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)

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Corruption Culture in Newfoundland's Politics.

I've been writing on the corruption within Newfoundland's governing circles for years. In fact, I did a series on potentially corrupt practices by Ministers of this government, and its predecessors in a multi-part series on this blog called "All the King's Men". I've exposed the fact that Ben Aissa, convicted and disgraced SNC Lavalin VP, was appointed to a SNC numbered corporation here in Newfoundland during 2007-2008 (during the period SNC was pushing a large LNG project and a refinery to be located in Placentia area), and which mysteriously was dissolved at the end of 2008 when both projects failed. That blog is here.

I've written on a scheme that paid the Innu people $5,000.00 per person days after they voted for the Muskrat Falls project to proceed. That link is here. I wrote on the Innu cabinet minister that figured prominently in that deal, and was then turfed from office over illegal campaign donations - mostly from Muskrat Falls contractors, or those associated with the iron ore mining industry that would directly benefit from Muskrat Falls. His campaign manager was just charged by Elections Canada over the issue. That story was here and here and here.

I've written on the Muskrat Falls contractors who've donated directly to PC Party and its MHAs, including corruptly disgraced SNC Lavalin here. I've even written on the law firms, primarily in Quebec, that have donated to the PCs and received millions from Nalcor and the government in fees over the Muskrat Falls project here.

Over and over again the same patterns appear. Over and over again they repeat themselves. The corruption culture in Newfoundland is beyond the pale. The latest scandal over Muskrat Falls is the realization that Nalcor hired a construction firm out of Quebec, whose owner has admitted to paying  off government officials for contracts with bags of money and free holidays. (here). Now, this morning, in an attempt to turn the channel quickly, Premier Davis is offering up a cancellation in the HST hike because oil is "high". Peculiar given oil rests at $65 a barrel, down from $110 just a year ago... strange for a government that relies on oil for 33% of its annual budget.

Truth is this government and Nalcor will do anything to suppress information, real information, on Muskrat Falls. It is absolutely submersed in corruption and more likely than not influence peddling. It's not a coincidence that firms like SNC Lavalin, Genivar, and now the latest Opron have ended up on the Muskrats Falls payroll. The payroll of Nalcor. All Quebec construction firms. All implicated in corrupt practices. Not "best practices", the term Nalcor likes to throw around like candy to justify its business dealings.

Indeed, corruption permeates our political system here. It is endemic. You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. It's "just the way it's always been done". In fact, it is a disgraceful indictment of a culture that needs to suffer an immediate and inglorious death. It reflects negatively on all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Why? Because it has been allowed to go on for generations with not much more than a wink and a nod. This isn't the first corrupt government here. It's just the latest. The next government, and there will be a next government, best realize that the culture of corruption is detested and disgraced world-wide. We are no different.