Guest Post by Ron Penney
March 14th the Board of Regents of Memorial University will have it’s regularly
scheduled meeting and it is anticipated that the issue of creating a new Law
School at Memorial will be discussed.
academic governing body of the University, the Senate, has approved the
creation of the Law School but the final decision will be made by the Board of
Regents, who will hopefully demonstrate more sense than Senate.
is amazing that the most highly educated body in the Province, the Senate, is
totally oblivious to our fiscal situation, which the Parliamentary Budget
Officer describes as the most dire in the country.
was asked to make a submission to the University committee studying the issue,
as I was a member of an earlier committee which recommended against it.
points I made in the submission are still valid today.
I have not been able to get current information on the number of local students
in law school at this time but I think the number is significant. Because I
as a sessional lecturer in Political Science for many years, I have observed
many of the better students I have taught have gained admission to Law
and have become successful lawyers. I suggest that the committee get
on this because one of the key questions is whether there are good
who are not successful in obtaining admission.
When I was admitted in 1972 I was one of 3 admitted that year. At the time I
Director of the Law Society between 1990-93, the number of admissions
gone up to 30-40 a year and I understand that there are significant numbers of
still being admitted each year. I checked the Law Society website and there
717 practicing lawyers and 36 articling students at present. I don’t have the
of practicing lawyers when I was admitted but I suspect they were less than
(I was number 311 on the roll, which was the total number of lawyers admitted
the formation of the Law Society. I understand that the number of admissions
over 2500 at present.)
Is there any evidence that there is an unmet demand for lawyers in the
told by practicing members that there isn’t and there are a significant numbers
practicing in smaller communities throughout the province, which certainly
the case when I was admitted.
I out of 7 law students in Ontario cannot get articling positions and the Law
Upper Canada is considering alternatives to articling. This is indicative of an
of lawyers in the largest jurisdiction in Canada. The local bar could not
an increased supply of lawyers produced by our own Law School. I
that not all graduates would want to article or practice here but a
This initiative comes at a time of severe budgetary restraint and considerable
about resource based revenues in the future. Because I have close
with the University I am aware of the severe constraints being
by various faculties. When we can’t afford what we already have how
the University seriously entertain such a costly new venture?
I fear that we already have an institution which is already much larger than we
as a small jurisdiction with uncertain and volatile resource revenues.
I suspect one of the motivations for the University comes from the feeling that
is not “complete” without a Law School and that we could attract
go to the UK to do their law degree. There is no doubt that our low tuition
attract such students but what would their future be, in an already saturated
lawyers market, and a graduate in a very small jurisdiction with little ability
provide articling positions. (As an aside how can it make any sense to make our
fees so low that is is cheaper for students from other provinces like Nova
to attend here and pay for their accommodation rather than attend University
their home province. This is part of a larger debate about artificially low
have been frozen for many years, and which will be politically difficult to
when the time comes when they must increase.)
The argument was made during the deliberations of the Bruce Committee that we
have been in a stronger position on the major public policy issues which had a
component such as the offshore or the Upper Churchill contract. As those were
which took place when I was involved I know that we obtained the best
from both within and outside Canada. Whether or not faculty members of a
School located here would have had the interest or expertise on a particular
policy issue would have been pure chance.
Flowing from the above, it is argued that the quality of our public policy
those that have a legal component, would improve. If that were true, it
make a strong argument, but I fear that the very limited contribution made by
faculty, with rare exceptions, would carry over to law professors. There is a
tolerance for dissent in this province and little incentive for faculty to
of public importance. Notwithstanding the public engagement initiative
by the university, by and large public engagement by faculty is restricted
non-controversial subjects. As I have learned from my own foray into a
public policy issue, very few individuals, either within or outside the
have the courage to take a stand, even those with tenure. I, along with
have encouraged the Harris Centre, to facilitate informed public discussion
public policy issues, with limited success. As an example, there has been a big
on changes to our access to information legislation, largely led by the media,
is to be expected, but there has been no contribution to the debate by a
of our Political Science Department. My own efforts to have the Harris
host a session on access to information and aspects of the democratic deficit
this province, such as a lack of a committee system in our House of Assembly,
been unsuccessful thus far. The University is very sensitive to its
government and doesn’t encourage faculty to contribute to the public debate on
issues. If anything the opposite is true.
While issues of other competing demands in the administration of justice may
the concern of the Committee or the University, I share the concerns expressed
John Crosbie that there are other more pressing concerns, such as court
the City. I can add to that the disgraceful conditions in the penitentiary,
to be replaced years ago.
I note the remarks of Chief Justice Green made to the Committee and reported in
about the fact that there is no academic comment on their decisions. To
extent that their decisions merit academic consideration I suggest that those are
being addressed in the myriad law journals published in Canada. The
decisions are appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada and the recent
of our Court of Appeal have often not been well received by that court.
I accept the argument that not all law school graduates end up practicing law
legal training is useful for other activities. I am a good example of that, as
career was in the public service, where my profession was very useful. But the
majority of law students wish to article and be admitted at the minimum before
decide what they may want to do. And a significant number will want to attempt
practice either here or in the rest of Canada. I fear that many will be disappointed,
those who graduate from a new law school which will likely take many
to achieve a good reputation.
I understand that one of the arguments is to provide access to students who
and pay the very large tuition charged at those institutions. I suspect those
students who cannot gain admission to Canadian law schools. If Memorial was
be permitted to establish a law school with full-cost recovery tuition, similar
schools or my old alma mater, the Faculty of Law of the University of Toronto,
see that it might make sense, but I doubt the government would agree. A law
created here is likely to be have the lowest tuition in Canada, no doubt
it attractive to out of province applicants.
There is merit in having our students go out of province to get their
Many will have done their undergraduate degree at Memorial and they
to have their academic horizons broadened with the added opportunity to
article and then practice in other jurisdictions. That was certainly my
Does Memorial Need a Law School?
I do not understand the management of Memorial. they continue to spend hundreds of millions on new facilities, where the infrastructure of the rest of the university is failing apart.
Without the injection from oil royalties we can not support the university as is. We cannot afford to be a comphrehensive university offering everything to all. We cannot afford to subsidize the education of international students. We cannot afford the to offer professional prgrams across the stream. We cant afford to hold tuition at levels 50% less than it was 20 years ago. And finally we cant afford the bloated management structure of MUN.
There needs to be a day of reckoning at Memoiral, as per other universities in Atlantic Canada.
I believe Atlantic Canada should consolidate their universities.
The University received funding specifically earmarked for the new facilities, namely the Core Science Facility and the Signal Hill Campus. Also if the law school is approved, the tuition has to cover all expenses (infrastructure, faculty/staff salaries, library holdings, etc). So the current budget would not be affected.
As for the bloated administration – it doesn't exist. It's on the faculty side of the institution that there's a problem. Administrative departments have been cut to the point where individuals are doing the work of multiple people.
Admin Bloat is MUN's biggest problem. More and more hangers on making it more and more difficult for faculty to do their job(s) of teaching and doing research. These people are supposed to be there to support the faculty, yet instead they hinder and stop.
Another potentially foreseeable consequence might be that the NL Government will begin to hire a disproportionate number of these new lawyers into the civil service. They would do this to prop up the apparent success of the program meanwhile creating a new layer of costly bureaucratic inefficiency.
What we really need is a solid review on the professional programs we already have. Make some changes there, learn some lessons and then the value of adding Law or not should be much clearer.
One sentence sums up he state of the legal and academic community in NL
" There is a low tolerance for dissent in this province and little incentive for faculty to engage in matters of public importance."
There is little need for more "liars" in NL until the culture learns to stand up to the narcissistic megalomaniacs that exercise their Napoleonic complex to even bury the treasury with monuments to their vanity.
Unless the "liars" and academics in NL develop a spine and gonads there is little need for more of their ilk.
This post makes a lot of good points, but it fails to acknowledge that the tuition for the law school is expected to be $30,000 per year (not even close to the cheapest in Canada) and that Senate only approved the law school on the condition that it be cost neutral.
"Senate only approved the law school on the condition that it be cost neutral"
MF was also supposed to pay for itself…
I have shared my frustrations with MUN with professors at MUN and at other universities. Sometimes I get fascinating responses. This is from an US university that is larger than MUN. (he must remain anon or he'd be fired.)
"I am convinced that with few exceptions, most public academic institutions, and perhaps private ones as well, have been usurped by sociopaths. These people fancy that they are worth more than the faculty who are engaged in the actual work of the university. The argument, as in the corporate world, is that one has to pay them a lot in order to get good talent. But apparently nobody was paying attention. Most of the talent we got in both realms was manifestly corrupt and incompetent."
"Administrative salaries are at the root of the problem. Our faculty are paid $30,000 to $38,000 a year to live on a foreign economy. The President is paid over $300,000. In 2008, there were over 30 vice presidents in the organization! So when they claim they don't have money for something academic, it's a flagrant lie. Administrators should be paid little more than senior faculty. Then these people wouldn't fight to keep their positions. We are attracting all the wrong sorts to these positions."
MUN is empire building. They want perpetual growth and since there aren't enough students locally, they want to service the world. Double the size of engineering, recruit in China, offer cheap degrees to foreign students and lower the academic standards to they can all pass their master degrees (can't fail those cash cows).
They are also prostituting public infrastructure cheap to the corporate world. For a little grant money you can use the paid by for the public facilities, have research directed your way and get naming rights too. Industry does this because it is cheaper than hiring their own scientists and operating their own laboratories. MUN research should be directed at solving problems that benefit society, with an emphasis on this provinces needs not large global corporations. If global corps still want to give grants that align with our goals, then great, but it should be a main driver.
Hundreds of millions for a new science building. Meanwhile the infrastructure is falling apart, parking is a nightmare.
And now, a new empire. LAW.
Empire crumble? What goes up in corporate culture, eventually goes down. Is there a trend here?
Robert @ 11:17:
What you are missing is that every single employee in a so-called government position (union, staff, ABCs etc) gets severance in Newfoundland. The Liberal government started to change that last year for bargaining unit personnel (and now the PCs b!tch about it as being a waste of money), but for managers etc there will be some of this going on until those contract expire. I also think it extends to being common place in the Federal government, but could be corrected there.
From what I have read, NL severance for executives/managers is about 8-12% – for staff closer to 4-8%, so comparable. Even elected members get a severance is certain circumstances.
Its a NL government fiscal issue – not a Nalcor issue, just to be clear.
Whatever happened to earning one's remittance(s)?
Robert @ 11:55:
They did earn it, so to speak – the severance was listed as an employment benefit during the negotiation of their contract. Severance is very wide spread (granted most frontline workers don't get severance or bonuses, but they aren't responsible for performance either) – even private companies usually offer something like it.
Doesn't the public service in BC also have severance, signing bonuses, performance bonuses etc? I ask this rhetorically, they do from what I understand – but check and correct me if I am wrong.
Even Dougie Ford has stepped on the CEO and Board of OH regarding "Remuneration".
Fellow Engineer/Premier Higgs has a CEO of NB Power "earning" about $1m, as against the Emera guy at $7m or so. Gravy train management has to brought down to sustainable levels everywhere. What does a Plumber, Electrician, Tin Smith, Carpenter get paid on the MUN project? Offshore?
Robert @ 12:34:
Nothing to do with management – the unionized public service in Newfoundland had severance until last year, as did non-unionized workers in government and ABCs (as exercise check the severance payout for the public service in BC, they receive also).
Also, if you check – even the Labour Standards act in Ontario does give rights to severance pay for employees.
This isn't a management vs worker argument – its a government fiscal discussion. Most employees get some form of severance, not just 'gravy train management'….
So the bright Deputy Ministers, responsible for the blatant ignorance on the Muskrat contracts, committed beyond the approved budgets, etc; They had direct responsibility for the bad management judgement. What is their management remittance limits, for value provided? I don't accept your separation of Labour from Management culpability argument.
Robert @ 13:17:
Simply pointing out that severance goes to most employees – I don't hold a grudge against anyone getting what their employment contract gives them (I compare %ages, looking at $ amounts isn't a fair comparison). When comparing %ages, it is reasonable.
My views on the governance failure resulting in MF are well known.
Agreed. But if the Manager of the contract is slothful, lazy, etc. you subvert both governance and prudence, to get another Muskrat as an example. Remember your Cost Engineering, and Industrial Psychology. "Value must exceed Cost" idiom. Ref Charles B. Thomsen; "Developing, Marketing and Deliver Construction Management Services, McGraw-Hill
Good points in the Penny article. Unfortunately, the push for a law school is part of the Presidential campaign for Golfman as she sniffs around trying to position herself to replace Katchanowski. He legacy was the new building on the parkway but even that is coming apart before it is finished. Have a look at the rust staining that covers the surface of the outside panels which, rumour has it, is a result of some cost cutting on the building once it became clear that it could not really be afforded. President K was desperate to have some legacy after 10 unremarkable years when he slipped in after the other mess caused by Williams. The new Science building is that legacy which comes at a great mortgage on MUN's future and which is beyond Golfman's comprehension to understand. Unfortunately, Golfman's financial capacity is summed up in the financial fiasco that she oversaw as the Dean of Graduate Studies and her continued unwillingness as Provost and COO to make hard choices about the future of MUN. Her arrogant public face was on full display when she made her "jam and peanut butter" comments when the students protested fee increases. It is time for a good clean out of the MUN administration.
Anony @ 13:28:
I think the law school was originally an idea of DW – instead we got MF as his legacy.
I am not a fan of either Golfman of President K – we should of had Campbell, but again DW got involved in that too.
if a law school is started at MUN does this mean that NB will withdraw its support for MUN's Medical school?
The public needs to figure out what they want from MUN. Should it be Smallwoodian, serving the common man as an extension service with a small university attached? Or a large, fancy, empire with high cost degrees and swank surroundings?
If it was up to me, would mandate these goals:
Since MUN is publicly funded – both via tax revenue from all tax payers and via student debt (a terrible thing that doesn't discharge in bankruptcy), it must return value to the general public it services, not to special interests.
1) Provide high quality undergraduate education to the local population at the lowest possible cost. This would be achieved by liberal use of on-line education and by rewarding excellence in teaching.
2) Provide limited graduate programs focused on areas of importance to the province. Focus on being a "Research" focused university conflicts with goal 1. Research is secondary, teaching is primary.
Things which conflict with these goals, or impede them would be eliminated. For example:
1) The endless quest for more real estate. Battery hotel for example.
2) The relentless growth of bureaucracy. Let professors take turns being Dean for a year. The deans office isn't a fiefdom. MUN in the 1970's had far fewer admins, but student population was similar and, in my opinion, academic standards were higher.
3) Eliminate useless things. The provost for example. There are dozens of low value added services that could go. We could make a huge list.
4) The president's office should be very lean and it should provide leadership to meet the public goals. We don't need to pay huge salaries, housing allowances, expense accounts etc. There are many professors that could do a great job of leading MUN.
5) Concentrate on stabilizing and maintaining the existing facilities. We are neglecting infrastructure everywhere in the province, not just MUN. We don't need fancy new surroundings for learning. We need safe, clean and not much else.
6) International recruiting. If MUN runs out of students, then it is large enough for the province. Stop there.
7) Reign in rogue professional schools. They must be part of a master plan, not profit centers looking to expand.
For those that want a world class university with marble walls, leather furniture, fancy cafeterias, $30,000 tuition — let that be a private institution with Zero public funding. If you can make a go of it, then great, but I am not sending my children there to load up on debt nor do I want it draining provincial revenues.
Like what is the Business Plan which supports such a substantial investment of Public Funds? Smallwood, without much strong analysis and business acumen, went for the confederate fundings on Education, and came up roses. Now is a different time and business characteristics.
This is simply a statement of how out of touch MUN is with reality. I proudly went to MUN in the 70's and at the time the major issues were tuition cost and (for those fortunate enough) parking.
That was then. Now I am a taxpayer.
We should be a small specialist university in things like ocean sciences. Of course we must offer general BA degrees and BSc. But the notion that we offer a degree in Russian Language is outlandish.
I understand the requirement to separate academic pursuits from those of commerce and the independence required. However, as a taxpayer, I am alarmed at the lack of connection.
MUN has lost its way. It will not ever be Harvard. And good for that ! That's not to say it should not compete internationally. But based on our tax base we must pick our spots. Law, in my opinion, is NOT one of them.
We would be better served putting that kind of money into existing programs and shoring up the infrastructure, Getting a world class reputation for a small number of program(s) is better than getting a mediocre reputation for a largeer number of programs.
At the end of the day this has to be funded by the taxpayer.
People that argue differently, in my opinion, with respect, are looking at the world with rose colored glasses.
Sadly, it is not the 1970's any more.
During the last year Provost Golfman created a small army of Associate VPs to take some work off her plate so she can spend more time on things like going to film festivals. When she not at TIFF or the Women's Film Festival, she sits bewildered in her top floor office in the Arts Building, while President K drains down her scarce resources (she supposedly controls the academic budget) on crap like the Battery or the rusty new Science Building. Meanwhile the old Science Building, which actually has classrooms and teaching space, will have to come down as MUN can't afford to heat and light it, while the old Chem-Phys building has its face falling off – take a look as you drive by. President K is busy working to create a few more VPs before he leaves to reward a few lackeys who have been doing his dirty work for the last few years.
Penny is right about the general lack of engagement of MUN faculty in matters of importance to the Province. The business school is effectively irrelevant when it comes to the major industries of NL. The Arts faculty has all but abandoned studies related to Newfoundland culture and the Music School replaced its Canada Research Chair in music related to Labrador with a fellow who studies heavy metal music. There is absolutely no reason to believe that the law scholars that will plant their arses in a new law school will study anything of importance to this province. The notion that they will is nothing more than part of the great lie that MUN spins to justify another legacy that it can't afford to tie around the neck of the taxpayers who will have to deal with paying for it.
Fortunately the decision to start an accredited isn't as easy as MUN saying 'We think we can', I believe it has to be shown to the accreditation boards as being good for the profession – based on value to the profession, I think the proposal would fail.
If we consider what is good for our tax payer money, I would think expansion of the medical or nursing school with retention criteria would be best at this point in time with rationalization of other programs and MUN admission criteria. Some examples I would personally like to see are admission to Engineering cut to about 100-150 annually, eliminate many other 'generic' programs (if students want to study those, they can travel) – offer only programs we can claim an elite program of study in. We would then need to rationalize costs – for example why do we subsidize students with poor grades or attendance? In the end, make MUN a privilege to attend and charge accordingly for the reputation.
As an addenda to my above comment – off course DW wasn't the first to suggest law school to NL, but he did raise the idea most recently as being a good fit for Grenfell.
I don't follow your suggestion regarding limiting engineering enrolment. MUN would do a great service to many NL young people if they were educated with an engineering or business degree – at least they'd have options for a career, even if not in NL. Investing in $75,000 clasics or philosophy degrees (I expect that it costs the taxpayer at least that per graduate) is an absolute waste of money and time. There are no careers either here or elsewhere for those graduates. The bright ones may get jobs or go on to other degrees but they would do just as well with a first degree that has some career prospects. MUN is unwilling to make some hard choices about continuing to invest in a Faculty of Arts that has seen vast declines in enrolment while the Provost does everything to make sure that there are no cuts of any consequence to the Arts faculty If I were a parent, I'd prefer to see my child get a degree that gave them career options outside of NL rather than one that gives them none anywhere.
MUNs academic standards are all over the place.
I have seen multiple work term student resumes with single digit grades in important courses and as expected, a fail for the term. These are then appealed, the student continues and 9% becomes 40%. One student was failed in a final design project for plagiarism, expelled for two years with a zero in the course, and MUN engineering graduated the student anyway (e.g. overrode senate). At the graduate level, students from some countries do poorly and cheat. Profs can't fail them because there would be fuss since it affects foreign student tuition cash flow.
Students should be expected to work hard and take their studies seriously. If this is too hard, they need to be forced out.
The problems seem to be larger though … our K-12 system is quite the farce too. Imagine doing first year differential calculus and having a problem because you haven't memorized the multiplication table. Students raised where "everybody wins", nobody fails, assignments are optional, participation awards etc. can't seen to grasp that we can't afford to allow everyone to participate in the "university experience". There are private universities for that if you parents can afford it.
Anony @ 21:46:
I gave Engineering as an example – I am a grad and think I got a great education. Agreed that graduating with a professional degree is a great career choice and I am doing whatever I can to provide the same to my kids.
Unfortunately, I think over the past 20-30 years that the admission standards has lapsed a bit and our Engineering school that was based on Waterloo and was equally respected is slipping in reputation. Sad to say, but a MUN Engineering degree today doesn't carry the same weight as it did pre-2000.
There are also many other rationalizations MUN needs to undertake as you suggest.
Consider the following from the article:
"4. I out of 7 law students in Ontario cannot get articling positions and the Law Society of Upper Canada is considering alternatives to articling. This is indicative of an oversupply of lawyers in the largest jurisdiction in Canada."
The engineering school has a similar problem — students at risk of expulsion because they can't get work terms, and the terms are required as part of the accredited program. The alternative is contrived work terms (assisting professors on grant projects, self made work etc.). The larger problem is that there is oversupply of students and industry cannot absorb them. Our local population is not growing, the need for labor is decreasing and engineering design can be outsourced to cheaper parts of the world.
In the halls of the engineering building, there are class photos going back to the early 1970's. Have a look at the tiny class sizes and long hair. As you move forward in time, the classes get bigger until it looks more like a high school graduation. Engineers by the hundreds and they arrive right out of high school.
A few years ago, none of the pharmacy students had job prospects for two major reasons: Costco/Walmart/Walgreens etc wiped out the small pharmacy and two, insurance companies were running mail-order pharmacies offering low/no co-pay if you accepted your drugs my mail. This insurance industry was now doing to Walmart/BigDrugStores what those firms did to local pharmacies. Going to the USA where an employer had a hiring bonus and green card waiting was a thing of the past.
Everything is changing. It is a disservice to students to promote professional schools as a safe career without telling them that it is a game of musical chairs and that many if not most of them will not work in a related field AND will have to pay off the debt. This debt is enslavement. I have seen B.Eng. Electrical at Costco and M.Eng. (transmission line systems) and the Walmart electronics counter and graduate students in the food service industry. Nothing is safe – people with degrees going on for an occupational health and safety diploma and having to go back to bar tending.
Despite all this, MUN engineering dreams of doubling in size by recruiting out of province. It is already too big.
We don't need another law school because there is no shortage of lawyers. Anything we create with MUN will have no more oversight than Nalcor and be almost impossible to reign in.
MUN needs to double its engineering enrolment because the Dean is getting on in his term and he has to create his legacy and position himself for his next administration job, preferably somewhere else in Canada but at MUN as a last resort. It's fortunate that there are lots of new mid-level VP type positions being created. Don't you understand how the system works.
And don't forget the Nalcor connection: and we know hhow world class they were. MUN: SHUT HER DOWN! Or at least scale her back.Costing every family thousands per year in subsidy, and can't even do maintenance on buildings,but building new ones we can't afford.
MUN: a memorial to the loss and slaughter of our young men in WW1. And not to forget also that the powers that be, during WW1, thought we, a poor country, with much poverty at that time, could afford to pay for the regiment, that blood and lives was not enough.. That cost had accumulated to about half the public debt when we went bankrupt in 1934, and surrendered our democracy.
Now, what role did MUN play in the boondoogle, or proposing lowest cost power alternatives, or even now proposing solutions to our high debt, especially as to Muskrat, or if or how that facility should operate? Leading Lights or under the Cone of Silence?
Worthy of being a Memorial to serve for the good of Nfld and Labrador?
We need a Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (dogs are nice), a school of Dentistry (cause our bark is worst than our bite), an agricultural college (food security and stuff) and a Snowflake campus with safe zones where everybody wins and the no zero policy reigns supreme. Tax payers are obviously good for it — they came up with 12+ billion for power they didn't even need. We need a law school more than they need the North Spur.
I wonder would the Feds pay to relocate us to NS if we asked? I always chant "Move if you can" but if we hold out there might be compensation.
They might, but they need an eastern outpost to protect territorial rights. Crude approximation here: 218,000 dwelling units, so if one family per unit and $250,000 to resettle (approx what we currently pay to out-ports) then $54 Billion. We just spent $13B on a damn dam and the North Spur of Damocles.
With us all gone, all offshore revenue would be going to Canada, the ferry wouldn't' be needed, no more transfer payments ever, no grants to keep the TCH paved, no passport office, no lots of things.
$54 Billion might be a great deal. Not sure about Nova Scotia. Let is scatter with the wind.
I think @21:54 makes a good point. "MUN needs to double its engineering enrollment because the Dean is getting on in his term and he has to create his legacy and position himself for his next administration job"
also from south of the border "I am convinced that with few exceptions, most public academic institutions, and perhaps private ones as well, have been usurped by sociopaths. These people fancy that they are worth more than the faculty who are engaged in the actual work of the university."
The public allows bad people to infest our institutions and they cause havoc. MUN, Nalcor, Government both elected and senior civil service and virtually every crown corporation.
All these are symptoms of the same disease. They all report to government, and our provincial government is corrupt, incompetent and only pretends to serve the public.
They are at it again!!!
Another Nalcor executive gets dismissed "without cause" and therefore gets extra cash. Isn't this a crime in this case? Does Nalcor have a duty to protect the public public, or is its only duty the self enrichment of is management?
If the project was on time / under budget than I'd have no problem with "without cause", but given that they are responsible for lying to the public, the government of Newfoundland, Canadian Government, various banks and did all sorts of things that would get us fired (like signing contracts that exceeded the approved budget) then paying these bad people a penny more than absolutely necessary is just wrong.
So again…the buck stops where, there, anywhere, nowhere, with the oversight committee, GT, EY, Feds, nalcor, Emera, environment assessment, the civil service, or where else, …no it stops with the premiere and cabinet, and apparently Davis did not know that. He was too busy being premier, to know that he was ultimately responsible for the 7,000,000,000$ hydro project. He was new as the premier but he had been a minister of the crown in the cabinet, for half a dozen years or so, so he should have known, and not relied on when he was ignored or told or not told something, it was his job to be in there head and heels especially when muskrat was off the rails and headed for the gutters. They were over budget and contingency used up 4 months after sanction. Being in cabinet at the time and aspirations to be premier, he should have been on top of all the files, especially the muskrat long before he became premier. He was even different from Marshall, he had no desire to be premier, it was thrust upon him, but Davis wanted it, he asked to be premier, and also ran in the next election agains Ball. So there is no excuse for not knowing and depending totally on others. How many times did he respond yesterday when being questioned, I don't know, or I don't recall, or everyone else was looking after that. Don't forget some of the things he was doing, leading the charge to reduce the number of MHAs in for the next election, he didn't need a minister of justice in government, he wanted just a minister of public safety, guess he figured he and his chief of staff could take care of that, the Chief. When he did get a minister of justice, she was unelected, and refused to run in a by election, and the least experienced lawyer he could find. He eventually ended up with a minister of justice with only first year university. Davis and all were in over their heads, so make no wonder Eddie et al were out of control, and debt mounting over muskrat there was no one at the wheel, or if so looking in the wrong direction suggest Joe blow.
You're right Joe. If MF was a private business venture owned and financed by DW,KD,PD,DB etc, and an incompetent team such as the likes of EM,GB et al initially put in charge of running it, you can bet your sweet bippy this unconscionable financial disaster(which has happened to the people of NL) would never have happened to the aforementioned. For those who are answerable to the people cannot claim "I wasn't aware". It is simply unacceptable. Words to that effect should not be accepted as gospel allowing them to escape responsibility. The buck starts and stops at the Premier's desk–they hold the key to the treasury. Incompetent scoundrels such as EM and GB would never ever be allowed to be in charge (of anything). After all is said and done, even though LeBlanc's mandate doesn't allow him to recommend charges be laid, it is incumbent that the RCMP initiate what must be done. If those who are responsible for this massive fraud inflicted upon innocent people are allowed to escape responsibility, it will happen again and again and again proving again we are "too green to burn"
There were many 'red flags'.
Lack of formal education of some ministers was and is no excuse.
As early as March/April 2011 (and I had only about 2 yrs. MUN education), and when asked by a CBC reporter at the end of a Nalcor AGM what I thought of the planned MF Project, (even after only a few months to review the available public data), I replied "we don't need it, we can't afford it, and it's too high a risk".
Those three issues pretty much cover the key aspects/questionable aspects (red flags) that any person with a critical mind could have, and should have, seen.
Why were these ministers (and their deputies) so blind. Was it wilful blindness?
I was no expert.
And expertise was not needed to see that "need", "affordability", and "risk" had not been demonstrated.
Agree Winston, and I never try to put anyone down because of formal education, because there are many good persons that lack some. My point in referring to justice minister and should have include attorney general position as well. And sometimes the same minister fulfills both positions. So to my knowledge, and I stand to be corrected, the attorney general must have been called to the bar, but I don't think the Justice minister needs to be, but fairly normal to have a law degree, but I not necessarily. Agree with your other points. Tks , average Joe.
Hoops…meant Maurice …
Didn't take it as a put down, AJ.
Just wanted to make it clear that it is independent, critical thinking and a continued and determined focus on what is in the best interest of the people that matters most (in most cases, specific areas of expertise can and should be obtained from the public services and as needed, outside consultants).
You know, hearing the repeated examples of poor communication, management oversight, inability to come to grips with reality, consider this;
All it takes is running a PC work station with available project cost management data base software, (about 40 person hours/week), through the contract bid stage, plus one experienced contract administrator to warn the captain "we're on the reef man", change course! Nl used to pride itself with seamanship instincts and a sense of "standing into danger".
I believe that Project Control did their job. Management didn't like the numbers. What would you have done?
Robert @ 12:53:
The real question is would a dissenter be kept in the loop or forced out?
I mentioned 1-2 yrs ago about the various senior ministers who left during the Dunderdale/William administrations – Marshall, Skinner, Taylor, Sullivan, Manning, Johnson, Rideout, Hickey etc but no one bothered to pass comment. I wont say all these were good people or should have been elected in the frist place, but seems awfully chaotic for a strong and popular government to be losing such people this frequently.
Also, has your opinion on my historical comments changed considering some of the Inquiry findings over the past few days?
Peng2, not sure of your point, but will just comment from memory, so I may not be correct. Yes, we lost williams and Dunderdale through regisnation before their elected terms were up. Marshall, manning, and Rideout resigned too from diagreaments with the adm. Of the time. Others, decided not to run again, the other Marshall, Tom, I guess, some were defeated at the poles, skinner was defeated by Gerry, not sure about Johnson if she resigned midway or at the end of a term. So not sure of your point. Some of those got us in the mess, so I think they should hang around in anguish until we get out of the mess, rather than hanging up their skates, and head for greener pastures and warmer climates.
Sorry, average Joe.
AJ @ 16:19:
I was also going by memory, so my list isn't all inclusive and as you said Skinner was defeated.
The point being that the turn-over experienced by the PC governments from 2003 thorough 2015 is likely indicative of internal dissention on government policy – unfortunately with a complete lack of note taking it is now impossible to establish. I would also offer that some of those former ministers should have been called to the Inqury to establish the inner workings of government of the day – remember the MHA spending scandal, because it was also brought to us by this administration. I am pretty sure a pattern could be established as to bad governance which is the root cause of MF.
Any new spending on education in this province should be spent at the primary and secondary level, as well as early childhood education. The seemingly unlimited funding for MUN is a complete joke given the literacy rates at lower levels. How may kids per class from K – 12 these days? Over 30? Over 40 in extreme cases? Not to mention the fact that MUN promotes education out the ying-yang, pumping out young new teachers who will likely spend the first ten years of their careers waiting for the phone to ring for a few days of substituting per month, or moving to another province.
Golfman seems to living in a different universe when she appears in public, an aloof expression on her face, a product of years of "higher learning" and an even higher salary, spreading her sense of entitlement like a farmer spreads manure. Time to cut her off I think. There are better ways to spend money on education, perhaps in a comprehensive program that teaches teens in high school CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY AND FINANCIAL LITERACY, so they can enter the "real world" knowing when to plug their noses, that way the likes of Golfman won't have as much opportunity to spread their stench all around town.
Current class size maximums are:
K = 20
Grades 1-3 = 25
Grades 4-6 = 28
Grades 7-9 = 31
Most classrooms are small outside the city. Approximately ten schools have 10 or few students and multi grading is common.
I don't like the modern curriculum. Moronic new math, kids cant read analog clocks, cursive no longer taught, no critical thinking, everything water down and stretched out to Grade 12, political correctness gone wild, everybody wins, homework optional etc. I had grade 11 and got a better education than any of my children did. We used to have mandatory reading like Brave New World and 1984. It has all gone to pot.
The curriculum needs to change but there is no political will to teach a generation of students to be critical thinkers, question authority, read independent journalistic works, recognize propaganda, understand economics and math, be well read. A generation of well educated people would cause havoc with the status quo. The status quo is comfortable with low-information sheep.
The few times I saw Golfman, I cringed. I wonder how many DMS-4 codes apply to her.
If critical thinking was instilled in our youth then maybe the likes of DW,KD,JK,TM,PD,DB,EM,and others would not so easily be able to foist another MF on us in the future.
Reply to Anon. @ 15:14, no worries about another MF in the "future", because we don't have one. Anyone who can move, will. Us left behind will have to fend for ourselves, avoid the potholes, and be prepared to take better care of ourselves. The 2020's are going to be ugly around here.
Isn't government still looking/planning for Gull Island (Lower Churchill, Phase II)?
I, at 15:14,wasn't necessarily referring to another hydro mega project,but rather, to any government involvement in any mega projects of any kind,e.g.., the fixed link to Labrador.
Just in case readers of this blog need reminding about Golfman’s tenuous grasp on budgetary matters, a MUN Gazette article from 2010 tells the story of her financial capacity as the then Dean of Graduate Studies:
The key here (and this comes directly from the MUN propaganda machine that is in the business of making shit smell like roses) is the quote:
“According to Dr. Noreen Golfman, dean of Graduate Studies, the school has grown its fellowship commitments significantly in the last several years in the interest of meeting one of the key goals of Memorial’s Strategic Plan – to triple the number of graduate students.
The shortfall is a direct result of both providing enhanced fellowship support in order to be competitive in the Canadian and international markets, and the success of the school’s recruitment activities and entrance scholarship program.”
In short, there was a fixation on growth without any plan for management or financing of it. Sound familiar ? Think Law School ! Think the defining feature of the Provost's office ! God forbid, think about it as the capability of the next MUN President !
At the time Golfman's solution lay in the inevitable papering over incompetence with dollar bills from the government of the day. See another MUN Gazette piece that covers that part of the story:
Golfman is quoted as saying:
“I was sitting high up in the visitors gallery when the Finance Minister Tom Marshall read the paragraphs about $2 million coming our way for graduate fellowships and I can tell you I just about bounced up to the ceiling and kissed the plaster angels,”
Manna from heaven or at least some plaster angels on the ceiling of Confederation Building.
I’m surprised that the MUN Gazette had the nerve to run a story as the whole matter was so embarrassing that I would have thought that they would have wanted it to go away, not celebrate it.
But celebrate it MUN did. For evidence that there is no shitpile that can’t be gift wrapped in a big red bow, MUN proceeded to put her forward for a national award:
To be fair to MUN, this red bow wrapped shit was written by a communications officer who worked for the Provost so perhaps there are others at MUN who are so enthralled with the leadership from the Provost’s office and might also be concerned about MUN’s future if the Peter principle is alive and well.
Google The Guardian, the UK paper to see live Cohen on Trump. Compare the pussyfoot Inquiry here, where the buck stops nowhere, and everyone forgets. Not sue of this on CNN too as cable down here most of the day. Some grandstanding, but exposure of corruption.
Look also to the Justice Committee, and to testimony by a Native woman, who, for you and I upheld rule of law, truth to power. A very courageous Canadian!
Watching the committee at the moment.Very impressed by Ms. Wilson Reynolds testimony,her truthfulness,and her easy recollection of events.Our local politicians could take some lessons,from what I've seen from the MF inquiry.
Sorry, printed Wilson Raybould but it looks like it defaulted toReynolds
As the saga continues……Paul told us wait to hear from the minister of NR, he knew the day to day details of what was happening with muskrat, as he was too busy being premier and had not been that minister and now too busy to catch up on it. Pass the puck kinda thing. Oh boy what news he told, when he came in to have a social chat with the inquiry boys. Yes, as part of the innugration process to be accepted into the ring, you must have dined at least twice privately with Eddie and indulge in the sipping and slopping of the coolaid. After that there was no problem you could call up Eddie anytime and he would give you all the info you needed anytime of the day or night, even when driving your car home after a long 14 hour day. There was no daylight between nalcor and govt. especially NR. We were one and the same. It was all part of the oversight, under sight and daylight. More is less and less is more. So that's how she worked. So our job was mainly to communicate with the shareholders, the people of the province, to keep them informed, through the house and the fearless media. We couldn't get caught with no answer to a question, or the wrong answer, that was the most important thing to always have the answer, less someone find out something. And that was a 14 hour day job or more and to keep the public informed on the price of oil going up and up and never to come down. And the cost of muskrat was 6.2, no more no less, we must get that message out, so there with no confusion, so I could chat or pay a social visit anytime I wanted to confirm that and see if it had changed. And there was no change …ever. I digress and know Kathy had brought in a bill…number? A couple years earlier earlier that would keep the lid on everything and all air tight. But that was the beginning of the end of the beginning, the people balked at the bill, and it was not air tight anymore, and then them dangled old elections, that was the real spoiler. And after the election we all found out that the figure was not 6.2, but 10.2 or 12.7 with interest. And was only then and since the inquiry that any of these govt. officials including the premier, knew the figure was anything other than 6.2, so very surprised to hear 10.2 or 12.7. Yes, boys that's how she worked, and all was the finess kind. That's my take from the last couple of days says Joe blow, and I'm sticking with it.
As I have not tuned in to the show,I much appreciate such summaries.
And too even Ashley's piece at the Tely as to the globe trotting Nalcor boys. I would have used the title for her piece "Nalcor:all roads lead to Rome" Few jobs site visits, as no 5 star hotels there.
Even Gilberts plans for courting Quebec Innu, preferred helicopter rides, or meetings preferred in Montreal rather than seeing the Innu hunting practises and dependence on the caribou. And for Innu kids, gifts of Nalcor pens and Frizbees,…. honest to God, this Nalcor's lack of show of respect for aboriginal people this day and age. Little different then the miserly amount of 100 British pound value of gifts the Nfld governor approved to send the Beothic via Buchan and Peyton, as a peace offering for 3 centuries of harassment and theft of their resources.
Gilbert Bennett approved the Frizbees, and I wonder what would his parting gift be if he soon departs without cause? A Frizbee would be too appropriate? When I departed in 1975,after 4 years, I got a pen in a case. Not much public money wasted then.