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Letter: Public input has to mean something

Justice Minister Andrew Parsons (right), Premier Dwight Ball and Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady announce details of the Muskrat Falls inquiry Monday at Confederation Building in St. John's.
Justice Minister Andrew Parsons (left), Premier Dwight Ball and Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady at the announcement of details of the Muskrat Falls inquiry at Confederation Building in St. John’s. — Telegram file photo

The commission of inquiry recently said that before it would decide how it would interpret the terms of reference for the Muskrat Falls inquiry, it wanted to receive and review written comments from the public on how the terms of reference should be interpreted.

The commission’s decision on the interpretation of the terms of reference would therefore not be made until after Feb. 15th.

Taking the commissioner at his word, I spent about a week reviewing the terms of reference and fleshing out what I considered a significant terms of reference interpretive issue.
Nevertheless, on Feb. 5th the commission announced that it had directed a major firm to conduct a forensic audit into issues that it considered to be within the scope of two main aspects of the terms of reference (one of which I very much intended to address).

I would submit however, that the substantive direction with respect to the audit could only have been issued if the commission (before its publicly advertised Feb. 15th deadline) had already made a decision with respect to its interpretation of key aspects of the terms of reference.

Properly interpreted or not, public input or not, a reason-based, objective, in-depth interpretation or not — that decision has now been made.

Not unlike our previous government, not unlike our current government, not unlike Nalcor itself. Public input? What’s that?

Maurice E. Adams
Paradise

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