WHEN DOES DECEPTION BECOME A CRIME?

Guest Post by David Vardy
Have
Nalcor and government officials transgressed against the law or have they
simply neglected their duty to serve the province, notwithstanding the
consequences of their actions? That is the question. 

Section
7 of the terms of reference of the Muskrat Falls Inquiry reads as follows:

“The
commission of inquiry shall not express any conclusion or recommendation
regarding the civil or criminal responsibility of any person or organization.”

This
suggests that any action based on legal transgressions must begin outside of
the Inquiry. As the Inquiry progresses through its second phase there may be
evidence which will point clearly to violations of civil and/or criminal law.
The question now is whether sufficient information has been compiled to
determine what recourse the people of the province have as a result of the
injury and damage to the public good.

Former
Premier Kathy Dunderdale boasted that Muskrat Falls had more review than any
other project. Even this were true, which is doubtful, should the assertion
include “independent” reviews manipulated and edited by public officials to
achieve a predetermined outcome?

Determination
to build Lower Churchill 

The
Energy Plan affirms “a plan to develop the Lower Churchill. The evidence
emerging from the hearing is that there was a determination to undertake either
Gull Island or Muskrat Falls. To  support
this plan demand forecasts were exaggerated and the opportunity afforded by
conservation and demand management programs and other alternatives were
dismissed. Up to 2010 most of the focus was on Gull Island either for sale west
or to attract energy intensive industry such as aluminum. In 2010 the attention
of government shifted to Muskrat Falls as part of a deal involving the Maritime
Link to create an Anglo-Saxon Route which had up to then been deemed
uneconomic. Muskrat Falls was driven not by demand for electric power but as
part of a geo-political strategy to bypass Quebec and to seek redress from the injustice
of the Upper Churchill. Without growing demand the replacement of Holyrood was
used to justify the cost of Muskrat Falls.

Joint
Review Panel

What
have we learned from the Muskrat Falls Inquiry? The Joint Review Panel (JRP)
told us they were not convinced that the project had a viable business case.
They called for an independent review of the financial viability of the
project. Sadly this fell on deaf ears.

Natural
Gas

Dr.
Stephen Bruneau made a strong case for natural gas. Government retained Ziff
Consulting to take a critical review. Nalcor officials took control and ensured
that the Ziff report strongly rebutted natural gas as an alternative to Muskrat
Falls. This undue influence exercised by Nalcor came out clearly in the
examination of Nalcor witnesses. Wood Mackenzie did another study on natural
gas and its discussion on liquefied natural gas was removed on the direction of
the Minister of Natural Resources.

DG2
Reviews 

Navigant
were commissioned by Nalcor to give their seal of approval. They reported in
2011 when only DG2 cost estimates were available, based on less than 10% of the
engineering design.

The
PUB was asked to conduct a review, one whose terms of reference were carefully
contrived to prevent the Board from examining all options. They too were given
only preliminary cost estimates and they were denied additional time in order
to access more refined cost estimates.

Despite
pressures to intimidate the Board they held fast to their independence,
concluding that the evidence presented to them did not allow them to reach a
conclusion.

Manitoba
Hydro International

Then
MHI, the PUB’s consultant, was engaged to review the project and to confirm
that it was the “least cost option”. They were given access to the later DG3
cost estimates based on more engineering design. They were denied access to the
risk report prepared by Westney which had recommended inclusion of $500 million
in strategic risk. They were not asked to review the business case. Officials
consciously intruded into the editing of the MHI report, which was touted both
by Nalcor and the Government as the definitive endorsement of the wisdom of
sanctioning the project.

Validation
Estimation 

Validation
Estimation were engaged to review the cost estimates but they raised questions
about the risk assessment. They never completed their report for Nalcor despite
the fact that Nalcor quoted positive comments from a draft report written by
John Hollman and cited it out of context to pretend that the cost estimates
were “best in class”.  Validation
Estimating called for a risk factor higher than a P50 which would have raised
the cost estimates and Nalcor did not want to hear this criticism of their work.

Westney
Consulting

Westney
Consulting CEO and owner Richard Westney told the Inquiry that Nalcor should
have used a P75 cost estimate for contingent and strategic risk and that both
should have been included in the estimate. This would have increased cost by
$1.3 billion.

Independent
Project Review

The
Grant Thornton forensic audit relates how a group of experts was convened to
undertake an expedited Independent Project Review (IPR) within the time frame
of a week and given selected files by Nalcor personnel. They recommended that
strategic risk be included in the final project cost. Nalcor personnel
attempted to edit their report so that it would seek “recognition” of strategic
risk rather than “inclusion” of the $500 million within the cost estimate. The
group resisted this attempt to influence their independent report.

Independent
Engineer

Throughout
the process there were repeated efforts to edit documents and to remove
anything negative about the project and to understate the risks. In its phase 2
report Grant Thornton identified numerous efforts by Nalcor to edit reports
from the Independent Engineer to put a more positive spin on the IE’s
observation that contingency reserves were too low.

Letter
to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty

The
independent review which the Joint Review Panel called for never happened,
despite the great profusion of documents relied upon by Premier Dunderdale and
others as assurances that the government had done its due diligence. In point
of fact they did not allow an independent review to be conducted, nor did the
federal government see fit to listen to the advice we gave in a letter signed
by Richard Cashin, Roger Grimes, Dr. John Collins, Cabot Martin, Ron Penney and
the undersigned to the Federal Finance Minister calling for a “full and
transparent” before the federal loan guarantee was given.

Conclusion
A
picture is emerging of contrived cost estimates and manipulation of
“independent” reports by officials and Ministers. The people of the province
were deliberately misled. At what stage must citizens take legal action to
ensure that those who attempted to mislead the public are brought to justice?

When
information is withheld and independent reports are edited, manipulated and
distorted to achieve a given end are there sanctions which can be invoked other
than penalizing the governing party at the ballot box? Processes have been
subverted and normal checks and balance overruled. The effect has been to
increase the risk of injury to the public good. This has led to an enormous
financial cost to the people of the province.

Is
it fair that the perpetrators of these damaging acts are not held responsible?
Is there any way to hold those who exposed the province to these huge losses
and environmental damages to account and to make them financially responsible?
These are fundamental questions especially for those who believe that the
Inquiry should be about more than the chronicling of irresponsible behavior by
both elected and non-elected officials. It is true that if the project had been
aborted the Lower Churchill Project group would have had to fold its tents. They
had an interest in ramping up a Lower Churchill Project, whether it be Muskrat
or Gull. The Inquiry has yet to hear evidence that those officials personally
benefitted from their actions other than as paid public employees and
contractors.

While
there is no smoking gun pointing at criminal behavior there is clearly evidence
that the norms of due diligence and best practices were overruled. Fraud is
defined as wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or
personal gain. It appears that the Inquiry has no mandate to deal with the
issue of civil or criminal responsibility. If not the Inquiry then who will
take this up? We invite readers to offer their opinions as to how those
responsible can be brought to justice, given that this matter has been excluded
from the Inquiry’s terms of reference.

David
Vardy


THE PROOF MUSKRAT FALLS IS NOVA SCOTIA’S PROJECT

The substance of Hydro’s mission is to satisfy the contracts with Emera to get large amounts of power flowing into Nova Scotia for the betterment of that province and its ratepayers.  The Island could easily live without the Muskrat Fals project and in fact, other than for the onerous Emera contracts, NL ratepayers would be best off if it was abandoned and left to rust.

FIRST YEAR OF OFFICIAL ENERGY DELIVERY NOT QUITE WHAT EMERA BARGAINED FOR

PlanetNL52: Happy Anniversary Emera on 1 Year of Official Energy Delivery Not Quite What Emera Bargained For Despite all the bad news related to Labrador Island...

GROUP SEEKS PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR CABOT MARTIN RESEARCH AWARD

Cabot Martin’s sudden passing, in September, has stirred his friends, colleagues, and others familiar with his work, to honor him and encourage continued work in applied research and public policy development.

106 COMMENTS

  1. It is somewhat late for your eyes to finally open David! What prevented the veil to lift from your eyes? Did it just don on you that no criminal charges, by design, can be called as a result of the "inquiry"?

    Some of us told you so at the outset. Our concerns fell on deaf ears as you and others were in such a rush to find justice in this faux inquiry. Do the LeBlanc "romantics" now deserve a kick in the butt?

    What woke you from your deep sleep Dave?? Was it Kate being whisked away just as the technical questioning commenced?? Was it LeBlanc carrying his rubber chicken? Was it the realization that he was firing Le Blancs?

    I would say better late than never but it is too damned late! When they start to fill the reservoir being the only dam in the world tieing to a quick clay formation what did you think?? Do you belatedly fear that our friends in Labrador will be swept away when the spur fails??? What the fuck took you!????

    For the record Nalcor by the time the JRP was held had abandoned the plans to shutter Holyrood and planned for 6 or 8 CT on the Avalon. Did you not read the EIS to understand how stunned a plan this was????

    It is too damned late David! Sue the emperor. Lets see how that goes.

  2. To law firms across Canada: Please consider leaving an important Canadian legal legacy — spearhead a law suit designed to take down the bad actors that infest this place and are responsible for a 10+ billion dollar fraud. Some of them are very wealthy and powerful, but nothing you can't deal with. Lawyers here are too connected to and dependent upon the political establishment. The public needs out-of-province help.

    Billions in federal money is at stake when we default. We have a provincial insolvency looming – Muskrat Falls is likely the final straw. The North Spur, if it fails this summer, will be Canada's largest engineering disaster. Other provinces are affected too — such as Nova Scotia and its undersea link.

    It would be a massive undertaking, but much of the evidence has already been dug up by the Inquiry.

    Let us know what you think. Are some actors too big to jail?

    • Look at what the GiletsJaunes are doing in France – non violent mass civil disobedience due to absolute contempt for their government. There are large protests every weekend and a media blackout in many countries. This is the 23rd week. Police have been shooting into the crowds with non lethal weapons and people have lost eyes and hands from smoke/teargas grenades. Eventually it will escalate / devolve into civil war. We aren't to that point and hopefully will never be, but apparently France is.

      Maybe they should have invited Might Mouse, but given his corporate roots, I am not sure which side he would be on.

    • From anon 11:14:
      "…political parties; if your platform includes litigation and jail time for those involved in defrauding the public with the Muskrat Falls debacle, you will get my vote"

      That's an extremely relevant approach.
      You must precisely ask politicians what they intend to do about MF's irregularities.

      If there is a demonstrated "appetite" from voters for a real criminal investigation, there will be politicians that will embrace the idea – as they will gather votes. That's the way democracy works.

      Pre MF sanction, voters had no appetites whatsoever for anything else than proceeding with MF. Wonder why no politicians found any interest in criticizing the usefulness/economics of MF – and that Anglo Saxon route…

      That's where David Valdy and the likes are ESSENTIAL; spread awareness to the voters – which in turn incites some politicians to carry the ball. (However I'm not too optimist with current political parties)

    • When removed by the author, it is the one who wrote it that deleted it. When UG removes something, the message says "removed by a blog administrator".

      In all cases, very nice to see some clean up in progress.

  3. I have removed a number of comments that, reasonably assessed, were not contributing to the debate on this topic. One or two comments are welcome but the purpose is defeated when they become personal.

    • Of course they were contributing to the debate. They were spot on, perhaps too pointed for the editor.

      Censorship in all its guises is abhorrent when it eliminates ideas.

      The long rambling eight part anon post is acceptable and pointed free speech not??

  4. It is telling that the only people that have gone to jail over the Muskrat Falls fraud are protestors fight for the public good. This seems to be a trend worldwide — companies and powerful people are too big to jail or get deferred prosecution agreements while those who expose crimes are jailed. Shooting the messenger seems to be a sport.

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/muskrat-falls-charges-dropped-discharged-1.4506457

    Eldrid Davis spent 10 days in jail. Melissa Best spent a night in jail. Their crime was calling public attention to a bad project and inconveniencing powerful interests. I'd be curious what this cost of harassing these protestors cost the taxpayers of Newfoundland.

  5. RE: Original posting

    Its a lot deeper than simply saying that '… this matter has been excluded from …' – there have been several SCC cases on this matter. More or less it comes down to rules of evidence and a persons rights/freedoms – in Canada, Inquires generally cannot name names, opine on charges or instigate investigations. Gomery and Stonechild are very good references on this and why charges don't result from an Inquiry – most here would be well served to read these sources.

    Based on the timing of the Inquiry, it will become an interesting legal battle if any sort of charge are brought as to what evidence will be admitted in a court setting – Charbonneau was different in that charges and investigation were ongoing before the Inquiry was called. I have mentioned before that the rules of evidence that LeBlanc runs the Inquiry under are quite different than what a court case would be lead by – it is likely that most of the evidence used in the Inquiry would be prejudiced in a court proceeding.

    In any event, what would come from a court proceeding (either civil or criminal) – there than bragging rights and vengeance? The money is spent and even if a party is found civilly responsible NL wont get a refund.

    PENG2

    • What would come from it? Deterrence. Future sociopaths will weigh the probability of incarceration against potential financial gains. If we do not prosecute, it sends a message that if you are politically connected and/or wealthy, that you WILL get away with anything and everything. We don't want a two tiered justice system where perpetrators of large crimes that seriously hurt thousands of people (raiding pension funds, billion dollar mega projects, wars) get deferred prosecution agreements or are deemed to big to jail while tiny crimes (peaceful protesting and minor civil disobedience) earns you hard time.

      If someone had told the king that he would go to jail for ramming down a mega project with deceptions and lies and there was enough legal precedent (e.g. Canadians had gone to jail for lies that caused billions in damages), it might never have happened.

    • Anony @ 15:06:

      So there are 3 parties – the PMT, Nalcor and government. The only party the public has a direct connection with is government – and that is who had the duty to the public. The government did what the people wanted (though the public wasn't sufficiently informed either by choice or otherwise).

      To sustain a fraud claim, it would have to be shown that people were personally enriched – and I don't see how the government were personally enriched.

      As for Nalcor and the PMT – if government (rightly or wrongly) said to proceed at all costs, they just did what their job was. I don't think we can claim Nalcor had a duty to the people. As for the PMT, the MF salaries weren't that great and if MF never went ahead, they would have went elsewhere.

      Deterrence? I doubt it would have made any difference – there was a legacy to had, and egomaniac politicians love legacies.

      PENG2

    • Anony @ 15:06:

      Having said that, there is a group that deals with NL Hydro / Nalcor directly – Labrador rate payers and rate payers in remote areas.

      Normally, governments are immune from this type of action – that is why we get boards and commissions setup to give a layer of separation fromt he public – government – ABC.

      I wouldnt see this as being much different than the Cameron Inquiry – it was Eastern health that Crosbie went after (memory tells me he got ~$20m for a group of ~300). Another similar case to consider might be the Mt Cashel abuse situation – I don't think the Church was found guilty of wrong doing, just the subservient ABCs. Can anyone clarify on the Mt Cashel situation as to who was found in the wrong?

      PENG2

    • Part 1:

      The concept of Muskrat Falls is not new. In 1964, the Anglo Saxon Route involved transmitting Churchill Falls power to the island using a submarine cable and a second submarine cable to carry the power to Nova Scotia to go overland to markets. This failed when Hydro-Québec entered into discussions to develop Churchill Falls.

      In 1974, construction began on the land sections of a proposed 11-mile tunnel beneath the Strait of Belle Isle to carry transmission from Labrador to the island. In 1976, this work stopped. In 1978 further work was commenced on a transmission link between Labrador and Newfoundland.

      By 1980, after expending $12 million for the development, this was abandoned.

      All previous attempts with Muskrat Falls or the entire Lower Churchill “Muskrat Falls and Gull Island” were abandoned because the province determined these were not financially feasible.

    • Part 2:

      Long history
      Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro has informed governments for over 30 years that it was uneconomic to bring Muskrat Falls power to the island.

      Therefore, Muskrat Falls is an old concept which has proven time and again to be unsound financially. It is not new; it is not visionary.

      The August 2011 Joint Review Panel ( JRP), which was comprised of federal and provincial appointees, filed a report following an exhaustive study which included 30 days of public hearings in nine locations throughout the province.

      The JRP heard from aboriginal communities, the proponents, and other interested parties. The JRP was a transparent process. The panel found that Nalcor had no known markets for Muskrat Falls power.

      The JRP found that the need to bring Muskrat Falls power to the island had not been established and that there are alternate and economically viable and socially responsible ways to meet electricity demands on the island.

      The Nalcor/Navigant consultation which followed the JRP lacked the transparency of the JRP.

      Why government would endorse the non-transparent Nalcor consultation and discard the findings of the transparent JRP is troubling.

      All of this should be of some concern to the people of the province.

      The Electrical Power Control Act, 1994 (the “Act”) regulates this province’s electrical resources.

      The Act requires that all sources and facilities for the production, transmission and distribution of the province’s power should be managed and operated in the manner that would result in reliable power being delivered to consumers in the province at the lowest possible cost.

      The Muskrat Falls proponents do not address “the lowest possible cost” but have adopted language not to be found in legislation — “the least-cost option.”

      The Act also requires that rates to be charged should be reasonable. Reasonable rates mean affordable electricity. After all, electricity is a necessity. Today we have some of the lowest rates in Eastern Canada. Furthermore, our rates have been stable historically.

      Rates in 2007 and 2009 actually decreased, calling into question government’s assertion that rates increase annually from four per cent to seven per cent on average. That is not correct. Any resident can check their electric bills to uncover the facts

      Here is a residential rate sample based on monthly usage of 2,000 kWh.

      Muskrat Falls will, in fact, destabilize our electricity rates by bringing these rates in excess of New York City prices of 19 cents/kWh. In the meantime, the rest of Atlantic Canada will be paying less

      It is troubling that government cannot provide an answer as to how much a kilowatt will cost after Muskrat Falls. On Feb. 25, 2011, Premier Kathy Dunderdale stated: “The project is not advanced enough at this point to determine with what degree of accuracy you are going to pay per kilowatt hour in 2017.” According to a CBC News article posted March 31, 2011: “New electricity from the planned Lower Churchill hydro development will come in at 14.3 ¢/kWh, the provincial government predicts.” In a subsequent Telegram interview, Premier Dunderdale has now concluded that the kilowatt cost could be as much as 16.5 cents per kilowatt hour. The fact of the matter is that the government does not know what a Muskrat Falls kilowatt will cost.

    • Part 3:

      Cost overruns
      Projects such as Muskrat Falls are known for cost overruns. The World Commission on Dams Report concludes that building dams have overruns on average of 56 per cent. The proposed Site C dam in northeastern British Columbia started at a $3 billion cost estimate and on May 2011, the new price tag was almost $8 billion. Historically there are cost overruns in projects built by both government and private industry. All cost overruns will be charged to your electricity bill because the government has stated that Muskrat Falls is to be paid for in the rates of Newfoundland Power’s 243,000 customers. Pensioners and others on fixed incomes, municipalities, fish plants, churches, stadiums and the oil refinery will all be burdened. Here is a sample of the possible residential monthly costs which could ensue following Muskrat Falls.

      All this comes at a time in which our population growth is declining and aging. The burden of Muskrat Falls will be heavy on our taxpayers as well as our ratepayers. Here are some population figures.

    • Par 4:

      Year Population
      1989…………………………………….576,000
      1992…………………………………….580,000
      2000…………………………………….527,000
      2004…………………………………….517,000
      2015…………………………………….520,000
      2019…………………………………….514,000
      2025…………………………………….513,000

      The JRP report found that there were no known export markets for Muskrat Falls power. This is not surprising. Muskrat Falls power is far too expensive for any province or state to purchase. The governor of Vermont in a recent “Radio Noon” CBC interview advised that there is no corridor in the United States for the transmission of power from Muskrat Falls and there is no infrastructure to accept Muskrat power into the American market. The governor also stated that the price had to be right and was concerned that building would be taking place before these details were worked out.

      Quebec has sold power to Vermont for 40 years. Quebec just recently concluded a contract with Vermont to sell electricity to that state for approximately 5.8 cents per kWh for the years 2012 – 2038. Muskrat Falls prices cannot compete with that.

      One financial analyst has stated that the investment case for selling that power to New England is actually not looking very good, partly because it has more than enough natural gas — cheap natural gas — to meet its own electricity needs for the next decade, at least.

    • Part 5:

      And the final report of the New Brunswick Energy Commission 2010-2011 has proposed natural gas as a viable option to meet the energy needs of the people of New Brunswick.

      Private industry would never develop Muskrat Falls without having established markets prior to development. The Upper Churchill was built by private industry. If private industry will not build Muskrat Falls, why would government risk our taxes on such a venture?

      And here are some other facts. In this province since 2006, over 85 per cent of our electricity has been produced by hydro and less than 13 per cent by the Holyrood generated station; approximately 2 per cent is now wind generated. Holyrood’s oil consumption was 3,678,183 barrels in 2002. In 2010 this had decreased to 1,362,373 barrels. The Holyrood generating station has been completely paid for. Furthermore, the Holyrood generating station will be needed even with Muskrat Falls because it is our only backup generating system on the Avalon Peninsula.

      As Nalcor has stated in a recent capital plan: “It is important to consider that whichever expansion scenario occurs, an isolated island electrical system or interconnected to the Lower Churchill via HVDC link, Holyrood will be an integral and vital component of the electrical system for decades to come.”

      Since 2004, electricity demand is down 15 per cent on the island. There has been negative electricity growth of -2 per cent over the last six years. Further, there is the whole issue of conservation. The state of Connecticut and the province of New Brunswick found that an aggressive approach to funding energy efficiency and conservation programs can achieve significant reductions in total energy use and peak demand. We have never undertaken an aggressive approach to conservation in this province. We have not adopted the Smart grid system which allows consumers greater information and options and improves existing electricity efficiencies. Given a choice between adopting conservation measures or increasing electricity rates, consumers will no doubt opt for conservation.

      The government’s focus seems to be on building for the unknown requirements of future generations — those who may or may not be living here after 2041 and beyond. However, our aging population is living here now. We have had low and stable electricity rates in this province for decades. This should continue. The people of our province are entitled to the lowest possible cost electricity rates. There are other economically viable options available should there be a need established for further electricity development on the island as noted by the JRP. The panel concluded that island demand did not warrant the development of Muskrat Falls.

    • Part 6:

      The primary beneficiaries
      And finally, who will be the primary beneficiaries of Muskrat Falls? While ratepayers in this province will have their electricity rates doubled, Nova Scotia customers will pay considerably less for electricity rates. Emera gets free power for 35 years. Emera will have 100 per cent ownership of the Maritime link for 35 years. Emera will have ownership of 29 per cent of the Labrador/island link for up to 50 years. The government of Nova Scotia will not pay one cent for Muskrat Falls. It is the ratepayers of this province and our own taxpayers who will be subsidizing the rates for Nova Scotia’s electricity users. The residents of this province have no obligation to pay our tax money to produce cheaper electricity for the people of Nova Scotia.

      The need to develop Muskrat Falls has not been established. The need to keep electricity rates at the lowest possible cost, and therefore affordable for the people of our province, should be the government’s priority.

    • Many apologies to UG, but I remember this editorial from when it was published, and often a decent review of just how much work the many dissenters undertook that was ignored is needed to put MF into perspective.

      I wont identify the author, but if he/she reads here I will say you made quite a contribution with this piece of work even though it was ignored.

      PENG2

    • That was indeed a great piece of editorial. I just found it lately (just unbelievable it was written in 2011). Thanks PENG2 for bringing it in.

      Is there a particular reason why analysts (and politicians) elected to ignore this superb piece in 2011?

      FWIW, the last paragraph (somewhat shortened) read as follow:

      —————————————————–

      In 2041 this Province will have available 5425 MW – providing some 30 billion kW hours annually at a price of 1/5 of a cent/kw. This will be the cheapest electricity in the world.

      There are reasonable and affordable alternatives to MF which could get us to 2041. The choice should be obvious.

    • Ex @ 14:49:

      What was the source for your FWIW on the last paragraph? The version I posted above was as presented to the PUB in early 2012, and it can be found in a document I referenced here several times (see 14-MC-2012-02-27).

      I apologize to UG(and will defer to his moderation as necessary) if stepping outside the bounds of identifying persons, but the copyright is clear and the document is publically available, so I think it is OK.

      I will ignore the trash talk below, but am intrigued with Robert saying '…narrow in scope…'. I would have thought broad in scope but somewhat shallow in unsubstantiated opinion to be more accurate.

      PENG2

    • Ex @ 13:43:

      That explains it – I was using the Telegram version, a copy that even the public who didn't following the PUB hearings would most likely have seen. The main difference being is that the Telegram version was confirmed to be in public domain BEFORE the 2011 NL general election – so ignored by the public, your was ignored 'only' by the Government (not sure it really matters much though).

      Both were submitted to the PUB by 2 different parties – your version by the original authors and mine by a concerned citizen who also presented about 120 other letters available in the Telegram to the PUB at the same hearing.

      PENG2

  6. My comment about Bruno, which even Bruno enjoyed, was removed, leaving Bruno's anti-Vardy piece standing.
    Two problems with my view, now deleted: 1. Vardy is but one of the 3 or 4 regulars dedicated to attending the Inquiry, and informing reader on UG on the big picture. 2. They are open to absorbing the cheap shots at their character, whether at the Inquiry or on this blog, and not needing a defence that might make them blush, and can invite additional personal comments, being off topic.
    Yet, Bruno was a bit funny, with his Mighty Mouse comment, now deleted.
    The moderator has a tolerance for funny, on the check list, but too much does take away from debate on the topic. So we lose a few good laughs today. As with Leblanc who hit his desk, tormented by Ed Martin, enough is enough. We must respect who is running the show.
    WA

    • Here I come to save the day,
      Which means that Mighty Mouse is on the way!
      Yessir when there is a wrong to right,
      Mighty Mouse will join the fight!
      On the sea or on the land,
      He gets the situation well in hand!

      Were not worrying at all,
      Were just listening for his call!
      Here I come to save the day,
      Which means that Mighty Mouse is on the way!

      Fear not Mickey Muskrateers,
      Dave will dry your tears,
      Here comes Mickey to right the wrongs,
      Gil won't stand a chance, when Mickey comes along!

    • Bruno, you earn the title of being "cracked", which is not necessarily a bad thing.
      You are getting a better sense of humour. The last lines, were really good " Fear not Mickey Muskrateers,Dave will dry your eyes", and for new readers of UG, Gil being "Gilbert Bennett" of Nalcor, it cracked me up, a real belly laugh.
      My wife asked what was so funny, so I read it to her.
      Maybe the Uncle should repost the deleted comments?
      You may be competition for the other bard on UG.
      Winston

  7. We live in a country where the PM can attempt to obstruct justice and those who attempt to prevent him are fired, while several high level bureaucrats fall on their swords in an attempt to exonerate him.
    We live in province where a person can seek high office and then quit once he has his business interests solved by a minister of the crown using taxpayers money. The minister loses his job but no other justice appears to have been sought or obtained. Inquiry is suggested by some successor politicians but never implemented.
    We live in province where a man can be visited at home on Easter Sunday by a policeman because of a perceived threat to politicians and end up dead.
    We live in a province where chief executive officers and others who promote and mess up boondoggles are rewarded with golden parachutes.
    No one involved in the Muskrat debacle(parachutees excepted}has even lost their job because of it let alone been found criminally responsible for it.
    Good luck finding justice for this one.

  8. A good summination of the Inquiry thus far by Mr. Vardy, and ask the question, who will take up the task, for which the Inquiry has no mandate, of civil and criminal responsibility. I suspect this was not music to the ears of some of those responsible for muskrat. Some may view it as incitement for the naysayers to express their opinions openly. As a free democratic society then that is exactly how it should play out.
    The Telegram anonymous post from 2011 is interesting, well written, realistic and shows some foresight. And it is really saying what a lot of post on this blog over the past few years has been saying, maybe not outlined in such rational format as the Telegram post. It is what has been know by any informed citizen, including the proponents, and mover and shakes of muskrat. But they chose to ignore it.
    The main points covered:

    P – 1. Introduction

    P – 2. Summary of long History of developing and bringing Labrador power to the Island – No economic or business case can be made.

    P – 3. Cost overruns of large hydro projects.

    P – 4. No markets for muskrat power – too expensive.

    P – 5. Declining needs on the Island for electric power.

    P – 6. Primiriary beneficiaries of muskrat power – NS and Emera.

    These points have been made over and over on this blog, maybe with not as much foresight as the telly article, but in more detail. As for the author of the 6 pieces, it would be interesting if he/she was an hydro/economic expert or a concerned citizen. It is not a technical analysis but rather a knowledge and common sense analysis of CR power and the maratime route. Most citizens knew this, but were convinced otherwise by the nalcor/govt. intent to mislead the public. Joe blow, average Joe, AJ.

  9. This is an entirely new field. When does deliberate malfeasance, deceit and falsification become criminal? Are there any laws that spell out the need for integrity amongst elected government officials? Or it it a misplaced expectation?
    From all what I heard at the Inquiry, and I followed it very closely, the conduct of Nalcor Executives, Ed Martin, Gilbert Bennet, Paul Harrington was abysmal – but did they break any laws of the Land. We expect them to be honest and truthful. Once again this is an expectation – with no consequences if these expectations are not met. Numerous Deputy Ministers were grossly negligent in their duty. Is there a law which requires them to be diligent?

    What I find hard to understand is that, if you go over the speed limit while driving there are consequences – if you mislead half a million people to the magnitude of several billion dollars, there are no consequences.

    Something to think about. Perhaps the laws of the Land may need to be written differently.
    Regards
    James Pearce

  10. If our laws were written to protect people, and not written to protect corporate interests and the status quo, we would have:

    1) Harm / Damages: Billions will be repaid via rates, taxes or reduced services. Clear the public was harmed in a non-trivial way with Muskrat Falls.

    2) A conspiracy: since clearly one person could not have done this in a vacuum: Many people worked together to force this project upon the Canadian public by abusing their power, ignoring advice, commissioning misleading reports (e.g. to counter S. Bruneau), lying about costs and the need for power and alternatives, neutering the public utilities board, editing so called independent reports, harassing and jailing protestors, the lack of investigative journalism by the CBC etc.

    A group of people that conspire to cause billions of dollars of harm to society should be prosecuted and incur penalties proportional to their involvement. For some, it should be loss of their professional licenses, while the ringleaders should be serving jail time. Only the realistic prospect of jail will deter these people, fines are only the cost of doing business. HSBC paid 1.9 billion in a laundering settlement as part of a DPA. A real deterrent for such a bank to stop dealing with organized crime would be jailing the board of directors.

    Unfortunately, our democracy is a charade. We choose between pre-selected party leaders that are often compromised (e.g. blackmailable) and used as puppets by powerful interests. Although we vote for local representatives, these members have to tow the party (or leaders) line or they end up like Jody Wilson-Raybould. It is relevant that Jody did not want to use a deferred prosecution agreement for SNC (apology/fines rather than criminal convictions), the same SNC which is also involved with the Muskrat Falls project – and was removed as justice minister for being independent.

    What can we do immediately? I suggest that we vote independent / NDP / Alliance and hope we end up with a coalition that has to rule by consensus. Without complete control, such a group will not be able to ram the next wave of disasters down our collective throats. I am thinking of private-public partnerships for old age homes / hospitals / jail that will cost us billions.

    • Sadly you hit the nail on the head. Our democracy has become a sham with no accountability. Junior's treatment of Judy was hardly "sunny ways".

      DPA rules (as much as I hate them) demand the offender apologize. SNC has just said move along we have a new CEO. Unless jailtime is on the table we get shams like MF with the perpetrators as arrogant as Ed Martin.

      The Westminster system of democracy is collapsing worldwide with the far right resurgent. NL is an example of what happens when accountability in government vanishes. We all fall victims to narcissistic megalomaniacs who saw off two of the three legs of democracy's stool (regulation, accountability) while their henchmen like PENG2 blame the strongman's victims, you, for the dysfunction.

      What we are left with is the awful choice before NL residents between the guilty or the incompetent . Democracy is more than an empty gesture, a meaningless vote once every four years.

      You are correct about PPP arrangements. They are an accounting trick that removes the cost from the books when a project is complete and replaces that with billions more over 35 years (or more). It makes the current governments books look better and pushes the bigger costs largely down the road. Sound familiar?

    • Engineering flood control standards for dams and hydraulic structures have changed over the years since 1915 when the Bell Falls dam was built. It has been the norm for many years now to design for much larger floods. The upper Churchill for instance was designed to pass the 1 in 10,000 year return period flood without damage and the maximum probable flood with the expectation of some damage. One would assume that the Muskrat designs followed similar modern design standards? As for plans for flood emergencies, they should be in place and include evacuation plans for those who have built in low lying river flood zones.

    • Not confident at all, after all the politicians and Nalcor leaders are big on taking risks on our behalf, P50 was it on cost overrun risks, so on property risk and risks to people who knows? Maybe they have a super insurance policy that allows for greater risks?

    • The North Spur is not safe. Calculations for dams are pretty standard except in this case, the north spur contains unstable clays and the quantity and location of the clay is unknown. There are no standard calculations for quick clay in unknown quantities. We have heard stories about drilling rods sinking overnight and dump truck loads liquefying while driving. Nobody knows how well it will hold up. It is anything but safe. The concrete part of the dam is far more predictable. I expect the concrete dam is safe.

  11. our democracy will survive when our elected offices are filled with those interested in public service only. our voters need to ensure they put in the best candidates for serving the public interest. vote not for a party. vote for the integrity of your representative.

    since the first mandate, waiting for oil to bounce back, they’ve laid the ground work with all the unions to freeze hemerroaging wages. they laid a public propaganda campaign with these sunshine lists to disparage hard working people, and to slight an economy that has done well since 1949, shame shame for your success. maybe we should return to those pre confederation conditions and continue to blame joey smallwood because we failed to vote for good public servants.

    I digress, with a 20 year old figure of 100 000, ignoring cost of living and inflation, we shame our public workers for trying to keep up with oil company and mining company wages. because competition for labour does not happen.

    the clyde wells liberals of 2019 have laid ground work for public support against government spending, yet continues to spend. they ask nalcor to cut costs to fund its new ceo and oil energy company. they plan to wait for oil to come back, distance themselves from nalcor and say see danny this way was better, we are not nalcor. shame shame.

    nalcor waits for government since 2015 to force it to do something about costs. government delays until a second mandate, praying for oil prices, plastering shame-shine lists, and waiting for the PUB to force it to do something about costs.

    freeze more wages, sell gull island to HQ, sell the 40 percent of the LITL you actually own to Emera and prop up shares and returns for Fortis in 2020 by selling brand new transmission assets from Hydro, for Liberal friendly shareholders, ceos and former premiers and loyal donors.

    no new fees or taxes in 2019. nope. but a 2020 report from the PUB to sell sell sell and new taxes in 2020 beyond until a third mandate hopefully comes with the rising oil of 2022.

    still waiting for oil so the liberals do not have to cut spending. cut up your credit cards govt, stop spending, stop waiting for oil to fix your debts. sell sell sell.

    and please dont forget to pony up the 5 billion in unpaid pension funding. there will be lots of old retirees trying to pay for MF debt over the next 75 years.

    bad professional politicians should be held accountable for poor decisions. bad companies managers shoukd be held accountable for bad decisions. and the process should not take three mandates. it should not require years of sunshine shaming and liberty reports. make the right decisions in the interest of the public. if we all become poor seniors without pensions, you have to pay more for social welfare programs!

    • Yes; Most of your progressive, public serving ideas would be possible, if voters smartened up, followed PEI voters, gave no majority to the heathen party organizations, kept control from slipping again to the culprits. Vote strategically and beware, NLers!! Shake the establishment, wear a gillet-jaune!

  12. i don't care who is currently elected and what they have done. I don't really care about the long suffering history of this place. And I don't care whether the people involved in this, are from Newfoundland and Labrador or not. It's irrelevant. What I care about is the fact that this was fraudulent and possibly criminal behavior and that people (no matter who they are, where they are from and what their station is in society) should be held to account. So let's set up a website were people can make donations find a good lawyer, outside this province if necessary and sue the bastards!! And if successful distribute the money equally to the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador, they are going to need it …

  13. Vardy asks: When does deception become a crime?

    Muskrat Falls was a plan to divert oil wealth to renewable energy via the lower Churchill. On the surface maybe appeared sound,but we know it was a crazy scheme without a business case,cost expected to double from 6.2 to 13.7 billion, and to solve a problem that could have been solved with 2 billion or less with a good electricity plan.
    As AJ says, a bunch in control had oil on the brain, for which there is no cure, and they envision more schemes for promised 50 billion more barrels offshore. Worldwide, oil is a curse for corruption and greed and and crime, especially in countries with lax rule of law, and no accountability.
    Is the deception we see here, that can put us on the road to bankruptcy, in any way connected to crimes committed, or just incompetence and stupidity? It is mafia style, with "can't remember" the default answer, and by design, no notes of important meetings when decisions were made.
    PF

  14. A decade ago, in deep water off Brazil, vast reserves of oil were discovered.Soon the disease of oil on the brain (ONB) manifested.
    "Operation Carwash" is the result of ONB there;a corruption scandal involving politicians and businessmen; those that took bribes: senators, federal deputies, other public figures and businessmen.
    People indicted, 179, people convicted 93, companies involved 16. Many neighbouring countries involved in South America.
    The oil Company, Petrobras. Their 2015 financials statements it admitted to 2.1 billion in bribes, saying a conservative figure, and 17 billion write down due to graft and overvalued assets, and forced to sell 13.7 billion in assets in 2017.
    The money laundering scheme totalled 9.5 US dollars billion by 2017.
    The investigation still continues. Just last week, April 17, the prior president of Peru shot and killed himself when police knocked on his door about to arrest him.
    On a smaller scale such crimes went on for decades. But this one, all political parties and the justice were party to cover ups. What changed recently was a new independence of the justice system that allowed police investigations, to expose crimes of corruption.
    So , the question, is the deception we see with Nalcor involving crimes, that the Rule of Law here does not expose, and no accountability?
    Are we similar to banana republic corruption, where there they now start to have accountability?
    Or this here mere incompetence and stupidity?
    That is the question.
    PF

    • Correction:
      Oil on the brain, is a type of TB, the traditional one affecting the lung, where as this on the brain, So actually OOTB
      The diagnosis is by PET Scan, as we now have one of these costing 46 million.
      The procedure is to use a contrast agent, then show the patient pictures of oil rigs, oil in a glass, whatever, and if prone to the symptoms, a part of the brain lights up, that part controlling emotions such as greed. People who are amoral and not ethical are prone to consider crime to satisfy greed and other evil emotions.
      Where we now have the medical tools, all MHAs should be subjected to this PET scan to weed out the bad dudes.
      PF

    • On a more serious note, functional MRI brain scans are being used to study sociopaths. They seem to lack empathy and their brains function differently. If MRI brain scanning becomes standard procedure some day, should we ban sociopaths from public office? Might sociopaths be better at some tasks because emotions like empathy, compassion, fear or remorse won't get in the way?

  15. For me personally I’m still scratching my head over this exert from the testimony of Kathy Dunderdale at Phase 2 of the Muskrat Falls Inquiry:

    “There are no briefing documents or notes to clear up the confusion, since note-taking was discouraged because there was a fear of leaks, Dunderdale testified.”

    Why the media and lawyers never pursued this answer in more detail baffled me?

    Obviously it showed an intent to not take notes or properly record meetings.

    Who decision was it to do this?

    What potential “leak” would warrant not taking notes?

    If there was a leak it would obviously fall into 2 categories, good news or bad news?

    So for me the only logical reason to try and block leaks would be to conceal bad news/publicity for the Muskrat Falls Project!

    For me it clearly shows an intent to deceive and/or cover up what was occurring with the project from the get go!

  16. A REFERANDUM on Equalization!!!! What does that mean??? Question of the week on NTV. Think also a major plank in Ches's election plan. MAybe we could have a referandum on apple pie and motherhood. I would definitely vote for it. I would also vote for sunshine and moonshine. Why not??? And if we don't get it, what do we do??? Assinate the weatherman or weather lady. Ches will have to explain that one in simple terms to get my vote. Does it man we will separate, and go it alone if we win or loose the vote?? Quite the threat … A referandum. The whole mainland is shaking in their shoes… Wringing hands and praying for no more floods thinks Joe blow. Yes… We are bringing down the wroth of God on them, or maybe chess is just playing to his base.

  17. Anonymous26 April 2019 at 18:400 It looks like no such editorial exists. It may be a lying figment of the trolls imagination. What the troll does wish the editorial did say is all his post is about!

    • I had wondered if this was a OP-Ed piece, Opinion Editorial submitted, and not by Telegram staff?
      If this was Oct 2011, I think it was maybe Feb 2012 I presented at the PUB on Efficient Heating and demand reduction, and Oct/NOv 2012 the Telegram published 3 piece from me on EE, heat pumps, reducing demand reduction at Holyrood etc
      The pieces mentioned by PENG2 predates my pieces, is interesting as cites CDM at Connecticut and NB. However my by research indicated the NE states, mostly Vermont was the leader, and as for Canada,I learned , maybe 2013 or later NS was big into this since 2008, not NB, but NB later as to minisplits , cold climate models specific incentives for peak demand reduction.
      However the pieces content suggest similar to JM submittal to the PUB in 2012 in some respects.
      EX says he came across this in the Telegram?
      If either can gives dates?
      The Telegram has deleted some past online info, such as my pieces form 2012, so has that happened with this too, if you cannot find it Bruno.?
      Winston

    • We seem ground down on historic rooting of the current energy mismanagement. Let's be more forward looking. What can you do as Kennedy said for your country? How do we get R3000, zero net energy, low carbon footprint, and a peaceful civil society in our futures?

    • By the way Robert I am all for ignoring trolls like PENG2. Others take his bait always and it usually is a pack of lies. His latest doozies in this post are epic and borne of desperation. He knows most now see through his crap.

      I have been doing for my country for decades. The pay is generally shitty, rewards are few and you are likely to get kicked in the arse by the Byes you came to the aid of.

      You Robert?

    • Bruno, PENG2 says he will not reveal the name of the author, suggesting it exists and he knows who wrote it.
      I await PENG2 response, as it seems silly to post this thinking no one would check it was real, and seems a credible piece reflecting the status at that time. PENG2 is usually, but not always quick to respond. Then Ex Military says he has read it add adds a few lines missed by PENG2. If it exists, will you admit an error by you?
      Winston

    • We all can contribute, (whatever age, creed, vocation, etc.), to betterment of society. A noble cause. What is past, should not be given more than a passing glance. One of our Senior Electrical/Mechanical Engineers, Jim Wells would say; "get your personality out of the design". In his own way, PENG2 does on occasion enlighten, with his own experience, albeit sometimes narrow scope.

  18. Fraudulent or Mis-Representation?

    From Thomas Reuters Practical Canadian Law Glossary

    Misrepresentation
    An untrue statement of fact or law made by Party A (or its agent) to Party B, which induces Party B to enter a contract with Party A thereby causing Party B loss. An action for misrepresentation can be brought in respect of a misrepresentation of fact or law.

    There are three types of misrepresentation:

    Fraudulent misrepresentation: where a false representation has been made knowingly, or without belief in its truth, or recklessly as to its truth.

    Negligent misrepresentation: a representation made carelessly and in breach of duty owed by Party A to Party B to take reasonable care that the representation is accurate. If no "special relationship" exists, there may be a misrepresentation under section 2(1) of the Misrepresentation Act 1967 where a statement is made carelessly or without reasonable grounds for believing its truth.

    Innocent misrepresentation: a representation that is neither fraudulent nor negligent.

    The remedies for misrepresentation are rescission and/or damages. For fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation, the claimant may claim rescission and damages. For innocent misrepresentation, the court has a discretion to award damages in lieu of rescission; the court cannot award both (see section 2(2) of the Misrepresentation Act 1967). For more information, see Practice note, Misrepresentation.

    End of Quote, and start of comments.

    What the Commissionaire must clearly define is who knew what at the time of Financial Close. Did the Province know about the extra costs, the P3 schedule, the lack of strategic risks when the project was effectively sanctioned? If not then there may be a case for misprepresentation by the project proponents (Nalcor)…. and a bunch of mid level managers who did not whistleblow.

    • Fraudulent of course they knew but had the Emperor's legacy to fulfill regardless the cost. The public were the dupes kept in the dark like the 12.7 billion lie we will soon find out has crept to close 15 billion now (and counting).

    • Bruno, what is Bruno batteries can help stabilize the DC power infeed to Soldiers pond, it will add costs, propelling it higher than 12.7 billion, but might that be a good thing if beneficial to operation? So would this be good or bad, if it happens? True it would be good , or true it would be bad, or both? Or relative, depending on the extra cost? Maybe a bit like removing the soil and vegetation issue. DO we keep spending more and more, so say no?
      Winston

    • Bruno, I wanted an answer and you gave it. It is not far fetched that MFs may benefit from batteries. But if so, even a Bruno/Tesla battery costing 1.00( as you prefer absolutes) is madness, so you are on the record here. And if you change your opinion, it means you are mad, right, like the Nalcor crowd? But being rock solid and absolute, you have no worry?
      Winston

  19. If I was still living in NL, and voting, I would first of all put aside my disgust with past Party affiliation, male dominated, and ask how best to bring about necessary change. My conclusion; vote and give encouragement to the female candidate. What impresses me most about Mdm Dunderdale is that she continues to encourage women to become involved in community leadership roles. Just how many males are worthy to lead? Dwight or Ches, flip a coin. Ministers? be selective as to gender. Hopefully, no majority. Party? not important any more. Get the best representative for common good, in your district onto the team.

  20. Peckford's Piece: New Energy Economy: Magical Thinking.
    This worth reading, but read the whole 20 page report.
    Magical thinking is by those to think that batteries (Bruno? Tesla), solar and wind can solve replacement of the fossil fuels.
    Indeed largely impossible. Not sure why the author excludes nuclear in his analysis as part of the mix.
    Peckford promotes fossil fuel use,and maybe this is intented by him to post this link? Yet this piece of analysis supports my view expressed that Climate Change mitigation is largely impossible to achieve in the time frame necessary, even with robust renewables.
    So likely climate change much harder than to solve, yet the problem more urgent.
    If one accepts the physics, when what is the alternative or additional proposals to reign in fossil fuel use?
    Winston Adams

    • Obviously Bruno ,you have not read the piece, there is much fact and science and physics there.
      I could go on for months in bits and pieces to tell you the limits of batteries and solar and wind,(and energy efficiency and heat pumps) and also cite their benefits benefits, which I have. But that piece is not to be dismissed as mere BS. Even pumped storage, while a great asset is small as to the extend of the problem.
      Read the piece and then say where he is wrong, or what he is is missing. The guy is an engineer and economist, and an impressive piece that deserves more than the title BS. That suggest a closed mind, which you need to pry open more.
      Just watched an interview online with one of the key players in Extinction Rebellion, who says we have to expect sacrifice and loss and reduced expectations for the future. This seems likely , as all expect things to improve and greater wealth going forward, which requires more and more energy use. You seem to practise, or suggest, a more frugal way of living…….so is this too part of the solution?
      Winston

    • What I thought was a flaw was saying no invention or disovery in th e past 100 years matches or comes close to the energy of fossil fuel. I thought this an error as to nuclear energy.So, I just read that nuclear energy is 8000 times more efficient. But nuclear is more expensive than fossil or renewables.
      Seems the report deliberately avoided comparisons with nuclear.
      Indeed, the climate change experts advocates for nuclear , wind solar , hydro etc to tackle climate change.
      So , on that basis this report seems in error, but even so, the built up rate for the world is almost impossible to meet in time, from all these sources. Much of his data on that is fairly accurate, requiring war type or more initiative.
      Do you oppose nuclear. It has caused 46 lives in the past 7 decades, the safest by far, is mot cheap also.
      Winston

    • I got Elon Musks email update the day after Earth Day. Somewhat impressive but still a puff piece, and then their financial report the day after showing big losses. That was about 50 pages and i read it all, so this report of 20 pages was no big deal. And the truth often lies somewhere in between, unless you believe in absolutes all the time.
      Some data is striking : all Tesla batteries to date could run the US power system for 2-3 seconds! The scale for a massive conversion ,off fossil fuel, world wide, will take a near miracle, if not impossible, in time. (Nalcor could do it)!
      Winston

    • The costs of the FIRST nukes like the ones I toured in Pickering as a teenager, have yet to be tallied. The spent fuel still lie in pools UNDER!#%@# the reactors! Energy "to cheap to meter" was the refrain from your profession Winston.

      Nukes are the dumbest way yet devised to boil water. It is the most expensive energy, even more than MF with Full Cost Accounting (FCA). Nukes have no place in finding a fossil free future.

    • THREE Mile island alone killed more than 64. After Chernobyl and Fukushima and the curse to future generations Winston nukes will already kill tens of thousands. It is the curse that keeps on killing Winston.