate of MUN, I am very disappointed, and resent that our tax dollars of 309 million a year do not give a good return. I see little difference between them and Nalcor.
    20 million dollars a year for travel and entertainment? Really! And 50,000 a year going to all the Labrador communities combined for food subsidy, where 60 percent of their coastal communities have food security issues! If they are this out of touch, and no one makes this an issue when our govn spends 4 million a day in interest expenses, maybe the whole damn works at MUN should be should be shut down after all, there being little chance of redemption. Make no wonder the study as to the food security issue in Labrador was not done by MUN.
    Winston Adams

    ReplyDelete
  22. What kind of university does Newfoundland and Labrador need and want? What do we expect from a university in the third decade of the 21st Century – a period characterized by historically unprecedented changes to technology, demographics, climate change, the economy, and much else besides?

    The first thing we need is an institution where our citizens can learn about all aspects of the world: the natural and social sciences, the arts and humanities, business, engineering, medicine, etc. This is true not only for our youth, but for everyone; during a time of rapid change, many workers will need to refresh their knowledge during their careers. Memorial University has done an excellent job at this in the past and continues to do this at present.

    Universities must also transfer their discoveries and inventions outside their walls. This includes technological innovations and social innovations. Universities around the world are struggling to do this better. For its part, Memorial University operates a business incubator and has recently created a Centre for Entrepreneurship and a Centre for Social Enterprise. The Battery Facility is meant to be a place where innovation flourishes. There are two new senior committees at the university, focusing on coordinating the innovators on campus and connecting with innovators outside the university. The new Core Science Building being constructed on the St. John's Campus will also bring industry in closer collaboration with academia.

    A university is also expected to connect its home region with the world. It is meant to bring the best ideas in the world to a local audience. It does this by maintaining close collaboration with other universities through academic networks. But it also does it by hiring faculty from other universities and by recruiting students from around the world – people who bring different expertise, ways of seeing the world and connections to other countries. Memorial University is the largest gateway to newcomers in this province and expends a great deal of effort to recruit and retain graduates in the province.

    Universities are expected to recognize the expertise, lived experience and wisdom of people who have not traditionally attended university. Memorial University has created programs in education, nursing and social work for Aboriginal persons, has made accommodations for differently-abled people and is striving for greater gender equity. Many academics practice community-based research, where local residents are equal partners in the research project. And the Harris Centre’s public forums and regional workshops attract hundreds of “ordinary citizens” to discuss issues that are important to them.

    Universities are also expected to help citizens make sense of the world. At a time of information overload, the hollowing of the traditional media and the prevalence of “fake news”, we need universities to help us figure out what is true and what is false, what is real and what is fake. Universities are non-partisan, evidence-based and adept at dealing with complex issues in a respectful (collegial) manner. Memorial University created the Harris Centre 13 years ago to organize public forums where controversial issues could be discussed and to otherwise inform the public about important issues facing the province.

    Far from being complacent, Memorial University has attempted to its fullest to meet the changing needs of society, and I can attest from first-had experience that the leadership of the university is as intelligent, hard-working and dedicated to the province as one would expect of people in their position.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Given the wee hours of the morning , and i having spent 3 hrs researching the "Nfld Curse" and MUN research, a timely piece in the Telegram, connected to a court challenge against the Nfld health ethic board etc, I need to read your piece again with a fresh set of eyes.
      WA

      Delete
    2. You can't always get what you want, but, if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need.

      Apologies to the Rolling Stones.

      Delete
    3. Michael, interesting comments, and maybe MUN is trying to do some or all of what you are saying. But I will just comment on one item "fake news or maybe alternate facts". We like to think that Trumpie was the author and leading authority on fake news,since his presidency and as a Candidate. But we had fake news here before that. I will Give Eddie of nalcor full credit for being the first or one of the first as being the author of fake news. The first two questions we wanted answered in a factual way were; do we need the power, and was it the least cost option. We were assured it was, with no facts and then glazed over as no brainers. The third piece of info we were given was, it's better to take all the power from muskrat, rather than let it flow over the falls, and sell it at 3 or 5 cents a kW in the US. That was the gravy fake news, as they would sell it on the spot market. All dreamt up, with not a fact or a plan to back it up. And they knew it. Now who do we look to, the average Jane and Joe, to verify, or separate fact from fiction. Yes as you have pointed out, our learning institution, MUN. And, did they ever give us the facts, or totally endorsement of the fake news, as a mater of fact govt. and nalcor began using MUN as a back up for their fake news. Out of the fat and into the fire one might add. Yes, the best and brightest, and most professional at MUN laid it on heavy. muskrat was a go, a great heritage project. So most of the public swallowed it hook line and sinker. All three couldn't be wrong, govt. nalcor and MUN. And as you mentioned some knew it was fake, and spoke out, others knew it was fake and did not speak out. I knew it was fake, so what, big Joe blow speaks out, or average Joe, who gives a hoot, when Dannie said it was better than sliced bread. So my point is, our university failed us, at our time of greatest need. Why??? Were they in the pockets of the fake news reporters, Industry, unions, business, and all the others that saw $$ 's in their eyes, all on borrowed money. And where was our brave, fearless media, well I gave up on them a long time ago. We expected more that that from our great institute of higher learning, says Joe blow, average Joe, AJ.

      Delete
    4. spoken like a true MUN employee,surely we did not need a $40'000,000(?) Battery for the Harris Center to do it's thing,be innovative , work within fiscal reality.No one disputes that MUN has an important place in NL,but it must learn to live within it's means,,that will only happen if MUN has no choice,that is a decrease in government money.Judging from recent history if MUN was given more money it would build some new buildings and assume someone would provide the funds to operate them.

      Delete
    5. Alas, I am a former MUN employee, recently having to give up a great job because of the budget cuts that MUN is absorbing. So I know personally the sacrifices that the university is making to address the fiscal realities that it faces.

      Has Memorial failed the people of the province, especially as it relates to Muskrat Falls? Was it the role of the university to oversee the work of Nalcor? To question their knowledge and expertise? Or was that the role of the Public Utilities Board?

      Those who claim that Memorial failed the province base their case primarily on a public forum featuring Dr. Wade Locke shortly after the project had been announced by government. That event was organized by the Harris Centre, under my direction. There was obviously a great deal of public interest in the topic and neither government nor Nalcor were actively explaining the project to the public. So I asked Dr. Locke to bring his perspective to the issue, given his extensive expertise in public finance and natural resource economics.

      Dr. Locke based his presentation on the facts that were provided to him by Nalcor, about the cost of the Muskrat Falls dam and the costs of the alternatives. He discussed how, with rising oil prices, the project could break even. At the time, world experts were predicting that oil prices would continue to climb. He should not be faulted for not being able to predict the future nor for any erroneous information that was provided by Nalcor.

      Dr. Locke is a publicly engaged scholar who has worked hard to explain complex economic issues to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. He has helped explain the Equalization Program and how it affects this province. He has spoken frequently about how the province could maximize the value of our offshore oil resources. And he has spoken about other issues, such as how to use the royalties from our offshore resources to benefit future generations. He has not shied away from controversial issues, to the benefit of the public.

      The way we treat publicly-engaged scholars like Dr. Locke will determine the extent to which other scholars will be prepared to engage with other issues. It will be counterproductive to say that we want Memorial to be more active in addressing public issues if we castigate those who do engage.

      Delete
    6. There is a distinct difference in presenting in clear, understandable terms an interpretation and an expert judgement/opinion of Nalcor's flawed planning assumptions, forecasts, cost estimates, etc., and in allowing oneself to be a mouthpiece to help market Nalcor's unsubstantiated mix of flawed forecasts, planning assumptions, cost estimates, etc. (the flaws in which an inquiring mind would have and should have seen).

      NL can do without "publicly-engaged scholars" that fail to apply an objective and inquiring mind to their presentations.

      Delete
    7. Hi Unknown,

      Let me ask you one question after reading your text...

      When the most optimistic scenario offered to you is to break even, why do you go in such a project ?

      To break even is ending up with nothing more than what you had at the beginning. As such, the project will end up either in a lost of money if reality is not the most optimistic scenario, or a waste in time if you are lucky enough to break even. So at the end, you can only loose.

      So many "great experts", "great scholars" and others are just parrots repeating whatever someone else said... It seems that you just described another one...

      Delete
    8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
    9. Apologies for showing my last post as "Unknown". I had wanted to show my name but apparently wasn't successful.

      Delete
    10. Hi Mr. Clair/Unknown,
      There are good economists and bad economists. Although the economic profession can better assess the academic and professional qualifications of an economist based on what the economist has published and where the research output was published, the general public may not know whether the economist is good or bad. If a "publicly-engaged scholar" is not held accountable for what he or she has done wrong professionally or ethically, or both, this will induce more bad economists or publicly engaged scholars to offer their "expert advice" because of their own self-interests (say, consultancy fees) rather than the public interest. As a result, the society has a higher chance of getting welfare losses because of bad social or economic policies.

      Delete
    11. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  23. In my humble opinion ... the reason we keep repeating the same mistakes and sitting on the sidelines saying nothing is because there are too many of our people working for government agencies , departments etc..... nobody wants to speak up for fear of your wife, husband, son , daughter, cousin, mother working in public sector and nobody wants to lose their’s or family member good paying / pension plan jobs. It’s all about self interest..... if the public sector was downsized as it should be by at least 25% you’d soon hear a few different tunes. I’m nearing retirement and have no public sector pension just my own hard earned savings. I truly worry about my future in this province.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Why does a secretary to the President of the university get a title, $265,000 a year salary and a clothing allowance?

    That salary is higher than many family doctors and is definitely more than we pay a Premier to run an entire province. It is completely absurd. You do not need a university education to realize that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The salary of the Executive Director in the President's Office (the presumed "Secretary" above) earned $172,000 in 2016, as per the Sunshine List: http://www.exec.gov.nl.ca/exec/hrs/pdf/mun_report.pdf.

      Delete
  25. FYI

    http://www.assembly.nl.ca/HouseBusiness/Bills/ga48session3/bill1819.htm

    ReplyDelete
  26. StressedEngStudent23 May 2018 at 15:05

    As a student currently enrolled in MUN's engineering program (since 2015), every semester gets worse in terms of the quality of the program. This past semester we had one TA (normally 4-5) for a lab with 70 students, they stopped grading assignments because there was no one to grade them, the profs are overloaded (or don't care) and overall a lot of other small changes to equipment/services in response to the cuts. Not going to lie, I've been really disappointed with my experience at MUN so far, I'm even considering transferring to another school. The tuition is cheap, yes, but I feel like the quality of my education is cheap now too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I went through the engineering program too and can tell you that things have been getting worse since the 1980's onward. Students often can't get work terms, some professors should have been dismissed years ago, contract teaching is abused, courses are cancelled because there is nobody to teach them.

      One professor told me "this is not the right place for you. You should transfer to Western -- the have a good program.". This professor spent most of his life teaching at MUN and was clearly disappointed by its decline. If I didn't have family here, I would have taken his advice.

      Delete
  27. I think the time has come to reconsider the role of publicly funded universities/colleges such as MUN and CONA. If they are privately funded, they do what they want - so be it. But we are now at the time where every tax dollar spent is scrutinized for the value to "greater society". I understand and support(to some level) the notion of academic freedom, but I think that notion is one of the past. There is no accountability associated with it, so why will the average over burdened tax payer give a hoot ? Trim down you programs to focus on providing skills people actually need to get employment. Do it based on regional or national requirements working in conjunction with federal departments. There is an old Wonderful Grand Band song that had a line something along ..."lighting up the fireplace with your Bachelor of Arts". If you want to do a BA, no problem. But the tuition for that should be multiple times that of an "employment program". Regular taxpayers should not be expected to foot the bill for your life journey of discovery. That should be YOU. Again, MUN Executive leadership - the problem starts and stops with you. Develop a vision and execute on it. Or go home and have someone else do it. But no more money should go into this bottomless pit without any accountability. Live long and prosper in THIS century.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Of course the elephant in the room (now that MFs is an albatross) is our health care cost. John Smith used to say that MF is a few billion for a few years, not to worry, as health care is 3 billion every year
    MUN costs each family about 2500.00 a year from our taxes on average in subsidy. That , while very steep, is peanuts as compared to health care. We assume our health care is free, as neither the hospital nor doctor charge us a bill. But at 3 billion a year in costs here, it works out to 6000 dollars per person, so 24,000 dollars a year of our taxes from each average family, while low income families pay little tax and moderate to high income would have to pay more that 24,000 a year. With MUN added , it requires 24,000 + 2500 = 26,500 per family for health and MUN!. Correct me if this is wrong? If correct, it seems rather hopeless. And we have worse health outcomes than most other provinces.
    UG must surely address, again, the health care crisis that is facing us, made worse by the MFs fiasco.
    Terrible when we then to think this stuff is all free. In the USA, hearing of families paying 15,000 or so for health insurance seems harsh, but here we are paying much more through out taxes, and going deeper in debt, and poor health care quality. Heracles, is there a light at the end of the tunnel, or just too many frogs here posing as ox?
    Winston

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Winston,

      Considering the only similar case I know of is Detroit City, I will answer you in function of what happened there. Detroit never ceased to exist. It still exists as of today. The thing is, the Detroit that was before the crisis, the Detroit that has been for many years, the Detroit that is as of now and the Detroit that will be tomorrow are all 4 very different Detroit.

      The first one was a gigantic industrial center and a very active economic giant. I would compare this to the Newfoundland of a few years ago where oil money was maximum.

      The second Detroit is similar to what is happening right now. The main source of revenu is gone, the deficit is gigantic, so is the debt. As such, those with enough money are leaving for better horizons, leaving the poorest behind.

      The question is about how advanced this process is. If it is still in its early phase, it can be stopped and reversed. If it is well started, then it is too late and next steps may very well be the same as it happened in Detroit.

      Once only the poorest remained behind, the city turned into a war zone. The city could not provide for services like security. Typical services like groceries and others disappeared. New enterprises like House Demolition Service appeared because too many unused houses reduce the value of the others and are a risk because of squatters, People turned the city parks in gardens and started to produce their own food.

      The city started to give ground and buildings to investors to pay back its debt and in exchange for the kick starting of a new economic model. This process is in progress as of now. At the end, a new economy will develop and the city will turn in something new with the potential of being great but in a completely different way.

      For Newfoundland, if indeed it is too late, the province will have to surrender all of its assets to pay back its debt and have the investor kick start a new economy based on something completely new.

      So there will be people living on the Rock for as long as we can see. But in which condition, around what kind of economy, under which juridiction, that is yet to be defined.

      People with enough money to leave are free to do it. As such, it is not possible to force them to stay. Once they left, it is not possible to sustain an economy with only the poorest and most demanding part of what the society was.

      There will be people living on the Rock. That's for sure. What is unknown is the number and their conditions.
      Newfoundland can turn in a great economy and a bright future. That's for sure. What is unknown is if the actual Newfoundlanders are ready to give up on their past and turn themselves toward the future.
      A bright future for Newfoundland is possible, but that future must get rid of the past and must be based on something new, good, positive and durable.

      Gigantic debt, structural deficit, dwarf syndrom, envy and all others must stop. Are people ready to stop ?

      A similar example about the people ready or not for something new is about WW1 and WW2. WW2 is nothing but WW1 re-started few years later. At Casablanca, Roosevelt promised that allied would fight the german up to a complete and unconditional surrender. After that, few asked him to smooth that statement because never german would accept that. As such, it was impossible to negotiate peace with them. Roosevelt refused and told them : We will fight until we completely destroyed the Reich. Note that I did not said we will destroy the people, but as long as the people identify themselves to the Reich, Yes, we will destroy the people.

      So as long as Newfoundlanders identify themselves to the small poor victim of the past and everyone else, there is no hope. Once the people living in Newfoundland are freed from that mentality, they will be free to become great, powerful, pride and more.

      Delete
    2. Heracles: I wish I could share your optimism. But it seems to me that a scenario whereby Newfoundland and Labrador becomes wholly depopulated is entirely possible. Let me stress to all readers of this blog that I would regard such a scenario as VERY sad and VERY undesirable. That does not make it impossible, alas.

      I've already mentioned the self-destructive feedback loop NL is in danger of falling in (indeed, already is in, to a degree): as younger, educated people keep leaving the province the fiscal situation keeps deteriorating (fewer taxpayers and a growing percentage of retirees), leading politicians to keep on cutting services and/or raising taxes (please note that, with the growing percentage of retirees and the shrinking percentage of young families within the electorate, such cutbacks are far likelier to have a disproportionately negative impact upon young families), which in turn drives more young, educated taxpayers away...and so on, and so on.

      Crucially, the people leaving would be the ones who under different circumstances would be expected to spearhead major changes in NL. The notion, Heracles, that a province whose population + electorate is increasingly dominated by retirees will undergo any major change(s) in outlook does not strike me as realistic, I'm afraid.

      Closing down MUN and/or CONA, finally, as suggested by some here, would definitely accelerate the exodus of young people away from NL. Which is why, if I were a Newfoundlander, I would be fiercely opposed to the idea (I believe I once referred to it here as a "penny-wise, pound-foolish" idea).

      Conversely, some "ideas" should be shouted down far more harshly than they have been: the idea of a "fixed link" between the Island and the Mainland, for example, has the potential to become yet another MF-type boondoggle. If I were a Newfoundlander I think I would be putting much more energy into discrediting the "fixed link" idea than in exploring such destructive projects as the elimination of MUN and/or CONA...

      Delete
    3. I am encouraged by Heracles opinion that the situation here could be turned around, based on a lot of changes needed here. I doubt the Rock will be entirely depopulated as Etiene suggests possible. They say it would be easy to identify Nflders in heaven, as they are the ones wanting to go home. Yet many Nflders have always left in hard times, only some return. I exaggerate when I say MUN should be shut doen, but nevertheless , MUN has failed us, and not only as to MFs. MUN is like the frog Heracles describes.
      In that a few of you guys from Quebec share our concern on this blog for our future, it is discouraging to see so few Nflders engaged with comments here, those whose future is most at risk.
      I suppose July 1, a Nfld WW1 rememberence day her and Canada holiday, seems to be a power hike day here also. Doubtful it will be a power hike protest day. Perhaps MUN should promote that. Local actors, having masks made of their faces depicting WW1 soldiers lost (Telegram artice) asked , what if we didn't offer to pay for our Nfld Regiment which cost 15 million, half our debt leading to bankruptcy after the war, and what if our young men had not been so sacrificed, what a difference they might have made to our island? And now Memorial, stays silent as to their part in the MFs fiasco, perhaps again putting us on the road to bankruptsy! Oh, July 1, it has a lasting effect here unknown in the rest of Canada, where Vimy is remembered. But as Heracles says, we have to move beyond the past failures, but need not forget them.
      Winston.

      Delete
    4. Check out why it is called Memorial.

      Delete
    5. Hi Etienne,

      The loop you talk about is exactly what happened in Detroit. Despite this, Yes, Detroit turned into a war zone, but did not ceased to exist. Detroit in on the mainland, so one can literally walk away from it. Because Newfoundland is an island, it is even harder to leave completely.

      The only option for the Rock to end up without any population would be an evacuation ordered and executed by government. For that, they would have to deploy the infrastructure to receive the ones they would evacuate. It will cost less to re-use whatever is in Newfoundland than doing such an evacuation.

      So no, Newfoundland will not be deserted. There will always be people, but not necessarly in a great position.

      Delete
    6. Heracles: look at Schefferville in Northern Quebec: its population in the late seventies was some 4000-4500, and it is now down to 200 inhabitants or so. I would maintain that NL has much more in common with Schefferville than with Detroit. After all, Detroit is surrounded by scores of American towns and cities: with or without the automobile industry it is a very central (and hence desirable) location.

      NL, on the other hand, is geographically very isolated in North America (The Avalon peninsula is closer to the Irish coast than to Ottawa, for example) and now that the fisheries are gone, and that electricity prices are set to skyrocket as much as the provincial debt, well, the question must be asked: why should it be inhabited at all?

      Once the population drops below a certain threshold, making a number of services impossible, I wonder whether the remaining inhabitants might not themselves request that they be evacuated: that is what has happened in the case of many towns and islands in the past...

      Anticosti, in Quebec, is geographically close and has a similar climate, but tellingly, is almost wholly uninhabited.

      Delete
    7. Exactly Etienne... Even Schefferville did not end up deserted and is still home of few hundreds of people. Not so many, no in a great situation, but not deserted.

      Delete
  29. If anyone is following US politics, Putin is alive and well in the US of A sowing discord thoughtout the nation splitting it right down the middle and Trumpie is his main "puppet and spy". Not good for democracy through the world. Cheers, AJ.

    ReplyDelete
  30. MUN gets away with it's poor direction because the media does not do a good job of digging up facts and informing the public,therefore the public receives only MUN PR.

    ReplyDelete
  31. The leading world economies are those that integrate education, business and government - all integrated and working together. In NL these institutions operate in silos. Complete disconnects. We have never had the leadership that understands this premise. Add to that the labour vs employer distrust. This lack of integration is the main reason we have a population off 500k still struggling in spite of being surrounded by one of the most resource rich places on the planet. There are places in the world with no natural reassures but who get the integration of the above 3 and in doing so enjoy a standard of living we our ppl can only dream of.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Part of MUN's problem is an ever-growing top-heavy administration, which is still growing without little restraint. In addition, there were financially disastrous decisions, like buying the Battery in a period of restraint! The Trudeau government hand-outs lent some legitimacy to this very expensive boondoggle. The primary functions of the university--teaching and research--are in my opinion seriously hurt by such a financially reckless posture.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Correction to the preceding: with hardly any restraint

      Delete
  33. Thanks for casting a light on (yet) another example of how the province's newfound wealth has been squandered over the past two decades. One of the parts of the "Newfoundland benefits" in offshore oil production is provincially-mandated investment by oil production companies in research and development (R & D) projects in Newfoundland and Labrador. I learned from friends directly involved in allocation of those funds that, in the "golden years" of production from 2002-2009, it was actually difficult to spend the money. There was just too much of it. And it was time-consuming for companies to administer those R & D programs and, frankly, not their core business.

    So companies got smarter and spent the money in larger chunks, making big contributions to fund "research chairs" at Memorial, sponsoring scientific equipment purchases for university faculties and affiliated entities, like C-CORE. Don't get me wrong, these are noble efforts and have attracted top talent to Memorial. But the burden of sustaining this talented group into the future is not borne by industry; it is borne by Memorial. The growth chart of the now-swollen mass that is Memorial University, bursting at the seams both physically and financially, curiously follows that of the growth of the civil service in the Williams era. It cannot be sustained.

    Perhaps one of the undergraduate courses at Memorial's new Centre for Entrepreneurship (yes, the Centre for Entrepreneurship) should be "Spotting a Sinking Ship: How To Beat the Rush to Pastures New".

    ReplyDelete