says Danny Williams, as he urged the new temporary Marshall Government to build
a third transmission line to Labrador West, substantially at public expense.
when the public will grow tired of Mr. Williams. I wish they would ask him to stop trading on
the goodwill with which he was rewarded while in Office.
no one forget his popularity. Even his Notice
of appointment as a Director to the Alderon Board is careful to point out: “Mr.
Williams served as Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador from October 2003 until
November 2010, retiring from the position at a time when his government had an
approval rating of over 80%.”
Government, through Hebei Iron Ore, the largest shareholder in Alderon must be
nothing wrong with a retired politician, even a former Premier, continuing to contribute
to public life. But there is a great difference between a public
policy role and engagement for the purpose of corporate self-interest.
Peckford advised caution on Muskrat Falls to Kathy Dunderdale, but was
summarily rebuffed when his remarks failed to reflect positively on her
high-handed approach to the issue.
eras of both Williams and Dunderdale one could ever say there was room for
critics, including former Premiers, if their interests were unaligned. Unlike Williams, Peckford lives in British
Columbia, and is not reported to have business interests here with which to
cause potential conflict.
does; though he need never fear that the current Premier will give him rebuke.
Consumer Advocate would dare chastise Williams even if his demands are far too expensive
transmission line to Labrador West really such a “no brainer”?
not long ago, when $260 million plus cost overruns, was a lot of money. How did
the new standard of fiscal prudence, in this Province, get to be: just add it
to the public debt? Fiscal over-exuberance, during Williams’ tenure,
will find many parallels with the recent ‘bubble’ in the iron ore industry. Bubbles
burst. Just ask Cliff Resources.
be extended using public money. If a Company is lucky enough to be in possession of a rich ore body, all the better; no public money is justified.
Alderon boast about the feasibility of its Kami Mine? It states:
Feasibility Study, Alderon plans to commence commercial production at a rate of
8 million tonnes per year at a grade of 65.2% iron with a mine life of 30
years. The Feasibility Study also illustrated robust project economics
including a pre-tax NPV8 of US$3.24 billion, a pre-tax IRR of 29.3%, a payback
period of 3.8 years, capital costs of US$1.27 billion, and operating costs of
Rate of Return of 29.3% and a capital payback period of 3.8 years! Those
numbers do indeed constitute “robust economics”, just as Alderon suggests.
fact not confirm Alderon’s capacity to assume a larger part of the financial burden
of a transmission line? Why should rate payers, directly or indirectly, have any
responsibility to be burdened by private corporate objectives?
interest of fairness and equity, for all large industrial users, shouldn’t the Government
have a policy for when it steps in versus when industry should look after its
own investments and assume its own risks, as did IOCC with the construction of Twin
Falls (later incorporated into the Upper Churchill) and Vale to develop
be milked? Or, is it the case that if a Company possesses a powerful lobbyist,
public policy can be altered to favour the more influential?
Province experiencing a dearth of public policy debate, what better place for a
former Premier to infuse his reputed business knowledge? What better time to chide his protégé,
Premier Marshall, for practising reckless financial decision-making.
former Premier is counselling nothing of the kind.
brainer” just seems such an intellectually deficient contribution for one possibly
capable of more.
robbed of a more generous elaboration of Danny’s public policy heft? Must we be content with pith now that time
has run out on his pro bono offer of governance?
Danny, that only the Alderon Boardroom is worthy of your earnest contemplation,
that our limit is two words: “no brainer”; not even a third could be spoken without
the offer of commensurate pay?
are left to the ragged arsed artillery, they are apt to ask questions. They might not be prepared to glorify “no
brainer” as even a pedestrian example of inspired thought. One might even ask the former Premier:
a huge expenditure fall on the public’s shoulders when IOCC is up for sale,
when the Cliff Resources’ Wabush Scully Mine is about to be shuttered, the Bloom
Lake development suspended and put up for sale?
Iron Mines announce that it is reviewing whether it is feasible to start
seasonal production this year?
price environment of the iron ore industry worldwide, wouldn’t it make sense to
confirm that the transmission line will be needed, in the foreseeable future, before
committing the expenditure of a quarter billion dollars or more?
be appropriate if the Power Purchase Agreement with Alderon was made public,
allowing those who will pay the cost to be informed of the commercial terms of the
dispute the right of Directors of Alderon to advance its corporate interests in
this Province. That is exactly what one
would expect. But Danny Williams is not
just any corporate Director. Few have
access to the Premier’s Office or to senior Ministers of the Government as he
to be so personally engaged in the choosing of a new Premier.
former Premier gets that close to the decision-making machinery of the
Government shouldn’t the public feel uncomfortable? Ought
not the burden of restraint weigh more heavily on him?
vacuums, characterized by weak leadership especially weak First Ministers, like
Kathy Dunderdale and Tom Marshall, are fertile soil for those tempted to confuse
the public interest with those personal and corporate.
announced yesterday Danny’s resignation from its Board, stating he will stay
on as a Consultant. What’s left to do,
now that the transmission line is assured, except to get paid for services
he will want to deliver Frank Coleman the mantle of Tory Premier. Then he must find a hockey team.
leave much time for inspired public policy, does it?