David Vardy, a frequent contributor on this Blog, can often be found discussing how the failure of the Muskrat Falls project is
symptomatic of a broken democracy. He met up recently with Andrew Nikiforuk, an
award winning journalist who has written for twenty years about the energy

Andrew Nikiforuk
Nikiforuk is not your garden variety energy writer nor one who counts barrels
of oil or merely gives dimension to the brisk shale oil business. He describes himself
as one who “cares deeply about accuracy, government accountability, and
cumulative impacts.”
Whether big oil or big hydro, his focus is how the management and development of megaprojects in the energy sector seem to either corrupt public policy or find propulsion
in jurisdictions suffering from a policy vacuum.
In analysing the impact on societies
and their institutional structure from such mega developments, Nikiforuk and
Vardy are two peas in a pod. 

David Vardy
I found the interview with Vardy and Andrew Nikiforuk compelling and well worth bringing to your attention.

Incidentally, Nikiforuk is an award winning author, His books
include Saboteurs: Wiebo Ludwig’s War Against Big Oil, The Tar Sands: Dirty Oil
and the Future of the Continent
, an award winning bestseller.
Others include Empire of the
as well as Slick Water: Fracking and One Insider’s Stand Against the World’s
Most Powerful Industry
; the latter winning the 2016 Science in Society
Journalism Award.
Nikiforuk is also a contributing editor to a Blog out of
British Columbia called The Tyee.
Find the Nikiforuk/Vardy piece at this Link: Site C, Other Dams Symptoms of Broken-Democracy.

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. Who agrees with Mr. Vardy's assertion, "deputy ministers and other public servants are supposed to serve the public interest, but they have become faithful servants to political parties." He makes this assertion, I think to Canadians in general, and cites several examples especially in western provinces, as well as in this province. If this is the way we want to have our democracy work, then we are doomed to failure, and many blunders, especially in maga projects. With any project or undertaking, even Leblanc inquiry, is your support, or decent mainly governed by your political views, or by your own independant thinking of what is best for the province and its people. I think some are, but I think some are incapable of thinking outside their political party attachment. And their first thought is, is this good for my political party, or good or bad for the other party, and there In lies their support. Some cannot give you an opinion on a particular subject, until they check first and see what the stance is of their political party. This is true, in a lot of democracy's, and no truer than our neighbours to the south. But guess we can't do much about that, but we certainly can do a lot about our own politics, and decisions we make. Cheers, AJ.

    • Hey AJ,

      You are very right about the fact that for most members in a party, to follow the party is their only goal.

      If there is only one party like in China, where is the choice ?
      If there are only 2 parties like in the US, your choice is very limited and you may well end up with two bad choices where you are left to pick the least problematic more than the best.
      If there are 3 parties and more, yes you have choices, but others have that many choices too and you will end up most time with a government having only a minority of the vote and who will be blocked all the time by the others.

      Democracy is very problematic and that is why, in theory, it is not only problematic but the worst of all. The thing is, it is the only one that, in practice, is usable at large scale.

    • Thanks Hercules, agree with your assessment of various numbers of parties. Know if there is only one party, you have no other voting rights, if any. But you can still oppose that party, but of course don't want to be jailed or worst, but as you say you are not really dealing with a democracy. As for the 2 party or more system, hopefully not too many parties, maybe 3 max. Then of course you are a democracy. But to use the USA as an example, think most citizens are born either a democrat, or a repubublican, and you die of the same party with never having switched your vote. And of course as a democracy you have that right to do so. Of course some switch their vote quite often, whic allows the party in power to change. But my point and I think mr. Vardys is maybe we should put the province, nation first before the party. Not sure exactly what JFK meant when he said, " ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country", one interpretation could be, put your country's and peoples interest in general first, and not your personal interest and party interest first. Now, not sure if that's mhat Kennedy meant, but I take that as being one, or my interpretation. Thanks, AJ.

    • Hi again AJ,

      Here again, you pointed directly at the hearth of the problem. But again, there are no real solution to that. In theory there should be better. In theory there is much better. But in practice, it is different.

      As we mentioned, the politicians are elected in a process based on popularity. But the thing is that many things that are good for the country, the province, the people, are not popular at all.

      Just think about what Newfoundland is experiencing as of now : a structural deficit in its budgets for years and that will remain for years to come. What is needed is to cut in the public service, cut in the pension and more. How popular these things are ?

      Hey people, vote for us so we can terminate your job, reduce your pension and downgrade the services to a lower level.

      Once elected, a party is in control for 4 years. That time frame is too short to fix many structural and large scale problems. Or if it is manageable within 4 years, the benefits will not be instantaneous. As such, you will have change of the guard before anything is completed.

      Should you elect your politician for say 8 years. What the mess it will be if the government turns bad within 2 years ?

      These are natural limits of democracy….

  2. The blog , The Tyee, has been mentioned by Nflder Robert Holmes, living in BC, several times, and a good source on BC site C and Muskrat.
    When reading the the piece linked above, go to the link on that piece to one about the Ghost of Muskrat, which also has references to Uncle Gnarly blog, by Des Sullivan in our province.
    So UG, and Vardy reaches readers in BC.
    Winston Adams

  3. Heracles
    Your recent post stated that your heating bill is about 92 dollars yearly average for 1400 sq ft, in Montreal. While that seems low as to average heating costs here on the Rock, you cost is about 8 cents and ours 11 cents. But your cost, despite 8 cent rate is not impressive compared to my monthly average of about 27 dollars per month for 1000 sq ft .
    You mention you use a split HP. So, I suspect this is a ducted system in your condo, and with a back up resistance duct heater when it gets cold, so this kicks in about say -8C and colder, and as Mtl is much colder than our tropical Avalon, you are likely running much of the winter from inefficient duct heater rather than HP.
    Is this correct, if you can clarify.
    And that you walk 15 km, My brother thinks you exaggerate as to the distance,(and so I laugh, at him on this), but I think you are honest on that, and it is impressive, and helps keep your health costs in check. AJ too is a walker , and I too, but not 15 KM, but I know I walk too little .

    • Hi Winston,

      HQ offers the possibility to distribute your payment evenly over 12 months instead of paying what you take every month. That helps to go through winter time when you take so much more power. That is the formula I use and that's how I end up with monthly payment of 115$.

      I have baseboard heating all over the place and a mini-split with a single head. That head is well placed in front of the corridor that reaches every room in my unit. No dock.

      I also have a garage that is heated too and its door is facing the strongest wind. So I loose a lot of heat that way. As mentioned, windows and doors are also not efficient at all.

      Again, insulation and vapor barrier have been completed screwed up and would deserve to be re-done from scratch. It is so bad that I put child protection in every unused electrical plug to help block the small cold draft that was coming from them.

      Another point is that the building is completely covered by brick. In the summer, that brick get very hot and heats the condo. I have to fight back with a lot of air conditionning. After a sunny day, if external temperature drops to 18 after the sunset and my condo is at 21, I can not stop the air conditionning and open the windows. If I do that, the condo will rise to 25 – 26 because of the brick transferring its heat to the condo. So that is another reason I take so much power.

      So yes, my place is highly inefficient and should I re-do everything that is required to reach efficiency, I can easily cut my power bill in half. The thing is, to save 60$ per month, I would have to pay well over 20,000$. That means I would need at leat 360 months, so 30 years, just to make my money back. No point.

      No point either for HQ to pay any incentive because a lot of the power I will not consume will be lost because we have such a surplus. Even when it would be of value during peaks, they would never sell it high enough to payback an incentive of 10K that would cut my investment to "just" 15 years instead of 30.

      So no, at the rate we have, I am and will stay highly inefficient….

    • Heracles, You are a modern version of "I'm all right Jack". Just in an age where HQ were able to badger the Northern Indigenous into releasing vast cheap energy, and the Energy Demand curve flattened, complacency of consumer mentality took over. This is the kind of mindset which is causing grief and begging thy neighbour in Western Canada. Rich American Oil through NAFTA have been a glutton for extracting bitumen, flooding the weak market, through "National Interest" propaganda beating its way through Indigenous lands to flat markets, so that the gluttons can speculate on bitcoin and the like. Where will this all get us? You defer the problem and lay it on your descendants. I am not attacking you personally , I am pointing to the folly and short sightedness of wasting our crown assets, and laying the mess on our children. Remember the song; Teach your children well, Crosby, Nash, Still, and Young. Neil went to the Tar pits and said; "Honour the Treaties" I am, after all a preacher's son, who remembers the Beatitudes.

    • Hi Robert,

      There is one point you got wring and that point defeats your entire argument… As it has been before I became a rate payer myself, as it is now and as it will still be for as long as we can see, that hydro power will always be wasted. To be wasted by me or by someone else does not change anything : that power is wasted.

      The hydro plant produces power by re-using a mechanism that will run no matter what : gravity, evaporation, precipitation and here we go for another round : gravity, evaporation, precipitation, …

      Now that these hydro plants are in place, they will produce their energy. For us to use or not that energy is not part of the equation about producing it or not.

      As for generations to come, hydro plants are immune to inflation. As such, an hydro plant built in the 1960s – 1970s like the UC or so many others in Quebec produces power at the rate that was at that time. As such, they are a benediction for future generation because they will have tomorrow their power at the price tag that was yesterday. So to build hydro plants ahead of their need is not bad at all and the one benefiting the most of that IS the next generation.

      The kind of wasting you are talking and oil in the west is anohter kind. That energy does not renew yearly, pollutes a lot, is in limited quantity, etc.

      The ideal would be for these people wasting THAT energy to accept to use ours instead. When we will reach the point where there would not be enough, then efficiency and saving will make sense.

      Until that, our hydro energy is doomed to be wasted : by consumer like me or by just running an empty load or by spillage.

      Not to waste by reducing the production capacity would force next generation to build at a much higher cost what we could have build for them and give them fully paid for, at a fraction of their cost.

      So sorry, but as for me, you got your entire post wrong.

    • Heracles, I largely share your view, and it goes to elasticity for electricity as a commodity, and if the cities of Quebec, where one can switch from natural gas if electricity rates rise, it is a real problem, the problem being low gas prices which are polluting,with gas emissions, and which Trump boasts that the USA now produces 10 million barrels of oil per day, hindering hydro sales at good prices.
      And yet Ontario has power rates about 18 cents, NS 17 cents and Nfld 11 and heading for 17 or 23 cents, while Quebec has surplus at 8 cent domestic retail and exporting at about 5 cents. Seems insane that neighbouring provinces have not bought into HQ power at good rates, and that would reduce your surplus, and eventually encourage you to conserve and invest in efficiency.I think Robert believes one should invest in efficiency regardless, and that is true, but the economic realities hold back most, as the fossil fuel business is driving the bus.
      Meanwhile , what is the brand, heating capacity at -15C of your HP……

    • Yes, EPA leadership are coal extractors for Christ's sake. Our PM is pushing the Bitumen industry. BC leadership pushing LNG. When Couillard is dumped, maybe we can expect that Antecosti with its known oil reserves, will become frackers' haven. Build another giant hydro on the 5 rivers on the Labrador border, push the stupid railway to the Blancsablon tunnel, etc.

    • Hi Winston,

      My HP is Fujitsu. It is an 18000 BTU unit. As for the detailed specs, I searched for the manual yesterday and did not found it…

      About gaz in Quebec, it does exists but is not available everywhere. Also, because they have to compare with such a low cost for electricity, they have to be retty cheap too. I do not have gaz, so I can not tell you more about the price, the compared cost of heating with electricity compared to gaz or use gaz for anything else (oven, dryer, hot water, …).

    • Heracles31@14:13: The whole scenario of wasting power in Quebec could be solved by the Feds if Electricity production was treated the same as Oil production in the implementation of the "equalization formula". If this was done ,equalization payments to QC would be non existant as Hydro power would be considered as income at the "going rate" and not the rate at which it is being produced. If that should be the case QC would ensure that power was not being wasted as realistic electricity rates would be charged to the populace–see if wastage would happen then!

    • Hi Wayne,

      I think it would have been way easier if Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Ontario simply acknowledged that they would have been better paying a fraction of their actual rate to HQ instead of 100% of their cost to their own utility…

      Why do we need the feds to tell these people to stop using coal and nuclear and to go for hydro from Qc ? Another example about how common sense is all but common…

    • Wayne, don't you see the danger of the Sunday meeting of the PM and only two angry Premiers, trying to decide "National Interest", regarding oil shipment over neighbours' lands and coast? At the very least this should be in the form of Fed/Prov/public conference on a National Energy Policy. Power generation, transmission and consumption is but one component of NEP. Powerful lobbies by the North American fossil fuel cartel has distorted good intentions from the days of 1970's when there was the deal between the blue eyed Arab and Trudeau sr.

    • Heracles
      Given the size of your condo, 1400 sq ft, and MTL temperatures, I would estimate, given your poor construction you describe, your 18000 btu unit,(5.3kw) which is nominal capacity at 47 F, would be good for only about 700 sq ft. So half of what is needed, and accordingly ,is operating in overload condition. If not overloaded it likely delivers about 2600 watts,at -15C, but when overloaded would deliver less than that, maybe about 1800 watts. Sort of explains why, with your 8 cent power rates your heating with HP should be lower than what you see. Likely they sized the unit more for AC conditions in summer. So I expect your baseboard heaters are often on when colder.

    • Heracles31 @ 13:07: I wholeheartedly agree with you but the interprovincial relationships and oneupmanship mentality which is what exists when it comes to Hydro Power will forever and a day keep us the way we are. The atlantic provinces, QC and ON should be on the same wavelength and as Robert @ 13:07 states the Feds should be facilitating cooperation. Big Business and big egos are problematic barriers. Trudeau has a constitutinal crisis looming with BC and AB and the overabundance of Hydro Power which QC has would not be if interprovincial cooperation had taken place many years ago. It's bordering on criminal that Hydo power is being wasted and big emphasis being placed on oil when this planet is starting to cook.

    • Hi Wayne,

      As I mentioned a few times, I am no politician. I agree that egos can be very problematic, but to be forced into something is also problematic. As such, where is the line where one is better to be forced into something or better to harm himself with his ego.

      Let me compare this to 9 / 11. If you presume that authority knew about everything when it was still time for the fighter to take off (No, they did not knew but its an example) and the fighters did took off and shut these airplanes down, what would have been the reaction in the public opinion ? They would have be in disbelief about such an attack and everything would have turn to chaos. Now that people know something like this is possible, should a fighter take down a jet liner from now on, people will accept it way better.

      So now that Newfoundland demonstrated to itself and everyone else how big ego about energy can compromise sovereignty, Newfoundland and others may be more open to be forced into some kind of deal with HQ. That's why I think the Feds will help building transmission lines between Qc and NB for us to power the Atlantic provinces. Before MF, people were not ready for that. Now that Newfoundland screwed itself beyond belief with MF, people will be ready for that alternative.

    • Actually, we have a live example of that problem : Our dear host Uncle Gnarley himself is still to be seen acknowledging that Qc – HQ are friendly to Newfoundland…

      If even him did not pass the limit where he harm himself bad enough with MF to get out of his denial, reject the traditionnal anti-Quebec speech and embrace the help we can provide, why should we believe other leaders, elected or not, are ready for that ?

      He is ready to be forced in a deal like that. In his posts, he said things like Quebec will have the last laught and that is an inevitable fact. But he is not ready to embrace the help, considering that HQ, despite having no obligation, offered to clean up MF mess in a way that allowed Newfoundland to survive the problem and keeps its sovereignty. All of that while Newfoundland is exposed to a lost only the size of its boondoggle instead of 2, 3 times more.

      Qc – HQ can not blindly pay for Newfoundland's bad. Should we take both UC and LC and the mandate to power Atlantic, it would free Newfoundland from MF, will remain actual business for HQ, will provide clean and cheap energy to Atlantic, … Everyone will be a winner.

      Any idea when a friendly note will be posted about Quebec here ?

    • Heracles, I see the CF as too valuable an asset to be traded for wiping out the MF debt. Now I could be wrong, and maybe nuclear fusion be perfected to produce low cost power going forward, that would decrease the value of hydro power. Who can predict future technology.
      But hydro power developed a century ago is still very valuable and low cost energy produced. So I would rather see a reduction in the expenditure and waste of our govenment here and to reign in our debt, and keep the 66 percent of the CF.
      If HQ has the CF, it has maybe 40,000 MW of hydro, up from 35000 MW. We have only about 1200 MW island hydro, and much of this to go to NS.
      On the other hand, if Quebec was to join NL,( this an example of big egos,and humour, as NL joining Quebec would be the reality) as one large province, yes, we would lose our CF 66 percent, but we gain a portion of your huge 35000 MW of hydro, that can feed all of Atlantic Canada, and much of Ontario. Everyone of both our provinces would be a winner,and also the other provinces, and of course we get 8 cent power rates, instead of a free Skidoo. Maybe `a bridge too far`, unless UG is persuades this is workable and prudent. And UG can be a tough nut to crack. But instead of Quebec having the last laugh, Quebec and NL can laugh, and celebrate together.
      Winston Adams

    • Heracles, I posted Couillard's CBC concern below, about the Notley/Trudeau fore.

      Will Quebecois return this sensible Premier in a time of National Interest crisis? He meets with Ball, and all they have on the agenda in mining and transportation?

    • Robert Holmes:

      1-National Interest Crisis? Err, What Crisis? Kinder Morgan announced that short of all legal roadblocks being eliminated before May 31 of this year, the project was over. Since there is no way that all relevant court challenges will be settled within this time frame (even assuming for the sake of argument that no new ones are brought forward), the Kinder Morgan pipeline project is now as dead as Monty Python's parrot.

      Like Monty Python's parrot, however, many are pretending that it is alive, and thus we are getting a lot of entertaining political theater. Ironically, I used to think that Justin Trudeau was hopelessly out of his league as Prime Minister, but in this case, to be fair, he is *perfect*: who better than a (former) drama teacher to participate in a game of make-believe?

      2-Couillard is vulnerable in Québec, politically, not least because his government has made some very dubious spending decisions (The R.E.M. in the Montreal Area being a nice example: The P.Q.'s proposed alternative strikes me as much more sensible).

      3-In any case, whether you like him or not should be irrelevant. Do not forget that in the days before MF, the closest Newfoundland and Quebec ever came to a deal on Labrador Hydro-power, back in 2002, involved Roger Grimes and (TRIGGER WARNING) Bernard Landry, a Quebec premier who was also a (FINAL TRIGGER WARNING)…separatist (EEE! Run! Flee! Women -well, the ones who haven't fainted-and Children first! Get the stakes, the crosses and the garlic! Where are the torches and pitchforks? (DEEP WHISPERED VOICE): The horror…the horror…).

      4-Frankly, I doubt any Québec government is especially eager to negociate with Newfoundland right now (Whoever might be Premier at the time). I suspect one lesson which is being remembered by the top brass of Hydro-Quebec is the failed 2009-2010 sale of Energy NB, where anti-Québec sentiment (see the last point of 3, above) played a major role: the last thing they want is a deal with Newfoundland and Labrador which fails to be ratified for the same reason. If I were them I'd be waiting for the Newfoundland electorate to have its back against the wall, economically, on account of rising electricity prices and provincial debt levels. Then, and only then, I suspect, could a deal be signed and ratified.

      5-An interesting question: Does such a deal (with some details needing to be filled, perhaps?) already exist (Unofficially, of course)? I wouldn't be surprised, frankly…

    • Etienne, Say PM "invests" $$CAD, (your tax money), in a troublesome pipeline to Burrard, and helps the Houston Tycoon, flies to Goose Bay to buy into Muskrat. Then calls snap election, and Liberals in QC, NL, NS, etc. sweep back ahead of Sheer pack. Liberals might keep NDP in AB, and gain 5 or 6 Fed seats in West. 🙂 Thanks for keeping the Blog open, while missiles fly overhead. Trump needs diversion badly right now.

    • Who could blame Quebec for waiting until Nfld has its back against the wall? In 49, after the honeymoon with America military spending in Nfld was over, and the thoughts of the Commission of Govn and 6 cents a day still fresh, the rural part of Nfld turned the tide in voting for Confederation. The 20 millionaires of St John's Water st, was often cited in rural Nfld, as detrimental to rural Nfld and Labrador, a class structure , as Etienne probably knows.
      Winston Adams

    • Hi Winston,

      You said that UC is too valuable to be used as a trade-off to compensate for MF. Considering MF fiasco is about 13 Billions, UC is about 20 Billions and CFLCo (so Newfoundland) owns it up to 65%, the two end up at 0$.

      An extension of the power contract for such an amount would be possible. It would have to be translated to 20 or 25 years minimum, considering the amount to pay back, the time, the amount for re-fitting needed in UC because some pieces will reach their end-of-life and more.

      But Yes, a long enough extension of the power contract could do it too.

      Should nuclear fusion improve and depreciate hydro, you would be WAY better trading UC now when it has maximum value than waiting for it to be made useless and worthless by nuclear fusion.

      But in all cases, your last point is probably the most important. Let Quebec and Newfoundland have a nice time together instead of fighting in court, blaming and more.

    • Yes Heracles, since you accepted my invitation to visit Nfld, you say probably in 2019, despite reservations if you would feel welcome here, every journey starts with a first step.
      Now of course, as you suggest, a sale of CF is one way to pay the MF debt, an extended 20-25 year of the existing contract another way, or a very tight belt on spending here, and hardship for decades another way, or a miracle of some type of good fortune for Nfld.
      But if nuclear fusion is likely and we trade away the CF now while its value is high is prudent,as you suggest, then this would be imprudent for Quebec, as nuclear fusion would kill the asset value of not only CF, but most all of Quebec's vast hydro resource. You must realize this pitfall of wanting to buy CF now.
      Rather than chose the prospects of the impact of nuclear fusion, the miracle of Quebec and NL having a nice time together seems a better bet to me, and to you maybe. If only the tough nut , UG came on board to this, to speak favourable of such a thing!
      And we have much more in common that mere hydro resources, and much more in common than differences. Such a concept is little different than McDonald wanting to unify areas to create Canada, that it would be a win win. However , he was not so kind to the First Nations, and received a bribe from the railway builders, if my history is correct.

    • I tend to agree that selling this 66% of UC to the highest bidder seems the best option. And yes, HQ would most probably be the highest bidder (and profitably manage MF as a bonus).

      But first Nfld has to figure out ITSELF what's the best option to tackle this $15B boondoggle.

      Any "help" offer from Quebec would probably lead to further knee jerk reactions… (like this MF/Anglo Saxon route, or like what happenned with the HQ/NB Hydro amalgation proposal).

      It's politically too early (and risky) to mention the word HQ around here. (Eventually, Nfld's will have to tackle its demons/anxieties and face the music. But we're definitely not there yet, unless a bunch of new BRP Skidoos could help…)

      Nfld must first recognize its precarious fiscal situation. Then review its spending level, appraise its assets (UC, MF, lower Labrador water rights etc), and finally figured out the best course of action.

      Nfld has rich assets, and have lots of "room" to lower its gouvernement spending. It has all the means and assets for corrective actions, and then more.

      It just need the political will.

    • NB: FWIW, if HQ is to eventually acquire UC, it has to (as Heracles says) secure power sales to the Maritimes&Nfld, otherwise it would not make sense. As we all know, HQ is just flooded with surpluses for the foreseeable future.

  4. One cannot discuss Mega Energy projects without first discussing conservation and it is in that discussion's absence that the Mega Energy schemes arise. If we had first asked "How can we reduce our energy consumption?" we could have possibly avoided the situation we now find ourselves in but like many debates in NL it centres around someone else reducing their consumption but not me. We should first discuss the size of houses and the amount of energy they use. Have variable rates for consumption and let the biggest users pay higher. The gasoline tax is a good example of this method and it works quite well. The larger the vehicle you drive, the more gasoline you burn and the higher taxes you pay as well as the more you use the roads, the more gasoline you burn and the higher your gasoline tax payments are. There is nothing unfair about such a system and if it had been a practice for electricity we may not find ourselves in this mess. Like everything else in NA society we have a debate after the fact when the damage is done not before the first sod is turned to look at alternatives.

    • Dear god, have you ever seen the reaction of Newfoundlanders to simple, sane, and progressive ideas?

      "Maybe we should think about energy conservation" becomes "you just want us to freeze in the dark".

      "Maybe we should rethink how we build our towns and cities, less sprawl, more ability to walk, less space devoted just to parking" becomes "why do you hate the car?"

      There is no new, modern, or sensible 21st century idea that a mob of Newfoundlanders can't shout down.

      Not. One.

    • Add to this; lack of an extra two stop signs, teaching defensive rather than aggressive driving of over-powered gas fuelled vehicles, at known dangerous Prairie level crossings on a clear day, and consider the consequences of public inaction. Good stuff Anonymous. What age group are you in; 20-50? Think of your children's future, or as our bright indigenous people say, weigh daily decisions for 30 generations forward. You can make a difference!

    • I thought to have this debate in 2012, prior to MF sanction, first with a presentation to the PUB, then with 3 published items in the Telegram in the fall of 2012, then at one or two Nfld Power Rate hearing applications.
      The blog 2041 carries my Telegram pieces.
      No one shows up at the PUB rate hearings, when Conservation plans are the topic, so it is a lonely business, and where the issues are already agreed to by the Consumer Advocate and the Power companies and seldom addressed by the PUB.
      In Nova Scotia a decade ago some 200 companies involved in energy efficiency, contractors, window installers, insulators, HP contractors etc, wholesalers etc, joined and were a participant in their PUB hearings on rates and conservation plans.
      Here……nothing, and the media ignores what happens in other provinces, and are toadies to the power companies and their silly , conservation plan that gives almost no meaningful savings to the customer……so business as usual for decades, and jump into the boondoggle.
      You say `ìf we had asked first ……
      Well, Ashley at the Telegram asked Ed Martin, who replied that Nflders were not interested…….and that is as far as investigative journalism went into probing that issue. And 6 years later, it remains at it was in 2012.
      It seems even companies involved in conservation products are fearful of speaking up, or doing as they did in Nova Scotia, to be an intervenor in the PUB rate hearings on Conservation measures and plans.
      And there was John Smith who regular encouraged wasting electricity, leave the windows open in winter was a right he spouted regular on the Telegram comments. 400 amp service for a house, no problem he would say.
      Good question…why did WE not ask the question, especially the main media. Nor do they yet ask the question.
      Winston Adams

    • Agree with you Winston. Beginning around 2003, with the election of our fearless leader, democracy by the people took a back seat. It was not a devide and conquer stragedy, but a total blanket approach. Yes, the media first. Our best, open radio show host, pull no punches bill, was sent off to Ottawa, I think as our ambassador, and an ear to the ground, but hardly a word of French, so not sure what good he might be in Ottawa, in hearing what was going on there. No, it was just to get him off the airways. But luckily replaced by a bigger mouth, randy, and I don't mean that in a negative scense, but again tell it like it is. But too bad he canned himself, with a comment he made, and would not retract. Of course bill came back a few years later, and continued his open dialogue, but was soon to be replaced by a new breed of open liners. But the first task was to brainwash them, and all invited to eddies place to drink the coolaid and told what to think and say about muskrat. And some claimed they had a direct line to Eddie anytime, just ask the questions, and he would call him up on the direct line and get the answer. Of course the answer was just the one nalcor was pushing, lies and half truths. After the coolaid effect ran of Pete, and he began to think for himself, he was canned by management. The other two were mainly entertainers, cared for their job, which I don't blame them and mainly stayed out of the debate. Now that was mainly the open line programs, but guess all the other media was treated similarly. The university was under nalcor thumb, board stacked with nalcor people, and had to keep on the good side of them to get oil grants, and other big industry money, so they had to keep silent, except some got paid big bucks to promote the nalcor and government line. As for the bot and others, including some unions, they were already preaching to the converted. So who was left Winston, you by your self and a few other brave souls, that got drowned out, and called traitors, because they didn't go along with the conventional wisdom, that muskrat was the best thing for us since sliced bread. Better leave it there. My two cents worth. Average Joe.

  5. We hear that the PM has set aside his Peru agenda, to scold Notley and Horgan, who have behaved "badly". Living in BC. we have been tried and found "illegally operating outside the law", and standing in the way of Business interests, referred to as "National Interests", fronting for Huston Big Oil. Guess who will be coerced and subjected to bow down to hegemony?

    • Nothing there about any new hydro plant…

      In fact, after putting the latest plant from La Romaine online, HQ said that they would not go in any new construction until the actual surplus are reduced significantly…

    • Robert, many organizations have members who get knighted,some are run of the mill type, others get tapped on the shoulder by the Queen.
      In days of old when knights were bolt
      And French safes weren`t invented…….(comes to mind)
      Guess you heard that one, which I will leave unfinished.
      While I monitored 2 houses, I thought 5-10 would be better,for different house styles and size,and some inland where it is colder, and proposed to Nfld Power this be done, that their customers could know best practices and expected results.
      I felt the power company should do this out of concern to help their residential customers, but were not interested, so I suggested I would pay half, just to see the power saving results. They declined. I then proposed that 5 be done instead of 10, I would pay for monitoring all 5 , all at my expense, that that they would select the house style and size, as I recall, but even that they declined.
      So, thank you, I consider myself knighted. Sir Winston, sounds ok, or maybe not. I do believe we had one from Upper Island Cove in the past who was a member of the Order of the British Empire, a son of the Anglican minister Rusted. As I am not much for Empires, I value more your suggestion.

    • At anom 17:07:
      Another project? I doubted very much. The new England states where UC power is being sold along with other Hydro dams and where MF power was supposed to be sold are now building an offshore wind system that could supply excess power to areas outside the NE USA. Such is the extent to which wind and solar along with various storage systems are upending the electricity market.

      Let me see MF at 23 cents or offshore wind next door at 6 cents? Now if you were in NY which would you choose? As a former premier said: "Its a no brainer."

  6. Hardly a blink about 500 million or more extra cost if more soil is to be removed for MF, as to methylmercury…….
    Yet 500 million can build both the New hospital for Corner Brook and for the Waterford replacement.
    Corner BK now waiting for 10 years, and the design will probably be obsolete when it is ready.
    And the Waterford `kind of obsolete`, if one assumes 60 years as a reasonable time frame for useful life, and the Waterford built in 1855, so already the Waterford is one CENTURY past best before date.
    And no one is angry that another half billion could go to the boondoggle that may never operate, and hospitals on hold.

  7. Democracy in this province is non existent. We have two parties, the liberals and the progressive conservatives which are beholden to the business lobby groups. The members of these lobby groups make large donations to both parties through such things as "gain access to the premier and cabinet fund raising dinners." When it looks as if the other party may get elected, these lobby groups increase the amount that they contribute to that party. While there is a third party, it remains a non contender for forming government.
    I have to laugh when I read all your comments about holding those responsible for this Muskrat Falls fiasco as if it was DW and a few others that were solely responsible.
    Listen up, no one man and no one political party could have seen the development of a project of this magnitude without the full support of the business community. These business groups saw the opportunity of growing richer by utilizing public funds; whether as sub contractors, or just business where the Muskrat contractors and employees would spend their publicly paid earnings.

    • And hence the silence of those members of the business community.Indeed a merry go round, short term profit for 57 years of pain
      Apparently last week Nfld Design Ltd, a consulting engineering firm here for the past half century closed up, without even notice to their employees.They did hundreds of projects such as schools etc.
      Are there many more to follow..Little money for regular infrastructure, as the boondoggle has swallowed it all. Maybe more engineers should have spoken up about the waste of MF

    • Anom 20:57

      I drove along Freshwater and Kennmounth roads the other day and with heavy traffic causing me a lot of stops and goes I took the time to look left and right at the various buildings along that route. I was astounded at the number of shops closed and vacancy signs that are along that road. Sign of the times maybe?

    • If we are ever going to repair the political system in this province the first step is to demand the elimination of these "gain access to the premier and cabinet fund raising dinners."
      Corporate donations need to be abolished and personal donations should be limited to $200 so that an individual may express his/her support for a particular ideology without these donations being viewed as bribes; which is presently the case.

    • Yeah, it's almost hilarious to see the St. John's Bored of Trade, the Employer's Coven, and the "Federation" of Small Business bitching about public spending… They were the cheerleaders for every one of the so-called "Conservatives" big-spending budgets and Muskrat Falls.

      They can all rot in hell as far as I'm concerned.

    • Anom 13:06
      I have o say you are as right as they can be. It may be in our best interests if the taxpayers of the province funded all political parties out right just to remove the patranage from democracy-at least for a period of time after whiich we build another system.
      At Anom 10:58
      The St John's Board of Trade and the Employers Council have been unusually quiet over the signing of the NAPE contract. The reason is simple and it comes from NAPE's simple minded signing of the contract in the first place-one which CUPE refuses to sign BTW. After four years, the entire NAPE contract will become null and void and all aspects of the contract will have to be renegotiated. This means mass layoffs, P3 contracts for the members of the BoT and EC and a very serious reduction in wages. Try paying $14 per hour to LPN's vs $23 per hour now and see how many will pursue that as a career so the alternative? Bring in and hire more foreign workers at a lower rate such as was done with the Long Term Care facility. The business community has gotten their wish but they just have to wait four years.

  8. There is a strong reluctance for people like Andrew Nikiforuk to link mega projects such as Site C or the Oil sands with excessive consumption. It is at this point where I part ways with much of his views since the mass media-the very form on which he posts his views- makes most of its money off the campaign to entice us into buying ever more and more cheaper and readily available products. The problem with this view he promotes of the big bad energy companies is that he is cherry picking industries from a tree where there are many many more who are also complacent in this scam. The food industry which relies on plastic packaging and diesel trucks for transporting their products, the auto industry that sells us over sized cars, tourism that uses any form of transport, the mass media that advertises all of the products and just about every person who buys a product non essential to our well being is complacent in the destruction. Solving the earth's pollution problem, garbage problem and Climate Change problem is going to mean spending less, consuming less and a complete 180 degree turn on our life styles. No one here on this planet is prepared for that.

  9. Of submissions to the Leblanc Inquiry, this one from Ches Crosbie:

    In order to deliver value for money to the taxpayer, reasonable opportunities to inform immediate further action should be pursued.

    As the Bugs Bunny cartoon would end with these words : That`s all folks,…. so it is with Ches……..nothing more. That is the totality of his submission.
    A 12.7 billion boondoggle run amuck, and this is what that gray mass between the two ears could come up with! As Ches has a sort of a cone head appearance, one might think it was filled to the brim with neurons firing overtime on pointing the way for Leblanc as to what type of actions might be useful , both to ratepayers and taxpayers.
    Could it be that his recipe for moose sausage, which uses half a pound of salt port fat, has taken a toll.
    And Ches looks forward to leading us out of the economic wilderness we find our self in. OMG, we are doomed for sure. Would not a grade 5 student make a better submission! And he promotes himself as a Rhodes scholarship winner.
    OK, to but the best twist on this submission, let me suggest: Leblanc should demand of Nalcor what there plan to mitigate the risk of flooding during the spring thaw, to happen in the next 3 weeks, as some other commented on UG a month or so ago. Ches says INFORM IMMEDIATE FUTURE ACTION. Too late if Mud Lake flood again. Did not M Flowers inform the learned judge that people were sleeping with life jackets under their beds, already severely stressed from last years flood.
    Get crackin, Leblanc, take Ches`s advise, brief though it was. You may save a lot of grief, and lives.


  10. Now the first Inquiry submission to catch my attention was not Ches Crosbie, but that F..K.R, (sorry , my fingers jambed on the keyboard, so ignore that) who some might call a scallywag, but who is identified by the first name Edmond.
    Now Edmond might not ring a bell, as say the name Joey, or Frank , and maybe the "6 Million Dollar Man" would be more appropriate , or Ed, or Fast Eddie, but as birth certificates go, whose mother chose the name Edmond, and had the surname Martin, who somehow became the Nalcor CEO, prior to Stan Marshall.
    I believe the Honourable Judge, blinked twice, and granted him full standing, meaning he cannot sit down as he spins his tale, or tail, (being a Muskrat lover).
    Now Edmond's submission is also brief, given that the good judge permitted 20 pages.
    Edmond wants to make sure the terms of reference allows for his exoneration:
    That the Inquiry allows it
    1. to determine the value of the Project measured in the context of the full suite of financial , economic , GHG emission, reliability, and strategic benefits over the useful life of the assets(including, but not limited to, the ability to mitigate electricity rates) to Nflders and Labradorians. …..and this is impossible when considering only "unmitigated electricity rates"
    2. The baseline assumptions would have to be considered over a long period of time, , not as a "snapshot " of one particular point in time……as things ebb and flow….
    3. That it include reference to the provinces Energy Plan, ….to develop our energy sector, , and to invest portions of the provinces non renewable resource revenue into the provinces resource development
    4 to analyse the the benefits of the project , including the Maritime Link in monetizing excess sales, increasing system reliability, and securing the federal loan guarantee. and that the debt ( Yes Virginia , there is actually some debt) is a necessary aspect of the least cost option and how it is supported by a revenue generating suite of assets review the degree of necessary shareholder influence beyond the Board appointments. Include the governance relationship between a government and a crown corporation looks like, and how the degree of clarity and adherence to such governance processes impacts the performance of the crown corporation.

    In summary, Edmond wants a pat on the back for a job well planned and executed, even though a boondoggle. Look elsewhere says Edmond why our oil revenue Legacy fund turned into a boondoggle. And don't question the severance package. A contract is a contract , as we learned from Hydro Quebec.

    • Now Edmond is a Muskrat Lover, no doubt, unlike the anti-Muskrateers of this blog, who spout Muskrat Madness, boondoggle, fiasco and other such terms. There is little of Muskrat Love found here.

      But let me remind readers of this composition by a guy from Texas, and so I assume the Muskrat species covers a wide range.
      This was put to music, and performed at the White house , with the Queen of England in attendance, decades ago:

      Muskrat, muskrat
      Doin' the town
      And doin' it right in the evening
      It's pretty pleasing

      Muskrat Susie
      Muskrat Sam
      Do the jitterbug at a Muskrat Land
      And they shimmy
      Sam is so skinny

      And they whirl
      And they twirl and they tango
      Singing and jingling a jangle
      Float like the heavens above
      Looks like Muskrat Love

      Nibbling on bacon
      Chewing on cheese
      Sam says to Susie
      Honey, would you please be my Mrs
      Susie says yes with her kisses

      Now, he's tickling her fancy
      Rubbing her toes
      Muzzle to muzzle
      Now anything goes as they wriggle
      Sue starts to giggle

      And they whirled
      And they twirled and they tango
      Singing like the heavens above
      Looks like muskrat love.


    • Now it is said that all humans faces have a resemblance to some animal. For example, Clementine called Winston Churchill "piggy", as a pet name, in her letters. Yet Winston, with his jowls , was much like the British bull dog. Yet he had a youthful looking face, even in old age, so that it is said that all babies look like Churchill.
      For me, Ed, that is Edmond Martin always reminded me of a turtle. At those frequent AGM (Annual General Meeting) when taking questions form reporters and others, as I watched him on TV, or on the computer link, it seems his neck was short. And he would slowly turn his head from one side to the other, asking if there was another question. It seems he displayed relief and satisfaction that the reporters were so dumb, that they asked easy questions, that he had a pat answer for. And yet he seemed as if he might at any moment, like the turtle, he might just withdraw his head down into his shoulders and disappear altogether, least some hard intelligent question get posed to him.
      Gil Bennett, on the other hand, with that facial hair, might very well remind one of a muskrat.

      But as to Muskrat Love:
      This song peaked at # 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1976. The song has synthesizer – generated sound effects that the guy known as the captain, created which are meant to envoke the imagined sounds of of muskrats mating.
      You can Google You Tube Muskrat Love Captain and Tennille and see the sexy Tennille sing this song, as the captain does the music and sound effects. Like UG , it has 2 million hits.
      Now, I expect , when either Edmond or Bennett is cross examined at the Inquiry, and they have no good answer to many troublesome questions, they may imitate the muskrat love talk jibberish, sounding like the effects on this song, which no one will understand, and Leblanc will say we will need to wait until later for translation, as that was very technical, beyond the understanding of mere mortals, and require an in camera explanation, which in legalize, means out of sight of the camera.
      This Inquiry should not be dull.


  11. The NY times piece says that New Zealand will stop issuing permits for off shore oil and gas exploration as it moves to combat climate change. Existing permits will run until their expiration.
    The Petroleum industry is upset. But in Australia too plans to drill offshore for natural gas has drawn criticism from the fishing and tourism industries as the risks of spills is too great.
    I have suggested Nfld should phase out it's offshore drilling . Ball plans on doubling production.
    Winston Adams

  12. The first casualty of war is truth said Winston Churchill. Churchill no doubt practiced this deception in WW1 and WW2.
    Trump says `Mission Accomplished` after firing missiles at Syria, and the west claims that all the missiles found their targets.
    Russia claims that they shot down 71 of the 103 missiles fired.
    Who is most dishonest, and is either truthful.
    We are approaching the end of the 100th anniversary of the Great War, which ended in 1918. How many lies were told on both sides of that conflict, including the impact on Nfld…….
    Our cost in dollars of our involvement in the Great War was about half of our public debt leading to our bankruptcy in 1934. The cost in Nfld lives lost and injuries and trauma is immeasurable.
    Least we forget on this 100th year.

    Winston Adams