The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Reverse Midas Touch Rides Again #nlpoli

The crowd running this place these days has an unrivalled ability to look at a problem and find the worst possible response imaginable. On Wednesday,  natural resource minister Siobhan Coady and environment minister Perry Trimper announced that the government would tell Nalcor to keep flooding the Muskrat Falls reservoir but at the same time, they ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The War of the Flea Circus #nlpoli

Muskrat Falls has become a three-ring flea circus. In the first ring, we have the political ambulance chasers, a.k.a. Maudie Barlow and the Council of Xenophobes. The Safari Saviours rolled into town last week, issued a fill-in-the-blanks news release, and then frigged off having successfully tutted a few tuts and gained the media coverage they ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Politics as masturbation #nlpoli

“I am warning you.  Don’t make me wear my pikachu costume.” Demonstrations at Memorial University and at Nalcor headquarters on Friday show the extent to which Newfoundland politics has become little more than irrelevant stunts staged chiefly for the personal amusement of the folks with the expensive cellphones. The protesters do not want to stop ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Grits and Cons play dodge-fact over Labrador hydro talks #nlpoli

“There are no discussions between this government and the  Quebec government.” That’s part of a statement sent out by email to local reporters from natural resources minister Siobhan Coady’s office.  You can’t find it on the government website or the party website.  Coady was responding to a release from provincial Conservative leader Paul Davis challenging ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Worst possible time for HQ deal #nlpoli

If the rumblings from Labrador are correct, an opinion column in lapresse – “Why Quebec should regain Labrador” – this weekend both fits right in and provides a cautionary tale for us all. Pierre Gingras  – right – spent 31 years with Hydro-Quebec (1966 to 1997) building large hydro-electric projects like Manicouagan and James Bay. Gingras ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Jerusalem, Eldorado, and Perdition #nlpoli

Part I:  The development of our country_______________________________ The Heritage Newfoundland and Labrador website “aims to provide school students and the general public with a wide range of authoritative information on the province’s history, culture, and geography. It is based at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. Faculty, graduate students, and professional writers contribute articles, while undergraduate ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The development of our country #nlpoli

Today, the development of Churchill Falls is popularly perceived as a failure.  Newfoundland is portrayed as the victim of a shrewd and untrustworthy lot in Quebec.  They hoodwinked Joe Smallwood,  the Liberal premier of Newfoundland at the time, and have continued to steal from Newfoundlanders through the patently unfair 1969 power contract. The Churchill Falls ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Supporting and Opposing #nlpoli

If you get any kind of enjoyment at all out of watch people tie themselves in knots,  point out to a New Democrat that their party supports Muskrat Falls. Oooo – eee you are in for a ride. But let’s make it clear.  The provincial New Democrats most certainly do not oppose Muskrat Falls. No ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Who does he think he is fooling? #nlpoli

New England states need electricity.  They have a preference for green sources of energy, “What we have to offer, both in hydro and in windpower, can be part of [a green energy] solution,” Premier Dwight Ball told his eastern Canadian counterparts and the governors of the New England states at their annual international meeting.  CBC ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Who does he think he is fooling? #nlpoli

New England states need electricity.  They have a preference for green sources of energy, “What we have to offer, both in hydro and in windpower, can be part of [a green energy] solution,” Premier Dwight Ball told his eastern Canadian counterparts and the governors of the New England states at their annual international meeting.  CBC ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Price of Revanchism #nlpoli

Churchill Falls occupies a unique place in Newfoundland and Labrador’s political culture. Most of what people believe about Churchill Falls is just sheer nonsense.  Made up.  Never true. Completely ludicrous.  But accepted as fact and unshakeable truth all the same.  And that’s where things get weird. People use all that foolishness nonsense to make decisions ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Price of Revanchism #nlpoli

Churchill Falls occupies a unique place in Newfoundland and Labrador’s political culture. Most of what people believe about Churchill Falls is just sheer nonsense.  Made up.  Never true. Completely ludicrous.  But accepted as fact and unshakeable truth all the same.  And that’s where things get weird. People use all that foolishness nonsense to make decisions ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: A foundation of lies and deceit #nlpoli

You could feel the shock among the local media on Friday as Stan Marshall carefully dissected the insanity that is Muskrat Falls. Didn’t matter if you heard the voices on the radio,  watched them on television or read them online.   The reporters’ emotional reaction transferred through whatever medium it was that conveyed their words. ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Making the best of a bad deal #nlpoli

Here’s the short version of  the implications flowing from Nalcor’s announcement on Wednesday: 1.  Continuing Muskrat Falls is a political decision already made by Dwight Ball despite the evidence. It’s like Ball’s inexplicable desire to keep Ed Martin despite the incontrovertible evidence that Martin had mismanaged Nalcor generally and Muskrat Falls specifically. 2.  That said,  Stan ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Martin continues to seet provincial political agenda #nlpoli

On the surface, Ed Martin’s statement on Monday confirmed what we already knew. Dwight Ball knew about and approved of Ed Martin’s severance payment from Nalcor.  Ball may not have known the precise detail of the amount Martin received from his severance  – about $1.4 million – and Martin’s twin pensions.  James McLeod at the ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Oracle on the Parkway #nlpoli

Crude oil was trading north of US$50 a barrel for about 30 seconds this week. What with the government’s cash deficit being $3.0 billion and all, CBC had someone write up a little story about what that would mean for government finances. You will see a lot of these stories when oil jumps because they ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: How government decides – From Bow-Wow to Basenji #nlpoli

The Liberals’ signature policy initiative is Bill 1. It is so important that it is the only piece of new legislation the Liberals have introduced in this session that is directly connected to their election promises. Bill 1 creates a new appointments commission that is supposed to ensure individuals appointed to positions by cabinet will ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Six Rationalisations Pretending to Be Policy #nlpoli

Policy solves problems. At it’s simplest level,  policy answers a question. Cancelling Muskrat Falls is a good example.  We are facing a financial crisis.  Muskrat Falls is a huge expense.  There’s the problem.  Turn it into a question and it becomes whether or not we should cancel Muskrat Falls. To answer the question, you’d have ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Rasputisa and the 2016 Budget #nlpoli

The speech finance minister Cathy Bennett read in the House of Assembly on Thursday was as horrible as the reaction most of the province have been having to it. That’s not surprising given that the entire budget communications program was the product of precisely the same folks who delivered repeated political and policy disasters for ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Rasputitsa #nlpoli

Before we even get into this, let’s be clear:  the EY review commissioned by the provincial government was never, ever about cancelling Muskrat Falls. Not even remotely or theoretically. Dwight Ball said so in December:  “cancelling this project is not what this review is about.” The provincial government just wanted the external contractor to give ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Paying for Muskrat Falls #nlpoli

To understand precisely how insane an idea we have at Muskrat Falls, think of it this way. In Quebec,  provincial government policy is to maintain a pool of electricity that is very cheap to produce.  This is for use inside Quebec so that the people of Quebec always have really cheap electricity. In Newfoundland and ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: How to say little in 34 slides #nlpoli

Consultants have consistently reported that the Muskrat Falls project is well-managed and well-led. Despite that independent analysis, MFP has been dogged by significant cost over-runs, significant problems with performance on meeting project timelines, and chronic problems with communications/public disclosure. Review of Muskrat Falls project by a company called Independent Project Analysis. Consists of 34 slides ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: A tax to build a tax #nlpoli

A tax to pay a tax. Interesting idea, no? Well, that’s what Jim Feehan suggested last week.  He told a luncheon meeting of the St. John’s Rotary Club that the government should consider financing the rest of Muskrat Falls through a special tax. Start paying today,  Feehan said, and avoid borrowing money and paying that ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Muskrat Falls electricity prices… again #nlpoli

The infamous JM is at it again. “Top 10 Muskrat Myths” (via Uncle Gnarley) rebuts 10 of the arguments in favour of Muskrat Falls. All of this has been argued before in several places, but this is a one-stop summary of the key points. One to notice is the idea that Muskrat will make money ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Nalcor: Generations #nlpoli

Telegram editor Peter Jackson took a hard look this week at the implications of Nalcor’s effort this week to jack up electricity rates. As part of the company’s rate application to the public utilities board,  Nalcor said a relatively dry season on the island had deleted its water reservoirs.  As a result it had to ...