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Thursday 29 October 2020


The Virus Trolls
Pandemic care for years to bear, a quick-fix card is but a prayer.
Isolated, some despair, we’re not to hug our loved-ones dear, 
Life on slow won’t course the same, self-indulgence much to blame, 
In touring, travel, pubs, games, people touching to boost inflame.
Frenzied lifestyles could be waived, to slow the rush to early grave,
Cutting travel to be new norm, consumer culture: shave the slave.

Focus is all on companies, and corporate profits led,
The virus bred: many with long-Covid bed, and many dead.
We could be vaccined twice a year to bay the Covid storm,
And as it spreads, dread mutations, to a more fatal toxic form.
It’s on a roll, out of control, and each day, numbers higher toll. 
Oblivious to the human social role, the virus mankind trolls.

John Tuach 
October 29, 2020

Monday 26 October 2020


Chair of the “Premier’s Economic Recovery Team”, Moya Greene, is the last person I would have expected to be duped by the politicos on the 8th Floor. Yet, for all her experience, she managed to be taken in, placing at risk an urgent requirement to deal with our large and immediate fiscal crisis.

No one can argue that the Team is composed of talented and successful people. Among the group is David Vardy who has been a frequent – and valuable - contributor on this Blog. That said, the expertise appointed for the purpose is terribly lopsided, especially considering the expertise required to examine a Government “broke” - unless the exclusively financial people  on the Team are weighed.

The Premier’s mandate letter requires the team to create a “comprehensive plan to address [the province’s] ballooning debt, deficit, and expenditures”. It ought to have been the sole requirement.

Monday 19 October 2020


Sometimes an easy “fix” to a problem is wanted so badly that people will delude themselves with the sheer mention by partisans of the next best thing. 

One recent example. The Federal Throne Speech announced the “Atlantic Loop”, an expansion of electricity transmission capability entering New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. 

Immediately, it was embraced by Newfoundland worthies as one of the long-awaited answers to the Muskrat Falls debacle. Yet, it contained not a shred of evidence that this Province has a role to play. 

The word “Atlantic” has historically enabled locals to distinguish the four most easterly provinces from the “Maritimes”. The inclusion of “Quebec” would naturally assume nomenclature like the “Eastern Canadian Loop”. Presumably, that would have allowed too much transparency to a plan in which the Government of Canada is involved. 

Still, what is it that inspires locals to think that the “Loop” is about them and to give it an air of credibility in which the truth is missing? 

Monday 12 October 2020


Guest Post by Cabot Martin

The recent Opinion piece on our offshore natural gas resources by journalist Ian Esau in the international publication Upstream (reprinted in Uncle Gnarley last Monday) seems to have received considerable interest in this embattled Province.

So it seems a good time to revisit the issues set out in my piece on offshore gas published on the Uncle Gnarley Blog back on May 28th.

Let’s get the main proposition in both articles on the table right away – our oil and gas industry has to develop “decarbonization” strategies to fight climate change - or die.

As Mr. Esau so clearly put it – any offshore strategy that is not founded on a sensible decarbonization strategy cannot hope to gain the support of oil companies (let alone Ottawa) because increasingly the financial resources to implement such strategy will not be forthcoming from private capital markets.

Monday 5 October 2020


Guest Post by Cabot Martin 

Uncle Gnarley is a fine fellow. 

I was supposed to do a piece on one of my favorite issues – why an law suit against Emera for “Civil Deceit” regarding their role in the Muskrat fiasco would make a whole lot of sense and just might get us off the hook for billions. 

I’ve written on this on Uncle Gnarley before but was going to take things a step further by broaching the idea of getting a Civil Deceit “Class Action” case going – every rate payer in the Province would be eligible to participate - and surely there must be some sharp young lawyer (or lawyers) out there willing to tackle such a case.  

But like I say – Uncle Gnarley is a fine fellow, so when a couple days ago there was “breaking news” re our offshore gas resources in the international oil & gas press, I simply had to go back to him and plead the case for a change in topic. He agreed. 

Thursday 1 October 2020


Another big deficit Budget and a Total Public Debt of $29 billion means simply that a grim reality show, "Death By A Thousand Cuts", has been given a new chapter; this one is written by Finance Minister, Siobhan Coady. Like her predecessors, she does not understand the concept of "can't afford". We are, therefore, brought a step closer to the opening act of a "Play" that will open soon in every neighborhood in this province.

The essence of the annual Budget ritual is captured in Statement I of the 2020-21 Estimates. The Government is spending $7.65 billion against only $5.43 billion revenue.

The math confirms a cash deficit of $2.2 billion (which includes $332 million of capital works).

Forecast revenue is down by approximately $0.5 billion, reflecting 44.6% lower oil royalties than received last year, exposing a severely impacted domestic oil industry.