Monday, 1 October 2018

UNCLE GNARLEY BLOG LOOKS AT ITSELF AT SYMPOSIUM

Comments for Muskrat Falls Symposium sponsored by the Sociology Department of Memorial University organized under the leadership of Dr. Stephen Crocker:

I have been asked to discuss the Uncle Gnarley Blog and the impact it might have had on public understanding of the Muskrat Falls project. I will be careful not to perform an appraisal best left to others.

One might ask: why blog anyway? It’s a lot of work. One reason was that no clairvoyance was required to see that this project would end badly and those who saw it that way had an obligation to warn the public.  The business case could not stand up to scrutiny.   Those responsible needed to be held to account.


Nalcor gave a false narrative about the unavailability of power from the Upper Churchill in 2041 and seriously understated construction risk. They constructed a 50 year demand forecast for electricity which could not survive even the construction phase. Well before construction started the Province and the Feds were talking about the need to import Irish and Mexican labour because of competition for local hires from Western Canada. Don't tell me we built MF because we needed the jobs.


There was no enforceable Water Management Agreement governing coordination of the water flows on the Churchill River - a requirement before even one shovel of dirt was dug - and practically no senior megaproject expertise; cronyism helped select senior management and the board of directors.  No independent oversight of the project followed.
Yet, we are led to believe, even as the cost doubled, that the decision to sanction was prudently made.

The idea that a small society of half a million people should risk a multi-billion project for a couple of hundred megawatts of power, and let it skirt normal political and institutional checks and balances, could only have been divined in the parallel universe of Alice in Wonderland.

The truth is that the politicians of the day levered the sanction decision on a condition known as ‘uninformed public’, though denial and partisanship also played a role.
The public is very late in acknowledging what has transpired; hence, many are still focussed on power rates.

The conundrum of our time is whether to choose a woodstove or a mini-split – when the whole Province should be considering the ramifications of a crushed Treasury and how it will affect decent health and social services.

It is ironic, too, that Ed Martin and Danny Williams are stuck in a paradigm of delusion, each still perpetuating the myth that NL will be swimming in revenues from the project.
Yet, in our parallel world - not Lewis Carroll's - daily conversation is about rate mitigation and insolvency and the weight of a $25 billion total provincial debt.

Against this backdrop, the question of whether the Uncle Gnarley Blog has been influential seems fanciful.
I had hoped that it might help bridge the gulf between Nalcor perpetuated propaganda, on the one hand, and fact-based analysis, on the other.  

The reality, however, is that it took billions of dollars of waste and cost overruns and the threat of energy poverty and insolvency – not objective analysis - to awaken people to the charade.

The Blog’s purpose was to try and fill a void left by a media that freely chose not to occupy the Muskrat space.

I had a few credentials to offer but I like to think that the most important one was common sense.

The internet afforded immediate accessibility and a reach rich in potential for the sharing of opinion and analysis, though I quickly learned that readership and public confidence are both hard won.

For that reason, I think that any success achieved was due largely to persistence and possibly a recognition that a high standard of research and writing would have to be enforced.

The consistency of the posts, the lengthy explanations, charts, exhibits, the absence of political bias, the practice of announcing revelations obtained under ATTIPA or from confidential sources, and the opportunity to apply Nalcor’s own words against them - which were often contradictory or embellished – at some point earned a steadily increasing readership.

Highly complex issues needed to be tackled - from Water Management to the North Spur, from the stupidity of the "Dome" to the exhibition of incompetent Quality Control exhibited best by the popped cable, from the giveaway of both "free" and "cheap" power to Nova Scotia - which had no relationship with the cost of production - to the false promise of revenue from power exports.

Even the 50 year Power Purchase Agreement was sold under the claim of intergenerational equity whose purpose was to obscure a hideous “take or pay” contract that hooked Island ratepayers for the full cost of the project – one that was based on escalating demand among a declining population and absent the admission that the capital costs had been low-balled. 
Complex posts often resulted; many lacked the journalist’s clearer style, their talent for making the complex comprehensible.

Blog readership increased dramatically over time, which I largely attribute to the high quality of analysis performed by guest contributors.

Presently, PlanetNL performs exceptional financial and public policy analysis, but in the early days of Muskrat, JM was a star engineer with enormously valuable insights. David Vardy, a former Clerk of the Executive Council and Chair of the PUB was a prodigious and insightful analyst and is still a major contributor.

Cabot Martin’s work on the North Spur was important as was that of renowned Hydro Engineer, James L. Gordon, who wrote a good many posts.  Like PlanetNL and JM, there were contributors needing anonymity, like Agent 13 and the Anonymous Engineer. There were many other contributors, too.

Undoubtedly, the clincher was the story of the Anonymous Engineer and the revelation – supported by Grant Thornton - that the budget estimates for the project had been low-balled.

Was the Uncle Gnarley Blog influential?

Certainly the analysis contributed to a deepening public concern that in the euphoria of an impossible promise, they had been misled.

Did it expose Ed Martin and help set the basis for his departure and the mishandling by the Ball Administration of his severance package? It might have had an impact.
Did it help expose Nalcor as poorly led and undeserving of the public trust? It did.
Did the revelations of the Anonymous Engineer advance the call of the Commission of Inquiry? I am confident it did.

I think that without the revelations made on the Blog, a lot less light would have shined on the debacle. Denial by the authorities is much harder when the public record is confirmed by proof that they were warned.

Some politicians have suggested that bloggers should be ignored because they are not accountable. I would ask: are they less accountable than politicians? Bloggers certainly don’t have politicians’ protections. And, like all citizens, bloggers must avoid slander.
By and large this group of scribes seek only to increase public dialogue. They know that in the social media space they will be called out in a millisecond if their narrative flies in the face of the facts.
Source: The Telegram October 25, 2012
There is another dimension to this question. How do we hold Danny and his colleagues to account other than by rejecting them at the polls? Is that really sufficient accountability for inflicting monstrous damage on a small and vulnerable society?

Should we be quiet in the meantime, as a manipulative crown corporation selectively dishes out grants to a plethora of community, public service and other groups in a scheme that duplicates the Government’s role, in which all, including those denied, are expected to remain silent for fear of disenfranchising themselves from future rewards?

The politics of fear and deference to arbitrary authority has no place in this province and Uncle Gnarley has no time for that game.

Finally, there is at least some reason for hope when our institutions fail. An important example is the Access to Information Act without which the ability of private citizens to play a role in the public policy apparatus and to expose bad decisions, cover ups and misinformation, would be far more difficult.

There is a message here for the Blogging community and it is that, in addressing public policy issues, individual citizens have been granted a powerful platform. But the work is not effortless. It is a monumental task. Done poorly, you will be ignored. Done well, expect the readership build to be slow.

As much as I am critical of mainstream media, a free, responsive and responsible press is a core requirement for a democratic society.    

I am guilty of expressing frustration when they are unwilling to give an issue like Muskrat investigative time and the truth is they could have done far better. But Muskrat required a depth of analysis unlikely to have come out of any media organization.

The best brakes on Muskrat ought to have been applied at the start, first by politicians sensitive to the risks being imposed on a small, aging and shrinking population and then by review institutions established for the purpose. 

Finally, there are many expectations of Judge LeBlanc. I am hoping that he will chastise reckless politicians and feckless officials. But even more, I want to see him issue a clarion call for the strengthening of our oversight institutions. I hope that he throw down the gauntlet to the media, to other institutions (including to Memorial) and to all individuals and groups in our society, reminding us that we have to do better. 

I began by suggesting that Muskrat has the characteristics of parody in a world of Alice in Wonderland. Our problem, however, is that as a society we don't get to put down our version of that book. In Alice, we find great humour but the problem, in its full dimension, is that the solutions are no laughing matter. As much as they think it might, no individual, no group and no institution, including Memorial, will escape Muskrat folly's cruel reward. Memorial can do more.

Dr. Crocker is bringing the cultural community to the table for the first time.  In addition, because the Terms of Reference set by government downplays the environmental, social and political impact of MF, MUN researchers can fill that void and offer their research to the Inquiry.  They can also speak up; very few have.

In this context, Memorial will be expected to help find the solutions which will surely be needed if we are to remain a viable society.

Let me close by thanking Dr. Crocker for his leadership in sponsoring this Symposium.

48 comments:

  1. Listening to CBC here now and they are interviewing Larry Short. They are talking about a tax cut because oil is above $80 per barrel and it shows just how utter out of touch people are with the financial state of this province. Tax cuts without spending cuts are just a means of transferring debt from the government to the population as a whole and they are one of the reasons the William's administration was so reckless. remember the Corporate Tax Rate cut, the Personal tax cut and the provincial sales tax cut when money started flowing from oil revenues but everyone conveniently ignored the provincial debt and reckless spending of the PC's and not just on Muskrat Falls. UG is right in that the public have to be better educated on the mess we are in and how we climb out of this hole we have dug ourselves into. The last thing we need at this point in our history and time is another tax cut to enable more unneeded oversized homes, over sized trucks, ATVs nd skidoos and expensive vacations to Florida.

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  2. This MK inquiry is just what I feared it would become. A public forum for Danny Williams and his former gang a chance to to justify their reckless spending and mismanagement and total disregard for public institutions. Wait for today's appearance before the panel when Danny Williams will bestow upon us the wonders of his legacy project and all the trauma he is going though while appearing before the panel. There is enough people in this province who will believe it and will still swallow his half truths about all the wonderful benefits this project has brought and will bestow upon this province. It will be a circus for sure.

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  3. Let's face it, the awareness of the folly of MFs and the Inquiry at this stage would not have happened without this blog. The province has gone from over 70% in favour of MFs to now 71% against it and only 20% supporting it. Many are still not aware that the UG exists. Yet UG has changed the tone, to some extend, of the main media, who follows UG, so its influence is greater than apparent or acknowledged by Mr Sullivan.
    Reasoned analysis has not had the impact desired. Looming heat poverty has a big influence,and that in hindsight will cause people to consider why they did not apply common sense to the false analysis that was spoon fed to the public by politicians and Nalsor, the Board Of Trade, MUN, and the main media.
    Winston Adams

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  4. Just listened to DW's BS on VOCM, an opening shot against critics and Feehan, who is reskless in his comments he says.
    He guarantees rates will not double as the current govn will use mitigation that was part of his plan all along. Rates were to go up 50% anyway he says. Also says Nalcor used every alternative possible for analysis and consideration. Is that a whopper? What of CDM with small island hydro, upgraded island hydro and wind as combination? Yes, a whopped on VOCM just now.
    WA
    WA

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  5. It is true a free, responsive and responsible press is a core requirement for a democratic society. By that measure we do not have a democracy. The media are lazy, nothing more! They had the time and resources to denounce this monstrosity in 2011.

    MUN remains a complicit co-conspirator. The silence emanates from the smug complicity of a comfortable middle class. They have collectively betrayed their culture. It was left to outsiders with clear eyes, left vulnerable to the bully to speak truth to power that had its ears plugged.

    Finally circling the cultural wagons and succumbing to the Stockholm Syndrome ensures there will be be no justice and gives the perpetrators of the MF debacle a free pass and dooms the old and poor to untold suffering.

    One last comment. The story is not yet told in full. The worst is yet to come at MF!

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  6. Well done Des.

    You (and your contributors) have made a major contribution to raising the awareness level of the general public about the complex weaknesses of this Muskrat Falls fiasco.

    Well done.

    But stay on your guard, as I fear (as Bruno says), that "The worst is yet to come".

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  7. I would also like to thank Mr. Ed Hollett for his contributions. While not a direct contributor to this blog his analysis, especially in the early days prior to and after sanction, was invaluable. Keith

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  8. DW has repeated his statement that Nalcor "absolutely" looked at every alternative. Some questions for our legal beagles to Mr Williams:
    1. I understand you used efficient heap pump technology for your large new house in Logy Bay, is that correct? (I know he did)
    2. I assume you had an analysis done as to the savings on heat, did you, and can you share that with us?
    3. You are aware that using efficient heating is also good for our grid winter peak load problem, as both reducing the energy needed and the peak load, is that correct?
    4 This approach as you prudently done, is what is referred to CDM, Conservation Demand Management, is that your understanding?
    5. You stated that Nalcor did an analysis of every alternative, including combinations, including CDM , is that correct?
    6 Were you aware that Nfld Hydro forecasting engineer, Mr Stratton, never considered incorporating CDM into his alternate options?
    Winston

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  9. Behold an announcement covered by the CBC today from Alderon Iron Ore that they need the power! DW was a former board member of Alderon. Is the company returning a favor by delivering a presentation at the Lab West Chamber of Commerce today? Alderon states it needs the power and has a purchase agreement with Hydro for 65MW of power that requires a new transmission line to be built. Surely the timing while DW is on the stand at the Inquiry defending Muskrat Falls is purely coincidental!!??

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    1. And residents of Labrador West like myself will be the one paying the bill for this third transmission line.

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  10. Thanks to Bruno, I watched this morning's run through of DW's account of lead up politics, historical animosities with QC over "predatory Lesage legacy business practices, etc". No surprises or oops moments here. Financial viability of the target MF project deemed secondary to the former premier and he assumed that he had a strong project team dealing with the day to day numbers, etc.

    Failure of the project management team performance is the primary issue.

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  11. Robert, too bad we can't insert images. There is a perfect Dilbert cartoon for this picture of DW and the project management team. Would have been the perfect finish to your comment. Do a search for "dilbert bad assumptions". Then laugh or cry.

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  12. As you say so well most are unawatevof the looming crisis ahead of us and will play the ping pong of putting the tories Who got us into this horrific mess back in power at first chance. I truly despair.

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  13. Every item purchased in NL for the next 100 years will have DW boondoggle MF cost attached to it. Living in Canada in the 21st it is hard to believe that this debacle was allowed to continue bankrupting the province.Shameful.

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  14. Missed some of today's but saw his venom against Quebec, documents from from 2010 saying power for Nfld NEEDED to be from Labrador. while he took courses in economics and a Rhodes Scholar, he did not know the signifiance of a P75 vs a P50 risk , nor what a stragetic risk meant, and if hidden from costing, whether the govn was being misled by Nalcor.
    He still touts the world class quality of Nalcor and their team, yet the result says otherwise. While being the Premier, he assumes and does not question important decisions, if properly evaluated. Seem like he deflects any fault on Nalcor , and Nalcor deflecting fault to govn, so one blaming the other. He lashes out against critics, as those who know nothing compared to Nalcor. And Nalcor directors having few with experience and appropriate knowledge for their position.
    Yet Williams takes care of his personal business with much more care.And he cites the 100s of billions in potential oil wealth to pay for the boondoggle, we being the MECCA for such resources.
    MFs, a no brainer, he claimed? Or promoted the boondoggle, due to oil on the brain?
    WA

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  15. Guess there was not much new yesterday, that we had not heard before, just reinforcement of previous info. World class job with world class experts. However, I am going out on a limb and maybe talk through my hat, as what do I know about WMA, besides it is before the courts. But guess Joe blow can still say what he thinks. When he was asked by the citizens coalition lawyer, if it was reckless to go ahead with muskrat without a WMA in place. He said no, because the water has to come down our river anyways, so we will just use it, Or words to that effect. Back in the days of the old cattle men's water wars, those up stream held an advantage, block or divert the water during the dry season, and last chance poison the water. Think it is rather difficult to do any of that up stream at UC. So the water has to come down, and I guess mainly in winter and spring time. It probably has to come down in a controlled way so as not to flood Mud Lake and Happy Valley in spring time. Too, much water on top of the ice, will cause thicker, heavier ice down stream, and heavier ice downstream will most likely cause an ice jam where the river narrows, at ML. And bingo, you have what you might call a flash flood. So in the absents of a WMA, is there any law to prevent the use of the water at muskrat to produce power at near capacity??? Or even with no WMA, or a WMA ruling that says it is illegal to use the water. Well, I am not really in the know, of how laws are made, or how in forced. Maybe this time it could be HQ taking us to court for using illegal water. But what do I know, says Joe blow. And I may have gone out on a limb before, so maybe someone may want to chop it off, but I fall easy.

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  16. The P75 vs P50 risk thingy seems to be a big deal.

    This dam(n) project has many components, each of which has a best case, worst case and most likely case. If you run a random simulation of the entire project, say 500 times, and assign random values to each part (e.g. one part might be best case while others might be worst case) then you can simulate thousands of possible final costs.

    At P75, you are saying that at some price (say 7 billion), that 75 percent of the simulations came in at 7 billion or less. It also means that 25% of the simulations blew the budget.

    At P50, you can use a smaller number (say 6 billion) and say that 50% of the simulations blew the budget. We could go all the way and set 2 billion as the pretend budget and call it P1 with 99% of all simulations blowing the budget, many, astronomically so.

    Bottom line: P50 was chosen so that they could present a smaller budget number to get project sanction. Who ordered this change and why?

    Danny’s comment that P50 is the most likely cost is misleading. Please correct me if my understanding of the percentile numbers is wrong.

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    1. True that P50 actually communicates zero confidence. P50 is where likely meets unlikely. It's the fence sitting position.

      In other aspects of engineering project management and economics, the word likely is associated with 80% probability: P75 is close to that and would be the minimum required to express some confidence.

      Now whether P75 or even P90, neither accurately captures the extent to which the original estimates seen to have been lowballed. Setting the reference case for project cost so low is a P100 error worth billions.

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    2. Another way to see it is that P50 means flipping the coin: you have a 50% chances of being right (your estimate are good and cost overruns are avoided) just like you have the same 50% chances of being wrong.

      Doing mega-projects by flipping coins is surely not the way one should go...

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    3. P50 also means (as I understand it) that it is just as likely that the current estimated cost will be greater than is forecast as it is being less than forecast (or as Plato said 2500 years ago, paraphrased) ---- that relying on mere probability can deceive us greatly.

      I guess studying law and being a Rhodes scholar does include wisdom that has been around for 2500 years.

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    4. Should have said "not" include.

      Actual quote:--

      "Arguments which base their demonstrations on mere probability are deceptive, and if we are not on our guard against them they deceive us greatly" (Plato, "The Phaedo")

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    5. It is worse than just flipping a coin because it doesn't give you the potential range or how things are skewed. Heads/Tails to determine who goes first in most games is low risk. This is more like Russian Roulette.

      If I knew that estimates ranged from a low of six to a high of twenty billion, I would not want to be flipping a coin to accept twelve as "the" estimate. Far better to say you have 95% confidence that it will be less than $18 billion and if that is enough to bankrupt you, then don't gamble - kill the project and move on to live another day.

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    6. Hi Anon 12:47,

      The coin flipping is right about the 50% part but I like your Russian Roulette as a better example because of the amplitude associated with the uncertainty, above the fact of the probability of any overrun is 50%.

      Indeed, the probability of being wrong is one thing. How bad are you wrong is also very important as you pointed out.

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    7. Maurice, I always thought Plato was overrated, as compared to Socrates say. I think probability has great value, as here if one applies P90 vs P50, there is a great reduction in risk.
      There is little that is absolute. For hospital air filters we get 99.99% on 1 micro particles, which gives great assurance, and not much deceptive, but still not absolute.
      Reasonableness and low risk is a better approach, even for the North Spur stability vs failure, as your analysis even shows.
      Would Socrates approved Plato's mentoring that produced the warrior Alexander the Great?
      Winston

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    8. Danny did not just use probabilities and therefore avoid ancient wisdom, but he condoned high risk probabilities, and avoided low risk probabilities. Maybe Plato could have better defined how to be on guard that we avoid these expensive Inquiries. Maybe Leblanc will quote Plato?
      This is clear in DWs statement as to MFs before sanction, that you have to "roll the dice". So pure high risk gambling with the public purse.One could make a long list of accepting high risk measures and avoiding low risk measures for this project.
      Winston

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  17. Danny hates those darn bloggers, like on UG. He is ok with freedom of speech, but be careful, if you infer he is not God-like, or suggest he is stupid, careless and even reckless with the public purse, despite being a Rhodes scholar, the threat of a lawsuit is his weapon, just like Trumpie. And so, is it so that many Nflder fear him,even on this blog, who stay anonymous? Is Vardy right on that. If so, are we not like a dictatorship, or like Russia, wit a mere veneer of democracy?
    WA

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    1. Did Danny call us "bottom feeders" and single out Dave and Ron? That would make a good video clip to share -- Danny's Bottom Feeders are much like Hillary's deplorables.

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  18. I watched a part of DW's testimony posted on the inquiry's web site. What a great logic he was using! HQ's answer of 3 Billions for a power line transmitting 3 000 MW (GI + MF) was to expensive, so lets go with a 3.7 Billions power line (before cost overruns!) that will do 500 MW. It is true that paying over 700% of what you deemed to expensive gives you all the reasons to believe you took the best decision.

    As for the decision from the Régie de l'Énergie he said was so terrible and worst he ever saw, Newfoundland's position was that power from MF / GI should have priority over the power from CF on the transmission lines connecting CF to HQ. Very logic again...

    As for what he claimed was a re-writing of the Power Contract, denying ownership of CFLCo's assets and similar, it is nothing that was not written in pre-1969 discussions about the power contract: That HQ wanted the power plant to be fully integrated into its fleet. Because HQ buys more than 90% of the power and schedules the production, the power plant is considered as dedicated to HQ. Being a dedicated resource, HQ does not need to use external and public procedures about it like publishing its use and corresponding transmission needs. The FERC requirements say that when the percentage of a resource available to third party is negligeable, it does not require its registration in the public domain / public market and that is exactly the case here : available capacity over the lines between CF and HQ is negligeable, so HQ did not published it and the Regie confirmed they did not had to.

    DW's decision about lower Churchill was a purely emotional decision, deprived from any rational and purely motivated by a clear anti-Qc mentality.

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    1. Mainly but not entirely anti Quebec.
      Take business sense, he says today at 10.1 billion is still a good cost for MFs. How much is too high? He says 100 Billion!
      Now personally while Premier he added to his land holdings for Galway, maybe a 100 million project. Some land he acquired for as little as 300 dollar an acre, I believe and some 2000. In 1975 I paid 6000 an acre in a rural area outside St Johns. Now of course for Galway there is a large development cost, so building lots maybe 100,000 or more?
      So DW knows how to make huge profits by keeping costs low and sell high, ... smart, not stupid one might say. But for MFs, to pay 7 times more to transport power, and say PQ is unfair, and he is smart to pay 7 times more, is it just emotion or a lack of smarts with the public purse? He gambles big with public money but little gamble with his own.
      Winston

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    2. As for me, it is clearly emotional. When he is ready to sign up to 100 billions, that is answering that no price is too high for something as emotional as that. There is clearly no rational in accepting a price tag of up to 100 billions.

      You gave another proof about it: if he is smart enough to do business successfully, then he can do the math that 3.7 billions is more than 3 billions, that a power line designed for 500 MW is 6 times of lower capacity than one for 3 000 MW and more. He can, but refused to do it. He refused because the rational would have prevent him from getting his emotional fix, so rational side, get out of here!

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    3. But it may be more than one emotion at play Heracles. Take envy, and your Frog/Ox fable. He cites creating Nalsor to be like HQ, or Norway Statoil. He cites Nfld being like Saudai Arabia or Texas for oil.
      Then there is the emotion of private profit for a pumped economy and timing for Galway, while the timing is good. All emotional, but not all anti Quebec.
      Winston

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    4. You are 100% right Winston: There can easily be more than 1 emotion involved. Actually, to have such a strong emotional side, it would be surprising to link all of that to a single emotion.

      Indeed, he expressed the Frog trying to be as big as the Ox a few times, as well as considering everything from Qc - HQ being from bad faith.

      I also agree that his hope for private profit is anti-Qc only in the way that it was anti-anyone_else. As such, it does not fit what I refer to as the specific anti-Qc way of things.

      So we are good on this one: clearly a lot of emotions in his decision, the anti-Qc way of thing is also clearly present but there is more including the Frog/Ox and personal ego/benefit.

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    5. Maybe his main goal was just to overheat the local economy and get into bigger real estate deals. Anti-Quebec was not the passion, just a tool to stoke the fire.

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    6. Agree, anon, that he could leverage anti Quebec feelings ( he stated also that it was admirable that Quebec protects it's own rights and wish Nfld did likewise, while saying we were more or less held to ransom by Quebec, which is extreme).
      So many of these are examples of negative emotions at work, and is different than positive emotions. I suggest that emotions, both positive and negative can be rational (to achieve a desired result).Either positive or negative can go to extremes, and extremes are high risk, my opinion.Does an emotion cause a motivation or a motivation cause an emotion? Maybe both ways.
      Spend 1 million of the 30 million of the Inquiry cost on analyzing understanding and explaining DW, and we get the answer of the cause of the boondoggle.
      Winston

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  19. Just another perspective of the pickle we're in....Only 25% of the workforce make over $50,000.00 /year. Population of 500,000 of which maybe 230,000 are working, paying taxes (just a guess on that figure i could be too high, too low). Lets say i'm right, that's about 57,000 workers making over $50,000.00 of which the majority are public employee's. Yup, we're screwed.

    On another note, i was hoping Budden was going to state (i think he was going there, just at the end things got a little broken up) that NALCOR is self proclaimed "World Class" but so are the outspoken critics, "World Class".

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    1. Budden on what was the topic of "constructive commentary" which is ok says Danny, but still questions professionals like Vardy.
      DW did not like having to admit that Vardy was professional and knowledgeable , especially in economics, and DW looks and talks to Leblanc, as a child might go to a parent for protection. And soon Leblanc cut off that line of questioning, and DW did not have to acknowledge that Vardy comments are constructive. So Danny maybe likes Wade Locke flavour of economists?
      Was Leblanc fair? I think not. It gave Danny an out, to lump Vardy with any crackpot opinion. Another 2 minutes and Budden would have had DW admit to Vardy's World Class, or close to that status, he having attended Princeton, so no slouch.
      Winston

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  20. What happened to the project cost management reports?

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    1. How did budgets and commitments get adjusted to higher levels? Where are the project contract admin files?

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  21. Notice that Leblanc cut short any discussion that MFs approval process defied Quebec First nations meaningful input, and was in violation of the Supreme Court of Canada decision of the year 2004.
    Also DW expressed no knowledge of the Maebec Report of 2008(by counsel for the Riverkeepers) as to the importance of CDM (Conservation Demand Management), even though this was done for Nfld Hydro and Nfld Power. CDM should have been an important input into Strattons analysis of options and forecasting.
    Nfld Power, who has Special Status at the Inquiry did not inform Leblanc of it's role in the Maebec Report, and kept silent, (and encourage us to wear sweaters and buy a clothes line , and take shorter showers, and put plastic on our windows for CDM, none of which those reports recommend ) This report, costing about 300,000 dollars of ratepayer's money from their power bills,got buried today as irrelevant. There is Maebec, there is the recent ICF report,(another 300,000) and there is also the 2 legged SCALLYWAGS who hide these reports from the public, even at this pubic Inquiry. Leblanc showed no interest. These reports are instrumental how CDM would make the difference in the case for the Isolated case or MFs case as least cost: so, close your eyes to those reports, nothing there folks.
    Winston

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  22. I am willing to pay my share of the mistake costs. Send me the bill. Wait a minute, do I have a choice other that leave?

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  23. I see that Leblanc has not at all removed or reduced the exposure of that crude Coat of Arms depicting the Beothic at the Beothic building. Indeed, it is displayed right above his head for all the world to see.
    And tomorrow an Innu rep from Labrador is to appear and see this.
    What is additionally offensive, that I had before let pass is this: they dress the Beothic men as warriors in women skirts. Beothic men, as expected for our damp, foggy climate wore leggings, not dresses. What men wear skirts other than the Scottish, and Prince Charles, and even these below the knee. Here we have these Beothics with skirts above the knee.
    To make them warriors, yet feminine in appearance? And what other men wear feminine dress other than priests and judges, who seem to prefer such robes.
    So again, judge Leblanc,I demand it, in the name of decency, Take down that coat of arms. This is 2018, not the 1600s when this art work was the figment of someone's imagination.Your name will go down in infamy to let this stand. Do the houourable thing, remove that Coat of Arms, that we may get a new and proper one. Let that be the first recommendation of this Inquiry, that you are independent,and have jurisdiction in your court room.
    PF

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    1. Hi PF,

      Maybe should you think that they are depicted as hunters instead of warriors ? After all, they needed their weapons to hunt... I highly doubt a question like this coat of arms will be addressed in the inquiry, but keep your point and express it in various environment and to various people and you may end up wining it.

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  24. From the former Premier's perspective; HQ and QC played hitman hardball with historical facts, and transmission lines to markets. The win win was deemed to opt for the Anglo Saxon route. Make an election promise to even the score. Get distracted Maritime Premiers to sign on with a few profit motivated power companies and entrepreneurs. Roll the dice against all odds. It was never about economics because we were rich with offshore cash. The public took the bait and elected the leader who drew only $1 pay. Build it and somebody, (future generations), will pay the cost. Get er done at any cost. We bet heavily on future extrapolated revenue streams. Normal project management contract administration and engineering procedures were pushed aside for the "greater good". Shoot down any and all dissenters as unpatriotic. Hide or destroy the files. All because the people who voted, gave away their authority. Ray Guy would have written this with some humour.

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  25. Who says no boundary exists?

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/quebec-labrador-border-1.4847624

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  26. After watching the Leblanc inquiry for the past two days (although I did miss some parts) the only conclusion that I could come away with was, A War With Quebec. So today, I exercise my democratic right to express my opinion, based on the evidance give by our former premier, DW. It ranged from Quebec presenting a map of Quebec, and a fuzzy line around Labrador, in a foreign country indicating that Labrador was a part of Quebec, to being blocked by Quebec at every turn to develop hydro power on the Churchill River and to try and develop markets for the sale of power. I am not necessarily saying that is my opinion, I am saying that is the conclusion I came to in watching the inquiry. I could also say, imagine if Newfoundland went to a foreign country with a line around Cape Breton, or the islands of Saint Pierre indicating that they were a part of the province of Newfoundland, it would be denounced, by other provinces, Ottawa, and the foreign country as well. But in this case, no big deal, they do that all the time as normal. As Dr. Churchill said in his presentation to the inquiry, in settling the boundary in 1927, and before, it was always Quebec and Ottawa on one side and Newfoundland and the British on the other side. And in any dispute over the hydro power on the Churchill River, Ottawa either remained netural or sided with Quebec. Imagine if the Feds had provided NL with a loan guarantee to complete the UC project in 1970!!! DW even adopted a phrase from the Jean Lesage government of the 60's, "masters of our own house" and used it in the speach from the throne of 2007. In the 60's Quebec nationalized all hydro facilities in the province under government control, through HQ. DW brought all of Newfoundlands hydro facilities and oil and gas industry under government control through Nalcor. DW did not give a figure of the value of muskrat falls but indicated it was worth a hell of a lot more than 10$ billion. These are not words driven by fincincial considerations, but rather by political and provincial aspirations to be masters of our own house, and to exert our rights over the Churchill River and as in any other part of the province. This is why I call it a political and provincial war with Quebec. The Quebec government, through HQ, controls the UC hydro plant and the water rights of the Churchill Ruver. Some may call it emotional, I call it exercising ones authority over provincial lands, from my observations. Cheers, Joe blow, average Joe, AJ.

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    1. AJ,

      What you described here is the typical way Newfoundland's leaders presented the anti-Qc mentality.

      When Newfoundland asked for 800 MW of power in the 1970, HQ accepted. The only condition was that because you convinced us to go with UC instead of our own project, you will have to buy these 800 MW at our replacement cost of about 5 or 6 mills. Newfoundland refused.

      Multiple times in the 1970s, 80s, 90s and more, HQ offered to develop the lower Churchill and Newfoundland refused on the sole basis that they would not do business with HQ.

      When NLH asked for the cost of a power line over Qc, we have the answer: about 3 billions. NHL said it was too expensive and chose to pay 3.7 Billions for a line 6 times smaller. And it is supposed to be our fault?

      NHL complained officially to authorities in Qc that the power from LC should have priority over the existing transmission linking UC to HQ. Really guys ? We are in a war by saying -NO- to that ??

      Qc - HQ has always be fair, open and supportive of Newfoundland despite what your leaders told you.

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  27. Most interesting was DW’s parapraxis with Uncle Gnarley’s name. “Uncle Knobby or uncle whatever”.


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