The Premier’s announcement that he will reverse course and call
a public inquiry into the Muskrat Falls project has attracted much comment on
this Blog and in other forums. The public’s worst fear is that the inquiry will
accomplish little and result in another waste of money. 

Scepticism abounds that government will restrict the inquiry’s
Nalcor meddling is an undercurrent of the debate. Another is
that the government will placate the many politicians and restrict the inquiry from having them testify and face examination.
Only the Premier can quell those fears with announcement of
the broadest possible inquiry mandate.

An Anonymous commentator enumerated eight reasons as to why the inquiry might be ineffective in response
to a piece on this Blog entitled Nalcor Meddling A Threat To Muskrat Inquiry

(Cabot Martin also wrote a Piece called Inquiry Needs Engineering Capability to “Uncloak Big Scheme Comprising Many Smaller Schemes”. David Vardy will write, on Monday, his views as to how the terms of reference should be constructed.) 
The fifth reason cited by the Anonymous commentator expressed
doubt that any of the $12.7 billion,  the estimated cost of Muskrat, will
be returned. Such a doubt could easily be said to be a guarantee. I suggest,
however, that particular concern may constitute a measure of overreach but others are far more legitimate
and reasonable.
Within just a few years the bills will go out to ratepayers. Those
high rates and the subsidies (aka “rate mitigation”) required to repay the capital
borrowed and the operating expenses of the project will have adverse
consequences for public policy of all kinds, especially public services.
Public outcry will translate into a demand to know how such a
debacle could have occurred, how so many people could have been duped,
who is responsible and if punishment is warranted. 
Those answers will need to be ready especially  if the pain of the debt
is borne solely by members of the public. Is there another volunteer?
Exactly because the opportunity afforded by a public inquiry
should not be wasted, readers might want to consider this one commentator’s
reservations. Indeed, as another reader who gave the commentary particular
note suggested: “all (Premier) Ball has to do is turn those negatives into positives”.
Here is the Anonymous writer’s commentary:      

First of all let me say this inquiry will be a waste of money
because of the following:

1. There will not be any criminal charges laid.
2. The inquiry will not have the power to force people such as
Williams, Dunderdale,   

     Kennedy and Marshal to answer questions.
3. Ed martin will not answer to this inquiry and neither will
Stan Marshall.
4. There will not be a forensic audit to determine where all the
money went.
5. None of the money will be paid back.
6. Such things as contracts and contract workers will hide behind
the confidentiality   laws-

    laws that will
not be changed to once and for all prevent this type of secrecy from

governments releasing information to ensure a much needed democratic, free

open process will be in place for the future projects.
7. The province is already on the hook for the $12.7 Billion owed
due to this project so

    nothing is going to change that.
8. In order for to prevent this Boondoggle from repeating itself
in the future the

     system of government has to change and that isn’t going to happen while we have

     parties with vested interests in more projects, more spending and more
high priced

     construction jobs to elect them in the future.”

Perhaps readers share some of this commentator’s  concerns. Perhaps you should tell the Premier now. After he releases the Inquiry’s terms of reference it will be too late.

Not sure how you can contact the Premier’s Office? Here is the info:

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. Governments everywhere on earth are thoroughly corrupt. All governments need to be changed regularly like diapers and for the same reason. Unfortunately we have a party system that makes it very hard to get something new and the last election certainly proved there is no real difference between the PC and Liberals.

  2. Ed Hollett documented Ball`s response once the PCs announced Muskrat was to proceed…….he was all in favour of it for many reasons. His words are a matter of record, and helps explain his not stopping the project 2 years ago. He has continued the secrecy of the Tories and little concern of the consequences……….and will try to have terms of reference to limit the scope, if he can get away with it.

  3. Just get 40 INDEPENDENTS and LOCK DOWN THE AIRPORT. They Changed the LAWS to suit themselves and I will Change them to Suit Us, the PEOPLE! THEY WILL go to JAIL and ALL, ANYONE involved will have Bank Accounts FROZEN and ALL ASSETS SEIZED. The People are NOT going to PAY. If anything it can be WIPED off with a Promissory NOTE. Just got to know the system they created and use it against them. Simple. Whenever anyone say "Can't" They just ar not educated enough to know HOW!