18 October 2013

The Gnarley Saga #nlpoli

In case you missed it, flip over to Des Sullivan’s blog Uncle Gnarley and look at the tale Des has put together about why Jerome Kennedy quit politics so abruptly a couple of weeks ago:

“1. Over the last number of months Kennedy had grown weary of Nalcor’s secrecy. He was frustrated that his own officials could not get sufficient information to confirm Nalcor’s numbers or perform their own analysis. His Department was expected to accept Nalcor’s information entirely on its face.

2. Mr. Kennedy wanted his own staff, supplemented by outside experts, to comprise an “Oversight Committee” for the purpose of conducting the Finance Department’s independent analysis of Muskrat Falls Project costs. Evidently, he was no longer prepared to defend the Muskrat Falls Project without the verification of independent scrutiny.

3. Mr. Kennedy went to the Premier with two demands: firstly, that she order Nalcor to release the information referred to and, secondly, that his Department of Finance be permitted to assemble a “Muskrat Falls Oversight Committee”.

The Premier and Kennedy apparently had several “dust-ups” or serious confrontations over these issues, in the Confederation Building as well as in China, from where Mr. Kennedy was reported to have left the Delegation and returned to the Province, only a day or so after their arrival in that Country.

The Premier evidently steadfastly rejected both Mr. Kennedy’s demands and following the final “dust-up” with the Premier, Kennedy informed her that he would tender his resignation from Cabinet.”

There’s more to the tale than that little taste so your little trip won’t be wasted. What’s really intriguing about this is that . Sullivan has the kind of political contacts that make you take this sort of piece pretty seriously.  There’s nothing that confirms the story but you really have to wonder how much of it true.

When you’ve finished that post, check out “Oversight, trust, and the province’s reputation”.  It’s even better:

Nevertheless, at the risk of seeming repetitious, the Premier’s acceptance of Nalcor’s counsel, alone, is so unwise that it still shocks. “Oversight” is fundamental, in Government, just as it is in private business.

When you have considered all the reasons why it is necessary, including the public interest, you still have to return to the fact that it involves personal responsibility, personal liability and plain ass-covering. Rejecting oversight, on a multi-billion dollar project, is worse than mad. It is a dereliction of duty.