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)

Monday, April 25, 2016

Is Stan the Man?

Ed is out and Stan is in. The bell rings. The King is dead, long live the King. No one ever learns here. There was the blind faith placed in Danny Williams. "If Danny says it's so it must be so". Years of it. Now the province languishes on the door steps of insolvency. The caucus all rallies around Dunderdale as Leader and Premier. No one must challenge. We are on the same path. Push forward, and ask no questions thy nay-sayers. Vote Liberal! Dwight Ball will lead us to a stronger tomorrow. Look at his team. Look at its IQ. These are wondrous business people. Dwight and his team will sort it all out. It's a landslide. No point in opposing. We need an opposition - just not in my district. On and on it goes.

Now it's Stan Marshall's turn. Time to be the saviour and absolve us of our sins Stan. We can see you are so concerned about your fellow Newfoundlanders and Labradorians being buried in the Muskrat Falls mess, and the overwhelming financial crisis that you sacrificed a short period of your retirement for a mere $650K a year. It doesn't matter that you are one of the wealthiest people in the province, we'll gladly bend at the waste to pay you the same as the last guy. We know your intentions are as pure as the driven snow - right?

Now you see, there's a problem here. Good old Stan is the largest shareholder in Fortis. He may be retired, but he has a significant interest in seeing his old corporation, that he created, is taken care of. Looking across the pond he can see his old arch rival Emera challenging his beloved Fortis in the vast US electric market. On the other hand, he can see that the Nova Scotia Liberals are deregulating Nova Scotia's market - allowing his other arch foe into the fray - Hydro Quebec. How to stop Emera?  How about deregulating their cash pot market Nova Scotia, and then stripping them of all that free power they're meant to get from this province - after Emera's full in on the link of course. Wouldn't it be ironic if Emera took a bite too much and became a takeover target, for, let's say, Fortis?

Bottom line, there isn't one bone in my body that thinks Stan suddenly burst upon the scene at the pathetic begging of our illustrious Premier. There isn't one bit of me that believes Stan is not in a conflict of interest - a very obvious one. Hence the Premier of Nova Scotia's phone call to our Dwight.

But hey, let's not leave the new Board of Directors at Nalcor out of the fun. John Green, our new Chairman, was also Fortis's corporate go to guy lawyer up until at least 4 weeks ago. Yep, good old John supervised the last two major US takeovers Fortis completed. Kind of gives you the creeps thinking the Fortis take over lawyer is now the Chairman of the Board at Nalcor doesn't it? Sounds like a Fortis takeover of Nalcor almost - doesn't it? I'm sure Stan and John are as pure as the driven snow, and the fact they could destroy one of  their main competitors in the US market never crossed their minds - surely not.

As one who opposes the Muskrat Falls project I hope it is put on immediate ice, but does that mean I'll give Stan and John a free pass from scrutiny? Not likely. Liberal governments have a habit of jumping into bed with Hydro Quebec. Just look at who will enter the Nova Scotia market that Emera had a monopoly on. The big question is will the Liberal government here try and ink a deal with Hydro-Quebec that sorts out the Lower Churchill? Is it perhaps a case of the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Fortis takes out Emera and takes it over, Hydro-Quebec get's Labrador, and Newfoundland get's to shake its collective head and ask "what the hell happened". We'll have to keep a very close watch on our new saviour Stan. I don't believe in lilly white saviours anymore.

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