Monday, 29 October 2018

TODD STANLEY TELLS MF INQUIRY MORE THAN HE INTENDED?

Former senior bureaucrat Todd Stanley was on the witness stand at the Muskrat Falls Inquiry last Monday, October 22. All witnesses at the Inquiry are interviewed by Commission Counsel, but his interview is noteworthy for several reasons.

Mr. Stanley's constituted the most frank appraisal yet of the relationship that existed between public servants and Nalcor senior executives when approval of the Muskrat Falls development was being whisked through the Government's  approval process.

A 17-year veteran (20012018) of the public service, Stanley rose to the position of Deputy Minister of Justice. He also served as Counsel to the Department of Natural Resources in the early days of the Muskrat Falls development.  
An important role of public servants is to assess and analyse public policy initiatives of all kinds, and to give advice to the Government. When an entity like Nalcor is permitted to by-pass normal bureaucratic processes  having been given free access to the Premier's Office  not only is the process of public policy review undermined, but tensions are sure to emerge, and not just because the traditional power structure is threatened.

Stanley's interview is noteworthy for a different reason, however. On the witness stand, under examination, he was challenged by Co-Counsel, Barry Learmonth, for ostensibly having "backtracked" from some of the comments made by him during the same interview. Stanley had offered characterizations of Nalcor that included "fiefdom," "runaway train" and a "classic example of the tail wagging the dog." 
Former Deputy Minister of Justice, Todd Stanley
Whether Stanley actually succeeded in backtracking on his comments is moot. Responding to a visibly upset Learmonth, Stanley ventured that his comments had been too "flowery," that he "would have used less conventional language" had he considered that his remarks would become so public.

Three things are clear. First, Todd Stanley was a senior public servant at the time Muskrat was pursued. He had first-hand knowledge of the issues and the people involved, and interacted with them. Second, Stanley was, during that time, a lawyer and senior public servant  not some middle- or lower-level policy analyst who is often not privy to high-level discussions or the most politically sensitive issues.   

Third, because of his qualifications and experience, Stanley knew (or ought to have known) that an interview given under Oath or Affirmation  to a duly constituted tribunal  is not a place for bar chatter.

By any measure, therefore  notwithstanding the weight the Commissioner may apply to the interview we have to treat Mr. Stanley's reflections as having been both an accurate and forthright appraisal of his observations.  

Most certainly, they are an insightful commentary on a time when the public service became not just dysfunctional but corrupted, at least insofar as normal review, administrative and oversight processes are concerned. In that respect, alone, the public is given a portal into a process in which basic public policy processes were crushed in the rush to project sanction.

Even more, Stanley's assertions cast a long shadow over whether the Commission of Inquiry will come into possession of the review and analysis which former Premier Williams claimed  under Oath  actually exist. 

Here are some of the key excerpts from Todd Stanley's interview, the full text of which is found HERE. The webcast of his examination before the Inquiry is found HERE for the AM; the afternoon Session is found HERE.  

Now, let's peer into Mr. Stanley's most revealing interview with Commission Co-Counsel. Here are a few of his verbatim remarks:

From pp. 18-19:
MR. STANLEY: So you could have circumstances where Na1cor do - come into government and make a presentation on the eighth floor, go get the instructions and approvals, go back and then they'd call the government departments and tell them what they were doing. And the government departments would find out through Na1cor what had been approved on the eighth floor, and may not necessarily think the eighth floor had all the information in front of them that they should have when they made that decision and not agree with the decision. So the whole issue of how Nalcor's operating versus how government was operating, and the level of control or insight or - that was a constant issue at lower levels of government than I - than like, sort of,the Premier's office. I'm not sure I'm putting that well.

MR. LEARMONTH: And assuming that relationship exists, whereby Nalcor could go straight to the Premier's office-

MR. STANLEY: Hmm.

MR. LEARMONTH: - and have some decision made without the Department of Natural Resources or another department. In that - is that an unusual type of situation, in your experience?

MR. STANLEY: Yeah, we usually - yeah, usually any client department coming through - any
decisions that were being made would receive the benefit of analysis of the people in the departments involved.

MR. LEARMONTH: Hmm.

MR. STANLEY: You know, there were instances where we went over to Hydro, or Nalcor, for a briefing on something as to how the Muskrat project would be structured - this was fairly early days - and they  would tell us it's gonna be A, B or C.

I remember a meeting where we went - and I can't remember what the briefing was, the topic of it - but the instructions were, like, you know: And it's gonna work like this. And the government people were sitting there and were like: Well, who said it's going to work like that? That's, you know, the perceived, at least, concerns about how that would be. And Nalcor's response was, this was approved by the premier. And one of the Natural Resources people who was there said: Oh, that's interesting, I don't remember writing the policy analysis on that.

The comment was facetious. There was no policy analysis on it. Right? It never came through the experts at Natural Resources to say: Okay, here's the wrinkles, here's the hairs on that, here's the problems with it. Nalcor came and got approval from the Premier's office. We're gonna do this; marched off and had their instructions and their approvals. So that was unusual.

From Page 20
MR. LEARMONTH: You said Minister Kennedy didn't have a good relationship with Nalcor, can you give me examples of that -
MR. STANLEY: Well, he-
MR. LEARMONTH: - or your understanding of the reasons for it?
MR. STANLEY: That would presume insights in Minister Kennedy's thinking that I'm not sure I'm gonna put on the record.
MR. LEARMONTH: Okay.
MR. STANLEY: He, I think, viewed them as being, as a number of people in government did as you're getting into 2000 - I can't remember when he was there 2011, '12, I think. You know, they were sort of viewed as being a little bit of a runaway train that we didn't have any control over. You know, so they'd and I need it all done by Tuesday.
And you get these calls and then you'd be looking at it going this is, you know, three months work and massive policy issues, blah, blah, blah. But Nalcor's like I don't - we just need it done. So that personality differences, that kind of stuff, he gave them a hard time or purported to give them a hard time on matters. I don't think he had much of a personal fondness for them or the project and the like.

From page 22:
Mr. Stanley: Like, there was no one whose job was Muskrat. So the assumption that you would have had – that government had a handle on what was going on - would have required government, internally, to have people in place who could question what was being told to them by Nalcor and have access to resources to stress test or analyze or critique.
And my perception was that, though no such resources existed in government, government was actually decreasing resources across the board by doing budget cuts, and that there wasn't much of a political will to do that anyways.

From pp. 23-24
Mr. Stanley: I know that at the officials' level- so you're talking two or three rungs down the ladder in both organizations - there was significant resistance to sending any information over to government about the financial information to how things were going. In part, because of the concern that - I think from Nalcor used to say: Once we give it to government we don't know where it goes. Losing control of their financial information: subject to ATIPP, disclosure, leaks, they - all kinds of stuff.
But it was an antagonistic relationship, as I understand it at the time, between government and Nalcor in terms of trying to establish insight into what Nalcor was doing, at a very granular level, you know, monthly reporting. The - so the information - if, you know, if you were to talk to someone who's involved in the Oversight Committee, the information the Oversight Committee gets now evolved over time. It was not being provided willingly by Nalcor at first instance when they established the committee, as I understand. 

From page 29:
MR. STANLEY: They - that election, you know - that election was on - and talking well outside my brief as lawyer here, but just frankly - that election was gonna be on the Lower Churchill Project. So they were basically locked into the Lower Churchill Project and what the guys at Nalcor were telling them was gonna be the cost estimates and the like.
And they had inherited a project and a team and a corporation and a structure where everybody was told all the time that they were the best people in the world that had ever been tasked to do this stuff, and they all the time that they were the best people in the world that had ever been tasked to do this stuff, and they were world experts and they were gonna do it right and we had every contingency covered, and if you talked to Nalcor, it was nothing but confidence expressed 

From page 30:
MR. STANLEY: Yeah. The political- you know, there was no desire there for - to walk into
somebody's office to say we need a I5-person team here, put over there, to do nothing but question everything that comes from Na1cor, vet it, and the resources, there was no appetite to hear that, let alone, you know, to be the person walking in the office to propose it. And there was no funding. We had no money to do any of that –

From page 32:
Mr. Stanley: That may have been in part, because as I said before, what Nalcor was doing to generate those numbers, for the cost estimates for construction and the like, were largely - as, like I said, it's a black box. Government had no insight - you know, I didn't see any insight by government into what Nalcor was doing. And I don't think government had the expertise to say to Nalcor, send me over everything, I'm going to do an independent cost review. There's nobody in government to dictate that email, right? Nalcor was producing - they were engaging in various processes internally to stress test all this stuff.

They talk about cold eyes review - they had experts, they had outside people - and they were coming up with these cost estimates. And once they came out ofNa1cor, I don't remember there being much questioning of what the cost estimates were.


Final  Comment:
Many people who have followed the journey of the Muskrat Falls project from the time of Danny Williams' announcement at the Fairmont Hotel through to the sanction process and afterwards  and as the wheels came off the bus, so to speak  have long wondered how an ill-equipped public service could have helped pilot the project through the normal channels of review and public policy analysis into Cabinet. They need wonder no more. Based upon Mr. Stanley's dissertation, if anything it was a sham process.

In fact, every time Nalcor needed a political decision to advance the project, the Nalcor CEO had open access and made a bee-line to the Premier's Office. Public servants, by and large, were mere functionaries. They prepared Cabinet Papers and obtained largely predetermined Cabinet Orders. Of course, it is important to note that certain senior officials facilitated this process. Some of them will be heard at the Inquiry in the coming days.

I have not heard a narrative which suggests that any public servant attempted to apply the brakes to the folly, or spoke truth to power.


And we await the reports and analysis which former Premier Danny Williams states  with certainty  were carried out at the senior level of the public service.  

56 comments:

  1. Rammed through with little to no debate. Knew they were not being totally honest.From Day 1, I sensed they were 'hiding' something....didn't pass the smell test.

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  2. Every civil servant trembled in fear at the JRP with a keen Justice lawyer keeping a close eye on the testimony. Some admitted on the record that testifying on significant impacts on caribou would result in their dismissal. What more does one need to smell???

    "I have not heard a narrative which suggests that any public servant attempted to apply the brakes to the folly, or spoke truth to power." Is this an attempt at comedy? The CS are neutered, the political forces and Nalcor still have a free reign on the project and the purse strings.

    Who will stand up to the cronies??

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  3. Most embarrassing this AM. Consulting "Engineers" accepting fees for cooking the analyses on the same project, for proponent and PUB.

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    2. Does anyone know the fees paid by NALCOR to MHI to falsify the Report, and thus pave the way for project sanction?

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  4. "And my perception was that, though no such resources existed in government, government was actually decreasing resources across the board by doing budget cuts, and that there wasn't much of a political will to do that anyways"

    I know someone who applied for the internal position "Manager of the Electric Industry" and figured that HR would be interested in interviewing someone with a master in electrical engineering. Instead the applicant was screened out for lack of "briefing note" writing experience (notes are trivial to write if you know the subject matter).

    I believe this is all part of the design -- to under fund and promote willful subject matter ignorance to ensure that the public service is incapable of challenging purely political projects.

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    1. The very same thing went on inside Nalcor. Ed fired all the directors and VPs with decades of hydro project experience soon after he arrived. Replaced them with his oil and gas buds who had ZERO HYDO experience.

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  5. Inquiry Commissioner LeBlanc and Co-counsel Barry Learmonth doing a very fine job this morning.

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    1. Barry doing a fine job this morning. Barry asks "Who is Walter Parsons" MHI guy says "I believe he was Charles Bown staff"

      Now I wonder is he the very same Walter Parsons who is now a VP with Nalcor ? And I wonder is this his reward for getting this project pushed through?

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  6. Further evidance by MHI that this monster created by govt. called NALCOR knows no bounds. Mr Stanley also gave similar evidance, fiefdom, tail waging the dog etc. The civical servants in various departments was told by nalcor when to jump and how high, including its supposedly boss the Dept. of Natural Resources. Nalco visited the premier's office to tell the premier what to do, the premier complied. Nalcor attempted to tell the PUB what do do, and eventually got rid of them with the premier's help. Then nalcor engaged with MHI, and from the evidance and questioning this morning by co council, mr. Leamouth, they controlled the work done by MHI, even though it was the govt. that engaged MHI to do the report to them so as to have a report to sanction muskrat. So the monster controlled the entire show. They have no bounds. As they say in the USA, Muller investigation, follow the money trail. So the only bound or obstacle left for nalcor to leap is the finincial bound, which they engineered through the premier's office was the FLG. Stay tuned for the part to come says Joe blow.

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    1. Nalcor was guiding / controlling / railroading everything -- but who controlled Nalcor? Was it Mr. Williams via his proxies within Nalcor?

      From the CBC: "Three key former members of the Nalcor Energy board of directors acknowledge they have close ties with former Newfoundland and Labrador premier Danny Williams.Shortall, Ken Marshall and Tom Clift were all long-serving members of the Nalcor board, and all three have close personal and business connections to Williams, who served as premier from 2003 until 2010 and remains a hard-charging supporter of the project."

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    2. I think comedian Mark Critch had it right, except for the identity of the actual Godfather. In this case, the Codfather and his henchman were likely the same individual.

      Critch said he had a feeling Williams might step down after announcing the $6.2-billion Lower Churchill deal earlier in November, but was surprised the resignation came so soon. When the announcement was made, Critch knew he had to celebrate it with something bigger than usual, and started working to get Williams on the show as soon as possible.

      Williams made the announcement Nov. 25; two days later they were taping.

      In the skit — already a YouTube hit — Williams visits The Codfather, Gordon Pinsent, to ask permission to step down.

      “Did you get everything I asked? Did you get the oil?” Pinsent asked.

      “Yes, Codfather,” Williams replies.

      “Did you get the Lower Churchill?”

      “Yes, Codfather.”

      “Did you throw a tantrum like a huge baby every time you didn’t get your way?”

      “Oh yeah,” Williams says with a smile.

      https://www.thetelegram.com/living/one-of-the-boys-133826/

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    3. Well who hired ED (Dan) and then ED fired all at Hydro who could speak with knowledge. Of course Dan placed his man Brian inside the Nalcor project office for good measure !!

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    4. How many senior people within Nalcor are closely connected to Danny?

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    5. In the press release announcing Ed Martin, https://www.releases.gov.nl.ca/releases/2005/exec/0722n02.htm, it states a "Hydro’s Board of Directors engaged in a national search for a candidate to lead the company in its expanded mandate". This nation wide search couldn't find someone with hydro experience? Ed's bio states: "In his most recent position as manager, Petro-Canada Joint Ventures and New Developments, Mr. Martin was responsible for Petro-Canada’s interests in Hibernia, White Rose, Hebron, New Developments (including natural gas), Acquisitions, Tankers, and Transshipment Terminal. Prior to that he spent nine years with the Hibernia Management and Development Company and over 10 years with Mobil Oil in Halifax, Calgary and St. John’s."

      Then, after this individual presides over a disaster of a project, totally unrelated to his work in oil/gas, the Nalcor board resigns and gifts him severance "fired without cause".

      "Along with his severance package, worth about $1.4 million, Martin received a lump-sum "supplemental executive retirement plan" payment of about $4.7 million.

      "This type of pension plan is a standard piece of many executive arrangements, and has been provided in some cases to previous executives of (Newfoundland and Labrador) Hydro," Martin wrote.

      He'll also get a public service pension plan, worth about $95,000 yearly."

      These people are have received extraordinary rewards for their failures. All at our expense.

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    6. Nationwide? more like who was sitting next to Danny on his couch was the search radius

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  7. Mr. Stanley's testimony from page 30 certainly contradicts Danny's assertion that reports and analysis were done... or at least with any morsel of competence. The fact that Ed had Danny and Cathy on speed dial clearly demonstrates this project was not meant to be critiqued. The absence and no appetite for thorough governmental oversight further suggests the 8th floor along with Nalcor's world-class management knew in the beginning this project was not as advertised. This is going to make a great book.

    dm

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  8. The errors and omissions insurer for MHI is having a "Bad Day at the office".

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  9. If one Googles Strategic vs Tactical Risks;

    https://www.riskope.com/2014/04/03/lets-define-strategic-tactical-and-operational-planning/

    Either way, MHI don't seem to come across as "World Class". How much were they remunerated for the Final Draft Report towards sanctioning Muskrat?

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    1. That's a very good question. Perhaps Captain Kean can be asked that next week. Also I wonder why Danny's boy BRIAN is not on the witness list ?

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  10. With MHI, My first red flag was this guy is an engineer and also IT (information technology ) training. If anyone knows how to hide documentation, he is qualified. Then I soon ask my self, is this guy a crook, or just my imagination. Then we hear much of MHI's work is in Africa, and so we are unfortunate enough to end up with them. Africa is well known for corrupt governments where bribes are expected to be paid. Recall SNC and Kadafi in North Africa. And so for MHI, clients in Africa, and Nfld.....not looking good, and that in the first few minutes. And Wilson seemed so evasive. Sometimes long pauses , unable to answer. Demeaner, is that it is called? Looks guilty. But that means little if not supported by evidence. And all 3 of them no longer with MHI. Reminds me of the peadephile priests, get out and move on when things turn bad. Protection of the firm is most important.
    I had much to say yesterday on UG, based on questionable technical issues that they OKed. Seems the tip pf the iceberg. And Gil Bennetts name keeps popping up. And sure enough, the IT guy seems to have set up a systems where now we can't find much documentation. Convenient.
    Seems Barry was holding back for MHI. We learn that Fred Martin and Maureen Greene complained that MHI was in a conflict of interest when they started working direct for the government, and now we see why. And so finally we see the engineering association of Nfld was involved, but sort of passed the buck.
    Paul WIlson, P.Eng. P is for professional. There is a code of ethics required. Though from Manitoba, they must get licensed to operate in Nfld, and they did. Does their testimony show compliance to the engineers code of ethics?
    Winston Adams

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    1. Funny. Wilson the IT guy is checking the calculations of Bennett the cable guy on a massive hydro and transmission line project. The gatekeeper, an oil guy, sure did an excellent job identifying the best people to satisfy his objectives.

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    2. Yes, all seems rather slippery. Could the lubrication be money? The gatekeeper did just fine, over 5 million, and can take a big pension too.
      The hinges on that gate were well lubricated, swung right wide. No locks on that gate. Wade Locke didn't foresee it? He didn't do bad. What was his position? Head of economics dept at MUN? Still there? Who is the gatekeeper at MUN?
      And these gates, that Ed used, made of steel , or wood , or paper? Who has the design of the gate? Paul Wilson, all locked up in his IT server somewhere? Is this gate patented? They might have great value in many corrupt countries, so maybe a chance to make some money for mitigation of rates here. The province should hold the patent rights to the gate design. That's the least we should get. Our last big invention was the cod trap. ED MARTIN: GATEKEEPER. Has a nice ring to it. Keeper of the Gravy.
      PF

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  11. Yor done Ball... come the next election yor gonna be tossed aside like an empty Tim's cup on the outer ring road...

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/premier-defends-foote-hiring-1.4882747

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  12. Yet more testimony at the CIMFP corroborating the malfeasant trickery perpetrated upon the NL people by the vile Dunderdale government and its Nalcor monstrosity...

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/muskrat-mhi-independent-1.4883113

    To gaol with those who would deceive the public into penury.

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  13. This little gem showed up in today’s Telegram newspaper under Cheers and Jeers!

    Worth the read!

    Jeers: to more dark Muskrat humour. Also from Todd Stanley’s testimony in August: something of a small explanation about why the inquiry is finding so few internal reports about the Muskrat Falls project.

    Here’s Stanley:

    “Nalcor’s default means of communication is the PowerPoint deck.

    There was a joke that — we had a joke at Justice, ’cause we used to write up stuff, and you’d see what we’d write and send it over to Nalcor and they’d be like: ‘I need that in a deck.’

    The joke used to be, we don’t have PowerPoint, you don’t have (Microsoft) Word. Right? You used to — everything that you wrote was in a PowerPoint deck.

    So you’re not going to find a 10-page position paper from Nalcor detailing whatever.

    It will be a graph and a slide that prompted a discussion in a meeting. You know, and that was a known way that they operated in-house.… I think if you went over and scrape their record centres clean you wouldn’t find — I don’t think they prepare it in-house.

    It’s not like they had big position papers in-house and they came over to government with the PowerPoint.

    The PowerPoint is how they made the decisions in-house.

    The whole project was approved on PowerPoints, basically.”

    Well, now, that’s reassuring, isn’t it?

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    1. Ken Marshall seems to have wasted his 100 hour a month claim on various Boards with such skimpy or non-existent documentation from Nalcor or their consultants, they didn't even keep minutes so Nalcor operated like any banana republic State industry. NL had 3 Party leaders without an ounce of inspiration combined. Ball has fumbled many times since being elected Joyce/Kirby/Foote only the most recent string of gaffes. Ches is budding up to the CPC and had the absolute gall "I never said MF was a mistake" surrounding himself with MF apologists and others that aren't even honest about their 12 years as Gov. Gerry will be lucky to maintain 2 seats next election, leaders debate will be hollow on policy high on rhetoric making all three parties indistinguishable in their platforms. Rumors Ball already has a candidate in mind to replace Sherry Gambin-Walsh to appease Joyce, cut bait and run Joyce remaining a Liberal will have a ripple effect on the other 39 districts and is literally the way forward for the old boys club.

      Flagship legislation IAC - nothing else is going on in NL now like $2.74 MILLION debt servicing charge per day??

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    2. “Nalcor’s default means of communication is the PowerPoint deck."

      That is really bad. Rather than data, statistical calculations, a list of assumptions, written analysis that lead to conclusions, they use cartoons. Like demand going up in a linear fashion forever, or a table of bogus numbers. No analysis, peer review, or science -- just BS. Then probably reviewed (rubber stamped) by committee without detailed minutes.

      This is all a sick joke - a fraud on Newfoundland society - an in-your-face robbery by multiple sociopaths. If they get to keep their ill gotten gains and retire in luxury, then they got away with it too.

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    3. As to "demand going up in a linear fashion":

      MHI states that 1% error per year is within the industry standard (in other words -- "OK").

      So based on that, year 57 could be 57% too high, year 56 (56% too high), year 55 (55% too high) --- etc, etc, etc, etc,....

      Now in GWh, keeping in mind that at year 1, island load was ~ 8,000 GWh, so over the whole --- how many 1,000's (or 10's of 1,000's) of GWh would that add up to over the whole 57 years ------- year 1 error would be 80 GWh too high, year 2 would be 161.6 too high, year 3 would be 244.8 GWh too high, year 4 would be 329.8 too high, etc. etc etc.....

      In turn, how may "too high" barrels of oil for the Isolated Island option would that add up to?

      And in turn, how many 10's, or 100's of millions or billions of dollars "too high" would that add up ?

      I haven't done the math here, but if such an "acceptable/industry standard" error in the load forecast occurred, would that alone make the island CPW cost competitive with the Muskrat option (and that is not taking into account the now known error in oil prices)?

      Nor, as best I can determine, does it take into in the CPW calculations, the quantifying of the additional "risk magnification" that MHI described 'ONLY qualitatively' as existing "due to the length of the forecast (2010 -2067) forecast period".

      Clearly, if the Commission fails to inquire in-depth into this load/CPW fiasco, then the public interest will not have been served.

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    4. Maurice: Agree. There can only be one answer going back to the ill advised 2011-2067 period of comparison in CPW. The assumptions go wild after 20+ years. I hope the Inquiry will acknowledge that. As we all know, the study period was “arbitrarily” cast based upon a 50 year life cycle for MF. And a study without essentially no sensitivity analysis. It is now so obvious. FLW

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    5. A Strategist's presentation (on the web) states (under Risk Analysis, Approaches to Analysis, Sensitivity Analysis, the following:

      Select one of your uncertainty variables (i.e. – fuel prices)

      Vary that variable across it’s probability distribution

      At p50 (mean or expected value)

      And each of the two tails (i.e. – p10 & p90 or p5 & p95)

      Also vary any correlated uncertainty variables (i.e. – market energy prices)

      If the decision does not change across that range, then the decision is not sensitive to this uncertainty variable

      If it does change, may need to test other distribution points (p20, p30, etc.) to determine inflection points

      Did Nalcor do this? I doubt it. More detailed/expert review of the Strategist model and how it was applied is essential to any prospect of finding out what went wrong.

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  14. Unless the Inquiry delves deeper and more expertly into the load and CPW process, then the Inquiry itself will be a sick joke (insult added to injury).

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  15. Who is Charles Bown? How did he become ADM of Natural Resources?

    From the CBC, www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/muskrat-mhi-independent-1.4883113 , we have :

    "But Wilson acknowledged that changes were made at the request of Charles Bown, then-associate deputy minister with the Department of Natural Resources. I got the revised drafts back from Charles Bown with the risk removed," Wilson said of earlier versions that contained cautionary language for Nalcor about project risks."

    Mr. Bown has an arts degree from MUN and shows up on LinkedIn as if his first job was Deputy Minister of Natural Resources. As of 2016, he lists the title "Chief Executive, Major Projects and Initiatives".

    Why was he pushing for changes?

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  16. Why does the Consumer Advocate (Dennis Brown) have another lawyer John Hogan asking all the questions and representing him (and thus us, the rate payer)?

    Is this so that he and his firm can charge for TWO lawyers rather than one ? Is he looking after our best interests or his own ?

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    1. Brown’s role and his background are really questionable. Note the Commission at one point in decisions addressing standing and counsel for same and related matters ruled against Brown representing consumers while also being paid as legal counsel. Suggestion here was akin to double dipping! NL is a small community (2 nd smallest province in Canada) and remains vulnerable to abuse. To me, Atlantic provinces as an entity will happen within 10-15 years. Strength is in being part of a larger community. FLW

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  17. OIL ON THE BRAIN...yep that's really what it all came down to. The devil that made me do it was two pronged!!! On one hand it was a blessing...just sit back and watch the oil money roll in from the off shore as world oil prices skyrocket. And on the other hand 62 per cent of the CPU for the island isolated option was the projected world oil prices well into the future, like 57 years to keep holyrood going. Now given these two unknowns no one this side of eternity had any idea to the answer to that question, and anyone with just 2 brain cells working would not take try and predict. And as I have said before, when Cathy's candidate came to my house for my vote, that was the silly line he was towing. "WHO WOULD RATHER GIVE YOUR MONEY TO! THE CHEVRONS OF THIS WORLD OR YOUR OWN COMPANY, NSLCOR." And of course I told him how silly I thought he was, cause what goes up must come down, and low and behold it came crashing down to around $40 a barrel within a year. I also told him that the USA was into their fracking program and were predicting self sufficiency with in a couple of short years. And when they gave up sending barrels of money to the Middle East in return for barrels of oil, the price would come down. Yes and that happened too. So the bottom line is they had oil on the brain on one hand and $$$$ signs danced in their heads on the other hand. The poor buggers were gone completely bonkers says Joe blow. Cool down by for a year or two, take a deep breath, smell the coffee or the roses or maybe the weed. That's was the bottom line and what got us in this dam mess.

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    1. So here we sit today says Joe blow, and oil hovers around a low to moderate price, but not high enough to pay for bread and butter, and health care. And ball et al tells us he will shut down holyrood as soon as muskrat comes on stream..still dreaming. So the 62 per cent of the CPU was not needed for the island option and the cost of muskrat inter grated has doubled. What tangled webs we weave when we weave to deceive ...ourselves. We have been told that, with a little EE and DSM, a couple of gas turbines, and maybe a little wind, we didn't need muskrat in the first place. Now go figure that one. Our demand shrinks as well as our population and our ability to pay. Now in the next few weeks they will begin appearing on the stand, defiant, belligerent and conceited cronies shooting their praises for the boondoggle, and we will have to put up with that despicable display of self righteousness. OMG!!! They should all be defrocked bare on the stand and publicly flogged. Is the commission and our tiny band of that side of the lawyers capeable of performing that task. I rather doubt it, but they can only try. Yes it was supposed to be the lagecy of one man, and all the others could have been like ANDY and the PUB and said NO. They put their jobs and interest of the people first, why not the others??? And our silly band of elected members towed the line and cow towed with their heads down and their traps shut. What a bunch of silly sheep and turkeys off to the slaughter.

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  18. At this point, I can only say NL needs to get out of its funk into supporting mainline political parties. You all know who they are. This system is not working for us. But, let us realize there is absolutely no populist movement out there like SK and others have done in recent years to break out of this. I would readily support an alternative by a well financed and energetic leader. Just dreaming. Don’t think NL is ready for it yet or soon. FLW

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  19. FWIW, just a few days before the SCC decision (on UC "good faith"), the feds seem now willing to finance inter-provincial power connections - namely here between On, Qc and the Atlantic. Interesting; it's been a while since that Anglo-Saxon routing's FLG. Why did it take so long to offer HQ financial goodies?

    That seems to support Heracles idea of face-saving negotiations that would get HQ to provide power to NS and NL...

    https://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/politique/politique-canadienne/201810/30/01-5202355-ottawa-pret-a-financer-des-interconnexions-entre-le-quebec-et-dautres-provinces.php

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    1. Had this type of forward thinking taken place, involving the bright lites such as CFO Sturge, now on the stand, The Muskrat could have been deferred until 2041. Substantial savings one might say!

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    2. Ex- The Lapresse article suggests that at long last, the Feds recognize the benefits of development of a National power grid. Foolishness and waste being practiced by the provincial power companies can no longer be tolerated. A load centred distribution system from QC to ON and the Atlantic may become a reality. Personally, I have dreamed this would become the best resolution to the NL/QC acrimony over the Brinco affair.

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    3. Indeed Robert!
      What a tremendous wasted opportunity. We just needed to bridge that gap until 2041, nothing more.

      Anyways, above inter-provincial power connections fed backing is also (mostly?) intended to reduce our CO2 emissions nation wide.

      However above fed financial backing must not have an impact (even indirectly) on any future US power exports thought, otherwise we might be slammed with anti-dumping duties...

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    4. Just read your last comment; it could indeed be the foundation of national grid.

      It says in the article that before getting any Fed $ backing, each involved provinces must have reached a prior agreement.

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    5. The Feds went easy on Gallant, in permitting Belledune to continue to pollute. A simple fix would be to draw hydro from HQ, and shut the coal fired generator down. Now Dougie is shutting wind farms and renewables down in ON. Demand is increasing beyond generation capacity. Easy fix to take Ottawa off the OH grid, and put it on HQ. Oh sure the politicos won't be happy:-)

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    6. Hi Robert,

      Sorry but here, you missed something... To flip Ottawa from Ontario's grid to HQ's grid would not be easy at all.

      The reason is that HQ's grid is isolated from all others and not synced with any other grid. Only the UC power plant is synced with HQ's network. That was a requirement from the Power Contract : HQ wanted the plant fully integrated in its fleet.

      All connections between HQ and any other grid must be DC. So for one to take a load from one grid and move it ot another one, you must basically power down that load, disconnect all its existing feeds, build and connect new feeds from the second grid, build a DC interface with the previous grid if you don't want to loose everything from that one and then you can power back on the load.

      So Yes HQ does have the power for a city like Ottawa, but to transfer the load from ON to HQ and have HQ responsible of distribution would be a nightmare.

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    7. Heracles; Just hire a few of the world class bright lites at Nalcor and "Bob's your uncle" AC/DC/AC:-)

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  20. Looks like Kate has some good questions ready for Capt Kean next week.

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  21. And how bright is Sturge?

    O'brien put the proposition to him that unlike a cost of service method (where costs are mostly paid in the early years when the 'unknown' can be more accurately forecast), using the escalating supply price method for the generation component shifts a lot more costs to the much later years of the PPA period (the time when it is much more difficult to forecast what the situation will be). That is a much riskier than using a COS approach.

    Sturge disagreed (even though MHI has clearly stated that risk is "further magnified" due to the long "2010-2067" CPW option analysis.

    In spite of Sturge's reply, O'Brien made no attempt to point out that fact. She just moved on.

    It is hard to have confidence in where this inquiry is going (or is intended to go for that matter).

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    1. Sturge should go back to the helicopter business from whence he came. Little to no hydro experience.

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    2. Is this the same guy who looked for dirt on the then finance minister on behalf of the then board of directors before they gave fast eddy the unearned gifts and bolted for the door? And he is still there!!! Come on Stan, do your job buddy.

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    3. Didn't this man sign the agreements and perhaps even sign or authorize the cheques Ed Martin received on the way out the door that day. Give us a break and now he's a bright light. You have got to be kidding me.

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    4. Indeed, Kate allows Sturge and others a easy pass.
      Also yesterday when Budden had Paul Wilson ready to name names as to who he was angry with at Nalcor, Judge Leblanc cut him off. Was he about to name Gil Bennett or Martin or whoever? If he did he would have to give details of why. Does the Commissioner not want to know? The truth, the whole truth......who at Nalcor wilson was angry with ...., was that too much truth for Leblanc?
      PF

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    5. Likely Capt Kean who is on the stand next week.

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  22. At this point, I believe the Commission will lay blame, not on one entity, but, for a start, three successive provincial governments aka 2003-2007 (Williams);2007-2011(Williams, Dunderdale); 2011-15 (Dunderdale, Davis); and 2015-2019 (Ball). Ball conveniently delayed any Inquiry results until after 2019 election (in about a year from now). Take your pick, people. Fault will be found; NL will have spent millions on this Inquiry; and who will be happy. Ball and his ilk will likely be re-elected. There is too much armchair commentary re MF, etc. Blogging is fine but who’s going to get out on his/her armchair and change this tired, old political process in NL . It requires millenials and younger, smart, patriotic natives to lead a charge into better governance instead of old farts league and money. I would die most surprised if it were to happen in my lifetime. FLW

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    1. FLW...perhaps you might want to put your name forward. Keith

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  23. Sturge says he was out of the loop, left out from Ed's tight little group, yes tight alright, his oil buds, thick I would say, perhaps even thick as thieves ?

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