The Tory Leadership Contest is slower than a cold engine on a frosty morning.

The field
remains crowded only by Bill Barry.   

Manning has bowed out; Derrick Dalley has done himself in. 

“All Hale Premier Frank Coleman” , posted last week, spoke not only to the
fact that Danny Williams has placed his velvet glove on Coleman’s shoulder.  It confirmed that the whole Caucus is gazing
west for signs of white smoke. 

Only Steve
Kent remains a potential contender from Cabinet; but, even he is just pretending.

On the
outside Shawn Skinner and John Ottenheimer are still mulling it over.  The price tag of running a credible campaign
still daunts them; if Frank Coleman confirms his candidacy, both will fold. 

According to
insiders, they are emboldened because rumours abound Coleman is having second thoughts. 

Coleman is
not comfortable with the extemporaneous demands of public speaking.
  Unlike Shawn Skinner, he has not been engaged
in public policy issues for many years.
   Neither has Bill Barry.

Barry is
unfazed either by policy or potential challengers.  He telephoned this Blogger recently just to
confirm he is in the race to the finish.

report Coleman did not make a big impression on attendees to a cocktail reception
hosted while the Cabinet met in Corner Brook.  
He was present for 90 minutes; Bill Barry is reported to have stayed until
midnight and left in the company of several Ministers.

insider reports that the term of District Association executives, in 28 of the 48 Ridings, has lapsed. That means all 11 riding delegates (rather than just 6) will
need to be elected leaving Coleman at greater risk if he is out-organized by Bill
Barry’s extensive fishery connections.

It is not
clear if John Crosbie was trying to give Bill Barry his personal endorsement in
the Weekend Telegram.  Crosbie wrote that
Barry “…is a man of character, experience, learning and fearlessness. He is not
your ordinary businessman…”  Will he say
the same of Coleman? 

The guy you
should not completely discount, just yet, is Shawn Skinner.

Skinner is
an experienced politician and media savvy, too. 
I don’t know if he and Danny Williams get along; in the current political
vacuum Danny is the gatekeeper.  While
Bill Barry wants to be Pope, Williams prefers to play St. Peter.  If Coleman gets cold feet Danny could still
allow the white smoke to settle on Shawn.

One strike
against Skinner is that he had a couple of whacks at the Dunderdale Government,  as a CBC On-Point commentator, especially over the former Premier’s handling of January’s power crises. Such commentary ought to have been to his credit.   

But, in a Caucus of
closed-rank, a single word of criticism is akin to blasphemy.
  The Caucus does not take criticism well.  It does not see its survival linked to ‘change’ either.  Tom Marshall’s weak start, as Premier, confirms as much.   

the Caucus believes Dunderdale’s departure is as much change as it needs.   The
next Poll might change that view.

Then, there’s
Virginia Waters.

It seems the
Tories were not planning to give Dunderdale a Muskrat-sized send off.   A
surfeit of pique has been once again confirmed as the former Premier’s legacy.

Bennett, former Nalcor Board Member, is seeking the Liberal nod in the District.
Recently she told the Telegram that “she pushed the government to add expertise
on the Nalcor board for megaproject management, but the government ignored her.” 

During the
three month campaign for Ball’s job, Bennett never mentioned the word ‘oversight’
though she did remind us the folks at Nalcor were international ‘experts’.  The critics, she told Paddy Daly on VOCM Back Talk, didn’t understand the ‘business case’ for Muskrat. 

I’m betting
Cathy also forecast that this would be a hard cold winter; she might even have told
Nalcor, last year, to fix up Holyrood else the Province would suffer those ‘black-outs’. 

With Danny
trying to play St. Peter for the Tories, why shouldn’t the Liberals be
permitted a prophet?    

Stay tuned.
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. Trouble with Newfoundland and Labrador politics is that Ms. Bennett thinks she's going to have a walk to the House of Assembly.

    Not bloody likely!

    Between her support of Muskrat falls, and the Libby's indecisiveness in spite of it costing government programming millions, and me having to bare the brunt of electricity shortfalls, I'm inclined to think that while she was on the board of Hydro/Nalcor, she didn't manage anything well there. What makes me think she'll do better in government?

    So far, I'm not convinced!

  2. I do believe the Nalcor Board is weak because of the blatant inexperience of its Board Members, particularly the Chair. There was some noise about this at the time of the appointments, which then fizzled out as quickly as it was sparked. So really, who cares enough anyway?

    This begs some questions for me: 1. What does this Board do anyway? 2. Do we ever hear from them? 3. If the Board is a team of PC "puppets", does it even need expertise? 4. Were the Board appointees deliberately chosen for their inexperience and as compliant lackeys? 5. Did the Chair's romantic involvement with a Minister of the H of A influence his appointment? 6. How much money is paid out to the Board of Directors at Nalcor? 7. Finally, how did Cathy Bennett fit into this picture when she chaired this Board?