1970s when issues of oil and hydro power emerged at the top of the Government’s
policy agenda, the public could always be assured that the leading natural
resource Minister is a heavyweight; one of the Government’s best.
that tradition ended is moot. For
certain the current Minister, Derrick Dalley, leaves no doubt he is not one of
Province increasingly finds itself beyond the tipping point of the $7.7 billion
Muskrat Falls project, it should not have to worry that the talent of the
Government is so depleted that it was forced to promote one as light as
he. That is not to suggest either
Marshall or Kennedy ever were in the ranks of the heavy hitters. But Dalley is
not even in their league.
ran two stories, this week, on the issue of “oversight” of Muskrat Falls. They are revealing and, if you take the time
to listen to the audio version of his interviews, you will discover that they further
uncloak the scary reality of his incompetence.
the interviews was the denial of McLeod’s Access to Information Request for “documents
or other communications” between the Independent Engineer (IE) and the
Government. The IE’s review of the
Project and its continuing oversight is a “Condition Precedent” to the Federal
Loan Guarantee. The IE’s services are paid for by Nalcor.
of last week McLeod was informed no Report had been received by Government
(even though the Feds had received it in mid-November. The
Federal Loan Guarantee was issued before Christmas). On Friday, one day later, he was advised that
the Report had arrived in Nalcor’s inbox.
attempted to have Dalley justify its sudden appearance but found himself
extracting NOT the Report (he says it contains “commercially sensitive”
information and must be kept under wraps) but several admissions of just how cavalier is the Minister on the oversight issue.
not answer why his Department had not received the IE’s Report in November.
“Good question” he told McLeod, “…ask the Government of Canada”, forgetting the IE is on his payroll.
the Report in the meantime? Dalley asserts it was contained “in the data room
on the (Muskrat Falls) project” confirming the highly questionable condition
that documents can be in Government’s possession even as officials arbitrarily circumscribe
the intent of the Act governing access to information (an issue for another
care to note that the November Report of the IE was an “interim” and not a
McLeod pursued the Minister on the point expressing incredulity that the Feds
had issued the $5 billion Loan Guarantee based only upon an “interim” Report. Asked
McLeod, “do you see how that seems nuts to me?”
but it was good enough to satisfy the federal government to authorize the
federal loan guarantee.” Even the Report, Dalley received “was not the final final report” according to the
of this disclosure, you might recall Nalcor V-P Derrick Sturge’s tirade against
Telegram Columnist, Russell Wangersky, reminding him how hard his people had
worked to give the Feds confidence in the Project.
on Monday, I reminded Sturge that it was Federal Minister Peter McKay’s efforts
that secured the FLG; Muskrat being of far greater benefit Nova
Scotians than to this Province. The FLG had nothing to do with
Nalcor’s work. Dalley has given further proof
to that assertion.
that the Department of Natural Resources had ignored the only independent oversight
report conducted on the Project, McLeod returned to that issue and the role
Dalley’s Department plays in the process.
McLeod that Muskrat oversight was provided through Nalcor Board Meetings,
Annual General Meetings, MHI, Dr. Wade Locke (though he was a booster not an Overseer), the Report of the Public
Utilities Board (though it was based only on preliminary numbers and ripped out
of their hands) and goes on to suggest that the Auditor General had reviewed
the Project (though by the
A-G’s own admission, he has never gone near the project).
decides to dig deeper. He asks “What
mechanism for oversight is there….is there a committee within the department…a
specific individual responsible for the project?”
“there is a broad approach I guess; Ed Martin is the key…the deputy minister
would be the primary point of contact, I guess…” Then he goes on to admit that
his Department does not possess the engineering expertise. …”we leave it to the
experts at Nalcor”, Dalley adds, finally.
grills an unskilled and uninformed Minister.
In the end, you are forced to come to grips with this reality: no one is
looking out for the public interest.
into the $7.7 Muskrat Falls Project and three months after the initial Report
of the Independent Engineer has been issued neither Dalley nor his officials
have even read it!
performance, caught on tape, constitutes further proof, if more were needed: the Tory Cabinet is so shallow it has no
Minister to put in charge. The problem is greater than a failed former Premier Dunderdale. It’s
the whole lot!
the only glue that is keeping this Government from completely falling apart.
question asked by a concerned public, one in shock over such a political
unwinding, is this: who is actually governing?
answers: we no longer govern…we are
advised. He as much as says: I don’t
really know what’s going on…that’s someone else’s job…I’m not concerned…someone
else (he assumes Ed Martin) is dealing with it.
he doesn’t even have the tools to assess the most costly Project in the history
of the Province; yet, he is content that that the ‘experts’ at Nalcor have it
all in hand. In essence he is saying, ‘I
don’t care…it’s is all OK’.
interviews constitute one of the best exposes yet of the unveiling of Ministerial incompetence.
Premier Marshall trots around the Province adding to the public debt, oblivious
to this useless and reckless Minister.
of us the Government has nothing left to expose. It is unmasked. It is empty.
makes us understand why they do not even know they have a problem.