11 December 2008

NALCO Reborn

If nothing else, the current provincial administration is good at naming  - branding - things.

Well  that is, if by "good" you mean willing to make some completely unimaginative or even risible choices.

The risible included a new provincial government logo, erroneously called a brand, which consisted of three flowers of a lazy carnivorous plant billed as symbolic of the proud people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The latest example of a decided lack of imagination appeared on Thursday with the name of the holding company for the provincial government's energy corporation.


As in Newfoundland and Labrador Corporation, the name of another Crown corporation in local history that went by  the acronym NALCO.

Created as a Crown corporation in 1951 by Joe Smallwood's first administration, NALCO held rights to all the province's undeveloped land resources.  As a Crown corporation at the time, the thing was exempt from federal taxation.

NALCO grew from the brain of Alfred Valdmanis, the Latvian economist with a dubious past who ingratiated himself with Smallwood with plans of turning Newfoundland and Labrador into a modern industrial powerhouse.  He had the odd habit of referring to Smallwood as "my premier", in much the same way as Germans referred to Hitler as "my Leader", a point not lost on Smallwood's critics.

By 1954, NALCO was in the hands of John C. Doyle and Canadian Javelin.

The new NALCO, with a R added to the end, is the parent of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, Churchill Falls Labrador Corporation (CFLCo), the unimaginatively named Oil and Gas Corporation and may well become the parent of others under the legislation that gave it life.

Interesting that CFLCo is now known as Churchill Falls.  The entry in the registry of corporatrions for the province shows, as of mid afternoon on Thursday that the registered name is still Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation and that the company last filed a return in may 2007.  It isn't in good standing, according to the online registry record, meaning the CF or CFLCo or whatever it will be called now hasn't paid its annual registration fee.

The new company name hasn't been registered yet.  Instead - as of last Thursday -  Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro has reserved the name "NALCOR Energy Oil and Gas Inc". They have less than a year to get the thing properly registered.

The web domain  - nalcorenergy.com - was registered in November, though, by M5i, a division of M5, a local  marketing communications firm. They also registered "nalco.ca" at the same time.  Craig Tucker, one of M5's senior executives, was a Williams administration appointee to the Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro board of directors.