Top News

Letter: ‘Reassuring’ gobbledygook on Muskrat Falls

A downstream view of the spillway at Muskrat Falls, February 2017.
A downstream view of the spillway at Muskrat Falls, February 2017.

With respect to Ashley Fitzpatrick’s September 1st article (“Muskrat Falls report ‘reassuring’: Coady”), from my read, it seems that EY’s final report is little more than an assessment of how well Nalcor has implemented recommendations from EY’s earlier April 2016 interim report, a report which was limited in scope — to “a review of the Muskrat Falls Project’s...cost, schedule and related risks” (emphasis added).

Not unlike all the other so-called independent reports commissioned by Nalcor, this most recent EY report (this time commissioned by government) “has been based on data and information provided by Nalcor, members of the Nalcor Board, members of the OC (Oversight Committee) and representatives of the Provincial Government. EY has not sought to independently verify the data and information received … EY did not have direct access to contractors … EY did not conduct any engineering review, physical inspection or validation of construction process” (excerpt from EY’s final report).

It is a stretch therefore for government to say that this report is ‘independent’ and ‘reassuring.’

And unlike SNC-Lavelin’s 2013 risk assessment report (a report that no one in government or Nalcor seems to have received until 2017) and which correctly described project ‘risks’ as more than cost and schedule related, SNC-Lavelin described and assessed risk in its fullest sense (as a function of both the ‘probability’ of an event occurring and the impact/magnitude/consequences of such event).

While this EY report states that “The Project, Nalcor Board and the Provincial Government should maintain a relentless focus on risk management given the Project’s high level of inherent risk.” (emphasis added), EY has made it clear that it has made no assessment of the project’s risks in their full (and potentially catastrophic) sense — risks associated with the project’s engineering, design and construction (e.g., the North Spur, geotechnical investigations, mitigation measures, reliability, etc.).    

This time government has spent more than $2 million to review (based again on non-substantiated data and information) only project costs, schedules and related risks.

This long-delayed report is the Liberal government’s latest version of the previous government’s policy of obfuscation, deceit by omission, and the misleading of its own citizens — all under cover of a report that is dangerously narrow in scope — and yet marketed as independent and ‘reassuring’.

Gobbledygook at its ‘reassuring’ best.


Maurice E. Adams


Recent Stories