28 November 2012

The Steve Kent Rule #nlpoli

The MFers seem to be testy these days.

They like to challenge people who aren’t keen on Muskrat Falls about something called facts.

Facts, as you will quickly discover, are what the MFers call anything Nalcor has used in its marketing campaign to sell the project.

Things that Nalcor doesn’t include in its marketing are not “facts” for the people who love Muskrat Falls.

Small problem

And you have to thank Steve Kent for pointing out this problem.

Remember a few months ago?  Steve Kent attacked the five lawyers who have banded together against Muskrat Falls.  Gotta check their motivation, argued Kent.  Maybe one of the lawyers was pushing natural gas because he would make some money off it, even though the gas people were talking about was controlled by Nalcor and the major oil companies, not the lawyer.

Now while Kent did it in a particularly slimebaggish fashion, Kent did establish an interesting rule about checking the biases of people speaking out one way or the other about Muskrat Falls.

So let’s apply the rule much more fairly than Kent ever would:  let’s discount any opinion offered by anyone connected to the project directly or who has a financial interest in the project’s success.

So as nice and helpful as the Nalcor people are, they are not the people we can count on for objective, thorough, factual comments on their project.

They want to build it.  They are professional and competent but they are the project proponents.  They want to build the dam.  They don’t want to pursue other choices.

And that want gives them a bias.

Politicians on the government side of the House?  Since Danny Williams announced this project was going ahead, the provincial government and the Conservatives currently running the place became project proponents as well.

So they have an inherent bias.  Sincere and heartfelt as their views might be, you cannot count on any of them to have an objective view of the project.  If nothing else, they have a direct financial interest in backing the project:  their perks, their status, everything about their jobs is tied to their unwavering, unquestioning support for the project.

So as enthusiastic as the Twitter boys are, they have a bias and therefore their views must be discounted.

All those opinions from consultants paid by Nalcor?  Yep.  Inadmissible.  Not factual.  For the most part they are based on Nalcor’s own assumptions.  None of them got the job of trying to destroy Nalcor’s premises or finding an alternative.  That would be one of the basic ways of proving Nalcor got it right:  try and prove them wrong.  No one has been allowed to do that.

And if the proponents try and pass them off as “independent”, then you should just dismiss them without further consideration.

So all those “facts” that the provincial government paid a half million dollars for are just so many expensive electrons on the Internet.  Not necessarily factual and not persuasive, independent evidence. Don’t pay them any heed.

And the Nalcor front group?  By the time you knock off the Nalcor directors, spouses of Nalcor senior management, assorted contractors, sub-contractors and wannabe contractors, you might have a couple of people.  Look closer and you will find some reason to consider their opinion to be something less than impartial or non-partisan.

You are getting the idea.

This is not what Kent and his pals intended, maybe, but these things sometimes come back to bite the ass that spawned ‘em.

Just ask Steve Kent or watch to see if he is having a hard time sitting down.