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, September 30, 2018

Newfoundland's Pied Piper - Premier Danny Williams

If you live long enough, especially in Newfoundland and Labrador, you will be a witness to great irony, tragedy and suffering. Such is the case of the Muskrat Falls hydro dam project's creator. Although Newfoundland was settled primarily by the English, during the potatoe famine of the early 1800's a large number of Irish came to the Island (my ancestors on my father's side included). Perhaps it is this Irish brush that paints the place in its melodramatic colours. Perhaps not. But, it is certainly an Irish tale that a lone piper lead all the children away by hypnotizing them with mystical notes from his pipe. The Pied Piper. This post is dedicated to the Pied Piper of Newfoundland - Danny Williams.

Now, because Williams is  known to sue the bejesus out of anyone who even suggests wrong doing on his part, myself included, let's just make the disclaimer that I'm not "insinuating, by innuendo or otherwise", that Williams plays a pipe or that he's Irish or that he leads children into the water to disappear. That's just a metaphor there Danny, so put your big boy pants back on, stop thrashing on the floor and stomping your feet. What I am most definitely saying is, that as Premier of this "sunny land", which ain't very sunny, Williams created the monster that is known to all as Muskrat Falls.

Of course "Muskrat Falls" is far more than just a point on the Churchill River. It's more than just a dam. It started with a series of bills created and passed by the Williams' government to create Nalcor as a corporation, and little beauties like the Water Management Agreement - to illegally take power from the Upper Churchill dam, which is controlled by Hydro Quebec. The stated goal was to make Newfoundlanders "Masters in their own house" … ah you can here that pipe singing now as the children line up one by one. Surely a Rhodes scholar (arts degree) and a distinguished lawyer (Dalhousie Law School), such as Williams could be trusted to know what he was doing the media and masses quipped. But, sadly, despite the deep unending strains of his pipes, he did not.

Seven years later, a project that was to cost $5 billion has now swelled into a sea of at least $12.7 billion - not unlike the Irish sea the children walked in to and disappeared. However, unlike the piper of lore, this piper will have to answer for his deeds. There is now a public inquiry being held in Newfoundland, and this Monday the Pied Piper of Newfoundland will be starting his testimony. Unlike his Irish predecessor, Williams will have to explain his deeds as Premier. It's unlikely that he will piously apologize for leading the child to the sea. What we are more likely to witness is an indignant old man, possibly in a "Kavaunghaesk" performance, lash out at those to small minded to see his grand vision.

What ever the case may be, you can be sure that somewhere, nestled away with a warm cup of coffee, there will at least one person who would not walk into the sea, smiling to himself. It's probably the same person who had been threatened with personal destruction, including that of his name. Ah, the delicious irony in that.