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Monday 29 July 2019


Guest Post by David Vardy
Measuring and Managing the Fiscal Impact of Muskrat Falls

Is it possible for us to manage the fiscal burden of Muskrat Falls? Moody’s downgrading of our credit rating raises serious questions as to whether we can handle this massive burden. It was Premier Dwight Ball, speaking at the St. John’s Rotary Club, who said “you cannot manage what you cannot measure”.  This is a variation on a quote from W. Edwards Deming, the father of modern quality management theory.  Can we really find a remedy to the problem if we cannot diagnose it and measure it? Surely the burden can be measured.

The PUB is relying on Nalcor’s revenue requirements in 2021 as a measure of the burden to be carried. We know that this does not take into account the 8.4% rate of return on equity on the generating assets in Labrador, an equity burden already being carried on the books of the province but deferred for future recovery from ratepayers.

Monday 22 July 2019


Guest Post by the "Anonymous Engineer"
EDITOR'S NOTE: The author of today's article is the whistleblower, dubbed the "Anonymous Engineer", who disclosed – on this Blog - falsification of the estimates for the Muskrat Falls project. That was January 30, 2017 . His comments were recorded in a post entitled Muskrat Cost Estimates "A Complete Falsification". A second post called Muskrat: Allegations of Phony Cost Estimates provided significant additional details of low-balling which ultimately were used to justify the Sanction of a project. His assertions have been confirmed by Forensic Auditor, Grant Thornton and by various Witnesses who gave testimony at the Commission of Inquiry. — Des Sullivan

Nalcor - A Documented History of Deceit
Now that the Inquiry is reaching a conclusion – after almost 130 days of hearings and at least 125 witnesses of all stripes – left exposed is an unmistakable narrative, a trail of deceit and misinformation that is beyond belief. 

Let’s look at this trail from the very beginning: 

Monday 15 July 2019


It sure seemed that the words of Joseph de Maistre, the 18th century French Monarchist, moralist and philosopher, were being invoked once again — this time by Nalcor CEO Stan Marshall at the Muskrat Falls Inquiry. “Every nation gets the government it deserves,” asserted de Maistre, an advocate of social hierarchy (a system based on class division) in the period immediately following the French Revolution.

The Consumer Advocate’s legal Counsel, Chris Peddigrew, was questioning Marshall's assertion a day earlier when he opined that the vast majority of people in the province had supported the Muskrat Falls project and that, accordingly, we are all to blame for what has occurred.

Monday 8 July 2019


 The completion of testimony by Premier Dwight Ball on Friday, June 5th brought Phase II of the Muskrat Falls Inquiry to a close. His comments can easily be described as anti-climactic given the larger narrative that the Commissioner, Judge Richard LeBlanc, has heard. Yes, it was important to hear the Premier’s version of the events that led to Ed Martin’s departure as Nalcor CEO, and about the mess he faced having taken Office. But the Commissioner’s advice to the Premier at the end had far more relevance than anything Ball shared.

 It wasn’t as if the Premier had had the intestinal fortitude to let Mr. Martin grovel in front of a Judge pleading for his severance package. Or even that his lack of forthrightness leaves us doubtful how both “ratepayers” and “taxpayers” will escape Muskrat’s underestimated and misunderstood financial burden.

Thursday 4 July 2019


Nalcor CEO Stan Marshall gave testimony this week at the Muskrat Falls Inquiry.  During his examination he referred to the need to see the “big picture” as to the economics of Muskrat Falls. He said that this can best be done by explaining the cost of Muskrat Falls in cents per Kilowatt Hour, which makes it easier to understand than by using large numbers in the millions and billions.

His theme was that the project is not really all bad, the costs not unreasonable. When you look closely a different picture emerges from the one Stan has presented. The “big picture” is not nearly as rosy. Was his presentation an attempt to explain away the “boondoggle” or to rationalize it? 

Monday 1 July 2019


Listening to Brendan Paddick, cable guru and Nalcor Board Chair, testifying at the Muskrat Falls Inquiry two weeks ago, constituted one of those “pinch me” moments when people esteemed for their successes, broad range of business and life experience, simply disappoint. 

That is not to dismiss or diminish Mr. Paddick’s accomplishments. Indeed, he may well be an inspiration to entrepreneurs seeking to discover the dimensions of their business acumen. And, it is right to acknowledge his and the Board Member's pro bono service which, while poor public policy, especially on heavily demanding Boards, still carries the obligation of their best work.