When Barnard
Pennecon LP was asked to comment on a letter which a senior company executive wrote
to Nalcor, blaming them for the Mud Lake flood, it denied that the letter
reflected its official position on the issue.

On Monday, July 10, 2017 the Uncle
Gnarley Blog released a series of quotations
contained in the one-page letter from the North and South Dam contractor. The
executive told Nalcor that had it exercised “reasonable diligence [it] could
have prevented the blockade by properly managing the downstream flows.”

The flood triggered
a gate blockade at the entrance to the project; protestors blamed Nalcor for the flooding.

declared the protest a Force Majeure
an event beyond its control putting claims for the
cost of the delay in workers heading for the night shift out of reach of compensation from the company.

allegations stated by Barnard Pennecon’s letter are these:

NTV pursued
the matter with BPLP but the company’s response was to refute the letter’s
contents. On the NTV Evening News reporter Michael Connors reported Pennecon, a
member of the Partnership, telling the broadcaster:

Source: NTV

BPLP’s denial of
its own assertions seems rather odd.

Pennecon did
not actually deny that the letter was sent to Nalcor. That would have been difficult anyway, given that it was dated, contained a document registration number, and held the
signature of a senior executive of the company.

In addition,
Nalcor would have had to deny receiving the letter
which it did not.

familiar with the document control systems of both Nalcor and BPLP will be
mindful of the rigid process
and the number of people required to manage
the vast amount of communications generated in the process of managing a
$300-400 million contract.

Still, BPLP’s
dispute with Nalcor having been outed, the company evidently did not want to be
off-side with the crown corporation. Though the accusations were damning in their
implication, BPLP nonetheless tried to put the genie back in the bottle.

The release
of the letter represented a second chance for BPLP to align its
corporate interests with those of the people of Mud Lake.

It passed on
that opportunity.

companies adhere to a code of corporate social responsibility, requiring them
to make decisions having significant moral or ethical implications in favour of
the interests of the larger community or society.

The flooding
that led to the evacuation of Mud Lake caused enormous inconvenience and
cost for the residents. In such a circumstance, a company like BPLP, having
significant knowledge of the cause of the event and Nalcor’s role in it, might have
been expected to make its private concerns public. It could have shared with
the community the data and expertise that gave rise to the unfettered, even categorical,
position that Nalcor was the culprit in the fiasco.

Instead BPLP
stayed quiet.

It is one
thing for Pennecon to say to NTV that “… we can confirm that the content and
quotes… are not consistent with an official company statement…” but it is not an unreasonable expectation that the company might also say how it was misrepresented by this Blog, or even if BPLP had altered
its own claims. 

As for the
second part of the Pennecon statement which read “[the quotes] do not
accurately reflect BPLP’s position on the project,” the fact is that no statement

except with respect to the Mud Lake flood
was attributed to BPLP in the Blog Post. 

Such misrepresentations by private entities gives profit a bad name. 

As to the
matter of a company’s corporate social responsibility, Pennecon ought to have had more
on offer than obfuscation. Local knowledge should contain deference to community, too. In Barnard’s case, perhaps locals shouldn’t
even ask why registration to ISO 26000, or any other global standard for social
responsibility, is a blank slate on the company’s web site.

In the
pursuit of complete transparency, I have chosen to publish the full text of the
BPLP letter. This Blog places a high value on accuracy. The public may wish to
parse its contents and compare them with the quotes contained in last Monday’s Post. If they are “not consistent”, as BPLP suggests
if I have erred then this Blog will acknowledge the same.

Here is the
Barnard Pennecon LP letter:

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. Have we become so apathetic that a cover-up on such a grand scale is going largely ignored by the populace? Except for a few voices, have we as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians lost our will to stand up for what is right? Our forefathers are turning in their graves at our indifference.

    • " largely ignored by the populace" and totally ignored by the brave silly media. At least in the us of a the mainstream media is keeping the all powerful trumpie in check. Wish they were here. The brave silly media media here, are like parrots, simply repeating what NALCOR and company tells them. Who could predict, we went from rags to riches to rags in a decade. And we have to blame our fearless leaders, and brave silly media for not speaking up and exposing the silly lies.

    • Agreed, there is even now a pussy foot approach by the main media to exposing the lies :
      Paddie Daley last week on VOCM praising UG on one hand for bringing attention to the North Spur problem, but then saying `Do I think for a second that there will be a dam failure and loss of life……..of course not`
      So still deferring to Nalcor even with senior Nalcor engineers voicing their concerns through UG, and the Buried SNC report that proved right out of the gate that MF was not the least cost, and was heading for boondoggle status. Yet even now Daley gives Nalcor the benefit of the doubt!

  2. Our corporate press (CBC, VOCM, Telegram etc.) is a tool used to keep the public under control and compliant. We need to understand that they are an enemy of the public and in no way protect the interest of the general public. For now, we can use social media to combat them – at least until posting like that above are branded "fake news" and censored.

  3. Do I sense a major shift by one of the main media:The Telegram!
    Consider this on the topic of Muskrat:

    1. On Saturday , a piece by Russell : Muskrat Falls- we`ll pay and pay and pay. Also a piece by Pam Frampton : Report warned of grave risk
    2. Today, a piece by James McLeod : Meet Uncle Gnarley: Muskrat Falls prolific doomssayer blogs in turbulent times.
    And another piece by Pam : Where is Gilbert Bennett

    Now another Telegram writer , Jones , has long been critical of Muskrat.
    That leaves only Ashley Fitzpatrick as one not critical of Nalcor or Fortis.

    But UG, by Des Sullivan has led the charge in his blog since 2012, and only now getting attention from the Telegram (the People`s Paper)

    A miracle could happen: Ashley could write about customer Energy Efficiency programs, and actually call me to confirm her interest pledged 5 years ago, when in an email she promised she ABSOLUTELY had an interest in this and would follow up. Still waiting.

    But, already a miracle of sorts: The Telegram takes off the gloves, to try to regain it`s reputation as the Peoples Paper. Maybe the new ownership, the Saltwater or saltwire or whatever owner. As long as they can show they are worth their weight in salt, I guess. Let`s see.
    Winston Adams

  4. It should not come as a surprise when the insiders circle the wagons, even in the face of their own documented action.

    This is very Trumpian. Keep two contradictory thoughts in the same sentence and believe both to be true.

    These stark contradictions would cause a media frenzy Winston if you had a functioning press. Don't get excited about half baked stories dragged out of them by this blog and other social media. Don't bet on the Telegram Winston, that horse is still lame.

  5. I have been reading The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, by a USA journalist who was in Germany during the 1930s and early 40s, saw many of Hitlers speeches and knew many of the officials, and was then after the fall of Germany, some 200 tons of documents going back 100 years, and all the inside meeting of Hitler and his gang, and genarals and diaries were transferred to the USA and he got access to them…….so riviting as to detail, and scullduggery corruption and intrigue. I am at about page 1100 of 1250, and only about one page so far on Churchill and very little on the USA. This published bout 1965, and I ,only now ,aware of it.
    I grew up thinking Churchill done the job on Hitler, but about 10 years ago realized it was mostly the Soviet Union.
    Trump…….a cross between Hitler and Mussolini (mostly the latter, as Hitler was much more clever than Trump).And of course the media was silenced in Germany, and Trump tries to do the same.
    Here, it seems we operate on a lower scale than Nazi Germany, but the population is largely indifferent to the apparent corruptions that seems going on, and the media compliant, and people quiet, as the short term status of a have province, has deluded us. I mean where is Clyde Wells and John Crosbie, those brave and load critics of Joey`s follies, ……….now silent on this likely 15 billion fiasco. Why their silence,,,,,and no media seeking their opinion!
    Germany wholeheartedly went along with Hitlers economic miracle in the 1930s, and cast a blind eye to the atrocities unfolding, until it was too late.
    A stretch, no doubt to compare our situation in this way, but for a small province to suffer the fallout of a 15 billion fiasco, with the media an accomplice or enabler……….there are parallels , as I see it.
    As noted above , 20,000 chasing the ace, and 18 at the Nalcor protest rally.
    And really, England was largely in the defensive mode from 1939 to Jume 1944 of the D day landing,(largely a USA operation), as Stalin sacrificed millions of Russians to drive back the armies of Hitler. But we learn British history mainly. Stalin, no saint….likely worse or equal to Hitler.
    Who will be our political villains of our history…….where is the evidence, the documents and emails…….bring it on with a forensic audit and inquiry……….before the evidence is destroyed…..or is this being done already.Bet we don`t get 200 tons.
    Winston Adams

  6. We Have Professional Engineers, former Public Servants, and Lawyers who have been and still are in the know as to what transpired with the MF boondoggle right from day 1 and we still do not have a way to FORCE a forensic audit and/or public inquiry?? Our brave media is afraid to ask those who were involved in the conception and sanctioning (and if the truth comes out are still involved) of this fiasco–When Danny Williams is interviewed he is never challenged on comments he makes and no one has heard a public "peep" out of Kathy Dunderdale.Our former acting Premier Marshall has not been challenged and those in the official Opposition who were "in the know" at the time are not being asked to speak up.
    Given all this and knowing we are on the doorstep of bankruptcy and will for the next 50+ years be paying to the nose for blind stupidity and shameful arrogance, looking "down" on the populace as if we are unimportant pawns in a game to satisify a monumental
    ego and insatiable bank accounts of a chosen few, we are still at the mercy of those who were and still are in control of Government. Dwight Ball is taking instructions from someone (we all know who)who is unwilling to admit fault.
    Unless an audit and inquiry can be "forced", we're doomed!

    Nalcor will not take ownership of the Mud Lake flooding and Pennecon is trying to backstep on its previous comments. A Public Inquiry is essential to protect us pee-ons–our elected Government certainly is not acting in our best interests. For God's sake, people's lives are at stake.

    This blog is one of the few, if not the only mechanism for the public to get information on how and to what extent we are being screwed. Kudos to Des Sullivan.

    Would DW spend $6K-$60K to develope a plot of land to sell it for $200 to $2000 and all the while defend the project as "good"?? This is exactly what he is trying to shove down our throats when he knows it will cost 60cents/KWH to get to Soldiers Pond and we can get no more than 2cents/KWH on the open market.

    NLers are our own worst enemy. If this were in the States there would be rioting in the streets. Not that we should riot but it looks like there is no other way to bring this blind stupidity to a head. The only people with any gumption at all are the indiginous people of Labrador even though they risk going to jail.
    The people on the island side who are saying and doing nothing (even some who are actually promoting the project) are in for a severe rude awakening when we must pay for Danny's Folly.
    There is a very real possibility that one man and one man only will bear the responsibility of bringing a province down. Dwight has the ability of curtailing our demise if he had the balls to act.

  7. People complain about the media. This might have been true back in 2012 when David Cochrane in particular provided Ed Martin and Nalcor a pulpit without critique in the form of the On Point show. However in the past months the media, led by the Telegram, have done their job. The problem is the population who will do nothing until their bills double.

    We deserve the fate we will be levied on Muskrat Falls.

    • Obviously you do not know what the media job is, they know but refuse to live up to their responsibilities. Their first job is seperated fact from fiction, lies from truths, reality from pie in the sky, and then inform the population. And not mere parrots as they continue to do. As pointed out previously they include the mainstream media, as well S open line, and talk shows. Pete was made a great example off, and the brave media even refused to comment on it or ignoredit. Yes, guess cochrane was a great parrot example, but there was and still are many others today, who think the population is dumb and can't see right through their concealed veils, as evident by the number of anonymous viewers and comments made right here. If you rais your head above the crowd, as a private citizen, expect it to be chopped at the neck.

    • Immediately after the news announcement on VOCM with reference to Cathy Bennett's comment about the credit rating comes a friggin' McDonald's commercial $$$ … Any wonder why VOCM so loyally $upport$ the Muskrat fiasco and John Steele'$ former Board colleague$?? Pathetic.

    • I heard her on the radio too. Beaming at how this signals creditors acknowledging their way forward plan. And how they, the Liberals, have put in place 'Muskrat Rate Mitigation Measures'. Really? Holding back budget dollars by not fixing potholes is like robbing Peter to pay Paul. Here's a mitigating measure Cathy, you and the whole political establishment put your own agendas aside and do us a solid… find out who is responsible and why this was allowed to happen. Oh, and how much were those Sunny Corner Enterprise contracts worth? I guess you distanced yourself before they got awarded. About as sketchy as DWs son-in-law buying land while in trust. History will prove to be unkind.

    • I wonder……….economists don`t seem to want to touch the issue of elasticity effect on higher electricity rates, driving down demand.
      Is this something mathematics dept at MUN would address……rather important for forecasting, especially for electric heat component
      Winston Adams

  8. Good news they hired an outside consultant.

    As for Barnard Pennecon LP, they obviously have to follow some recourse to get paid. I would expect them to lay blame on the party that owes them money. It would make no sense to say otherwise in this dispute, or any legal dispute.

    An investigation and a court will decide if, and to what extent, there was negligence with regard to flooding. Not a party in a contract payment dispute.


  9. uncle gnarley, can you write about how increases BoC interest rates will cause debt refinancing and lead to increased taxes and levies to pay for these giveaway assets? Our provincial budget is based on oil thats not trading anywhere near bennett's projections anytime soon.
    maybe on social assistance we can all get a big mac at discount prices.

  10. Russell at the Telegram write that we will pay and pay and pay for MF, and business having to pass along cost to customers etc.
    Russell writes this 5 years after sanction. Yet at sanction rates were projected to go to about 16 cent, over 40 percent increase ( now 100 percent increase). But anything over 10 percent is considered shock rate………… why did business and Russell not complain back per MF sanction…… alert the public.

  11. Recently Ball and Barry Perry was on TV talking about Gull Island project………this at a Fortis so called Energy Summit, and I beleive also reported by Ashley at the Telegram
    I googled Fortis Energy Summit and could find nothing on it…….
    Was it for a summit for all stateholders
    For busuness only
    For Ball and Fortis only
    Was there a notice gone out about this summit
    Was else was at this summit
    Was there a dinner and presentation
    As I recall, Ashley explained nothing about this so called SUMMIT.
    Was it a SECRET SUMMIT…….
    Can someone enlighten me on this…….

  12. After the flood at MUD Lake, I felt 90 percent confident that Nalcor was at fault, from the water gauge reading upstream and downstream, and from the geography of the area, especially at Muskrat itself, and the outlet into Lake Melville…….and that they kept MF elevation steady instead of holding back some flow, they dumped instead, it seemed.
    When the profs from MUN questioned Nalcor' I felt they viewed it as I did, and my assurance was then 95 percent.
    When UG posted the letter from the contractor laying blame on Nalcor, I felt 99 percent assurance that Nalcor was at fault.
    It seems obvious that they opened the gates and let more water flow through and I assume all this will be assessed.
    Can the media request of Nalcor the gate positions at this critical time……..if they are transparent they should provide it.
    But then when did the media ever ask serious questions of Nalcor…..