When the
Minister of Natural Resources, Siobhan Coady, released the report of the
Muskrat Falls Oversight Committee last Friday
the first in fifteen months she
tried to leave the media, and the public, with the impression that a new impetus
was at work in matters of oversight.

The Minister was not being honest.

Given the
evidence that, both prior to sanction and afterwards, the MF project estimates
were falsified, it is reasonable to think that the Minister would not want to
be mired in the deceitful culture that has grown up around Nalcor and her
Department. But the Minister demonstrates no such caution.

It is one
thing to say, as she has, that the government has questions about the project estimates,
as did the whistleblower engineer. But a verbal expression of concern, alone, is
not enough.

One might
expect that Coady would not only want to know the origins of the alleged
deceitfulness, and who is responsible, but that she might set new standards of
disclosure for her officials to follow.

She has shown no interest in doing any of those things.

deserves no quarter, having already attempted to hide behind the fabrication
that the Auditor-General is conducting an extensive review of Nalcor and Muskrat.

The public
needs reminding that the Tory administration set up the current Oversight
Committee, giving it a very limited role and no budget. It was a proposition
that allowed Nalcor’s analysis and data to be reported unchallenged and that
afforded Ed Martin’s propaganda to proliferate as fact.

Did the new
Liberal government act to correct this serious deficit, even after its sad financial
state and management incompetence were revealed following the election? Hardly.

Indeed, the
Government did nothing except release a single

and then only an Interim – EY Report, last March. To this day it has failed to
follow through with release of the promised final version.

Yet the
Minister happily approved release of a press statement, allowing a series of
false claims to cover for her sudden dumping of virtually the entire series of missing
monthly reports onto the Committee’s web site. She even boasted that the “new
format [is] designed to increase the amount of project information available
while being easier to review”.

Even that assertion
is not true.

Readers are
given pages of stale exhibits, absent explanation or analysis.

The general
public is expected to play civil engineer, performing observation and interpretation
of data when the job of oversight includes making it comprehensible. It should describe
progress and problems, conduct reviews of management successes and failures,
advise how the data was obtained and offer opinion on its veracity, discuss the
project’s safety record, critical path, including the cost and schedule. It should
both review and be forward looking.

given the history of deceit and falsification at Nalcor the Minister
provides no confirmation what, if any, parts of the information were
independently verified.

She does not
even say if the reports were reviewed by the expanded Oversight Committee, or
if even a scintilla of them justify elevation above the whitewash issued under
the Tories.

That’s all
bad enough. But in releasing those meaningless and outdated reports, Coady adds
two false claims. First, she states:

“As a
government, we have consistently questioned the decision-making process of the
previous administration on this project.”

The Liberals
have done no such thing. Indeed, the evidence points to their embrace of a Tory
boondoggle, complete with its allegedly falsified underpinnings.

It is
precisely this failure to act quickly
and to do things differently that has
upset many watchers of the MF project, as they see the full suite of
rationalizations used by every Tory Premier from Williams to Davis fall like

wonder the whole province is asking
as did this Blog recently Who is Ball Afraid of?

Secondly, Coady’s
Press Release continued:

“Knowing why decisions were made as
they were, what assumptions were used to justify the project, and why costs
were not accurate must be clearly understood. The knowledge and expertise of
the strengthened oversight committee further supports our commitment to
increased accountability and transparency of the Muskrat Falls Project.”

This is pure
pretention. There is no relationship between “why decisions were made… and what assumptions
were used…” and the work of the Oversight Committee. None. Nada.

The Committee is prevented from engaging in this kind of inquiry. Not only does it
not look back, it is robbed of the right to review current management or health
and safety issues, among others
matters deserving of constant oversight, as Hydro’s
recent tragedy has confirmed.

Coady did
not even say if only the previous Oversight Committee or also the newly enlarged one reviewed those
reports. She provides no separation between either group
a complete
disservice to the new Committee Members unless, of course, she is content
that the expanded one is as “fake” as the one Tom Marshall contrived.

Why Coady is
deliberately misleading the public over these critical issues is puzzling.

having gotten smoked out by Paul Lane and others, the Oversight Committee is
the new scapegoat. I don’t know.

But Coady is
skating on very thin ice. She does not handle untruths very well.

It is better
that the Minister just stopped hiding.

She should call
that forensic audit. In so doing, she will demonstrate at least some of the courage
exhibited by the whistleblower.

Else, as in
the case of the Premier, we might ask: who is she afraid of?

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.


If a Big Mac costs McDonalds $10 to produce and it is sold for $1.50, McDonalds will go out of business. They would not declare a profit!


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.


  1. No surprises here! This Government has proven over and over they are not to be trusted, that there is definitely no openness or transparency and they never have and never will do what is in the best interest of the people! We need and demand a forensic Audit!

    • No matter what kind of an audit is proposed, it can be influenced by the money hungry group that have been milking the taxpayers for too long. There is only one way to find out the truth. The government must change and clean house. Then and only then will an audit be preformed without being influenced by the conspirator. Neither of the current political parties are able to do this because the root of the problem lies within. REVIVE NL has no fear of being tossed aside, the truth will come out and appropriate action will be taken to rid the system of this deadly virus and their carriers.

  2. Its because King Danny can'T and won't be held accountable. He wanted to better this province and fill his pockets in the process. He has stakes in major milling projects that are set for labrador and also had his son-in-law running his "blind trust". Nearly as bad as Trump. The elites in this province are all working togetherfor personal gains and the best way for them to accomplish this is to go into politics and make it all so.

  3. Robert, somewhere Peckford must have bumped his head, his head got swollen, and he started smoking cigars and wearing gold chains…..pity, ,,,,,,,then got sucked in with the cucumber deal, as stupid (not financially sound) as the financial case for Muskrat.If he had come from Upper Island Cove, he would have been nicknamed Brian Big Head. One guy from UIC is called Johnny Big Head…..actually made it to be a MHA (Johnny Crane).
    I occasional read Peckford`s blog sometimes……seems very right wing, and confident he knows best in everything,on international affairs, he could probably solve the Isreal-Palestine problem, if Kushner fails. But a very engaging speaker. He says most amazing that NS will not get cheap Upper Churchill power while Nfld gets shafted again. Believe he did oppose Muskrat though. Not concerned about climate change.


  4. Todays Telegram carries a piece by Ashley Fitzpatrick:"On national Aboriginal Day, premier talks Gull Island"
    Outside the Sheraton Hotel, Angus Anderson from Nail handed out bottled water from Muskrat Falls labelled 10 percent methylmercury, meant to spur discussion on their people's reliance of local fish and game for food.
    Inside , the Premier started by an acknowledgement of it being Aboriginal Day. applauding contributions of indegenous people to life in Nfld and Labrador. Ashley never stated what those contributions are. ( O reading this,I ponder and feel shame to the mistreatment of aboriginals peoples in Nfld, Labador and elsewhere)
    Ball then went on to talk about renewable power and the potential for the province to help others in Canada and the United States reach renewable energy targets. (I ponder the situation of all coastal Labrador not tied to the grid, using diesel fossil fuel power, cant't afford electric heat, and wood supplies far from the towns. I ponder that the Upper Churchill already, for almost 50 years, warms the backsides of people from Montreal to New York City, as coastal Labrador are heat poor, and Ball has no plan to change that).
    Ball "wants our hydro energy to make more global success stories as we meet not only our domestic needs, but also to support the North American marketplace".(I ponder that coastal Labrador must not be part of North America, in Ball's view. His office , as minister for Aboriginal Affairs is currently blocked by protesters)
    Ball says the 2250 MW of Gull Island opens up opportunities. (I ponder that this is sufficient to fully cover NS 2100 MW peak load, and can close down all their coal generation………that we are now scheduled to pay 10 times more for Muskrat power than NS)
    He was asked about his repeated references to Gull Island.
    Balls says he was clear that we need strong partnerships …."I think we have learned a lesson not to be building megaprojects….we see the impact on the ratepayers right now with muskrat falls…..but any development of gull island, too, first and foremost , would mean that we have our indigenous groups fully engaged and fully involved in projects like this" (I ponder…..right on, as Snook would say……….as soon as you get to the bottom of the Mud Lake flood, the methylmercury poison, the instability of the clays at the North Spur, the forensic audit of Muskrat, and using the word OUR indigenous groups. Do we own them….are they our possessions, as slaves might be? And our impact on MF rates……..we have seen none of that yet..zilch. Those shock rates are coming soon……but nothing yet, rates not stated, just false promises of mitigation.
    I never got an invite to this summit…..wonder why?
    Winston Adams

  5. The Liberals FAILED when their economic diversification plan was the creation of additional taxes for revenue. Their first job should have been a forensic audit based on Coady' admission that they themselves had estimate questions. Instead of a tax levy and monstrous gas hike (which affects products and services on an island and not just driving), they should have put the project on ice to re-evaluate. As far as I'm concerned, they now own this FAIL as much as the Tories and Danny Williams. Maybe even more so due to the continued deceit.

  6. Peckford got coverage on CBC and NTV…….my God, his mannerisms and speaking style……..Joey Smallwood reincarnated.
    He says both Muskrat falls and Site C in BC would not have proceeded if proper assessments by the PUB were done……..and that Nfld's future demand for power was excessive……… duhhhh, yes.
    Yet he praises the USA use of natural gas instead of climate accords, and even says natural gas is better than hydro, given the amount of land flooded for hydro…………….Really?
    As to GHG Emissions, for power generation emissions, based on life cycle assessments…….here are figures I have.

    Hydro run of the river 6
    Nuclear 8
    Wind 14
    Hydro-reservoir 17
    Solar photovoltaic 64
    Natural gas 620
    Oil 878
    Coal 879

    Muskrat is considered run of the river. So natural gas has 103 times more Green house gas emissions.
    Now Bruno will likely point out that the long transmission lines and transmission losses impact MF., and rightly so………but natural gas is probably still 75 times worse than natural gas. A small Peckford error! Watch for him to correct this on his Peckford 42 blog.
    Are the media fact checking Peckford's statements………not likely. Will Ashley at the Telegram check this out? Doubtful………has she passed her investigative course yet? What about Russell at the Tely……..just maybe, or maybe not.
    Anyone for curbing our offshore carbon and GHG emissions yet? But why let facts get in the way of a good Peckford tale………..he got sold on growing cucumbers…..didn't he. But still a live wire.
    Winston Adams

  7. So, another Friday, and Stan tells us what is happening at Muskrat;

    Costs to date; Contracts committed, Change Orders, Allowance for changes, Contracts contemplated, Contract Claims, = Forecast cost to complete, etc.

  8. Are Nflders stunned?
    Brian Jones of the telegram has a piece today titled "Province pounded by pathetic percentages".
    To get my journalism papers I will have to brush up on alliteration (words starting with the same letter……Brian uses 4 out of 5 words with the letter P). It appears this does something for the human brain, something like music…..if is sounds good , it must be good.
    How about "Albertans are Assholes", 3 A words , would that catch readers attentions as a headline? Brian says he is from Alberta, and admits that Albertans is full of social conservatism and right wing politics, but that people get ahead on merit instead of nepotism and patronage, and where people have not become so accustomed to corruption that they no longer even recognize it.
    Actually I do not think Brian is a asshole, any more than most of us.
    Brian cites the CRA poll showing that there is still 40 percent of Nflders that still support Muskrat, despite opponents that have indicated it would be a financial disaster since 2010, but to no avail ( actually there has been slow progress on this awareness)
    Brian says apparently CRA, the pollster, thinks Nflders are irredeemably stunned, as it says that support for this project will continue to decline until the electricity begins to flow from Muskrat Falls. Brian says this is an insult to the intellectual capacity of the Nfld electorate , as support should decline long after that….when the juice flows , ratepayers' monthly bills will double, as Nalcor admitted in June 2016. Brian says anyone who still supports the project after that must have the last Williams.
    Of course Brian omits that Stan Marshall is working on mitigation of rates, as is the Fake Oversight Committee, including James Feehan. So rates may not double, but other taxes will increase, and services for health, and road upgrades will suffer…….and baby food will be taxed, but not sugar drinks.
    Maybe the 40 percent are just lost cause type, or that awareness to truth is a slow process…….take the 37 percent of Americans that still support Trump. Are we any more stunned than they appear to be?
    Brian says the fact that 4 in 10 still support the project that will condemn future generations to financial dam-nation is testament to how naive and stunned Nflders can be.
    Brian says it would be interesting to talk to the 40 percent that still support Muskrat and ask "How often do you read the news?"
    Why does the Telegram not do just that…….. and ask how many read Uncle Gnarley, the Anti-Muskratteer Advocate? If the Telegram did one tenth of informing Nflders, with informed opinions on this, Muskrat could have been put on ice.
    Lets face it, the Telegram coverage, as to investigative journalism has been shallow, and that is being kind. I guess they don't want to rock the boat, when the boat owners provide ad revenue.
    Winston Adams

  9. Superb article Des. Keep up your good work. Minister Coady is a fraud. She knows the original estimates were fraudulent as does Tom Mashall, the CEO of Nalcor. As for the AG he is just a garbage collector, probably worth less. Forget about media, the CBC who specialize in junk. Just keep at it Des, we are behind you. Also, you may want to assist Dwight Ball, the Premier, in finding which way is up.

  10. MUSKRAT project ……is there a single word to describe this?
    Another billion dollars since last June. Rates to go to 23.3 instead of 21.4 a year ago forecast.
    1.5 billion could have retrofitted every house in Nfld for efficient heating, reduced energy use ,and likely reduced yearly bills or at worse kept costs flat.
    Why is there not outrage………..a flyer from the government last week said rates and power bills will decline in 2021……….more lies, or deception as to the impact one way or another.
    Ball this week talking up the prospects of proceeding in some way with Gull Island………….connect the dots if you can, why Ball did not stop this project last year………and 12.7 billion is not the final number says Marshall. He speaks of mitigation……..65 percent of our youth plan out migration.
    We continue to swallow the fake news of some relief form this fiasco.
    "My door is open" says Marshall……….recently there was one lonely man in a tent on Nalcor's lawn in protest.
    We deserve double the rates, do we not? Indeed, lets increase them 50 percent now, and help out………the sooner the better. And we can get Gull Island moving as well. Barry Perry of Fortis and Ball seem aligned on this.
    Winston Adams

    • Stan "get 'er done" Marshall again reminds me of Pete Seeger's song "Waist deep in the big Muddy…"

      Play it on Ytube and you get an insight into the mentality of a troop commander say in the trenches at Monchy 1917 WWI

      "Ours is not to wonder why…" "We're for it now Byes". "Are we downhearted?" etc.

    • Stan's message remains the same, just trust me. Whoops about another billion added to the cost by your friend Stan. Such an honest face for someone who won't open the books or justify the spur engineering. You all run along we are all busy working for you.

      Ball of course stayed the course and wants to "finish fast" with Muskrat Falls. They want the taxpayer to blunt the impact on the ratepayer. Now there is progressive politics for you! Ball will just reach into your other pocket and "save" Nalcor. Just remember none of this was his idea, he is just mopping up.


    • Stan's just another "good soldier", following orders. The Feds have a lot to answer. This a National Disgrace, and Brian is looking for a "rescue". Whatever could he be referring to? Certainly the NL Gov. looks pathetically weak.

  11. Stan, on the power line collapse. (Ref CBC)

    Marshall called the deaths a "tragic incident" and said Nalcor's first priority is to support the families.

    He said the employer, Forbes Bros., has yet to finish its report.

    "The contractor is primarily responsible and they have to investigate what happened out there … We have assisted in every way we can. When we know what happened, we will make sure it is conveyed publicly," Marshall told reporters.

    "I had expected by now to receive the report, but we haven't."

    Just not acceptable Stan. Your own Construction Contract Manager is accountable for your Contractors' quality acceptance and Safety.

  12. Ball and Coady press conference……..mostly empty seats there. A few months ago MF was "on track' according to Coady, now there is more talk of getting this under control!
    A forensic audit is political he says and would slow down the project…yet says someone needs to be held accountable.
    He says wrong assumption were made pre sanction…………but wrong assumptions are still being made under Ball's watch.
    One example: most air source heat pumps would shut down in Nfld in winter, as 'we ASSUME none will operated when it is cold , and therefore can assume they will offer no peak demand reduction"………part of the PUB record from last year, and deliberate to avoid homeowner efficiency and conservation to keep demand high for MF.
    Compare NS where 100,000 has been installed and about 150 MW reduced!.
    Ball and Coady permits these False Assumptions to continue. They deceive the residents and ratepayers of this province. They still avoid saying where our rates will be. They take us all for fools………and to some extent we they get away with it.

  13. These NL politicians and their supporters and enablers are just like a bunch of naive little children in need of supervision… they are completely incapable of competently managing the affairs of a province.

    They truly are their own worst enemies…

  14. Stan Marshall clearly wants to avoid a forensic audit.
    He stated "someone gambled on the price of energy, and was wrong, and and we will all pay for it.
    However this is but one of the false assumptions. Another equally or more important one was the forecast of future energy needs and peak demand.
    Most entirely blame Williams for directing Nalcor and Nfld Hdyro on this Muskrat path, but I put a lot of blame on Nfld Power and their parent company Fortis.
    Here is why:
    Forecasting is mostly done by Nfld Power. They are the distributor and have most all the customers. They know the housing and commercial markets. They forecast, not for 50 years, but 5 years out.
    Nfld Hydro somehow stretched this to 50 year forecasts. Now the result of the wrong forecasts are showing, with rapidly declining demand, not what is needed for Muskrat voodoo economics.
    Their forecasts ignored energy saving technology, assuming it would have no impact. They did not use best practices for forecasting; to test new technology and it's ability to reduce demand and energy use.
    They still refuse to do that, and mislead the public. Nfld is second worst in Canada for energy saving measures for customers.
    Nfld Power will suffer the consequence from shock rate hikes, as they , not Nalcor send out the power bills. They have maintained a high reputation with customers, but are deceitful in their energy saving measures…….protecting their revenue and shareholders rather than concern for customers ability to pay the bill.
    So, I say to Stan Marshall (a major Fortis shareholder): Someone gambled on where energy use and peak demand will be , and was wrong, and now we all must suffer.
    What did Nfld Power and Fortis do to warn the government of the risk of reduced power consumption, and what was happening in other jursidictions with customer efficiency measures?
    If I were Stan Marshall, maybe I'd be concerned as to what role Nfld power and Fortis player in the false forecast assumptions. About time our media put these questions to Stan Marshall. He was there at the time. Will Ashley Fitspatrick of the Telegram rise to the occasion, and do some serious journalism?
    Winston Adams

  15. Davis is now calling for a forensic audit. Nothing to hide he says. And that they were fed false information.

    To Paul Davis, Danny Williams, Kathy Dundedale, Tom Marshall, and now Dwight Ball… the naysayers have been naysaying since before sanctioning. This was an ill-advised project protected by Bill 29 and it's on your heads. Don't kid yourselves and don't lie anymore… the lot of ye. Thank you for you disservice to all NLers. History will be unkind to you as it was to Joey. And deservedly so. You all need to reflect on the disgrace you've brought to NL and yourselves.

  16. With regards to the apparently outrageous cost underestimates related to the Muskrat fiasco, there appears to be misrepresentation to such a degree, beyond mere incompetence, that it may possibly constitute a fraud perpetrated on NL taxpayers. Indeed, in view of the federal government's loan guarantee, a massive fraud may have been perpetrated on all Canadian taxpayers.

    Therefore, it is imperative that a forensic audit be conducted into this debacle ASAP, and if that audit exposes the possibility of fraudulent activity such as deliberate misrepresentation of cost estimates, then a criminal investigation must be launched.

    The perpetrators responsible for the Muskrat debacle must be held accountable.

  17. NL Hydro could've bought the power off Quebec Hydro for 5 or 6 cents per kwh until 2041 when the Upper Churchill contract expired.

    Instead, Williams and his dim-witted cheerleaders decided to "do an end run" around Quebec, consequently obliterating the financial stability of the province and initiating the mass out-migration of its young people. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    NLers truly are their own worst enemies.

  18. Maybe now in the light of the 2013 report that 'recently' came to Ball's attention we can now go after Ed Martin's golden severance. That's a lot of pot holes fixed around this town. Whether it was dismissal with or without cause or a resignation he was incompetent. The only thing he was good at managing was putting this province behind the eight ball.

    And from Stan Marshall's statement that anyone in the industry would have known estimates were low only speaks of a hidden agenda. We need to know who knew what when.

  19. What's bizaar is not chemically making $ Octane gasoline from 1) limestone 2) salts' Chlorine, 3) water, we've got oceans of it, 4) Churchill Rivers' hydro-electricity! There's decades of salaries just going to waste!