(A shoo-in)

President and CFO
penny-stock promotion:
pump and dump, and shady guys –
Dicks can’t recall a portion.
If, he’s Government elect,
With experience and contacts’ dance
He’s a defect select perfect
For Minister of Finance.
May 7, 2019


Bill left public life shortly after the signing of the Atlantic Accord and became a member of the Court of Appeal until his retirement in 2003. During his time on the court he was involved in a number of successful appeals which overturned wrongful convictions, for which he was recognized by Innocence Canada. Bill had a special place in his heart for the underdog.

Churchill Falls Explainer (Coles Notes version)

If CFLCo is required to maximize its profit, then CFLCo should sell its electricity to the highest bidder(s) on the most advantageous terms available.


This is the most important set of negotiations we have engaged in since the Atlantic Accord and Hibernia. Despite being a small jurisdiction we proved to be smart and nimble enough to negotiate good deals on both. They have stood the test of time and have resulted in billions of dollars in royalties and created an industry which represents over a quarter of our economy. Will we prove to be smart and nimble enough to do the same with the Upper Churchill?


  1. Interesting reading mr. Hollets detailed analysis of the on going polling results. Seems the PC's are on a very slight upward trend over the liberals, with the other parties wallowing far behind and the undecided up and down. He is expecting the polling that will come out over the weekend will give a clearer indication of what might be happening and if the PC will continue their upward trend. Of course that is mainly showing the popular vote direction, which may or may not give an accurate reading of the actual number of seats for any party, but in his analysis of a few days ago he did take that into account. The one possible influencing factor not being taken into account, not even by the polling companies is any connection of the voters between the political strip elected here with the political strip that will be elected in Ottawa this time around. Some say it doesn't matter, others think it does and there are advantages and disadvantages of being the same or opposite stripes. I am among those who believe it does. The one thing for sure is that for every additional dollar that comes from the Feds will be a blessing to provincial coffers. Ball and Shamus and Justin seem to hit it of, will Crosbie and Sherr ( god I don't even know how to spell his name yet, but that's not unusual for me.) do the same. All an unknown factor. This is why I was all for having our election after the Feds rather than before, as it would give us one additional known factor when casting our vote says Joe blow.

    • Don't blow it and repeat the sad history of NLers voting a majority to that other guy.

      Keep the power with the people. Remember the Magna Carter, the result of which passed the power from the Monarchy to the land barons, who formed the roots of Tory party

  2. I don't like what the PC's did under William's, Nalcor, inflation of the govt, and increase in expectation. None of which sustainable. But the current PC leader is at least an alternative to the current Liberal leader who has done nothing.

    • We do need to do something soon to address the financial situation, otherwise will have zero input when the federal government steps in to bail us out and installs a commission of government. Beggars can't be choosers.

      The Federal Government will have to bail us out because having an Canadian province default will affect the credit ratings of all provinces. The bailout will be delayed until we cannot make government payroll, or conversely, make payroll and default on bank loans.

      Puerto Rico defaulted with 70 Billion in debt, or US$20,000 per capita. NL debt is at CAD$28,000 per person and rising rapidly.

      I figure leaders have at most 10 years to kick the can down the road. By then, the current leaders will all be collecting pensions.

  3. The brave fearless media is at it again. They follow the inquiry and the best they can come up with is drama of flowers and a tear stained stand. Sure I have sympathy for Mr. Delarosbil and his workers that loose their jobs every day, through no fault of their own. But shit happens in life and in commercial ventures. The saddest thing about the boondoggle is despite the failings of a lot of people, especially govt. and Nalcor, a lot of good people did great work on the project, on both sides, but it was all for naught. We did not need the power and not the least cost option, that is the tragedy of muskrat. Let some tears be shed for that. That's why I have referred to muskrat as the equilivent of a war. A lot of sweat and tears was shed but all in vain. That's the real tragedy says Joe blow, and you and I will be paying for it for the next 70 years. As I understand it Nalcor was paying Astaldi, but Alstadi was not in turn paying their workers. And that is before the courts now. The parent company in Rome should have fulfilled their responsibility to their workers and paid them. There are lots of banks that will lend money for that very reason as well as many others.

  4. There is a good reason that so many ethically challenged and sociopaths with dubious pasts end up in politics. Blackmail. Behind the scenes actors and funders want to be able to control our leaders, lest they get out of hand.

    For example, a leader refuses to ratify an international trade deal that isn't in the best interest of the local population, refuses to allow a deferred prosecution agreement (apologize + fine rather than jail time), nationalizes something, changes bankruptcy law to protect pensions etc. So many things that a good politician might do that would cost industry billions. Supporting compromised politicians is cheap insurance.

  5. Mr.Jason Kane was on the stand (former Nalcor Manager) or is he still on the take (I mean Payroll) ?

    Seems he is spending far too much time in the sunny south since Mr. Mac turfed his ass. He said he had an attorney on his Nalcor team. Well I can assume Nalcor has many lawyers but they don't call themselves attorneys !

    Book smart Kane with no real experience ! stop reading those US books or move to Houston.

    • Small world:
      Last summer some may recall me commenting from Houston,(my first time there) where my wife was to undergo liver surgery.
      While at the airport, someone says to me "See that guy over there, that's Jason Kean, an engineer, he used to work with Nalcor". I never made the connection until I saw his name on the witness list, and I then wondered what he did at Nalcor.

    • Kean had responsibility for risk assessment and management, so lots of charts and diagrams. Seems I heard testimony of risk # 151, so there were big risks and many smaller ones it seems.
      Lots of theory and philosophy, but how did it work out when 7.1 billion jumped to 12.7, an increase of about 5.5 billion, suggests a few risks got past the Gate Keeper.
      On just the transmission line 900 million increase. And Kean, questioned by his own lawyer,seem pleased, good value for money, robust line, access even for maintenance. WOW. And that was not part of the risk prior to sanction, that maintenance would be needed?
      So 900 million extra on that line, and I think back….1985, Clarenville Hospital, 15 million? 1986, Bruin Hospitla 20 million cost? Can this be right, or my memory fail me? At 18 million, that is 50 hospitals. But there is inflation since then, even so , would it pay for 20 such hospital now? Must be my memory in these stressful times. And that 900 million, only for extras on that line, risks not included when sanctioned.
      Did you advocate for reserves for such risks ? he was asked. Not really, not his call, but everyone knew the risks existed.
      His lawyer, at the end, had many facial contortions, as if to say, not much chance anyone watching is going to believe us here, that we have delivered on value for money spent, so job well done, going out strong, back on track.
      When asked by MFCCC Budden: can you say if this line will deliver reliable power? He could not confirm that either, someone else's call he says.
      Kean … a key player, as to risks, 12.7 billion, a Happy face,smiling at times, yet can't say if we are to get reliable power!
      Lowest cost and reliable power is the key requirements. 5.5 billion over run after sanction, and can't even say if the power will be reliable! Is this guy for real? A clown?
      So much for his fishbone diagram. Sure to impress Leblanc.
      He was pleased…. the transmission line ahead of Alstrom he said, very pleased. Alstrom is the guys with the software problem, if not solved than that answers the question…… power will not be reliable…..we hear that today from the C&P (Control and Protection) engineer. Poor software caused the crash of the Boeing's jets, and software can crash our power grid too. Was this risk not part of Kean's responsibility too, from the get go, or someone else under the shakeup by Stan Marshall?
      A mess? My grandson when about 3, would say a mesh. Muskrat, one hell of a mesh, is it not?
      Winston Adams

    • For those who missed the fishbone diagram, as presented by Kean:
      As a Nflder, UG readers should be familiar with fish bones: you see the backbone, the spine like part and all the smaller bones left from filleting and discarded. The smaller bones are attached at an angle, not 90 degrees, but more like 20 or 30 degree. A herring has many more of these bones, and tedious to pick them out from a smoked kipper.
      If you make a basic sketch, these small bones all attach at an angle, on either side, to the main backbone, in the direction of the head of the fish.
      So, if one says each of these small bones presents a risk, that feeds to the main risk structure, they all point in the same direction and accumulate to a total risk. Almost like the flooding risk of Mud Lake, where all the smaller tributaries of water feed into the Churchill and accumulates as a major risk at MudLake in Mid May each year.
      That is the jist of the fishbone diagram.
      I never heard of that approach of analysis before, but it is illustrative. Naturally, I wondered what type of fish Kean had in mind. Recall that if Nfld , the Catholic church deemed that a seal was a fish, to circumvent the rule of not eating meat on Fridays.
      With the aid of Google I found that Kawaski ship yards in Japan used this type of diagram in the 1960s, but that it goes back to the 1920s, so not a new idea, but a century old.
      If 6 or 8 risks, it looks ok,on paper, and of benefit as an illustration, but if many and complex risks,(you get a lot of lines, like a herring bone say), and the diagram becomes unusually cluttered.
      So the Inquiry showed a quick shot of one of Kean's diagrams, and I counted about almost 50 lines feeding in, and explanations for them all, so , yes very cluttered. So imagine if the more than 150 risks were all part of that diagram!
      We know that Kean never, and no one it seems, advocated to the Gatekeeper,the Head of Nalcor, Ed Martin, at to making financial allowances for these risks ( to ensure MFs was corralled to be least cost). We can conclude that they had no backbone, so spine say, to protect the ratepayer from out of control costs.
      So what sort of fish would best illustrate for Judge Leblanc that he see how the risk analysis by Kean and Nalcor was such a huge failure?
      What came to mind was a jellyfish. Not the smaller ones that you look right through, but the larger ones,a foot in diameter, with all those, a hundred or more, long messy stringy things hanging off, and the insides not transparent as to whats inside. That fish seems to symbolise Muskrat risk better. And too, jelly fish, they say, have no brains.
      Boondoggles are a special species of projects, requiring special analysis to discover why they became boondoggles.
      With our maritime heritage, surely the jellyfish, I submit, is symbolic, and represents the risks, in an illustrative way, better than any other of our local fish: no backbone and no brains.
      Winston Adams

    • The educated elites who plied their trade at the Muskrat, (for significant pay), let's all agree, is most impressive. Reminds me of 1914, where the elite corps of British officers, we are told, were sacrificed at and near Ypres. Some of these fine project team members at NALCOR, have come forth with admissions that having served with the best of mates, overall management was poorly done. Could it be that the Mission , Campaign, or Voyage was the was the Problem. What waste! What cost! NL will learn to survive, like just another seal fishery Colonial Building Riot, or marine disaster. Courage! Pride!

    • From bonefish to bifurcation:
      The bonefish term was new to me, but bifurcation I was familiar with since the 1970s as to exhaust fans: because for gases in the air stream that are hazardous to the motor, whether too hot, or acid content, or grease, or abrasive particles,etc, the solution is to bifurcate. The air is SPLIT around a motor tunnel,to protect the motor.
      So it was that Stan did some splitting, (therefore bifurcated) the project into two parts: generation under Gilbert Bennett, and transmission under John MacIssac.
      This a change of philosophy, that Stan must have assessed as less risky to get the project back on tract. Some thought otherwise. Jason Kean, the risk engineer, soon after quit. So too Darren Deburke, the Control and Protection engineer, whjo testified yesterday. They could not take orders from John MacIsaac. Recently MacIsaac too is gone.
      Why do they use words like bifurcation when they can just use a simple word like split. Is the nature of engineers to complicate rather than simplify?
      Seems this splitting bifurcated some egos, and whether was an improvement or not is an open question. Based on testimony, the atmosphere was hazardous before and after the splitting.
      Recall Andy Wells' reference to jackboots in the suites, as to Premier Dunderdale's style in 2012.
      Winston Adams

    • Deburke had resigned, saying that MFs was the worst he had seen in his career. He said engineering work was not done to feed the contractor, implying that contractors were being hung up by engineering delays.
      Controls and Protections issues was a key risk, yet he was denied to travel to GE plants to mitigate that high risk, a critical path issue. He said GE was not handling the issue appropriately.His boss MacIssaac was not addressing his concerns. He was shocked that MacIssac was suggesting GE may be removed from commissioning. He said MacIssaac was creating chaos "we were under a spin under his management".
      He said the company GROWLER had been brought in after he left, and got a contract with GE, but he nor GE thought they were needed. He seemed dismissive of Growler's expertise, saying they were subsea engineers. Growler seems to be a go between firm between Nalcor and GE, to deal with issues. GE GRID earlier testified that Growler seemed more knowledgeable than Nalcor.
      MacIsaac ordered him to locate to MFs site full time, not understanding that he was dealing with international firms on many aspects of MFs, yet was at the site often. MacIsaac said go there full time or I'll find someone who will, a threat to fire him.
      UG readers may be aware that PENG2 has been coy, twice raising the name of Growler on this blog, but saying nothing as to give us insight.
      Here in May 2019, still only one pole,and we had some 21 power trips, but not outages, and Holyrood managed to handle it.
      2 pole operation is essential, he said, and if eventually 2 pole operation is operating, AS PER THE SPECS, than the line should be reliable.
      He said GE had been proposing to operate in the monopole mode, which was not acceptable, and that the solution to resolve this had not happened, even as of today, and no commitment on a bipole operation date.
      Readers may be aware that an Anon reported on UG recently, to me, that monopole was not reliable with 200MW operation combined from the DC and Holyrood this past winter, and Holyrood saved our system form outages.
      Prior testimony from GE Grid solutions was reported by Ashley at the Telegram…." there's still a lot to be done to the milestone of first power from MFs project. It includes working through issues arising with the Labrador -Island Link, to assure it can handle the power from MFs when the plant is ready"
      (Alstrom company was a large French firm doing work in the power business, and a few years ago GE bought them, so we have Alstrom and GE grid solutions as subsidiaries of GE, and both Alstrom and GE Grid with contracts on MFs)
      GE grid engineer said he wasn't aware of any "extraordinary issues" that could risk the shipment of first power from MFs in 2019….than added " there's always issues on a project, there's never not issues ….still working on this and troubleshooting".
      In it's contact package is the supply of converters, AC switchyards, and related software.
      GE grid testified that new software is being installed "as we speak", and should help get it to a bipole system, with the bipole to be commissioned by Oct 31, 2019. So far under monopole, max power has been 150 MW (MFs rated at 824 MW)
      The new software, they claim will reduce the trips by about 75 %. Even if so, does 5 trips a year represent reliable power? The current software, used for bipole, was version 17!
      GE GRID said it takes about 5 weeks to install the new soft ware.
      Being a computer dummy, to me 5 hours seems a long time to install software. SOME SOFTWARE. This has been available since Dec 2018, but Nalcor was afraid it would crash the power system in winter.
      GE has big delays on other jobs, some 4 years behind (reported by Russell at the Telegram last year). But could this affect issues to complete MFs? "I don't believe so, said GE Grid.
      This now like a soap opera,: As the world turns. Stay tuned.
      (A little more from me to follow)
      Winston Adams

    • TO get a feel for MFs reliability, Google "Johnny Cash automobile song" and read the lyrics and see the video. The song is actually titled One Piece at a time.
      A worker in Detroit wants a Cadillac, so he planned to steal the parts form the assembly line, one piece at a time. First a fuel pump, then an engine, a trunk, a transmission, all the chrome, nuts and bolts and shocks, so it took some time.
      Then to put it together, he discovered the transmission was a 53, the engine a 73, one headlight for the left, two for the right, and only one tail fin. Having get it assembled and ready for licencing, the court house wasn't laughing, the paper work was 60 pounds.
      What model was it? The song ends:
      It's a 49,50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58 , 59 automobile
      It's a 60, 61, 62, 63 ,64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69 ,70 automobile.
      This is similar to Darren's Deburkes concerns for reliability for our 12.7 billion power plant and transmission, from a key question by MFCCC lawyer Budden and the answer.
      Winston Adams

    • Deburke, under questioning from Buddden testified as to the importance of "integration of various equipment into the Nfld grid".
      If these components don't work well together, then the system is not reliable.It must react in predictable and safe ways and react in less than a second or the whole island grid likely collapses.
      Much of the equipment is under various GE contracts, it is obvious they should be fully involved in the commissioning, especially if they are supplying the computer software to control, protect and help management the operation.
      2 examples of why this is important:
      A major supplier for North America for motorised wheelchairs, many into Nfld, most paid for by govn under social services, these costing about 15,000.00 each. A relative had one, purchased privately. About every 6-9 months a major part failed; a special brushless motor drive, or the hand controller, joy stick, or the main power supply controller. It was continuously unreliable, and costing much to repair and also out of service for weeks at a time.I finally discovered that this firm had been subjected to a court action in the USA and fined tens of millions of dollars, for faulty equipment: the reason…….the components were not designed to work in an integrated fashion, various components from different manufacturers, with no overall responsibility to work well together.
      2. Ten years ago minisplits got popular. A small good unit to buy wholesale was say 1500.00, not installed. Yet, buying in bulk from China, costs were about only 300.00. A company gambled on that and soon found many problems with faulty machines. It was not a reputable brand, and like the song, parts procured from different manufactures not designed or guaranteed to work well together.
      So, Nalcor's Deburke's valid concern for GE with MFs "integration and commissioning"……a must.
      But a further question, did the specifications originally tie them down to this requirement, or a negotiated after thought?
      We have about 20 or more different generators on the island, and several synchronous condensers, and some wind generations, and along comes MFs, to work seemlessly with all that.
      Recall they Nalcor 10 % wind add was a problem to integrate.
      Now to the grid, 800MW add to about 1200MW of island hydro from many sources, is MFs 66 % of the total,and too, from AC to DC and back to AC again.
      The software, is complex, to control most all of this, as an integrated package for our grid make up, to work right.
      Recall, simulations that could have been done pre-sanction, were not completed.
      The reliability may be as doubtful as the reliability of the North Spur.
      So, Oct 31, 2019, as winter loads kick in , for new software in operation for bipole. Will it go smoothly, or like for monopole, be not reliable? And why should this be in such doubt at this late stage?
      Winston Adams

    • WA @ 11:03:

      Coy is relative to the reader – simply verify the LCP PMT / Nalcor org chart against Growler, I am sure there will be some interesting similarities.

      Likewise, I wouldn't accept that DD, or JK 'quit' or McIssaac is hard to deal with – despite what some info will allude to. Before the Easter break I said there would be some interest items come out when Mulcahy took the stand – there will be more to come.

      Possibly most important is that there needs to be a good cross referencing of the PMT org chart to witnesses and an understanding of what is being said at the Inquiry to put context into it (and I hate the use of ‘context’ – a factual statement doesn’t need any context, context is little more than a way to justify a B$ statement).

      Again some of the nuances are being lost by many – the relationships between some of these people is being played out now, and some of what they are saying is because they are under fire.


    • GROWER: Their website says :develping tomorrow's energy, ….we have world class systems….we have global megaproject experience and tailor to meet the needs of any project….subsea systems, drilling, water power generation…we know how to manage the deepest water, highest sea currents, coldest temperatures, colossal icebergs, pack ice and the hardest rock…..we can provide a complete owners team with top-tier management capabilities and our individual specialists can be embedded to enhance your team. ….we can provide direction and execution including deliverables, reviews , analysis, and reporting…..at any stage of a projects's cycle.
      So a jack of all trades,:….. including project design, build and operation phases. a complete owner's team , or project specialtists that can bolt on to enhance a project. , concept development, and design, physical data collection, project risk analysis, and stakeholder relations and communications. Subsea systems and submarine power cables and tranmission ….to help you de-rsik and deliver your project on time and on budget.
      Expertise in both river and ocean power generation….and applying our knowledge to global magaprojects. :specifications, best solutions, dam safety design, river management and project support.
      That what they say they are world experts in.
      So Deburke calls them subsea guys, but seems they are world class experts on many things. But not sure how they fit in between Nalcor and GE Grid for expertise on this software issue, as to control and protection on convertors, switchyards etc.
      Unable to get time to look at charts , so if you can enlighten us some on Growler?

    • WA @ 16:17:

      Growler is a new outfit, but inshort they are all ex-LCP guys – mostly from the strait link. Many of the names were in media promoting accomplishments (eg http://vocm.com/news/power-trip-nalcor-gives-tour-of-soldiers-pond-facility/).

      Not sure, but maybe a couple steps above a recruitment firm – I don't see a lot of experience to match what you pulled from their website. Also, most of the website pics today are MF related.


    • Grower website says, as to their team : We're a fleet of big thinkers, problem solvers, a photo shows 8 people.
      President and CEO; Greg Flemming: renewable energy and oil and gas, Subsea Project engineer to project director of a 5 billion interconnector project, strategic vision, heavy focus on renewables
      Pete Whalen : expert in navigating complex projects, ensure certainty regarding technical compliance, cost and project schedule.
      Chad Butler: expertise in oil and gas and renewables, focus on subsea construction
      Robert Woolgar:Hydro development.
      They link a study by C-Core for Nalcor, but a discalimer by Nalcor as to content and reliability. That study showed Keith Drover and Greg Flemming as Nalcor Management Team, this to mapping offshore sedimentary basins.To promote Labrador sea as less harsh than Greenland of Labrador nearshore, as to oil/gas : Harshness Index.
      Also strait of Belle Isle Cable Crossing, refers to Muskrat Falls, : one of the most attractive underdeveloped hydroelectric sites in North America; will provide stable electricity rates and will be a valuable power producing asset for the province well into the future, 1100km HVDC, and as to the cable crossing: used offshore techniques to develop a tailor made solution for a challenging northern environment.
      OUR PROJECTS: tidal power for coastal communities for northern coastal Canada.
      So, mostly a MFs and oil/gas experience and a very small outfit looking for business it seems.
      Recent media item I think promoting tidal power,and not much economic success anywhere I know of, so research funding seekers maybe, or not much more than a recruiting firm, as you suggest.
      Recruiting is profitable , is it not?
      So still my question, how they help solve the software issue for GE Grid/ Nalcor?

    • Heard Growler people on CBC radio couple weeks ago. They said they partnered with a renewable tech company from Iceland I believe to get their presence in the tidal/wind/etc. Not a lot of depth to the company it seems but that might not stop Nalcor and a desperate government from trying to splash more money their way. Especially if the next phase of commissioning goes sideways. Or maybe they are already fully engaged in that.

  6. In case UG blog readers haven't yet read Mr. Murray's thoughtful and accurate letter:


    On Election Day, voter's have the following options to attempt to address the current horrendous state of NL's "democracy":

    1) Vote for an NDP or NL Alliance candidate;

    2) Vote ABI, Anyone But the Incumbent. The incumbent is your current MHA.

    3) If none of the above is appealing but you still feel obliged to cast your ballot, spoil it.