The Sir Robert Bond Papers: No Market Research Required #nlpoli

In the House of Commons, members can put questions to cabinet ministers several ways.  One of them is called Questions on the Order Paper. Ask a sensible question.  Get a sensible answer. This is a truly amazing idea given that the House of Assembly got rid of the notion 20 years ago. Actually telling people ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Sovereignty #nlpoli

Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the very few countries on the planet that got itself into such a financial mess that it gave up self-government.  The people gave up their right and power to govern themselves. That is, they gave up their sovereignty. They took it back in 1949,  no matter what sort of ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: A muskrat by any other name… #nlpoli

Memorial University economist Jim Feehan proposed in the December issue of Canadian Public Policy that the provincial government should change the way electricity is priced in Newfoundland and Labrador once Muskrat falls comes on stream. Now to be clear,  the way government prices electricity will already change for Muskrat Falls.  The project is so financially ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Putting the sunk in sunk cost #nlpoli #cdnpoli

Muskrat Falls is basically an $800 million tax on the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. That’s roughly the amount you get using numbers Nalcor chief executive Stan Marshall made public last summer. Muskrat Falls is a tax on the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.  Always was that.  Never was anything else.  The plan was to ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Public Support for Muskrat Falls #nlpoli

Corporate Research Associates isn’t the only pollster in the universe, no matter what some people locally seem to believe. CRA released  the results of a question the company asked during its omnibus last November.  They found support for Muskrat Falls at 45%.  That’s down from 54% in May 2016,  65% in May 2015, and 63% ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Spin, illustrated #nlpoli

Spin is a bit more than a mere biased interpretation or a clever reframing of an idea.  In other words, there’s more to it than saying the glass is half full rather than describing it as half empty. Spin is deliberately deceptive. On Wednesday,  the folks at Nalcor announced they had a new contract with ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Megawreck #nlpoli

Over the past couple of weeks, the people of Newfoundland and Labrador have been shown more and more the lunacy that is Muskrat Falls. Nothing better exemplifies the crazy world of the Muskrateers than Dwight Ball’s claim in interviews that he has wrestled the project back under control.  Not long after, we learned that problems ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Faint hope #nlpoli

Nalcor won’t be able to install a boom upstream from the powerhouse construction.  The result is that there will likely be damage to the dam construction, according to Nalcor boss Stan Marshall. Well, likely if the winter is normal or colder.  But maybe not. “It’s weather dependent,”  said Marshall. “So if we have a very ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Mazel Tov Cocktails #nlpoli

Scottie Nell Hughes is one of the legion of ident-a-bots who turned up on news programs during the recent American election spouting lines from the Trump campaign. She’s already famous as the one who gave us the mazel tov cocktail flub.  She grabbed some headlines last week for making the comment that there is no ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The graveyard of ambition #nlpoli

Think of it as an inside joke. James McLeod interviewed Premier Dwight Ball about the horror show that has been Ball’s first year in office.  “Ball also came under heavy fire,”  McLeod wrote, “for his handling of Nalcor Energy and perceived dishonesty about what he knew about outgoing CEO Ed Martin’s exorbitant severance package.” McLeod ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: un autre pet de cerveau de Jones #nlpoli

Labrador member of parliament Yvonne Jones got so effercited at the prospect of more hydro-electric development with Hydro-Quebec that she wanted to offer arctic and sub-arctic regions outside Labrador as potential customers for surplus Muskrat Falls power. Seriously. There are people in Labrador slaved to diesel generators.  Some of them can see the wires from Muskrat Falls ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: North Spur sideshow #nlpoli

Jim Gordon, an engineer previously critical about the design of the Muskrat Falls dam has revised his opinion.  Gordon had earlier believed that the landmass known as the North Spur was potentially unstable and could collapse under certain conditions.  He’s now revised his view based on new evidence. For all the concern lots of people ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Feds offer more help with Muskrat #nlpoli

The federal government delivered a $2.9 billion additional loan guarantee Thursday in time for the Liberal Party convention this weekend in Gander. The added guarantee is less than the provincial government wanted – they went looking for $5.0 billion, apparently – but it will help to defray the escalating cost of the project. The federal ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Muskrat Math #nlpoli

Stan Marshall told the province Tuesday that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador can never get their money back on this pig of a project called Muskrat Falls. On Wednesday, people were bending their brains trying to figure out how this happened.  Must be a recent thing.  Blame it on fall in prices. Well, no. ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Muskrat Circus rolls back into town #nlpoli

Stan Marshall appeared out of the shadows on Tuesday to do a round of interviews with every media outlet in town. He told NTV what he told everyone else:  the cost of the protests and the environmental work coming from the agreement that ended the protests will slow the project and cost money.  Stan also ...

We Pivot: My Canada Doesn’t Arrest Journalists

My Canada respects citizen and journalist free speech. My Canada respects the role of the media in enhancing democracy. My Canada does not cast a chill on political participation. But … [Read more]

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Mustafa Principle #nlpoli

Go back to Friday’s post about false choices. That’s where you will find the explanation for the 11 hour marathon meeting.  The final agreement is more about the Premier’s need to appear to be in control than it is about the substance of the decision.  That’s because the government had already agreed to the major ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Truth and Reconciliation #nlpoli

Long ago,  so long ago no one remembers when,  they did away with Virtue in Newfoundland​ politics.  To be on the safe side, they slit the throats of her twins, Truth and Justice, and tossed the little corpses on top of their mother’s body before leaving the three in a shallow, unmarked grave in the woods. ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The political dynamics of Muskrat Falls #nlpoli #dip-o-crites #cdnpoli

The people of Labrador who have now occupied the work camp at the construction site are exercising the only political influence they have in the only way they have been able to influence events thus far on this project. There’ll be a post later in the week to run through how we got to this ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: False choices #nlpoli

It’s not often you can see a “half-way” compromise as plainly as the one the provincial government announced on Wednesday about Muskrat Falls. Government’s starting point was to flood the reservoir now and not do any additional clearing of the area to be flooded.  The protesters wanted to hold off on flooding for a bit ...

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 ...