Yvonne Jones was wrong, this week, to imply that
she would vote in favour of the Muskrat Falls project if she could get some
benefits for her district and for Labrador.

It is true, as a VOCM Reporter noted, “(t)hat
the Liberal MHA for Cartwright-L’Anse au Clair has long been a loud opponent of
the project, citing amongst other things, concerns of the lack of power allotted
for mining developments in Labrador.  VOCM added: “Jones says it comes down to
what’s in the best interest of her district….in order to change her vote she’d
have to see a benefits agreement for Labrador…says she’s been fighting for the
people of her district for 20 years and she’s not going to stop now…”.

Admittedly, the job of an Opposition Member is
difficult at the best of times.    

But, Muskrat Falls is not one of those issues on
which to lever district improvements, regardless of how bad they are needed.

In portraying her vote as a negotiable item,
Jones does her district and the whole Province a disservice.  The MF issue is simply is too important and
contains too many risks to be used as a bargaining tool. And, that is not the
half of it.

Her comments imply that MF is acceptable, if the
‘grease’ is spread around in a politically advantageous way, notwithstanding
the fact that the Project is inherently unsound and that it may very well
seriously injure the treasury of the Province.

Jones’ message is: everything I have ever said
about MF, from the government’s abuse of the role of the PUB to its failure to
disclose critical information…is acceptable…if only…  She forgets the Government’s disregard of her
Party as the “Official Opposition” and the denial of their constitutionally
mandated role.  She ignores the fact that
the Government has acted as badly as J.R. Smallwood ever did with intimidation
of critics and selective release of essential information; maybe she does not
know that a day of reckoning, for this Government, will arrive.  Likely, it will be in the form of a Royal
Commission.  She and her Opposition counterparts
may be asked if they did enough to stop it! 

Quebecers, to their embarrassment and dismay, tune
in daily to one of those Royal Commissions.  But, Quebec is larger and, anyway, this small Province
cannot afford a debacle.

No matter how much Jones wants ‘something for her
District and for Labrador’, remember that what underlies our democracy and our
entire political system, is its ‘moral’ basis.

Fundamental principles are inviolate; they are
not negotiable for either a kilometer of pavement or a mile of transmission line.  If you believe in these principles strongly, you
will not only not negotiate them, you will fight to preserve them and you will
ask your constituents to join with you, having explained to them what is at
stake.  That was what she ought to have

This was not one of Yvonne Jones’ best weeks.

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?


  1. Totally concur with you on this issue. While politics is the art of compromise, some things are inviolate and are not open to negotiation. If a deal is inherently flawed to the point where it will indeed bring harm to the province as a whole, politicians of any party ought to find the intestinal fortitude to stand up to it. She is almost as bad as the sheep who occupy the backbench seats on the government side.