Speaker: Order Please, Order Please, The
Honourable Member for Blustery Bay.

Honourable Member: Thank You, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today
on a point of personal privilege.

Mr. Speaker,
a few days ago, the Member for Windy River South rose in his seat to decry the recent
appointments, to the C-NLOPB.   

What did the
Honourable Member say, Mr. Speaker?  He
stated that neither of them know a ‘cod from a sculpin’! 

As if, Sir, ‘knowing
a cod from a sculpin’ is some important induction or even a precondition for
senior management positions of this government and its Agencies.  I will demonstrate that, not knowing a cod
from a sculpin, is neither important nor even desired within this

Sir, I harbour
the strongest suspicion that most Honourable Members, including the Honourable
Member for Windy River South, wouldn’t know a ‘cod from a sculpin’. 

Some Honourable Members: Hear, Hear.

Member for Blustery Bay: 
Indeed, Sir, if I might speak plainly and without any disrespect, I
expect you, too, Mr. Speaker, would make the same claim.

The Speaker: I would, indeed.

Some Honourable Members: 
Hear, Hear.                                                                                     

Member for Blustery Bay: 
In so doing, Mr. Speaker, I am certain you believe you suffer no deficit
of character or any deficiency of intellectual thought or of education.    

The Speaker: 
You are correct.

Member for Blustery Bay: 
Mr. Speaker, let me offer another example. 

The former
Minister of Finance has proven he knows neither a cod from a sculpin, nor even a
penny from a pound, having piled up a $725 million deficit on the public
treasury, this year.  

The new
Finance Minister, Mr. Speaker, in a bit of sporting competition, plans to outdo
the former Minister, in announcing he will more than double that figure for, at
least, the next two years.  In so doing,
he gives foundation to his own suitability, much as did in his capacity as the
Minister of Natural Resources. 

Mr. Speaker, how often can one boast the ability to pursue 30 cent per KWh
Muskrat Falls power, offer to sell it for 5 cents per KWh (except to the people
who will pay for it) and give every assurance that a profit will result?  Clearly, Sir, the Minister is ideally suited
to his role. I submit, these are special men; both boasting as much enthusiasm as
a Greek bond!

But, Sir, it
is our very own Premier who is the supreme example of what is a new world
order being shaped right here in NL.

During the
final days of ‘Williams-the-Spender’, an appellation, Sir, I have personally
coined to honor the great man, that Premier cast about our Caucus and settled upon
the current Premier as the one possessing the necessary deficits; deficits,
Sir, that run from inarticulation to indecision.  This Premier holds the Office with the
certainty that, if she was not destined to lead, she was entitled to do so.  In addition, Sir, we know, based upon her
performance, she does not know a cod from a sculpin, either; completing a
preponderance of evidence that she is eminently qualified to act as our First

Now, Sir, to
be fair, the Honourable Member for Lake Melville might have been in the running
for this weighty responsibility.  Unfortunately,
he had begun to read Government’s greatly redacted Publications and thereby became
afflicted with symptoms of ‘Mumbo Jumbo’. While the condition eliminated him
from becoming Premier, it does place him in direct line to the Cabinet. 

And, Sir,
did not the people endorse ‘Williams-the-Spender’s’ personal choice of our
great Premier?  They did, with resounding
approval, in the general election.

No matter,
Mr. Speaker, what we may consider appropriate in the circumstance, we must
never be out of step, just as we must never be out of favour, with the people
who elect us. 

constituents possess no greater expectation of us!

Now, Mr.
Speaker, to the point of privilege, regarding the Member’s Statement that the two
appointees do not know a ‘cod from a sculpin’: 

Sir, this
Government screened hundreds, if not thousands, of Newfoundlanders and
Labradorians and, having found many who did
know the difference, was forced to disqualify them. 

Mr. Speaker,
the Member for Windy River South must alter his views.     

He knows
that important Agencies are no place for our best and brightest.  The C-NLOPB is a fine example.  That Agency is engaged in complex matters of
offshore safety and the management of our oil wells.  The Board gives our Province a front row seat
to deal with international oil companies. 
Many of them are larger and possess more financial and management resources
than does our own Government, more even than many national Governments.  Mr. Speaker, this is no place for our best
trained and brightest minds. 

Did the Honourable
Member forget that ‘Williams-the-Spender’ put forward his very own
Communications Director for one of these top jobs?  What ensued? Notwithstanding her excellent
partisan credentials, the Opposition Parties rebelled over her Nomination.  The Government, Mr. Speaker, acknowledged,
too, that it had made a mistake, giving credence to the notion that perhaps she
knew a cod from a sculpin and was, therefore, not qualified. 

What happened
next, Mr. Speaker?  Premier Dunderdale put
forward the name of the former Premier’s very own brother, whom we affectionately
call ‘Special Ed’; we are certain he cannot distinguish the aforesaid marine
species, and, to prove as much, Sir, there has been not a whimper of public
dissent.   In addition, our Federal
Government gave its approval to the new Chair of this Agency, confirming, Sir,
that even the PM has a discerning eye, not necessarily for the best, but for the
most suitable.  And, good on him, I say.

Mr. Speaker,
this Government will steadfastly adhere to a policy under which our best and
brightest will not have to face the burden of high level decision making.  For far too long this group have been the
recipients of the most demanding positions and we have come to realize, Sir, that
as a society, we are none the better for having pursued that course.

Afterall, Sir,
there is a tendency, among them, to question the Government, to obstruct its
agenda, to thwart its most fundamental need for secrecy.  In time, other governments, yea, other
nations, will emulate this approach.

What is our
destiny, you may well ask?  And, you
should. It is, Sir, the achievement of a completely egalitarian society; a
society in which those Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who fail to possess the
highest skills, whether due to their own negligence or, as is often the case, their
skills have become mismatched with the high paying rewards of political
appointments; those people need never fear, ever again, being relegated to lesser
jobs.  Under our new open, egalitarian regime,
we will build not just a single Agency, we will create an entire public service
in which the inability to distinguish a cod from a sculpin will be manifest.   

Mr. Speaker,
our Premier does place one requirement upon these fine men and there are women,
too, equally deserving.  What would that
requirement be, Mr. Speaker?  It is, simply,
that they will continue to support our great Party.    

Sir, when all other citizens go home at the usual time each day, these people
canvass polls, they collect the charitable donations our great Party needs from
the businesspeople who, in turn, seek succor from our capital works; they groom
the candidates with whom the voters have an expectation to rub shoulders at
election time.  They are the people, Mr.
Speaker, who strategize and who organize.   

They may not
know a cod from a sculpin but, they are partisan, sincere, honest and dedicated.  Then, too, Sir, because they are directly on the
public payroll, we are assured of their continued service.   

Finally, I
state my case in the complete assurance that, should the great and generous
people of this Province ever permit the Honourable Members opposite to form a
government, this very same policy will be inviolate, sacrosanct and untouchable,
notwithstanding whether such appointments are made immediately prior to a long
weekend, the day after the House has prorogued, or upon some other equally
convenient, expedient or opportunistic occasion.

And, Sir, I
do beseech all the Members of this Honourable House to applaud the new
Government Men. They are two lucky Newfoundlanders!

Thank You,
Mr. Speaker.

Visitor sitting in the Gallery: (Barely audible).  Let us hope there will be no accidents on
their watch.       
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?