On Saturday the Tories elected a new Party leader. That’s nice. But will he lead?
There has been no effective Opposition for at least a decade. Nor has leadership
come from the Government benches over the same period, either.

the economy is going well, business is booming and employment rates are high,
leadership of all kinds — especially political leadership — is a commodity
taken for granted. Governments play an important role in this economy, even if
far too often it is with a negative effect. 

it is in the nature of societies to think that things happen for no particular

is, that’s rarely the case. 

inability to lead, to be proactive, to have a nose for crisis, and to be
willing to undergo the stress of intervention, is at the heart of the Liberal Government’s
latest crisis, too.

Eddie Joyce affair is simply another manifestation of a Dwight Ball Government
in perennial crisis. 

is gone. Dale Kirby should be gone. The Premier should be gone with them.
Eddie Joyce

allegation of bullying emanates from inside the Cabinet, the Premier doesn’t
know about it, and the offended Minister doesn’t go to him first? Think about
that. Someone ought to revisit an earlier Ball narrative explaining how Ed
Martin came into such a large severance.

Premier dallies even with Dale Kirby, whose cloudy judgement was exposed long
ago, as an NDPer; it seems he can only communicate in a fit of pique. Ball
knows that Kirby sent an email to his colleagues, ostensibly to “smoke out” not
the transgressor but the one who didn’t keep the issue a secret. Does he represent the moral or political standards the public wants to see in their senior public officials?

Minister Dale Kirby

Premier feigns ignorance, but the problem has already outdistanced him. Incapable
of getting “out in front” of issues that are explosive, corrosive of trust and politically
damaging, he seemingly can’t rise to the most critical of occasions. 

is not just amateur hour. This is a place where expectations of leadership are
so far-fetched that they are not silly as much as impossible.
public spectacle is, naturally, around the issue of bullying. Serious as it is,
the House of Assembly has survived even fisticuffs before. It will survive this
time, too. 

question whose resolution is far less certain, however, and one that the Eddie
Joyce issue magnifies, is whether the Province will survive this Premier, so
pervasive is his flat-footed, spiritless and ineffectual leadership.
places a multitude of demands on a Premier. It is not limited to unruly Cabinet
Ministers any more than it is to reckless spending or unbridled mismanagement
of the province’s wealth. Being Premier requires smarts, energy, forethought,
and a calculus that is focussed on order, discipline and results — in all of those
is a place in enormous peril, fiscally. When we need the sharpest, toughest
leader in our history, we are unfortunate enough only to be led by one of the most
of decisiveness, this Premier offers unfounded reassurances that the
“naysayers” have it wrong, that Budget balance is within sight — even as the
Finance Minister moves the goal post and promises resolve, presumably by
someone else.
year, the Total Debt will exceed $18 billion with no plan to either curb
spending or service what we have borrowed. When the Premier should be into
serious negotiations with the Feds to ward off the coming financial storm, it
seems he can’t even maintain a relationship with the 11 Ministers who are — or
should be — his closet allies. His Cabinet and Caucus are fractured; insiders
will tell you that it is only barely kept together, mostly by the urgency of
winning a second term.
Premier has spent months assuring the public that rate mitigation is possible when,
just in the last few days, his own Minister of Natural Resources, the Nalcor
CEO, and the President of Hydro have admitted that what is affordable is only rate
recent example of Ball’s hapless leadership style involved NAPE President Gerry
Earle who thought nothing of threating the livelihoods of small business types who
dared question the Union’s collective agreement. The Premier was within earshot
of the threats of retaliation, but remained too weak of spine to remind Earle
that we live in a democratic society — and that he can choose to leave anytime
he pleases, if he finds democracy irksome and inconvenient.

Premier Dwight Ball

insanity is that Ball dithers over issues of common decency regarding Ministers
like Joyce and Kirby as cavalierly as he deals with the solvency of the
this Premier, the easy way out is to delude, to assuage, to delay, until there
is a breaking point. The Gambin-Walsh matter is simply illustrative.
the public, there is a takeaway, and it is not just the questions that surround
the behaviour of Eddie Joyce, important as they are.
public needs to come to grips with the existential question of whether they can
afford to let this Premier continue extending the same style of leadership to our
economic plight. 

would we expect him to make the big decisions necessary to protect our solvency
and the wellbeing of our society?

just the Premier, but the public, too, needs to get a grip. If they are
prepared to just watch as Ball takes us into the abyss, they should ask themselves:

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. "Not just the Premier, but the public, too, needs to get a grip. If they are prepared to just watch as Ball takes us into the abyss, they should ask themselves: why?"

    And replace them with who? Ches Crosbie?

    Please!!! Give me a break!!! Isn't Ches Crosbie the same man who wouldn't run in the Mount Pearl by-election for what was the reason-he thought himself above that? I believe he want the leadership of the PC party first and representing people of a district was secondary to that.
    Give me a break!!! Ches crosbie now leads a party that is solely responsible for the very mess this province is in. They overspent what measly few dollars did come from the offshore on a dam that will never be paid for nor can we afford and which they never considered the alternatives. Because of the PC party, our electricity rates are about to double and all of the money that is earned from the offshore will be spent on an idiot's legacy project. There isn't one PC member who owned up to that.

    If this is all you can come up with please stop writing columns.


    • Stop writing? UG asked if Crosbie will lead? Likely not.
      If there was any credible other running for the leadership, Crosbie would have never won.
      Crosbie will take tax off off car insurance, because that helps ambulance chaser lawyers , like himself. HST must be paid on home nursing care or PCA for health issues………but that is ok with Crosbie.
      Has Crosbie promoted the sugar tax to promote better health? Hell no.
      He has been mostly silent on MF, and the old man, John was and remains a believer in Muskrat.
      Crosbie can 't even make a healthy moose sausage……. he goes 50-50 with moose and fat pork……. fat pork loaded with salt and the worse kind of fat, so he is promoting online something to make unhealthy Nflders sicker.
      Crosbie lost the moose class action, in part because he had expert witnesses that gave non factual information to the court.
      And can someone clarify , is he is inn't he a Rhodes scholar? Did he get accepted and did not go? Did he not like or did he admire Rhodes, pray tell? What is his is ethics and moral standards? Oh, yes, an ineffectual honesty law for politicians! An oxymoron law, as there is no such thing as an honest politician. Just different degrees of dishonesty.

  2. Gambin-Walsh through Eddie Joyce under the bus at the precise moment when Eddie Joyce was to announce the release of a project to locate in Gambin-Walsh's district. Gambin-Walsh has been dead set against that project and has been very militant against it for 2 + years. Yet the reasons for which she is so adamantly opposed to that project are incomprehensible. Would Gambin-Walsh have a greater motive? Or political or constituents special contributions that requires Gambin-Walsh to behave beyond reason and the betterment of her district's economic develoopment?

  3. Some of us try to make sense out of politics! I have come to learn that politics & politicians… is all about re-election. Not surprising, given the system we have in place, Hopefully there are enough people (non politicians) in Government who will do the right thing. Politicians are the front women and men (our elected officials). Advisors and department heads know what to do…unfortunately they are often tied to political stripes. They come and they go. If Crosbie wins 2019, it's not because he's our next "great leader", it's because people vote the Liberals out. Crosbie is like the rest…seeking fame, glory and a place in history. Wouldn't it be great to have a leader (for just one day) who did exactly what's right for us…the people of NL? No party influence…no worries about re-election…no care about him or herself. Just doing the right thing for the right reasons. No man or woman has ever satisified this requirement. I'm waiting for that individual to surface, An individual strong enough to govern and strong enough to lead us to prosperity.

  4. I am not sure if this incident with Eddie Joyce is playing out the way I would want it to. For one thing it seems to me this was a case that started out as a cabinet minister's refusal to grant individual members requests for funding in their districts. The reasons' for that refusal are not clear but I would hate to think that everytime a cabinet member refuses funding for a new ferry or a four lane highway across a small city are they going to be raked across the coals as being bullies?

    We all remember Brian Peckford's parting words about "not being ruthless enough" for whatever reason that was or Danny Williams when everyone thought he could walk on water while at the same time bullying Tom Ridout for asking for money for to fix his road in his district to a point where he had to sit as a separate member or Joey Smallwood's fight with John Crosbie and Clyde Wells which all were pure bullying but so be it. That was all part of the spirit of debate in a democratic system.

    I am afraid if you don't like the heat in the kitchen then you shouldn't cook there. We need strong ministers who will stand up to individual district members when their funding requests are out of line with the reality of NL finances as well as individual members who will not grant both the ministers and the civil service a blank cheque to write for their pet projects. If that had been in place when Danny Wlliams was premier maybe we wouldn't be bankrupt right now.

    • Hasn't this Eddie Joyce apologist ever heard of the old saying, "Where's there's smoke, there's fire"?

      Anon 05:28 is obviously either a lapdog hireling or a close family member to the disgraced and dishonorable member, who is now consigned to the ignominy of sitting in the HOA's penalty box along with the rest of the political lepers.

      Well now, how the mighty fallen.

      Suck up your comeuppance Eddie.

      Suck it ALL up…

  5. Saw Ches on NTV on the weekend. In response to the question of Muskrat, he closed his eyes and said that he would convene a panel of experts to solve the requirement for half a billion dollars per year to mitigate rates. Good luck with that!

    • There is no way to solve that problem except cough up the money from our own pockets. If Ches Crosbie thinks another panel of experts are going to solve this then he is dreaming in technicolor. Muskrat Falls will strangle this province for the next 50 years or more and by that time there won't be anyone left here anyways.
      Crosbie is another politician trying to lead people into thinking that there is a magical solution to this mess somewhere that people haven't found. I think based on his attitude towards district elections, I'd rather stick with the liberals.

    • There is no such thing as a panel of experts, otherwise we would not be in this financial mess. This was a DW legacy project and we all failed to put a stop to it in the beginning when there was no solid business case put forward. Is there not a single honest leader amongst us who can step forward and challenge the status quo

  6. "UG: Not just the Premier, but the public, too, needs to get a grip. If they are prepared to just watch as Ball takes us into the abyss, they should ask themselves: why?"

    It seems to me it was Danny Williams and the PC's who created this mess with there Mega Project dreams. I think UG needs to get some historical facts straight here.

    If anybody has to go it is Nalcor.

  7. While UG saw fit to comment on the political happenings in the legislator, I think it is refreshing that very few of UG'lys regulars bother to comment on such politics, while open line shows and other media are gone rampid. Which again shows the maturity of those that normally comment. As I have always said the brave fearless media go Baunker's on political things, but the really important things that affect us all like the dire fincial situation of the province, regarding debt, deficits, and boondoggles, and some solutions are front and center on this blog. Guess we see the bigger picture, not that I am saying bullying is not important and should not exist in our society, as I think it should not be accepted anywhere in our society, but to politicise it is not the best method of freeing society of such bigotry. I say thatto all blog readers thanks for you maturity and ability to see the forest from the trees and visa versa. Cheers, joe blow, average Joe, AJ.

    • The recent reports of bullying with MHA's is a bit concerning but not for the reasons many people would expect. First reports of this so called bullying may damage further debate on important topics such as the financial fiasco that our province is now in. Ches Crosbie more or less said he wasn't going to discuss Muskrat Falls boondoggle but would only entertain ways to "mitigate rates". To me that is nothing more than a stifling of debate and shielding the PC's from what is the only topic affecting us now and in the future and his big fear is that the PC's will be label as responsible for this fiasco. The Liberals have done the same thing despite the fact many who are in the legislature now supported it for fear of the wrought of Danny-another bully of epic proportions who didn't think twice about trouncing the media or MHA's or anyone else who dared question him. This may be the result that elected officials may be fearful of discussing anything openly for fear of being labeled a bully by the snowflake media we have and senior officials in government may use that avenue to silence anyone who opposes them. That would not be a healthy situation for a democracy.

    • Yes, as a contributor on this Blog, and a member of the MFCCC, we represent open discussion, as against backroom deals and actions. We appear to be in a Dead Zone with respect to the official inquiry, as the hearings as such will be dominated by the lawyers in the Fall. Maybe we should continue the Shadow Inquiry, so as to continue the citizen's probing of restricted information. Truth must out.

  8. Yes agree sometimes there is a fine line between between debate and bullying, especially in the legislature, but where possible, we should debate, and critize projects, etc, rather than the person, but in society in general there should be less reason or need foe personal attracts. But also agree when bigots or bullies raise their heads then they should be attacked and called out for who they are. As for democracy, yes, think democracy comes above all else, especial in political, and government circles. But also think real democracy has little room for bullying and bigots, that is more prevalent in dictatorships. Just my 2 cents worth. AJ.

    • Try telling that to the courts. Even the SC won't allow any legal action against members of a legislative body since just the fear of a lawsuit may prevent debate within the legislative body. The dictatorships you talk a bout are exactly why we must allow members a more free reign when debating topics since it is these very same dictators that hammer free speech.

  9. Agree 100 percent Ball should go as well..its his watch and obviously he cannot control his people…he is only acting now because it become public

    He should do the right uo…and resign.

  10. Pam at the Telegram says no one is now talking bout Muskrat Falls.

    So, far the weather at Muskrat falls area seems to have been a blessing for Mud Lake and Nalcor. There has been flooding in NB, Man, and BC and parts of Que. CBC reported that in NB the seasons went from winter to summer in 48 hours, so no gradual spring changeover, and makes flooding worse.
    At Muskrat, the weather has permitted holding the reservoir at about 23 m, and up til yesterday, no negative impact downstream.
    Now at Mud Lake and also at Grizzle Rapids (flowing into the Muskrat reservoir,) the water elevation is rising, but nothing drastic. Mud Lake has recently risen about 10 inches and another 18 inches before it hits the river bank mark. So far so good for ML, Probably another week or more before it peaks at ML, I wonder if the ice has thinned much there in the past week, as any thinning will lessen the risk of flooding.
    Winston Adams

    • Yes, guess when there is a drastic change in temp and remains that way, then a greater risk of flooding for sure, as you mentioned in NB. Guess the melt rate was normal on the CR last year, and the same this year. Just asking. Yes, thinning of ice should reduce the risk of flooding at ML, but think it also depends how strong the current can become at the mouth of the river that may cause ice rafting, when the ice begins to move. Should there be changes in the flow rate, to stronger than normal flow rate may cause the ice to rafter, that may cause the river at ML to rise above it's banks. Just my comment. AJ.

    • Anyone know the time line for Commissioning and Startup? What is Budget for the final Stages of project? Are they buried in the Operations Side? Too much secrecy for this Publicly financed program. It will all have to be added in to Rate mitigation activities. What are Staff levels now, with breakdown by major trades? Imbedded Contractors?