Note: John Tuach, a
geologist, is well-known to the mining and mineral exploration industry. It seems,
in addition to a keen skill for staking promising mineral claims, he has a
talent for poetry – of which I was unaware. Known to most only by his surname, Tuach, the ‘bard of Pynn’s Brook’, has written several of
what he calls “Muskrat rants”. They can be found at .The Uncle Gnarley Blog has never considered the
appointment of a Poet Laureate – always thinking playwright, never settling on whether comedy or tragedy. But Tuach – in verse – sets one to thinking!


The Muskrat
Falls fiasco, a future in the clouds,
Was planned
and manned by companies
Run by
doubtful crowds:
The one in
court for their support
To dictator,
now in shroud,
The other
that took down the dome
That once
they proudly crowed.
The Muskrat
Falls fiasco, its future in a cloud,
execution long been cooked, 
And project
well endowed. 
Will there
be a reckoning?
Will those
involved be bowed?
Is their
escape allowed?
The Muskrat
Falls fiasco, future now in doubt,
since inception,
And silence
from those cowed.
Our leaders
past and at the prow
Have failed
– the future’s in escrow.
The truth to
why, and where and how –
But justice
for the Common Joe. 
John Tuach
Pynn’s Brook
July 12,


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. Fabulously put Tuach! My it has been a long while, but I am happy to hear you are still around. You clearly understand the Muskrat conversation. This is a great addition to the Muskrat Falls repertoire.

    • Unfortunately that justice isn't going to happen. What we will have is an expensive inquiry, forensic audit or you name it what you like and nothing will ever come from it. The very people who sanctioned it, agreed with it and designed, built and financed it will walk away with their pockets full of either golden handshake pensions, severance packages and multi billion dollar contracts while we are left in a state of bankruptcy. Oh and by the way. None of the politicians, pundits nor naysayers can blame this one on the federal government. It was all our own doing. We let it happen.

  2. Yes, we let it happen because there are just too many people worried about the possible loss of the job of their spouse, son or daughter, nephew or niece or someone close to them if they speak out, or heaven forbid, protest.

    • And that is the problem with Muskrat Falls, Hibernia, Hebron, Labrador Linerboard, Come by Chance, Churchill Falls, the now defunct Newfoundland Railway and a host of other Mega projects as well as the dozens of fish plants scattered throughout the province all both failed and surviving by a financial thread. They were all conceived with short term, high priced construction jobs and such to carry politicians over through to the next election and never really built for sound economic reasons. We have to ask ourselves "Why isn't private industry already building these industries here and if not ask them why?" If the answer isn't "yes we as investors will put up our own money" then these monuments to social engineering must stop

    • Very dangerous and totally false to throw them all into one bag and say they are all the same, that is very misleading. I am not saying all the others a good, but muskrat stands alone compared to any of the others. Other than providing a few short term jobs muskrat is different. No other project in our recent history put this province in such finically jeopardy. Hibernia etc. was primilarily funded by private financial industry, muskrat was built solely by our hard earned money and borrowing that we will pay back every cent with interest over the next 50 years or so, and with very little return from ns or elsewhere. And the bottom line we did not need it, there were many other with minimal cost and risk to the tax payer. I hear people say that every day, muskrat is no different than Hibernia etc. that is another lie heaped on the backs if the populace by the brave silly media repeating the propaganda of the muskrat living types, who know the difference. Bernie Saunders, and others have called trumpie a pathological liar, and we have them right here in our province, within NALCOR and our governments. I sometimes worry about the media too.

    • You are incorrect and forget that the federal government ponied up $1.8 Billion to finish the Hibernia project. In actual fact the GBS system for Hibernia was built solely for the construction jobs that are long gone and the capital costs (some $6.4 Billion) of the project were paid for by postponing the province's share of the royalties for upwards of five years. The oil companies at that time favored a floating system but the premier of the day insisted on his vision in which he saw a dozen or more of these GBS systems being built at Bull Arm which for obvious reasons didn't happen and before we knew it we were locked into a bad deal. Gulf pulled out of the venture and if it wasn’t for the federal government, the project would have been worse than Muskrat Falls. We would have been much better if the oil contained in that field had been extracted using the least expensive system going and concentrated on a good deal for maximum royalties. This money could have been used as in Norway to set up a trust fund or pay down the provincial debt but alas it was not meant to be. As with Muskrat falls, the Hibernia GBS was built because of the ego of the premier who insisted on it and not for sound economic reasons and its success was only because the oil companies were running it and not Nalcor. Furthermore, the Hebron GBS costs at least 2.5 times more than Hibernia system so we may get even less royalties from the Hebron field than Hibernia. Look beyond the construction jobs and a much different picture emerges.

    • I am no expert on Hibernia etc. but recall from memory that so e things you mentioned may be somewhat correct, but don't think today there are many that would say it was an error to build a gbs platform at Hibernia rather than a floating structor like terra niva for example, guess it is for the same reason Hebron is a gbs system. But again financed by private industry, except for Danny's 5 per cent equity stake. As for ottawas 1.8 billion, they have that back many fold in cool hard cash. Not sure of the direct amount coming to province in past 25 years, but think it is in the range of 25 to 30 billion, not a small chunk of change, but our fearless leader saw fit to spend it all, maybe would be a good heritage fund as you said, rather than fro rags to riches to rags again for a province in just over a decade.

    • The 25 to 35 billion dollars in revenue you refer to comes from Hibernia (also Ben Nevis), Terra Nova and White Rose all combined. In actual fact we will receive more from White Rose and Terra Nova on a per barrel basis because of the floating systems and this despite of the fact that they were each less than half the size of Hibernia. As a matter of fact Hibernia has some 1.4 Billion barrels while both White Rose and Terra Nova have a combined of around 1 billion barrels and we will receive far more royalties from these two fields than Hibernia. The royalties started flowing from White Rose and Terra Nova in less than 2 years after production while Hibernia was 5 years+ before any money was collected from the province. As for Hebron, the smart thing would have been to wait an extra ten years and use the Hibernia GBS system, modify it, float it to the Hebron field with royalties starting from day one of production but that is already too late. The original deal was in exchange for construction of a GBS system for Hibernia, the capital costs of the project were to be paid for upfront, royalties were reduced and the oil companies increased production over a shorter period of time than if a floating system was used. As a result of this policy we now have a facility at Bull Arm which will be a miracle if it is sold or used again and to add to that Husky is building another dry dock at Argentia specifically for one small field. We now have seven large dry docks in NL all competing for limited work. One at Bull Arm, one in St. John’s, two in Marystown (fabrication yard in Spanish room and the old dry dock), one in Argentia, one in Clarenville and one in Glovertown not to mention all the smaller marine centres scattered though out the province. It is getting as bad as the days of Frank Moores and Brian Peckford when they were building fish plants all around the island to get people on federal EI and off the provincially funded welfare system so they could stay on the island and add to the equalization pie.

    • "Scattered through the province", that may be like you other facts and figures but scattered with a shot gun. You appear to be an expert and return fro gbs vs floating structors, and maybe you are, but scattered in such a way, you are not convincing. As I stated earlier I am no expert in gbs construction etc. but rather an ordinary citizen that has an understanding of the boondoggle that muskrat is and the damage that it has and will do to the future of this province, and know that all other projects pale on comparison to the financial burden the muskrats has placed on this province. As for your wandering into the oil industry, with numerous (facts), it would be nice if uncle gnarley or some of his guess writers woul care to do some sort of comparisons. I think it is the purpose of this blog to inform us the public of facts, rather than those like me and you are allowed to express our opinions, as we are entitled to our own opinions, but not our own facts. Have a nice day.

    • They are not my own facts but realities of this province's History and Muskrat Falls may be the worst of these but not the only one. At one point there was over 200 fish plants in NL and Labrador and in some communities 2,3 and as high as 5 with not enough fish to keep one going for a year. We are soon faced with the same thing in Dry Docks but on a lesser scale. There is even a proposal to build a service centre for the offshore in Fermeuse so if that goes ahead you can increase it to eight.

  3. Well before Stan Marshall used the term BOONDOGGLE, in my comments I had used the word Blunder, or giantic blunder, the word used to describe the failure of the Port Nelson project a century ago, in Manitoba.
    No single word seemed appropriate to describe Musktat. A while back the Telegram had a piece titled Beyond Boondoggle, but had no better word.
    I searched the meaning of some words:
    A BOONDOGGLE: fritter away, waste time, play around, useless, wasteful or trivial work, work of little or no value,a wasteful or impractical project of no real value,especially one paid for by the public, often involving graft , especially to deceive or attempt to deceive.
    A COMPLETE BOONDOGGLE: a project that is over budget, behind schedule, and unnecessary.
    BLUNDER: to make a mistake through stupidity, ignorance, or carelessness. Or to act in disregard of the laws, rules, contracts, or promises to confuse. Blunder can be mild ( a boo-boo), medium(an error or slip up), harsh(a dumb thing to do)
    About a month ago, by chance , I used the word fiasco, having not looked up it`s meaning.
    FIASCO: a thing that is a complete failure, especially in a ludicrious or humiliating way; a complete and ignominious failure.
    Synonyms: failure, shambles , disaster, catastrophe, debacle, shambles, farce, mess , wreck.

    Muskrat Falls Fiasco………..maybe this will stick, as the most appropriate, and now we have it in verse : a future in the clouds.

    Winston Adams

    • Just think Winston, without denigrating our professional allegiance, the whole Boondoggle was "engineered". Those who stand for higher levels of integrity within the self-regulated professions, this is a National disgrace.

    • And Robert, while this is the engineering profession, the medical profession has huge problems, especially with misapplication of drugs and getting people addicted… acknowledged somewhat by the Chosing Wisely program….drugs that were severely restricted as addictive 20 years ago in Britain, dispensed carelessly in North America…..only now starting to be cautious.
      Whoe to elders entering nursing homes! But a self regulated profession too, and you implied professions, not just engineering.

  4. The following astute observation from Pam Frampton's columun published July 19 in The Telegram… it appears that this is all part of Nalcor's attempts at a cover-up…

    "There was some chatter in the Twittersphere this week that perhaps the vice-president in charge of the Lower Churchill project, Gilbert Bennett, has been advised by Nalcor not to talk to the media these days. I have no idea if that’s true; I only know he wouldn’t answer my questions and hasn’t talked to local media much lately.

    But I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Nalcor’s media strategy includes deliberately offering up CEO Stan Marshall whenever journalists ask questions, precisely since he’s the only key player at Nalcor who can say with complete honesty that he has no knowledge of decisions that were made before his watch began."–nalcor-owes-the-public-answers.html

    • Nalcor needs to be finished now. It is a complete failure and hasn't met its criteria to serve the province who are its one and only shareholder. Since its conception it has become a high priced, over the top employee salary lottery and a boom for local businesses and contractors who over promote their skills, expertise and abilities. Break it up and privatize it now.

    • Nalcor has become nothing but a Williams-era monstrosity gorging itself on NL taxpayers' dollars in a ceaseless orgy of horrendously wanton consumption… how can this small province possibly bear the colossal financial burden being imposed by such a monstrous entity continually eating away NL's fiscal stability?

      That bloody monument to Incompetence and Deception should've been completely dismantled and sold off to the private sector years ago… FORENSIC AUDIT NOW!!!

  5. John, that's a tidy little way to sum it all up. There is one line here that is brilliant. Maybe it can be a tagline for those campaigning against Muskrat as it gains traction in the public eye. The line is DECEPTION SINCE INCEPTION. I'd certainly wear that T-Shirt. I'm sure it would evoke anger from those involved during inception, those who still believe it's good for the province… those like DW and EM. Deception is never good.

    Do you mind if I use your line to make a shirt?

  6. This from William Shirer`s Book:
    `The remaining intimate collaborators of Hitler lived a bit longer. I went down to Nuremberg to see them. I had often watched them in their hour of glory and power at the annual party rallies in this town. In the dock of the International Tribunal they looked different. There had been quite a metamorphosis. …..slumped in their seats, fidgeting nervously, they no longer resembled the aggorant leaders of old. They seemed to be a drab assortment of mediocrities, It seemed difficult to grasp that such men, when last you had seen them, , had wielded such monstrous power, that such as they could conquer a great nation and most of Europe`

    Does Dunderdales words of `world class` not now ring hollow. For a long while, about the same length of time as WW2, many here believed her. Meanwhile `world class` has proven to be a fiasco, with deception from day one.
    Winston Adams

  7. For those above discussing our oil production and what could have been in a heritage fund, like Norway……..
    Consider this:
    To stop runaway climate change , we need to leave 80 percent of all know reserves in the ground.
    A decade ago we were approaching using 90 million barrels of oil per day worldwide. That is now at 96 million a day , heading for 100 million a day in a few years. Despite all the talk we have done nothing to slow down extraction and burning oil.
    Hibernia, originally estimate at 600 million barrels, at today`s consumption rate, would last 6.25 days, if supplying the world. As Hibernia my produce twice initially expected, this would be about 13 days.
    Imagine every 13 days our planet consumes and empties an Hibernia size field.
    To reverse this seems almost hopeless, and as Paddy Daley says ….we need the oil.
    Perhaps we just don`t need Earth, as we would like it to be.
    Winston Adams

    • It you think the world is sitting on its Laurels waiting for oil to run out or the planet to disintegrate then you can rest assured it is not. We here in NL as usual are behind the times as is many areas in the rest of North America but in many countries (China seems to be taking the lead in this) they are pouring resources, time, money and national will power into research, development and financing ways of supplying the world with energy other than oil. The first is conservation, reduction and efficiency. This lead is actually being taken over by corporations who buy energy at high prices. A Kilowatt saved is a Kilowatt earned I guess you could say cars such as the Smart car and Hybrids are examples of this. Another area we need to watch closely is in energy storage. This will be the make or break of wind and solar since intermittent as these sources are, they can produce immense amounts of energy but as high as 30% to 50 % would need to be stored for later use. This is where the Tesla and other car makers of batteries will come to age. The car battery contained in an EV would not only store energy for the car but could also be reversed back into a household if needed. Another example I stumbled on is in the link below from a German company-another country in the lead on these matters. The claim is that that system increases the capacity of windmills by as much as 25% (not yet verified I believe) but we can give them the benefit of the doubt. Finally there is the energy systems themselves. More and more research is being poured into the maximum efficiency for systems such as wind, hydro and solar to squeeze as much as possible from a kilowatt as is possible. The second link is applicable in this statement. Take a look at these sites and you will see that it won’t be long before research surpasses the need for oil.

    • You are right in saying we must wean ourselves off oil and move to alternate energy sources like wind , solar, and Hydro BUT not on the backs of the population of a small province of Canada. we as ratepayers and taxpayers of NL will pay the 58 cents/KWH difference in production costs and market value all to satisify the ego of one man and the pocketbooks of corrupt people with no one protecting our best interests. If this project was economically viable at the getgo,private industry would have been involved. But NO,Danny Williams saw a chance for himself to satisify his monumental ego and the pocketbooks of his "buddies" (if he has any buddies left) and screwed the very people he should have been looking out for. Because of Muskrat Falls, financial hardship will forever be on our shoulders. J—s Ch—t! we can't even afford to fix potholes in our roads. The only remaining bright spot, tourism, will be no more as soon as they see what they have to drive over and the prices they have to pay to visit here–all because of the spending practices of the Williams/Dunderdale Government. We had the world by the tail until they took over.
      The Ball Government is left holding the bag with not a penny to spend and won't even question the operation of Nalcor.
      Bankruptcy is all but a done deal.

    • Anon recent drop in the price of wind (4-6 cents KwH) and solar in the same range plus battery storage coming of age means that price of renewables is now cheaper than oil or hydro.

      The barrier is not the cost but the politics around fossil fuel. Vested interests with deep pockets slow the transition.

      On a dare Elon Musk signed a deal with south Australia to deliver 100 GWH battery storage in 100 days or it is free. The contract was signed two weeks ago.

    • The shift off fossil fuel needed the urgency of the Manhattan Project to develop the atomic bomb. There are great thing happening, but oil use not yet receding, coal is taking a hit,in some countries, but natural gas is up big time.
      Meanwhile natural processes from methane release from melting of permafrost, with much worse effect than CO2…….cutting all forms of GHG needs to be a number one priority, but barely hits the concern of many. Fortis alone emits 15 million tons per year . Transportation, especially air travel is a big culprit , but my generation, and most everyone wants to travel by air more and more………
      I would not put much odds on reversing climate change.

    • This is getting a bit off topic but we have no choice but solve the climate crisis in the next few decades or it will be runaway climate change.

      The Irish just published a paper claiming that methane emissions from cows, sheep and goats dropped by 90% by feeding 2% seaweed to the ruminants. Now if we could only stop the methane emanating from politicians by 90% by feeding them Irish Moss we might get somewhere.

  8. Thanks Winston , for taking a much broader view of the world and carbons. But my main and only real concern in my comments here is almost every day I talk with people, some informed, some not, some intentionally putting a spin, some that are innocent in saying that muskrat is like all the other projects fro fish plants to cucumbers, to the oil patch to paper mills etc. and guess that is mainly the spin spread by most media, all corrupt and boondoggles. The people have to be informed, through blogs like this, one on one or by the brave spin media. Muskrat is like no other in our history in terms of fincincial burden to this province, can the populace be educated to this fact, or maybe only the doubling of our hydro bills will double in the near future, whether reduced by government to the lesser that can not afford, it will all come from the ratepayers and taxpayers, in one firm or another. That's my only point, and obviously a large part of the population is not aware of that. They just say it's just another of the many corrupt projects in our history. Not good for some of the informed to be promoting and spinning this falsehood. Hope the blog can help get the message out to the non believers and uninformed.

    • Muskrat Falls is just the Boondoggle of the day and as you say the biggest one without question. This province has a history of giant schemes and brain farts. Sprung Greenhouse comes to mind as a boondoggle just on a lesser scale. We must demand more and more accountability from elected officials before this happens again.

    • It doesen't matter if it happens again, we're screwed forever anyway. The only bit of satisfaction we have left is to see those responsible for this corrupt project brought to justice. There's money for the Government to be made by selling tickets for the privilege of flipping the switch.

    • I agree, that not all projects are such boondoggles, but we have way too many through incompetence and corruption.
      Historically , the Nfld railway was a big drain, and then we volunteered to pay the cost of the Nfld Regiment in WW1, and combined these two did most to put us into bankruptcy in the 1930s……….these were hard hard times and led to Commission of govn and 6 cent a day dole for 15 years.
      Many oil rich areas of the world become corrupt…….we had a history of that even when poor, so the sudden riches caused recknessless it seems………..added to that a disengaged public……..thousands gamble to chase the ace,but would not invest 50 dollars in a reliable good company stock, and there are many.
      On the one hand we have the high rollers like DW, rolling the dice on MF, (but our money, not his), and the masses rolling the dice on Lotos………hundreds of million per year, a sort of madness now at the Goulds, making the national News today.
      Again, to bet the shop on offshore oil when the world seems to be going the other way, in itself a big gamble. The , today has a good piece on that worth reading.

    • We never had these fiascos with mining because the mining companies wouldn't have none of it. Private enterprise when in bed with politicians is a dangerous combination and we must question such deals from now until the future.

  9. The Tobin/Grimes deal at Gull Rapids, which was killed because it was alleged to be too big a risk for NL, must be looking much better now against the back drop of the Muskrat fiasco, and Muskrat was devised by some of the same Gull-killing characters.

  10. Agree the railway along with ww1 funding, bankrupted the province along with some mismanagement of government and we were a county then , on our own. Which led to the 6 cents a day and loosing our nationhood to be ruled by the British once again by a commission from there. If we were our own country and not a part of canada now …we could expect the same thing, the equivalent of 6 cents a day in today's dollars and once loosing our nationhood but Ottawa will save us in one way or another. Thank God. That's how serious muskrat is, or the potential, especially if the north spur gives way to the raised water levels. That will be a mess, boondoggle will be a too mild a term to use, more like a sanami and poverty.