and public policy reasons. Most, ostensibly, fill market gaps in services and
activities “ignored by for-profit private organizations” and therefore deemed
the responsibility of government.
Institute (from which the quote above was drawn) examines
risks posed by the Crown Corporation model. It suggests that whether Crown
corporations are “relevant” or if they serve only to “complement or displace
private activity”, their policies should be limited in ways “to more clearly
align them with the institutions’ core mandates and the defensible features of
their economic rationales”.
should serve clear public interest objectives and not engage in overlap either
within or outside the institutions of Government.
corporations’ suitability or their risks. Rather the intention is to
illustrate, based upon recent information obtained under ATIPPA, how our failed
Crown corporation, Nalcor, continues to defy its limited mandate by assuming a larger
role; one incompatible with notions of
“core mandate” and the process of keeping government programs efficient and
aligned. Ultimately this is the responsibility of the Ball Government, except
that it refuses to rein in the Crown corporation, even though the Liberals are
well into the third year of their mandate.
some of which were government-funded prior to Nalcor’s existence. Nalcor allocates roughly $1,000,000 anually for sums in
varying amounts to a plethora of organizations. Most agencies to which it makes donations have nothing to do with
its core mandate. Besides, unlike a private entity whose mandate includes community engagement (which we all applaud), Nalcor is using the very same money needed by government departments, often in competition with them.
Nalcor states that “Giving back
to communities in Newfoundland and Labrador is a priority for Nalcor Energy and
Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.” But Nalcor forgets who it is. It, too, is a government funded program, nothing more nothing less.
on the social agenda of departments like Health, Education, Municipal Affairs
and Culture which have — or used to have — structures for assessing worthiness. Many of the recipients are (and should remain) the preserve of the private sector.
groups engaged in renewable energy research or involved in energy conservation,
as two examples, no one would take issue. But, evidently, that approach would not sate
that Crown corporation’s agenda.
— that Nalcor has taken the province into a financial abyss. To that point, those are funds that Nalcor must borrow, money that it has no
capacity to repay; money that is added to the public debt year after year.
stronger social fabric? Because it believes that the elected politicians in the
Legislature are doing a poor job of responding to the needs of diverse
community groups and that they can do better?
warehouse”, too. Of course, Nalcor had no more skills than any other government department; probably less. Given far too large a mandate, too much latitude for screw up, it was pampered with too much money, too. Without either oversight or direction, it should a surprise to no one that it can’t get basic public policy right either.
in the same way Nalcor does? The Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation,
too? Or that some other Crown corporation arbitrarily chooses to take from its
budget and fund an array of charities, fire departments and arts groups that are the strict purview of line departments or the private sector?
are elected. And it is their job to buy friends, isn’t it? Certainly they are more qualified to assess community needs than the Nalcor
bureaucrats, peripatetic Board Members, or even the CEO.
should refuse it.
such decisions were arbitrary, when some groups were left to die on the vine because
they didn’t have the right political friends or the “right” political attitude.
the Social Economy: A Canadian Perspective”, second edition, by Jack Quarter et
al. It should remind some people of the bad old days. This is an excerpt:
government for its funding, it is argued (Bill 2009:3) that its creation
involved a shift of control from the province to the arts community: It is fair
to say that the creation of the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council (NLAC)
was a very important cultural initiative of the new Peckford government… Peckford’s
move represented a partial transfer of power from the Director of Cultural
Affairs…” (pp.124–125). The authors could have added “… in whose authority
rested the survival of a good many arts groups.”
groups on its list of recipients than those arts groups had in relation to
the then Director of Cultural Affairs (or those who directed his decisions).
large group of people on its side, or just keeping them from exercising their
civic duty when they should be telling Nalcor where to get off. They should be speaking truth to power.
who likely — falsely — believe they are not being made complicit with this
Crown corporation are being very naive. Of course, they will say they can’t be
bought. The refrain is familiar. But the history of Government’s ability to
keep them mute tells a different tale.
or otherwise, fealty is expected and the payments come with a yoke of presumed
Nalcor is doing the right thing they should really go the rest of the way. They should look for complete
chaos. Why not demand of Newfoundland and Labrador Housing, the Liquor Corporation, the
Multi-Materials Stewardship Board, and every other Crown, a share of their budgets, too?
1. The ATIPPA recipient received a cover letter from Nalcor which references entries on some of the donation lists, which for reasons of clarity and transparency, the readers should be aware:
Nalcor: “You will also note some donations to “Purchase Card Journal”. To expedite payment for
donations, donations may be paid using a corporate credit card. In these instances, donation
requests are received, requisitions are put in place and payment is processed on a credit card
rather than cheque or EMT. In some cases the recording of the organization and purpose of the
donation are not entered into the electronic payment reporting system, which was used to
create this record in response to your request.”
2. The Editor would like to thank others for teh ATIPPA filing and sharing it with the Uncle Gnarley Blog.