Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the
round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're
not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify
them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change
things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the
crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that
they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Steve Jobs
US computer engineer & industrialist (1955 - 2011)

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Muskrat Liberals

There are two kinds of Liberals in Newfoundland and Labrador right now - those that oppose the project (as was the case for the party officially til Dwight Ball took over), and those that support it. Basically, it boils down to business interests vs the peoples interest.

As much as Ball appears to be a flip-flopper of gargantuan proportions, as much as he appears to be deceiving the public even pre-dating his election, Ball is firmly in the "pro-business" camp on Muskrat Falls. Oh ya, remember that group of pro-business backers of Muskrat Falls :"I believe in the power of ? Remember them? Created by Peter Woodward in Labrador and Leo Power on the Island. Yep, they believed in it so much that they took the website down and erased all evidence of it ever existing - including the list of names on it that supported the project so publicly. But, you can still find a page or two of it here thanks to Peter Whittle of Polemic & Paradox.

Bottom line is that it existed, and the people who created it still exist to. Take Nancy O'Connor, Director of Communications, Office of the Premier. Her profile is here. You will notice that she worked on Cathy Bennett's Liberal leadership campaign while she did her 6 month contract for Bennett's company. You'll also notice  in her biography there is no mention that she worked for Nalcor on the PR campaign for Muskrat Falls. In fact, her firm was hired by the business crowd to create the "I believe in the power of NL" website and PR campaign. At the time I did a blog on Ms. Connor's involvement with the campaign and Nalcor (the blog). In 2015 she was given the cushy job of Senior Communications Officer to Ball - on the peoples' payroll. After the Liberals won she got her new job as "Director  of Communication".

It's a telling sign of Ball's, and the Liberals pro-business voice, that this person was hired on even before the election. It's also a telling sign she worked for Cathy Bennett's leadership campaign first. Bennett of course has been a huge supporter of Muskrat Falls from the beginning, and was of course Chairman of Nalcor's board of directors. Then of course you have Al Hawkins, who sat on Nalcor's board as well, and was named by Ball as Minister of Transportation and Works. Not to be forgotten in all this is Shioban Coady, now Minister of Natural Resources, and theoretically in charge of the Muskrat Falls project. I did a blog on Coady before all this (here) . I would just add in the recent campaign she ran as "President of Novocom Inc" "an international resource procurement company with partners in Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore". (her Liberal bio) That's all fine and dandy, and sounds very impressive... until you find out that in fact Novocom is simply a numbered company run out of her very modest home in St. John's, which lists her husband as the only director, and is in fact "not in good standing" with the province's corporate registry. Talk about trying to pad your resume...

In any case, Coady was associated with Alderon Mining in Labrador. Remember them? Those are the folks that Danny Williams was with, joined their board as a "strategic adviser", etc. They were all the rage and now they are a penny stock (as predicted here). Coady belonged to the pro-Muskrat Falls business group "I believe in the power of NL". She's been a strong advocate for it from the get go. So have all her friends.

And now, shock of all shocks, Coady won't put the closure of the Muskrat Falls project as an option for dealing with the massive debt crisis in this province. Another shocker - Ball won't end it now either. Bennett, who is in charge of the province's destroyed finances, won't float the idea either. In fact, Ball and Coady gave us this disingenuous excuse of an "investigation" into the Muskrat Falls project to "open the books" on it. What a load. The company doing the "investigation" had contracts with Nalcor and the government even before it was named to do the study. In a supreme twist of irony, the same company that was in charge of creating the "independent oversight" process of the Muskrat Falls project is now doing the review of the project - one would assume that the oversight process would be a part of that. I contacted the company and asked for comment regarding the conflict of interest inherent in working for two entities that you're essentially doing a review of. There spokesman at first promised a response, and then, shocks of shocks, disappeared never to be heard from again.  You cannot make this stuff up. This is what passes for politicians, policy and intelligence amongst Newfoundland and Labrador's "political elite" (b'ys, I say those two words with the sharpest tongue in cheek you can possibly imagine).

To put it bluntly, don't expect anything other than a white wash of Muskrat Falls by Dwight Ball and the Liberals. The Muskrat Liberals are bent on finishing Danny Williams' project. They don't care what it costs us. They don't care how many people lose permanent jobs in the public sector to help stabilize the budget. They don't care what programs they have to cut, or how much they will have to increase person taxes and fees. They don't care. The only thing they do care about is bullshitting you enough so that you believe they do care, and that they are People-Liberals. They aren't. They're Muskrat Liberals. To the core. It will come back on them just as it did for the PC's - perhaps worse. The first sign of their betrayal will be the next budget. Watch and see how many people fall before the ax, but Nalcor will remain untouched. That should make Ed Martin and Gilbert Bennett happy. Those two Danny appointments. Those 2 PC appointments. Oh wait, they're still there. I guess they're Liberals now. Muskrat Liberals.

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