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.
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.
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
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.
deserves no quarter, having already attempted to hide behind the fabrication
that the Auditor-General is conducting an extensive review of Nalcor and Muskrat.
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.
Liberal government act to correct this serious deficit, even after its sad financial
state and management incompetence were revealed following the election? Hardly.
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.
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”.
is not true.
given pages of stale exhibits, absent explanation or analysis.
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.
importantly — given the history of deceit and falsification at Nalcor — the Minister
provides no confirmation what, if any, parts of the information were
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
bad enough. But in releasing those meaningless and outdated reports, Coady adds
two false claims. First, she states:
government, we have consistently questioned the decision-making process of the
previous administration on this project.”
have done no such thing. Indeed, the evidence points to their embrace of a Tory
boondoggle, complete with its allegedly falsified underpinnings.
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?
Press Release continued:
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.”
pretention. There is no relationship between “why decisions were made… and what assumptions
were used…” and the work of the Oversight Committee. None. Nada.
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.
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.
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.
skating on very thin ice. She does not handle untruths very well.
that the Minister just stopped hiding.
that forensic audit. In so doing, she will demonstrate at least some of the courage
exhibited by the whistleblower.
the case of the Premier, we might ask: who is she afraid of?