Uncle Gnarley had put behind him the levity of his evening
at the Royal Society of Old Farts. 
Today, he seemed more pensive, indeed, quite self-possessed. The ‘Old
Farts’ had given him a break from his worrying over the Muskrat Falls project.
Now, he was ready, once more, to get his mind around, what he termed, ‘this
dangerous venture’.

“Nav”, Uncle Gnarley, exploded, “I don’t understand these
numbskulls.  How could they place our
beloved province in such jeopardy”?

“I am thinking, Nav, I need to revive my public speaking career.
I am a bit long in the tooth to be carrying out such a project.  But I prefer to be a virus on the government
than viral on You Tube, he quipped”.

But Uncle Gnarley, I responded, did you not hear that the
government is actually hosting a few public meetings to explain the Muskrat project
and they are going to send out a pamphlet in the ‘Go Bag’.  Isn’t that enough, afterall?

Gnarley, glared, as only he could, and spat: “forced to put
on a charade, is more like it.  They see
a letter to the editor in The Telegram complaining that the Minister of Natural
Resources needs “PR Rehab” and they run to cover their arses”.

“No doubt, the Minister had the sudden thought…oops, $6.2
billion and we forgot to discuss it with the public”!

“Uncle Gnarley”, Nav responded, “Minister Kennedy seems to
be caught up in his own little world, where voters should be seen and not heard.  I have this vision of Jerome playing ‘tiddly
winks’ or some other little game with his staff….this is just not serious stuff,
at all”.

His voice trailed off as he got ready to perform a little
pantomime for Uncle Gnarley.  Nav was
fond of doing pantomimes and he really thought Kennedy was perfect for what he
had in mind:

“Woo hoo,woo hoo staff, staff stop twittering, stop
twittering will you and listen up;  have
we forgotten our dear voters, per chance, should we not tell them at least a
little bit of what we are up to, not too, too much, we don’t want to get them
upset, but a little bit, do we, do we? …but Minister, we agreed; that’s an
awful lot of money, and if they start asking questions, Minister….and you know,
you have been refusing to read your Muskrat papers, Minister…you don’t want to
get them all confused do you, you know how Eddy Martin gets upset when you
screw things up, Minister. Yes, yes, I know, we said they weren’t important but
it appears some fella suggests that they are….and maybe, just maybe…oh, darn,
if he had only said, “mother may I?”….well, anyway, he has a teensey weensey
point…but that’s all…a teensey one; let’s talk to the Dunderhead and see what
the big poopsey thinks…the phone rings…Madame Premier, do you think we should
tell the little people about this little Muskrat we have by the tail? Is that
you Jerome, have you been reading the newspapers again?  I promise, I won’t do it again, Madam Premier,
but you see, there is this fella Sullivan…he says I need PR Rehab…oh, Premier,
I am so upset; I was doing my very, very best…honestly, I was.  Yes, yes, I know, I read that, too.  And he says he’s a Tory, so let’s be careful
here, I’ve got to get two terms before “Dino MacDonald” gets his paws on my
desk.  I thought, we could have a couple
of meetings, just in case, big poopsey…er, Madame Premier; well, whatever, as
long as you don’t mention my name Jerome, at any of those meetings, now I have
a new hairdo to look after, so get lost! And oh, yes, ask Eddy Martin to come
to these meetings; someone got to take the blame, if you screw this up, Jerome…”.
 OK, children, big poopsey thinks we
ought to dance some more.”

Nav had exhausted himself. 
Wanting to laugh, the pantomime ended. 
He enjoyed performing the little skit. 
Uncle Gnarley seemed to enjoy it too, but deep down it also pained
him.  His wrinkled face showed his years,
as well as his irritation.

Imagine, after all this time, leaving people in the dark;
finally, they are going to let us ask a few questions; a minor oversight, no
doubt.  Perhaps, I shall show up and ask
a few questions, myself, he announced. 

Indeed, I may even host my own separate Town Hall, question
and answer session too; I can do it across the street from the Nalcor people,
they can give the ‘safe’ answers; I can provide the brazen facts;  I don’t have to hold back, do I Nav?,  he asked rhetorically. Yes, that’s it, Nav, I
will have my very own road show.  The
people won’t be afraid to ask me what’s on their mind and, by gar, I won’t be
afraid t
o tell them. 
Des Sullivan
Des Sullivan
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada Uncle Gnarley is hosted by Des Sullivan, of St. John's. He is a businessman engaged over three decades in real estate management and development companies and in retail. He is currently a Director of Dorset Investments Limited and Donovan Holdings Limited. During his early career he served as Executive Assistant to Premier's Frank D. Moores (1975-1979) and Brian Peckford (1979-1985). He also served as a Part-Time Board Member on the Canada-Newfoundland Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB). Uncle Gnarley appears on the masthead representing serious and unambiguous positions on NL politics and public policy. Uncle Gnarley is a fiscal conservative possessing distinctly liberal values and a non-partisan persusasion. Those values and opinions underlie this writer's views on NL's politics, economy and society. Uncle Gnarley publishes Monday mornings and more often when events warrant.


Bill left public life shortly after the signing of the Atlantic Accord and became a member of the Court of Appeal until his retirement in 2003. During his time on the court he was involved in a number of successful appeals which overturned wrongful convictions, for which he was recognized by Innocence Canada. Bill had a special place in his heart for the underdog.

Churchill Falls Explainer (Coles Notes version)

If CFLCo is required to maximize its profit, then CFLCo should sell its electricity to the highest bidder(s) on the most advantageous terms available.


This is the most important set of negotiations we have engaged in since the Atlantic Accord and Hibernia. Despite being a small jurisdiction we proved to be smart and nimble enough to negotiate good deals on both. They have stood the test of time and have resulted in billions of dollars in royalties and created an industry which represents over a quarter of our economy. Will we prove to be smart and nimble enough to do the same with the Upper Churchill?