12 September 2016

Million dollar baby #nlpoli

The provincial government has paid more than $830,000 to Wade Locke and companies with which he is associated since 2003, according to information released under the provincial access to information law. The information covers 22 contracts and contract renewals for the natural resources and finance departments as well as the provincial energy corporation.

More than $75,000 of that total has come since the Liberals took office in December 2015. Nalcor hired Locke in mid-2015 to provide the company with an assessment of the economic impact in the province of the company's operations.  The initial contract, started in June 2015, was valued at $87, 891. Nalcor renewed the contract in August and December 2015 and again in July 2016.   The total value of the four contracts is $176, 791.

The list provided by provincial government departments and Nalcor is incomplete, though. Locke completed work for the energy department in 2011 on energy innovation.  He lists two reports prepared with Orion Innovation among his publications. The natural resources department included Wade Locke Consulting in a list of consultants  - including Orion - hired to advise on an energy innovation study in 2011.  The department's access to information response made no reference to the reports on innovation.

The list may also be missing records for the Williams, Dunderdale, and Marshall administrations. Requests for documents to the Premier's Office for those periods typically receive the reply that the office has "no responsive records" as they did for this access request.

That doesn't mean the records don't exist. It may well mean that the office just doesn't have them. Two reports initiated by retired Supreme Court Justice William Marshall during Danny Williams' tenure are both missing from government files as are most of the documents related to them.

Nalcor also retained Locke as a consultant on the Lower Churchill project during the joint federal provincial environmental review process. Nalcor listed Locke as an expert witness on behalf of Nalcor for a hearing in March 2011.  While Nalcor's response to the access to information inquiry listed a report for Decision Gate 2 prepared in October 2010,  the company did not list any reference to Locke's work on the environmental process.