30 May 2016

The Running Man #nlpoli

With questions swirling about what Premier Dwight Ball knew about severance payments to former Nalcor boss Ed Martin and when he knew it,  Ball has asked the province's auditor general to take a look at whether or not it was appropriate to pay severance to Martin.

Different question.

That's a pretty transparent effort to run away from the controversy that exists purely because Ball refuses to tell the truth about what he knew and when he knew it.

Ball and his people seem to think they will be able to duck questions for the next two weeks have the same kind of fetish-like attachment to the Auditor General as the opposition parties do, but the AG can only do so much.  What's worse, Ball has asked the AG to look at an issue that isn't in contention.  Most people apparently condemn it.

Meanwhile, the opposition parties are free to explore all the unanswered questions about what Dwight Ball knew about the severance,  when he knew it, and why -  for the past week  - he has been constantly been changing his story.  They can ask to see materials related to the "review" by the lawyers in the justice department.  it seems suspicious that they took two full weeks and all they came up with was "give it to the auditor general."  They were supposed to be looking at potential legal options,  which was Ball's story last week,  even though he had already dismissed any legal action already.  it seems rather convenient that the justice department dodge was running out of steam and recommended yet another review to try and kick the controversy down the road a bit farther.

And since none of that has anything to do with the major questions of the controversy,  Dwight Ball will continue to look like he is running away from simple questions. Then there is the fairly obvious problem with timing:  both opposition parties questioned the justice department "review" last week based on real or perceived conflicts of interest involving the deputy minister of justice who now sits on the Nalcor board and the justice minister, whose father is the Premier's chief of staff. Now suddenly the AG is involved, even though none of the key players thought about a conflict of interest when they created the justice department "review."

Cabinet had to approve the referral to the Auditor General at its last meeting, which was likely last Thursday morning.  The Premier's Office should have had a quick news statement on Thursday in time for the House.  Friday would have been the second best day.

"How to make a crisis worse"  by Dwight Ball

Issuing the news release on Sunday evening looks like an even more desperate attempt to get away from the story before Monday morning.

They guessed wrong.  This latest move will only give the crisis more life.

The only way for Dwight Ball to get out of the mess he alone has created is to tell the truth.  The whole matter would be over in a matter of 24 to 48 hours, although there is some residual damage that may take longer to get over.

Rather than get the whole thing done,  Dwight Ball has decided to let the story drag on for weeks.  If the AG actually says that the severance was acceptable, Ball has scored a minor victory but he has done damage to himself all the while he has been running from the truth.  If the AG rejects the severance Ball still has to fess up to what he knew when.  That will be bad for Dwight since - by all signs - he approved the severance as part of a deal cut with Ed Martin.  If the AG cannot come to a conclusion or if his report doesn't address critical questions,  then the issue still hangs around and Dwight has to keep running or finally come clean about what he knows.

Dwight Ball got into this mess because he and his crew didn't think their scheme all the way through.

They just made the mess bigger by doing the same thing, again.