The most recent Abacus Poll reflects a NL society increasingly
aware of its fiscal circumstance. A realism long missing has returned. Six in
ten people now see budget deficits and jobs for the young as a very big

Infrastructure, jobs in general, and health care are matters
of similarly high concern. Just possibly the public possesses fewer
expectations of their political leadership than even the politicians believe. Scepticism
seems to underscore the new Abacus Poll, and for this reason alone it a
refreshing read.
Polls are frequently less a reflection on the subjects assessed
than of the populace whose views are being aggregated. It is hard not to sense
in the Abacus data that NL is in a state of readiness for change.  

Bear in mind that this is a place essentially coming off a big
drunk. The metaphor ‘spending like drunken sailors’ is apt. It explains why it
has been impossible these past ten years to motivate the public — and, hence,
the Government — to a different course. Sooner or later, the facts become
overwhelming. The Abacus Poll suggests that the public is now getting a grip;
they evidently expect that neither serendipity, nor magic, nor even political
saviours will come to our rescue.

Evidence is the Poll’s confirmation that a “majority (53%) of
residents think the province is headed in the wrong direction while only one in
four think it’s headed in the right direction.”

Even partisan Liberals, on whom the current Liberal
Administration depends, believe that the Government is lost in some obscure
economic wilderness. A “majority (48%) of those who voted Liberal in 2014 think
the province is off on the wrong track.”

Abacus states that “majorities point to the provincial deficit
and finances and future opportunities for young people in the province as very
big problems.”
Some may think that the Poll results are a distressing and
fearful outcome when, in fact, they ought to see the numbers as revealing a hallelujah
moment. There is no better opportunity to fix problems than when people overcome
the mistaken belief that there are none. Of course, awareness is not a
prescription or even a demand that the pain should begin. That is the job of
leadership anyway.

The Abacus Poll also assesses the public’s views with respect
to how the Premier has handled allegations of bullying and harassment in the
Liberal Caucus. The response, I believe, constitutes a reminder to pundits and
pollsters of the brutal scepticism with which people view all matters touched
by politics. Abacus states that: “91% of residents think the allegations of
bullying and harassment in the Liberal caucus and cabinet are likely to be true
but 44% think they are likely exaggerated.”

The public’s penchant for bluntness is extended to issues of the
Premier’s popularity and that of the three political Parties. Abacus reports
that 1 in 3 believe that Premier Ball should step down; only 24% view him
positively against 44% who hold a negative impression of him.
The figures still have to be weighed against those of political
neophyte Ches Crosbie. Only 16% view him negatively, but then it is hard to
assess someone that you don’t know. Hence, any conclusions are terribly premature
until Crosbie earns a presence in public kitchens.
Political watchers will no doubt direct their attention to the
fact that, if an election were already underway, it would be a horse race
between the Tories (24%) and the Liberals (22%). The problem for the Grits is
that the Tories possess the most growth potential, having picked up 6 points just
in the last Quarter according to Abacus. Crosbie’s election is the only event
that might reasonably account for the gain.

Liberals need to assess not just the Party’s current standing,
but why it is so low given the Tories’ dreadful legacy.

Politics in NL seems now a story of transition and re-assessment.
No other number proves the point as does the “undecided” group of Poll
respondents, which represents a fairly lofty 41% — albeit a decline from 48%.  But get this: 6 points out of the 7-point
difference went to the Tories. The message is unmistakeable; that is, if anyone
is interested.
The NDP picked up no traction following Gerry Rogers’ win.  Based on the numbers one has to conclude that,
if an election were held today, Gerry Rogers — no differently than Premier Ball
— would be a ‘dead person walking’. 
Partisans often hold onto their leader long after their ‘best
before’ date has expired. Prone to error are mistakes of the heart. 
A wiser Liberal Party should see Dwight Ball much as some view
the North Spur’s relationship to Muskrat Falls: perennially in a state of
imminent collapse. That’s why the Liberal Party should, in mid-June, keep a
rein on their passions and conduct what engineers call a “Cold-Eyes Review”.
Denial won’t help either if the Liberals can’t parse why the size
of the “undecided” group of voters is so high. But elections will dissolve
those blind spots. 
Abacus has shown that the Premier and the Liberal Caucus are
out of step. Even Liberals won’t buy into Ball’s much-heralded economic
platform. The Poll’s assertion of a government “on the wrong track” confirms
that “The Way Forward” is not just a journey into an economic abyss; it is a
roadmap to political defeat. 
Someone should pay a price for that.  

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. Informative post Mr. Sullivan.

    In addition, I would say that to date I have not seen anything from Mr.Crosbie (or Dwight Ball) that suggests that either of the Tweedledee Tweedledum parties have any great chance of winning a majority in 2019.

    If Gerry Rogers continues to show what seems to be an emerging, broader sense of the key (other than social) issues/problems facing the province, then perhaps we are headed for a minority government in 2019 (and that would not be a bad thing).

  2. I find it interesting that 89 % consider the issue of Infrastructure like roads, bridges and transit as a very big or moderately big problem as compared to 81 percent who consider the quality of our health care in this way. CBC just hosted a forum ( that few attended) called Critical Condition.
    Everyone sees the issues of infrastructure and especially potholes, but few see the problems of Health Care unless one is involved with serious issues.
    You will find that no one, doctors ,nurses , administrators etc will communicate with a patient as to their concerns via fax or email, and seems to prefer that there be no written record(except their own internal communications) of issues or problems.
    I have been told that they are "not permitted" to communicate in writing to patients, but there seems a very few exceptions.

    Yesterday, after 8 months of involvement with a relative with stage 4 cancer, I have now become aware, via a phamplet called "Ask Us" that says "if you have any concerns, compliments, or questions about our care or service, please call "Client Relations Consultant" at 709-777-6500,where you get an auto answering service message, but also gives an email contact which is:, so I emailed and also phoned. I immediately got an email acknowledgement promising to get back to me within 2 days.
    As many at Eastern Health refused to provide email communication, nor did they advise of this service, and it took me 8 months to learn of the existence of that, others might benefit of knowledge of that email address, and not suffer the stress and torment of getting the runaround from Eastern Health officials. Perhaps this too will be another runaround, but maybe not. An older phamplet "Discharge Planning" dated 2003, but still used, has several typo errors that were never corrected,but also refers to Patient Relations Officer at phone number 777-3853, which when called says "not available" Seems this is still handed out but obsolete now for 15 years, and we now have a name change. Instead of Patient Relations Officer , it is now Client Relations Consultant. So we are now clients instead of just patients. Yet, as a province, we still spend the most and have overall the worse outcomes in Canada for our health care. I suggest you post the email address on your fridge, as it is not easily found. Once seriously involved, concerns and questions you will have many, and encounter the runaround. They have a phrase for this : "Oh my, you fell through the cracks" The cracks, both the number and depth, compete with the volcano in Hawaii, is my estimation. They should post a sign at the HSC entrance : "Watch out, least you fall through the cracks"
    Winston Adams

    • Strangely enough you are hitting the nail right on the head, I see on reason why a physician can not communicate with a patient via any of the devices available in todays technology. Personally I have experienced this relationship with a doctor since 2009, when first diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. Firstly I started out with several of the local physicians trying to get it under control but to no available. From that point I was directed to the University Hospital which was 4 hrs from my home. The doctor I was lucky enough to see was awesome and enlightened, he was involved in the complete research and development of IBD within that institution. I won't get into all my personal issues and experiences but I was called into his office many times and had to make the journey. Also in between and to this day if I have any questions I have his phone number and his email address, that's what I call efficiency and good patient care. I leave the call for an in person visit up to him. The only thing is I have to use allot of discretion and not waist the man's time. Not all people have that ability to sort out serious and not so serious when it comes to a doctor's time. In conclusion I believe more doctors should use the technology at hand but they are the ones who have to evaluate the patient as to whether that patient will become a practical person or a problem. If at all possible your family doctor can help with most issues.

  3. Let's see what happens in the Ontario election this week, another province reeling from disastrous energy policy and resulting debt. If the NDP take another province, it just might inspire many here to vote NDP for the first time.

    If the local party could field a solid slate of candidates and resist the urge to cater to the fringes, they might do well. If the Liberals stay the course with Ball the potential is even better.

    It would take a campaign and attitude like no other for the NDP though. Not sure the next election will be won on hope. Punishment for bad deeds might sell more easily and that style isn't the local NDP forte.

    Will we continue to have 3 weak parties to choose from? Based on their present leadership and messaging, it might be a low turnout election and that would be the saddest outcome of all.

  4. Joe, the control of the Churchill River is waht appears a textbook example of how to fine tune the result. Notice that the site just 6.15 km downstream of MF just reached the top of the river bank and then went down, as as Mud Lake is less than 30 miles downs stream from there , and no ice, it too, touched the top pf the river bank and then dropped. Meanwhile the melt has crested with Grizzle rapids and Pinus down and now flow at Churchill plant bumper up 200 from the 300 recently reduced. "world class" one might say, to give due credit, notwithstanding, the climate and weather was favourable. Hard for me to praise Nalcor, but a good job it seems, and no doubt appreciated by Mud Lake residents.

    • Lol…ya never know what nalcor might do…. Yes even send business your way, …. As you say when you agree with them. But in my case whether I praise them or vilifiy them I don't want any contracts, from nalcor or govt. either. Pay my heat and tax bills and that's about it. But my take on ML flooding is a bit different from yours. Maybe because you are more knowledgeable than I am, since you are an engineer and worked on UC years ago etc, and have more information than I do. So, from my humble opinion, I am not going to blame nalcor much for last years flood or this years textbook fine tuning of flood avoidance. I think in both cases it is Mother Nature at her best that fine tuned the waters this year as she has been doing for hundreds of years. Another of natures creatures that sometime help or hinders MN is our famous beaver, the one on the nickel. So I think mr. Beaver (or mr. Martin) is innocent in terms of the flooding he causes, (give him the benefit of the doubt anyway) and mr. Bennett. He does not have the hydroulant knowledge to either cause a flood or prevent one, not in the same catagory as the beaver at all. But I do agree that MN does not require much interference in her plan and smooth running of rivers, by man to throw her off kilter, so how nalcor did that last year is unclear. Maybe, innocently allowed water to flow at a certain time may have caused the ice to be thicker, rafted and caused an ice jam, that flooded Mud Lake. So for that reason I give them no credit for preventing flooding this year, and only a little blame for causing last years flood. And if I gave them blame, it would be like, " forgive them, for they know not what they do". Mother Nature does a great job of planetary, and stellar movement, which man has not been able to interfere with very much ..yet, and only marginally able to interfere with, wind, waves, sunshine, rivers, or the time that the sun rises or sets. (Water still runs down hill) lol…there you have it Winston , says Joe blow.

    • Winston, I have a question for you and maybe others. I read in the report that the gates only control about the equivalent of 1 per cent of the spillway. Is that about right, or way off base. Cheers, average Joe

    • You can see fro the photos at ti,es that the gates can travel up and down considerable distances, sometimes some and not all at the same height of elevation. When the plant is finished this water will be diverted to the turbines in the plant, and i assume the gates can be fully dropped so all water can go thay way , or if at times excess flow, then some go both ways. And if the water needs not to go through the plant ,then the gates can be fully opened sufficient to allow all water to go through the spillway gates, as now happening. I have not specifically worked on such gate controls, but expect that mode of operation.
      As to MN, yes the Beaver and Muskrat well ahead of Martins, so likely a flood would occur with a Martin in charge. The Muskrat is central to the earth creation, and the beaver, master dam builders, without MUN training. And Gil, lilely connected to the fish species, and should never have been in charge of flood control, but there he was, emailing or tweeting unsound advise to the last minute. So Stan has now shut him down. Haven't seen his mug on TV for over a year. An intelligent guy, but with tunnel vision, and out of his depth ( being from the shallow water fish species). Not kind, but consider :13.7 billion and counting. And he has no standing at the Inquiry. Why not?
      Now MN played a part , but PENG2 cites the DAM as one of two items he mentions. And he means Nalcors dam , not the beaver dam.
      Now in the original state, the narrowing at MFs meant that at spring thaw, the water would rise maybe 15 feet and back up. With the Nalcor dam and spillway, no rise was permitted and no backing up, just water in=water out, so up goes the gates and let her go for the gullies as they say, and poor Mud Lake, what the F..k, they cared little . So MN and the beaver actually cared more than Gil or Ed, that's my take. Now wit climate change and all, things can go wacky, so the future , who knows? Even fine tuning of the flow at CFs and MFs may not be enough. But with reasonable weather fine tuning of htese man made structures can actually improve on the historical situation flooding. The again, with the Spur all hell may break loose. Dammed if I'd live downstream.
      Now as to getting Nalcor business: at their Holiday Inn PR event I met and cahtted with Bennett and another guy. I was offered a Nalcor pen , no charge, but refused it. Just couldn't buy me that cheap. Now if that was a hundred dollars, I be on here condemning heap pumps as useless, and saying forget efficiency and conservation. But a pen! Thought they could buy me that cheap. That is their mindset Joe. 6 million package for Ed and a pen offered I. A crazy bunch of world class BSers, where a giant of a real man, like Dave Vardy, got no respect, not even from Stan Marshall.

    • Yes, have to agree with Maurice's twiddledee, twiddledum, or twiddledumer comment in describing the political parties. Yes, one party started muskrat, and without a blink of an eye, the other one finished it, while the other party looked on in amazement, but the kind of amazement is unclear. So, they are all the same. Should not the other party or new government paused, and did what was best for the people, and made the critical decision, to hault the spending, or full speed ahead. That's what destinguishes parties, or governments, and gives people an alternative if they don't like the direction of a government. Well, we have a major fork in the road coming up soon. Will they be like yoga Berra, play dum, and take it, without knowing which road they are proceeding along. Seems if you add up the power rate increases proposed before the Pub in the next year or so is around 20 percent, guess each one is a percentage on the previous ones. Part of it to build up a fund for nalcor to use to help mitigate rates. Then the decision will have to be made, to be or not to be, mothball the white elephant or run it at a lost. How about govt. providing help for people that want to install heat pumps, conservation, or other methods to heat their homes. Some clear distinguisions in the road to take. All in to follower the leader, nalcor monster, and we know what that is, or taking the other road of leading from in front, by putting the people and province first, and let nalcor and others fall in line. So, in the next election, will we just have a bunch of twiddledummers, or a real distinction, especially in hydro policy in the way forward. Yup, a lot to be said, and should it be said before the election and not after. Cheers, average Joe.

    • Joe, half way througha 25 page Irish study and report on residential energy upgrades, thanks to Heracles, causing me to dig a bit more. He says efficiency is a waste of time and resources.
      Are yu familiar with the term Energy Poverty or Heat Poverty: the metric is generally when one uses 10 percent of more of your income for heating your home. For Ireland more than one quarter suffer from energy poverty. Someone should come up with the numbers here. Most all in this situation are those unemployed, retired or others notin the labour force. Few who are employed or self employed are in Energy Poverty. With rates to double, and the economy , we will see many more in Energy poverty.You would think the NDP would be all over this issue, but Rogers has said a little and others , nothing.
      Of 5 or 6 reasons why people invest in energy efficiency , one is evidence of health benefits, and so reduces health care costs.In particular:reduced Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, and Asthma. Now can you imagine Haggie callling of house efficiency upgrades to save some of the 600 million estimated savings on health care? Get carton tax refunds to households, conditional on energy upgrades. The Way Forward? Or we opt for The Way Backwards, more energy poverty, sicker people, increased burden on health care etc.
      Wonder if any of the 700 doctors here yesterday ever heard of Energy poverty, or at their pay levels, do they care?
      Winston Adams

  5. Perhaps Peng2 can clarify if Nalcor PR people misled the public with respect to the ML flood, saying water in equals water out, and the reservoir remained at 21 m level so they did not do anything in letting more water through the gates, and also as some residents or workers there said was happening? Can we your your 2 cents worth on that Peng2

    • PF:

      That's a loaded question-their PR is correct in that maintaining a constant backstream head means water in equaled water out, however that ignores the natural tendency of rivers increase in backstream head as flow builds. So, what was done is head control, not flow control-whereas the river would have some tendency to bias towards flow control and increase backstream head during a melt.

      As I have said before, I just don't think the necessary database is there to effectively manage the Churchill-rivers need to be assessed almost as living things as their flow regime changes.


  6. As to my earlier post concerning Eastern Health. Yesterday there was ahealth forum in St john's involving 700 doctors, according to TV reports. One doctor interviewed , a future strategist, remarked about health institutions being behind the times , not using email, sometimes using, and mandated to use only fax(saying these systems are now found in museums) and that in some jurisdictions many , instead of visiting doctors, through modern commuication , as much as 60 percent of visits and travel is unnecessary, compared to 3 percent using modern means in Nfld and some other places. She also said that change only comes from the grassroots, people demanding change, it does not come from our institutions and politicians without grassroot involvement.
    Minister Haggie was on TV thumping his chest of our successful mental healh initiatives here. He cited 2 location where there where significant improvement, and everyone knows these two places had more resources provided, whereas nearly 600 places have not, and such services are overall terrible, including long term care homes, 14 percent in restraints, 38 percent fed antiphschotic medication, twice the rates used in Canada. We have a 3 billion a year boondoggle health care system.
    As to Client Relations Consultant, yes this was previously the Complaints department. So instead of being a complainer, I am now a "client" with concerns and questions. Via email, I got a reply yesterday by 4 pm, asking as to my concerns, so not 2 days, and I forwarded a response soon after, expecting a reply today. In business, an email concern is usually replied to sometimes within 5 minutes, sometimes a few hours. I have sometimes experienced no response to consultations or tests in this province after as much as 2 years, and one grows tired of the runaround. It is suggested that 600 million can be cut from our health care expense. Efficiency is a term not understood there.
    Winston Adams

    • Want to reduce the 3 Billion dollar health care bill?

      1 Tax junk foods and high sugar content meals along with other poorly processed foods. If restaurants suffer and go under then so be it.

      2 Reduce the Patent life terms from what is now 20 years to 7 years and that is what it was before Ronald Reagan was president.

      3 Bring in a lifestyle fee whereby if you smoke, drink excessively or self medicate on drugs then you are stuck with a fee when hospitalized.

      4 Make psychological counseling a mandatory part of any conviction for any crime including youth and prevent any relative or friend from intervening. No exceptions.

    • I was WRONG, in thinking the new name Client Relations Consultant might be of value, saying "keep the email address on your fridge".
      They responded fairly quickly , asking for an MCP number, which obviously they need, Soon got another response " Sorry, can't address your concern, "check with your health care team" Now of course those health care people will not let you correspond in writing, no fax , no email. So it seems as a client, we can expect such replies, which means client relations is largely for show, a PR service and just another layer of runaround. Ignore my optimistic advise of putting their email address on your fridge, instead , throw it in the garbage. If this is too rash, and things change, I will let readers know, but not holding my breath as a CLIENT of Eastern Health.
      Meanwhile we now have under construction,at this time of exploding public debt, a new animal care facility at MUN, costing 36 million. The old one is 50 years old and does not meet certification.
      Meanwhile, the prison is more than a century old and the Waterford goes back to 1855, before the American civil war. Does this suggest that animals have certification standards and get state of the art facilities with airconditioning, and maybe heatpumps, and lots of glass for good lighting, and a significant part of our human population have no certification standards that kick in to see that they are properly housed and cared for. Animals and MUN get priority.
      What if they got producing some omega 3 certified eggs there from chicken , and fed them to hospital patients as a nutrition benefit, especially the kids Janeway, and get rid of Tim Hortons. Such eggs are now coming in from Nova Scotia to Costco at a premium cost item. And maybe they could grow some wacky backie there, the building has so much glass and good lighting. I think mice are rather nice, and all that, but holy shit, 36 million, on top of over 300 million for the other new building, and yet a 400 million backlog on maintenance of existing infrastructure, with leaks and cracking concrete. As the Scotia Bank ad goes:Your're richer than you think, hey by's.
      Winston Adams

    • You make some good points Winston, can't disagree with you. But would be nice if the, premier, or minister of health, or minister of education commented on this , to see if anything is missing, or the right take on it, otherwise they should personally spend some time at HMP,( think the ministry of Justice did), and the Waterford. But certainly during the next election, think those running should explain this, and what they would do. Of course I know the brave fearless media will hold their feet to the fire on these issues or they will be threatened to have to appear on issues and answers and have to answer to Lynn or Debbie with the cbc. On your plea for the return of Hercules, he may return, but think when he realized he was just talking to the older boomers, figured it was not worth his while, as he might have expected to be talking to the other two later generations, which no doubt he is from. Cheers, average Joe.

    • Annon:,23:51 agree with most of what you are saying….but how about this one…..MAKE THIS ISLAND DRUG FREE….except for what is legal from the medical profession, and what govt. has legalized. Now what would the justice dept, chief of RNC and all the officers think of that. I know their answer… IMPOSSIBLE. Yes for sure if it is not givt. Policy, and we never as a province try. Now another great policy for our future premier and govt. to show some leadership. How much of the 3 billion annually would that save…. says the average Joe.

    • Anom @ 12:36
      Actually it is the Doctors who are over prescribing prescription opioid drugs such as oxycontin and such that are causing most of the problems. Patients take these for a broken arm or after an operation and guess what? They are hooked for life and when the doctor refuses a prescription renewal they turn to the street to satisfy there cravings. Sometimes a little pain goes along way.

    • Yes, anon: 14:53 exactly the response I was expecting …a real cop out, as dept of Justice, RNC, RCMP, druggies, sellers, you name them, Would have the same response. Blame the system, especially the doctors, etc. Like saying, why should I go to church, that's where the biggest offenders of the law are. I suspect a lot of those with broken arms or operations have been dabbling in those drugs long before they had to go for other medical services, so jump with glee when the dr. Gives them or the prescription free of charge. I have been in hospitals, and know lots of others too, that have not turned into druggies because of the dr. Orders. Now on the other hand you are probably right in some cases for those who may have chronic pain. As you claim that is where the druggies come from in this province would you make the same claim, from Vancouver to Halifax, or New York to LA. If so guess you are saying the world wide drug problem is caused by medical doctors. Well, really enlightening, says average Joe.

    • Anom @ 12:36
      Why stop with drugs? Why don't you include alcohol in your abusive substance free zone?

      Anom @ 15:41
      If you think every opioid that is prescribed by doctors is necessary then you are sadly misinformed. Like penicillin for a head cold much of the opioids prescribed are at the patients demand and not at a per need basis.

  7. Oh my,… Air Serve, a air conditioning and heating installer has a ad that poped up at the bottom of Peckford 42 piece on the free trade issue. Is Peckford too selling heat pumps, and he so much promoting oil and fossil fuel? Seem maybe Air Serve threw Heracles off on the false assumption of connecting them with me. Air Serve, seems to pop up everywhere.
    So, if an honest mistake Heracles, don't stay vexed, I and other enjoy your comments, even if not in full agreement.

    • Hi Winston,

      I did not post during last days because I had nothing to add to the discussion… How a politician is doing for this or that, I leave that to others.

      My position about efficiency and heat pump is that as good as they can be in a regular situation, as bad they are in the context of MF. The loan guarantees are with a take or pay basis, the same kind that HQ had with the 1969 power contract. So its too late not to take that power (ie: save it thanks to efficiency and heat pump) because even if you don't take it, you have to pay for it. That's why to pay for increased efficiency is just shooting yourself in the foot. You pay more, whatever you pay for the efficiency, and 100% of MF either by take or pay.

      Only once a bailout and a long term plan is defined that efficiency can be considered again. Until that, no point to pay any dollars that will reduce the power taken from MF because whatever is not taken must be paid for anyway. So without a bailout, just pay for the power. It will cost less than power + efficiency.

      On a side note, I still monitor for the release of Supreme Court decision and still no sign about it. It is delayed on purpose, at the request of the parties, for them to negotiate. But how they progress / how close to a deal / in what direction, that I don't know.

    • Hi Hercules , why are you so certain that the hold up is at the request of the parties, rather than the court itself. First of all I am not challenging you on that point, as I have vary little familiarity with the workings of courts in general and especially the SCC, but by you saying that, it suggest you know, or the court has in some way to say what is holding their decision from being handed down or releasing it to the parties or the public. So, I am just asking the question, why is it being delayed on purpose, and is it for the purpose of the parties, or that it is just the normal workings of the highest court in the land. Or is your comment, fact, or fiction, or an educated guess. Thanks, AJ.

    • Hi AJ,

      The court is ready to release the judgement and have no reason or point holding it. The parties are the ones with an interest to hold the judgement.

      Once the judgement was ready in February, the court asked the parties for a special kind of release. Both parties responded and provided the signatures required for that release. They got all their signatures within 2 weeks and first half of March, everything was ready. That information is from the Supreme Court register about the case between CFLCo and HQ, Case No 37238, published on Supreme Court's website.

      In the domain of law and justice, a principle says that the worst mutual agreement worths more than the best of judgement. This is a reminder for all parties that a mutual agreement is always to be favored. As such, despite the history, previous judgements and the audience are so clearly in favor of HQ, that principle reminds them that a mutual agreement is still better than the expected judgement. As for CFLCo, seeing how unimpressed the judges were, negotiation is clearly an option for them too.

      In the past, the Water Reversion Act went up to the Supreme Court. On that one too the parties asked for the judgement to be hold for negotiation time. After a while, Newfoundland refused to let go anything and so the parties asked for the judgement. Newfoundland lost everything / HQ got exactly what they expected.

      It is similar here.

      So the ones with the capability, reason and interest for the judgement to be hold back are the parties and no one else. They did it in the past, so no reason not to do it again.

      Considering there is also a another case in Qc's Court of Appeal and the mega-fiasco of MF for which Newfoundland will need HQ's help, there is definitely a ton of things to negotiate here, so no surprise they do it.

      So that is why I am so certain about the situation…

      Always nice to speak with you,

    • Thank you Hercules, for the explanation again, appreciate it. And guess the fact that the Supreme Court published it's release on it's website, is proof that it has made a decision. And will not disagree with your assertion that the parties are holding up the release pending any negioations. Thanks again. AJ.

  8. Oh that smart Jerome Kennedy…

    Did everyone see his comments copied in a CBC web article this afternoon regarding the PUB's insurance review? Our esteemed JK is mystified why the PUB won't tell Government what to do.

    Wise Mr. Kennedy says:

    "And if the Public Utilities Board were to say that they don't recommend a cap because it doesn't result in savings, then I don't know how the government could, in good conscience, ignore that."

    I picked myself up off the floor after that, not sure if my elbow hurt worse or the smattering of brain cells that exploded when I wondered where his admiration for the PUB was back in 2012 when he as a Cabinet Minister needed to give the board proper breadth of responsibility to review the Muskrat project.

    I'm sure he sees absolutely none of the irony in the situation. I hope the PUB board members remember this moment a few months down the road.

  9. Ches Crosbie by refusing to run in the bi-election in Mount pearl has shown he thinks he is above public scrutiny and just another descendant of the Water Street Merchant Snobs who in past centuries ran it as their own little fiefdom. Time for a real revolution.

  10. On a political note, which I usually don't comment much on, but just checked vocm straw pole vote, and of course the Abacus poll, and both indicate that if an election were held today, the PC's would win. Not from any party preference, but from a rational, logical prospective, I would like to see them win. Since they are the party mainly responsible for the boondoggle, then they should also be the party to deal with the fincincial situation of the province. And if we were to have our drudders as a province, I would like to see Dannie back as premier, Cathie as natural resource minister, Marshall as finance minister, you get my drift, the very same cabinet members and all MHA's in the same position as when they put forward muskrat, along with Eddie as CEO of the boondoggle, and let the buggers deal with it. They got us in the mess, now let them sweat, and crow how to get us out. No instead, they retire to luxury in Florida, and elsewhere, hide in the shadows, and accept no responsibility for their actions, where as we the people, and those unborn have to pay for their misdeeds. If you or I go bankrupt we can't just retire from it, and accept no responsibility, we have to stand up like a man and face the music. Why should it be any difference for those buggers, says Joe blow.

    • And to add insult to injury, we have to pay $33 million so their lawyer friends can give them a stage from which to exonerate themselves on the provincial news programs during the inquiry. As the Kristoferson song goes, shifting their share of the blame….

  11. The Ontario Conservative sweep back into majority, (40%), is ominous for the "static" Liberals. Progressive voters wilted and did not show up to vote." You get what you pay for". "You get the government you deserve". NL seems committed to this unenlightened trend. Too bad.

    • Meanwhile, the former PC Premier, (Brian), is ecstatic and all in Dougie/Donny. Now if the alternative government could only clone these populists. Maybe a 10cent rollback on carbon tax might bring a few more votes from the elites! What do the commuters from CB think?

    • Robert:
      A 10 cent roll back on gas taxes? Maybe you could enlighten us as to just how we are going to pay for road maintenance, repairs and construction with a 10 cent reduction in the gasoline tax? Oh I see now. Just like Newfoundland and Muskrat Falls and Ontario we will borrow the money and let another generation worry about paying it back. Time for a reality check on these matters.

    • Tongue in cheek; Ford got the vote based on the suburban commuters wanting no options to more traffic lanes and expressways. I am assuming that Ches and the boys will offer up $ beer, no carbon tax, firing Stan type issues to appeal to the suburban vote. Remember when John lost the Clark government with the 18c gas increase. Father teaches son

    • tax on gas here goes to general revenues and is not EARMARKED for roads like in other provinces. It used to be until I think Clyde Wells, but I could be wrong. The problem stemmed from the fact that there were not enough gas sales to go handy to the roads bills each year; again our small population is our petard; MF would be tolerable if there were say 6 or 8 million of us.

  12. No one commented on Peng2 excuse that he and his fellow engineers at Naclor, who know and understood the false assumptions for the MF case, kept silent, saying it was not their duty to speak up and go public or as anonymous source to the media. Their duty was only to Nalcor: ours is but do and die, not to ask why!
    Now if you are an engineer with Nfld Hydro or Nfld Power, does the same logic apply. Are you under obligation under the Power Authority act to advocate for least cost power, and expose the boondoggle in the making….
    And what about when Dunderdale is preaching from the the House of anyone with knowledge of why MF was not the best option, to come forward, is Peng2 or other engineers still bound by their duty to the employer to stay under their cone of silence, or to do their duty to their fellow man, even if it might impact them financially, due to retribution by Dunderdale
    Is this just ethics and morality or a matter of contract law that Peng2 uses for his defense, pray tell us.

    • Hi PF,

      Here is what I can tell you: I am an engineer and I lost / quitted many jobs because of my integrity. Unfortunately, such a level of integrity is not common, not matter one is an engineer or any other kind of professionnal.

      The second element is how much of the complete picture did these guys had ? To be aware that a project will fail at technical level and that cost overrun will be unavoidable is one thing. To measure the full impact of that is another.

      How much of a cost overrun will that thing be at then end and not just on the specific point the engineer is working on ? What are the financial and legal agreements about this and that ? Were these people re-assured that their concerns were known and addressed in some non-technical way ?

      I did let some projects fail. At the beginning of a project, it was clear to me that this was nothing but a gigantic failure. I told the client and wrote a report about it. The client chose to go with it despite my warning. A year after, when he tried to build on his project, he realized he could not. He complained about it and we gave him a copy of the e-mail and report we sent him a year ago telling him all about it. The client was not happy, but we were cleared.

      That project did not had the consequence of MF. A big compagny ended up loosing a few hundreds thousands dollars.

      About MF, the biggest point, and by a gigantic margin, is the water management. Without it, MF can not sell more than 17% of its capacity because whatever else it will produce will not be controlled or reliable. That point is 100% legal, not technical. That point was raised by actual lawyers and it was dismissed by everyone.

      So how much more could these engineers have done at that time ? Not sure, but probably not much more than the lawyers trying to have a clear legal agreement before putting money in the project.

      The second giganic point is the commercial value of the electricity and elasticity. Again, these are not technical and are not specifically linked with engineering. Again, these points were mentioned by others but were dismissed.

      At the end, my opnion is that the engineers are not the main responsible for that.

      Last point I will give you is a comparison with a part of history. When Adolf Hitler and his crazy ideas started gaining power and utlimately ended up in control of Germany, the elite of Germany left, They protected their own lives and assets and thought that by leaving him alone, Hitler's government would quickly brake down. Unfortunately, once the elite left, there was no more resistance to Hitler and by definition, the ones present in Germany at that time were unable to understand or act against him. By leaving, the elite just made Hitler more powerful instead of weakening him.

      So for these engineers involved in MF, what was their best choice to have a chance to fix or improve things : to leave or to stay ?

      At the end, I do not think engineers and technical people involved in MF are the main culprit and I think they should not end up the scapegoat.

    • Interesting comparison to Germany under Hitler , Heracles, but:
      1. the problem in Germany was that too many endorsed Hitler, too few opposed. Yes some elites left, and Germany did not want those that opposed Hitler. You want not likely survive if you did oppose. And the economy improved greatly under Hitler for 5 years and more, until war that eventually meant doom for them.
      There was tremendous engineering capability and results for years. Your frog and ox story don apply , as Germany became an ox, such that it took a large alliance to defeat them.
      And so, how many German engineers spoke out against Hitler and his war machine, on seeing the big picture, where this would lead to Germany destruction. German industry were all onside with Hitler, they profited form it. And like Nalcor engineers, said nothing to show the dangers of the path taken.
      You make excuses for engineers that Peng2 says saw the big picture, and stayed silent. So they enabled the boondoggle. Could the boondoggle MF be worse. SNC presented the risks which were ignored. Nalcor too knew the risks and their engineers kept quiet, least the boondoggle be a bigger boondoggle, or to keep a cushy job that paid well, and no concern of bankruptcy of the province. Failure was obvious, both technical and economic, more so than the legal you mention.
      Is not 17 percent the minimum flow for a very dry year, and not the flow usually encountered. The average flow would permit shutting Holyrood fossil fuel plant or minimum need of Holyrood, so you are misrepresenting the data, I suggest.

    • Hercules and PF, a spirited, forceful, and rational argument you both advance. To make the Hitler comparison is probably not the right context to discuss entirely, since we live in a normal western democracy. Others may question that, especially in the first decade if this century, so it is our democracy that we should be defending and then hopefully logic and rational will prevail. Two pillars of our democracy are the free press and a political opposition. In that decade both were weak, compared to the government of the day, and the balance is gradually being restored between government and oppositions. But the press remains weak, due to those who control it. Having said that, how would that affect muskrat. Well as we know muskrat was a political decision, all the way, not based on economics, technical, or legal. So our political system failed us. Engineers, like Peng2, some contractors, and SNC, should have had an outlet to not just side with nalcor and the govt. but also to provide the information to the the opposition parties, either up fron or by leaks, and this is where the press plays a role, to be in the know. The best know democracy, the USA would have become an autocratic system in the past two years, if it were not for the free press and the justice system and their willingness to do their job. Did we have a strong justice minister and system during that decade??? At one point the govt. wanted to do away with the justice minister, and at one point the Justice minister was an unelected minister, and another time, with just one year education beyond high school. The SNC report should not have been berried, the press should have had it, the opposition parties should have had it, along with reports from dissenting engineers and others. And if the opposition was worth their salt, they should have fought toot and nail against muskrat. The two previous election should have been a referendum on muskrat. To sanction or not to sanction, should have been the question. After the election Dunderdale claimed her election was a referendum on muskrat, though it was hardly mentioned in the election. Ball should have made it an election issue in the last election, to hault or proceed. So when our two pillars of democracy, the free press, and her loyal opposition fail us, then bad things like boondoggles happen, says Joe blow.

    • Heracles:
      The engineering community is just like the political community which is just like the construction industry which is just like the construction unions. None of these groups spoke out and questioned MF's when it was sanctioned because either through wages, contracts or votes all of them gambled they would gain big time if the project proceeded.
      We are all complicent in the MF's disaster but the above groups more so than all others because they had only their self, short term mega project gains to consider and the future consequences be damned-pardon the pun. Whether you want to hear it or not, trying to build an economy solely around large construction projects in NL has been a complete disaster. Our history since WWII is littered with failed schemes that didn't and never will make economic sense from the UC , Labrador Linerboard, Come by Chance, dozens of fish plants, wharves and such to the Sprung greenhouse, GBS systems and now Muskrat Falls. Until we let private enterprise take the sole risk and only private enterprise finance, plan, invest and build these projects with their money nothing will ever change. We will never learn as there is already plans to build a tunnel across the straits something which will cost us dearly unless the very idea is scrapped right now.

    • A few more words on Heracles shallow knowledge of history: in Hitler`s Germany, many of the elites left, not with their assets, but with just the clothes on their backs. Many of those who remained, and deemed hostile to Hitler, had their assets stolen by the state, and many their lives lost.
      As to German engineering, they are a country highly regarded for engineering ability. But about 1943, there is film footage of Goebels addressing the industrial elites in a large hall. At that time Germany was feeling the consequences of long range bombing of their cities, and the Americans building up capacity, much going through Nfld , Gander and Goose bay airports, the Ferry Command flying bombers to Europe. And here is Goobels addressing the captains of the Germany military industrial group, saying Germany now needs to go to a total war footing. And most remarkable to see that crowd clap and cheer, as they must have known judgement day was coming. And they comprised thousands of engineers in their companies, yet those in that hall all cheered and applauded. Surely there short term profits was at the heart of it. Yet not that different from the engineers in the USA at Boeing and Ford and GM who went totally to military production. But German engineering was exceptional, as in the case of the design of chambers for burning human bodies, those from the gas chambers. In the engineering evaluations , it was determined that the fat content of the dead bodies, which had little fat, nevertheless if the temperatures could get high enough, that fat would be much of the fuel for the process. And so the engineering plans were developed and put into construction. Not sure if German engineers had the iron ring and the ethical and moral codes that the profession likes to promote here in Canada.
      So Heracles, blame the politician here as the primary cause of the boondoggle, but as to scapegoats, engineers with the power companies should not get a pass. Construction companies, unions etc, wanted profits, but only the power engineer class knew the risk of failure. They kept quiet, except for chats over a coffey, keeping their head low, and their wallet full, as their duty, says Peng2, was solely to the authority handing out their pay cheque. Duty to their province, their children and grandchildren, or to democracy here, was filed in a separate compartment, same place they filed the SNC risk report.
      So says Pale Face, so says Poker Face, so says PF.