It is (now) a tradition on this Blog to report the most popular Posts of the year just passed. 

But first, I want to thank David Vardy, Cabot Martin, James L. Gordon,
P.Eng (Ret’d), Ron Penney and “JM” for their many excellent contributions throughout 2017. I frequently hear from readers who appreciate their analysis and that of the other writers noted in this introduction. It takes many hours to research and write this work. What better time to note their contribution to the Blog! 
Our newest contributor, who writes under PlanetNL, deserves
special acknowledgement having contributed several Posts already – each of
which speaks to his commitment to high standards of research and analysis. One example is Chernobyl-Lite: The Price Of Denying Muskrat Economics in which the writer reduces the rationale for stopping Muskrat to its essence: in the absence of an economic rationale, there is no reason for the project to continue.

Tuach, whom I have dubbed “The Bard of Pynn’s Brook”, has given the Blog a welcomed
new dimension – opinions in verse.

Contributions were also received from “Concerned
Newfoundlander and Professional Engineer”, and first timers the “Anonymous
Engineer”, Donna Thistle and Kelly Populous. 
I want to pay tribute to the “Anonymous
Engineer” who, in January, reported that Nalcor lied about the project
estimates and the budget for Muskrat in order to obtain sanction.  His assertion: “I could not put up with
falsifying information anymore” preceded other, more specific assertions,
giving depth to his claims. Two Posts:  Muskrat Cost Estimates “A Complete Falsification”, says Engineer and Muskrat: Allegations of Phony Cost Estimates crystallized many – though not all – of the suspicions which for years many people held about the origins of the Muskrat Falls project. His remarks also preceded a supressed SNC Lavalin
Risk Assessment Report released by CEO Stan Marshall adding to concerns
regarding SNC’s involvement. SNC provided Nalcor the engineering and designed
the financial structure of the project.
Perhaps Judge LeBlanc will call Quebec Judge
France Charbonneau – who headed that province’s construction corruption Inquiry
– for advice and possibly to testify, too. It is hoped that the Judge will also invite the “Anonymous Engineer” to
appear at the Inquiry.  He will have quite a tale to tell.
There are many people who deserve acknowledgement for having supplied information for especially important Posts. One of them tipped me off to the Faulty Towers problem on the Labrador Island Link, the #1 Post for 2017 – attracting over 55,000 pageviews. This item described the problem of sub-standard welds on the attachment points to the underground works of some 380 towers – no small detail.

Another whistleblower contacted me to confirm – with striking detail – the tower problem, resulting in Coady Misinformed. Second Source Confirms Faulty Towers  which, incidentally, I arbitrarily chose not to include in the Top Ten Posts because of the similar subject matter. Though Coady misinformed the House of Assembly, strikingly she never corrected this misstep – a grievous offense in any parliament. I wonder if Nalcor ever got around to informing her of the truth. 

The absence of follow-up of this issue in the House of Assembly was one more example of either incompetence or conflicted-ness – pick your choice – by the Opposition.  The Telegram reports that the Tories “want transparency in 2018”. The Tories conveniently forget they helped established a culture of opacity which ran through the Williams/Dunderdale/Marshall/Davis Administrations. As the Official Opposition, they have done nothing to countermand its entrenchment. Holding the Government to account ought to be the key part an Opposition’s mandate. They have failed in that duty while the Ball Administration has proven that neither truth nor transparency will easily facilitated. Little wonder that so many people are turned off by politics.
There were other informers – decent, highly-skilled people – all of them. For some it was a matter of loyalty. As one person put it, their province – their home – is in free-fall. For
others, it was a matter of professional duty. They want no part of either
corruption or incompetence inside Nalcor or on the construction site.  One of them was responsible for New Whistleblower Reveals Nalcor Responsible for Mud Lake Flooding.

In the coming days I will post a small sampling of emails I have
received: one from a worker and another from a professional person; each
offering insights into a shoddily run project.

All reports are not posted especially those where prudence
demands a secondary source.

Nevertheless,  ALL whistleblowers are assured that their
identities are kept in the strictest confidence. 

Some people provided solid research, taking the trouble to complete the Access to Information or ATIPPA process. Their interest and diligence is appreciated. One pair of skilful eyes led to this post and #3 spot in the Top Ten: Nalcor Loses $66.9 million in 6-Day Failed Hedging Scheme. Public Not Told.

Finally, I have listed the TOP TEN Posts from 2017. One item having been omitted – noted above – the list
is based entirely on the number of pageviews each Post received, according to
Google. They are:

1. Faulty Towers: A Nalcor Comedy (of Errors)  

3. Nalcor Loses $66.9 million in 6-Day Failed Hedging Scheme. Public Not Told.

10. Muskrat: Allegations of Phony Cost Estimates 

Happy New Year!

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. Nalcor rotten to the core. Hate to start the New Year this way, but then why not call a spade a spade from the average joe's prospective. Looked up the meaning of nal, and among the many definitions given, it means low life, or nothing. We all know what core means. To us it is in charge of, mainly our oil and hydro. Neither very successful in our current status. But muskrat jumps out at us as nalcor's greatest achievement/boondoggle. When the premier announced it, his regisnation followed shortly, the following premier sanctioned it in December and resigned in January, the ceo resigned after the first loan guarantee had been spent. The loan guarantee as written by Harper was a death nell to the province. The main contractor was ill chosen, with no experience in cold climates, the useless dome, phoney cost estimates, the north spur, flooding of mud lake, exempt from pub and public tendering act, we didn't need the power, not least cost option, muskrat rat madness, a comedy of errors, you get the picture, need I say more. Nal-cor rotten to the core. Will go down in our history along with joey's buddies of al Vardy, and the German guy Valnalis.

    • The reality is that we cannot and should not build an economy that is based on creating short term, high priced unionized construction jobs and contracts for local businesses that eat up royalties and eventually resources. This has been the state of affairs since confederation and Nalcor is just another failed project along these lines. once we stop this madness we will be able to salvage our province financially, economically and demographically.

  2. I am stomach sick and almost threw up my guts listening to the CBC on Wednesday. They reported that people were trying to entice Danny Williams back into politics. These must have been Ed Martin and his former gang from Nalcor. His Galway project must be in trouble and he is trying to improve his image with potential buyers. The only place anyone with a level head wants Danny Williams is out of this province.

  3. Lol….just looking at vocm question of the day….Danny is leading by respondents in having him return to politics. I view it with mixed emotions….yes …. Love for him to return and deal with the boondoggles he created….like bulging civil service, creating unrealistic expectations for the average Joe in terms of jobs and wages, his only oil project, Hebron that won't pay any royalties, or equity returns until some unknown date into the future, not to mention the muskrat white elephant, and the current 2, 000,000 per day borrowing just to service the debt, and let him wallow in that for a while as a reward for getting us where we are. No, no, Danny is smarter, or thinks more about his hide that than, he ain't coming back. But think the more telling results by the people wanting him back, and if he did we would elect him with stunning results. Doesn't say a hell of a lot for us, except we as a people are dummer than dumb. Yep, looking for a saviour that can turn water into wine, who not only thinks he took the oil from the ground, but put it there in the first place, and can single handed raise the world price of oil well over the hundred dollar mark….yep a lot of us really think he did this and can do it again. Go, Danny go….no, I am not a ball et al cheerleader….as I said I would vote for him too, but mainly to give him a taste of his own medicine….

  4. Now we all know why these bloody NL politicians gouged taxpayers with that despicable Ball/Bennett "deficit levy"… due to their own short-sighted stupidity and incompetence, NL politicians blew the oil royalties on foolishly excessive expenditures such as that MRF boondoggle and new ferries to dying outports and wharf upgrades to accommodate new ferries they couldn't afford… they wantonly pissed away a one-off windfall like an itinerant bum who won a lotto with nary a thought to the future… then came up short on the horrendous cost of financing the payroll of the most bloated public service in all of Canada… a hideously bloated Frankenstein of their own creation:

    Bloody-well infuriating… NL politicians are just like a bunch of naive little children in need of supervision… they have no inkling as to how to competently manage the affairs of the province… these individuals don't know sh!t.

    The province desperately needs a Bill Barry or someone of similar mettle and savvy to get in there and flush that bloody toilet at the Confed building. There has to be some kind of intervention to get the public finances out of the hands of these goddamned arseholes before they bankrupt the province.

  5. We're probably late off the mark in avoiding bankruptcy.

    Regarding today's "question of the day" Should Danny Williams—??
    it's fortunate voters don't have to identify themselves, as naysayers would be threatened with lawsuits from Kim Jong Williams.
    It would be interesting to see how Mary Shortall voted or perhaps she put the bug in VOCM's ear to bring the emperor's name up for glorification