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Ever wonder why sports teams fire coaches, instead of simply demoting them to work under their replacements? Perhaps because once they’ve run the shop, former coaches chafe under the decisions that their successors make.

Put it another way: once you’ve held the whip, if you stay at the circus it’s hard to be anything but the ringmaster.

Hence the tangly problem of former premier Danny Williams.

Williams has never been shy about, well, anything. He hasn’t been hesitant about making his opinions known, or his belief that past politicians should keep their lips buttoned.

“I find it sad when former premiers comment on current administrations,” Williams said in 2007, talking about comments on the fishery by former premier Brian Peckford. “I pray to God that I never do that when I finish politics. … I certainly hope that I can make a commitment to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador that I won’t provide gratuitous comments or opinions on someone who succeeds you — different times, different circumstances. … I think there’s a point in time when politicians should move on. … Hopefully, I can live up to what I’ve said, and when I get out of politics, then I’ll shut up and go away.”

So far, Williams hasn’t.

He’s shown up for television interviews, bird-dogged the brief House of Assembly Muskrat Falls debate from the visitors’ gallery, and has regularly commented on the project.

It’s gone on for months — no, years.

After the Public Utilities Board said it didn’t have enough information to decide on Muskrat Falls, he had this to say: “I have a serious concern that the PUB quotes extensively the personal opinions of

former bureaucrats and academia, while ignoring the world-class experts at Nalcor.”

In the last few weeks?

After the Muskrat debate: “It’s just such a historic day for the province. Sure the debate is symbolic, and there’s going to be other milestones and other decisions, but this is really important,” he said last week. “I feel really good. I feel very proud to sit in the gallery here today and see that this is going to go through because I do think this is the best thing for the people of the province. … I can honestly say that this has been studied to death. … I wouldn’t have done half the studies that have been done here, because I believed in this from Day 1 and knew in my heart and soul from a business perspective and an analytical perspective that this was a good project.”

Or speaking to the St. John’s Board of Trade on Oct. 23: “I never have nor would I ever put my name on an agreement that is not in the best interests of our province; it’s that simple. … Now, I’m not saying for one moment that the people of this province should simply take my word for it when it comes to Muskrat Falls; that would be foolhardy, it would be irresponsible, and frankly, the people of Newfoundland and Labrador are much smarter than that.”

Williams is a private businessman, with personal interests that include being a board member on at least one company interested in cheap power in Labrador.

And his words still have huge public political sway with a portion of this province’s electorate.

He should decide which role he prefers and stick to it. And maybe take his own advice.

Organizations: Public Utilities Board, Board of Trade

Geographic location: Muskrat Falls, Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Winston Adams
    December 17, 2012 - 21:12

    Mr Morrison, your comparison of Danny Williams to Jesus you say was 'principally in jest'. It is not obvious from your words. If you made the joke in conversation, accompanied by a wink wink, it could go over as a joke. Good thing we don't operate by Sheria Law, or you personally would be in deep trouble. And since you were principally joking, it implies your comparison was not totally in jest. So explain what similarities you see between Danny and Jesus. Virtues and vices --please educate me.

  • Winston Adams you are correct in what you say.
    December 14, 2012 - 19:09

    WINSTON ADAM your post of December 14, 2012 at 12:44:56 was right on the mark. There is ABSOLUTELY no concern by the developers of the Muskrat Falls Project regarding selling the hydro energy at a price that will earn some revenue for the province to assist the hydro consumers, who ultimmately will be the only mortgage payers for this project. Some of the developers are poised to make Tens of millions on the Muskrat Falls Project and some amongst them, no doubt, will make Hundreds of millions. It is still shocking to me to know that things have not changed in this province over the past 63 years, all the control is in the hands of the politicians and the merchants and if we don't take control they will shaft us until death do us part. I heard a CBC Report on the project a few nights ago done by, I believe, Terry Mileski who said that all eyes will be on the Muskrat Falls Project, I hope that will be the case since we need all the scrutiny we can get on this project which is supposed to costing us multi-Billions of dollars for just 800 mega watts of energy.

  • Herb Morrison
    December 14, 2012 - 13:31

    Mr. Adams. While I am dead serious concerning private citizen Danny Williams right to expreass an informed opinion concerning the proposed Muskrat Falls development, my comparing Mr. Williams to Jesus was done principally in jest.

  • Winston Adams
    December 14, 2012 - 11:14

    Herb, to compare Danny with Jesus!!!!! WOW!!! . What bible did you read? Now we know that Jesus stood with the poor, and even with the rich who were generous, who gave 25 percent of their earnings , was it, to assist the poor. That's a very high standard. For this standard, Warren Buffett comes to mind-- a saint of sorts. Now one strike agasinst Williams is that he is a lawyer. You know what Jesus said about lawyers, don't you? But there are always exceptions. But being a lawyer and a rich man too, that is generally two strikes against your comparison argument. Now I watched the House debate yesterday. The govn MHA's was non- stop on the necessity of giving industry very competitive power rates, to the extent of being cheaper than Hydro Quebec. But I hear none of this talk when it comes to power rates for nfld residents and small business. They talk about lonng term stability. In fact we are on a path that we will go from now paying 50 percent more to double what they pay in Man, Que, and B.C. Nothing competitive for the residents. And this is what Danny supports, a no-brainer he called it! And the residents will therefore subsidize the mining companies cheap power, is this not so? Now China and other places are in need of these minerals. But shouldn't some profit be made for the taxpayers on our clean power to run these dirty industries? Being 'very competitive' when applied to MF is selling below cost, on the backs of residents. And Danny, how many options to buy cheap shares of the mining company has he got? What is the forecast return rate for the mining company development? What is his projected earnings if all goes well? Is it so huge that it would cause him to break his word and become a public advocate of MF and look down from the public gallery? Perhaps we should nationalize the mining operation and let Danny and his associates develop Muskrat Falls? Is he with the average Joe or the wealthy corporation? What would Jesus have done? What options and shares would he have sought? I don't wish to be too negative on Danny. Ray Guy said he is a self made man who worships his creator. You compare him to Jesus. Either Danny has a swelled head from your comparison, or feels shame for such a over the top remarks from you. I cannot comment with personal kowledge on Danny's personal generosity, But My guess is that he is no Warren Buffett. I personally admire Warren Buffett - as one of very few rich men who may reach Jesus's high standards. And perhaps we should have had conflict of interest rules that would have prevented Mr Williams from weilding his influence, for at least 5 years after quitting as Premier. How many other MHAs are asking themselves if they too can get some private corporate board appointment, and share options, on top of their generous MHA pension?

  • Herb Morrison
    December 14, 2012 - 07:29

    Mr Prophet. Call it coincidence if you will, but both Jesus and Mr. Williams continue to be vilified for causing political unrest. At this point in time, I am quite certain that Mr. Williams is not worried. In the event that a howling mob is seen heading for signal hill with a couple of pieces of board, nails , and a hammer? Sound ridiculous? No more ridiculous than the unsubstantiated insinuations that Mr. Williams is weilding any more influence then he is entitled to weild , within the context of the Muskrat Falls issue.

    • Prophet
      December 14, 2012 - 07:53

      Ah, like thousands of other Tory minions, are still under Danny's spell. The same in the House; as was evident last week as Danny was the egotistical puppeteer, pulling the strings with the Blunderfest Administration as they ram home the Muskrat deal. Minister Marshall's 300% oops on the budget will pale in comparision how far they're off the mark on the real numbers on Muskrat. Oh, and, by the way....yes, Danny can walk on water; and you can too Herb, and you too John Smith, just like me and everyone else...we just have to wait til it freezes.

  • Herb Morrison
    December 14, 2012 - 07:13

    Mr. Williams is entitled to the same rights and privlieges as any private citizen residing in Newfoundland and Labrador. This includes the right to express his personal opinion on any actions taken by the Government in power. When it comes to the issue of Muskrat Falls, who could be better qualified to express an informed opinion.

  • Corporate Psycho
    December 13, 2012 - 20:18

    More dogging is needed into Danny's dealings. Tobacco lawsuit deals, land deals, Muskrat deals. Something stinks.

  • Winston Adams
    December 13, 2012 - 10:31

    John, you say Danny Williams has the best interests of the province at heart. Well, you know, don't you, that he had the buyers bid up the value of Cable Atlantic from 2400.00 to 3000.00 per cable subcsriber, and hence it's 225 million value. Was this with with best interests of the province at heart, or the best interest to the shareholders of Cable Atlantic; Danny at 93 percent of all shares and Dean McDonaldat 6 percent. Just asking. With several buyers interested, Danny described this as The Perfect Storm. Question. Are we paying more today for our cable fees from Rogers as a result of The Perfect Storm? Now John, a few years ago Maurice was writing letters to the Telegram in praise of Danny Williams. Perhaps there were actions by Williams that deserved praise? But Danny's legacy is being questioned more and more. I refer readers to Uncle Gnarleys blog today. Don't we need the oversight of the federal government independent engineer to oversee what the world class engineers at Nalcor are ignoring? It may already constitute a valid reason for default. Again, Danny felt there was too much study of this scheme. I would suggest it is Danny's ignorance of engineering and what constitutes 'good utility practice'. Much like your your view John. You parrot the words of your preferred experts, but have no ability for independent thought to analysize what is 'good utility practise' Perhaps this is Harpers revenge against Danny Williams. But Harper may save us from a blunder of our own making. A blunder that is Danny's vision, but with significant risk of being a nightmare.

    • John Smith
      December 14, 2012 - 15:56

      I wouldn't know...I have satellite....never had cable...but Wince at least your true motivations, jealousy and hatred are fianlly coming through all the horse poop...

  • BobbleHead Dribbles
    December 13, 2012 - 09:28

    Listen I tells ya, I think thats why Tom Osbourne voted the way he did. The very thought that danny was looking on was like a dragon breathing down the MHA's Neck.

  • Petertwo
    December 13, 2012 - 08:38

    Err, excuse me. Since when did some folks not know the difference between apple and oranges? At the very least try to compare apples with apples. Just to clue you in Danny Williams was the Premier of this province, not the coach or the ringmaster. Really this rhetoric is so childishly pathetic it's not worth a read at all, you lost me after the first two paragraphs.

  • Maurice E. Adams
    December 13, 2012 - 08:36

    While the province is now closing schools, court houses, and scrapping the expeditious construction of a Corner Brook hospital, Danny's government expropriated what resulted in a $100 million + cost to the people of this province for Abitibi's mess, and then government helped out its lawyer friends by spending $2 million dollars more of taxpayers money to take a bad government decision all the way to the Supreme Court. Now we are heading down a much worse road with Muskrat Falls, only this time measured in BILLIONs, not millions, and for the benefit of multi-million dollar mining companies instead of lawyers.

  • Should the Muskrat Falls Project be reset because of the exorbitant costs for so little energy?
    December 13, 2012 - 08:28

    This mornings the Globe and Mail news has a story that states "Ottawa officiially scrapped F-35 as audit pegs costs at $45 Billion". Another story from CBC News thismorning states "Quebec developer alleges corruption sank Alberta project - Alberta town official demanded kickbacks"

  • John Smith
    December 13, 2012 - 08:22 now it's attack Danny Williams? Why? Attack what he us where he is wrong in what he says...but attack this man for speaking out....while the likes of Roger Grimes, Brian Paeckford and others can bleat away unscathed? I hope Mr. Williams continues to speak out...he has the best interests of the province at heart...unlike many others...

    • Little Man Dan
      December 13, 2012 - 08:29

      Down Johnny; get off me you lapdog lackie.

    • Prophet
      December 13, 2012 - 08:36

      John bye; this is Danny you're talking about, not Jesus!

    • W McLean
      December 13, 2012 - 14:04

      Grimes and Peckford didn't say former Premiers should ''shut up and go away''. Danny Williams did.

  • Maurice E. Adams
    December 13, 2012 - 07:44

    824 MW of power for Muskrat Falls comes from the manufacturers rating on the metal plate that is on the each of the 4 turbines planned for the generation facility at Muskrat Falls (206 MW each)............ Nalcor says that the average output will be 570 MW (determined by the water flow). .........Nalcor says we need 40% of MF power for the island. That equals 228 MW (less than half Holyrood's NET capacity of 466 MW --- which operate on average at less than 30% its capacity and provides only 12% of the island's total energy needs)......... How then can we need MORE power, when with 40% of Muskrat (228 MW) we will have 50% LESS POWER than Holyrood's 466 MW? ---- And we will pay $10 billion for LESS POWER ($35 billion over 40 years? Why are we allowing government to drown us in debt, waste our oil revenues, cut public services, place the control of our resource at risk, weigh each homeowners down with debt for 50 years based on what Nalcor says is increasing residential demand --- when government 's own two 2011 studies state clearly and firmly that residential energy demand has gone down 17% over the last 19 year?s. This is a travesty that homeowners, parents, should not allow to happen.