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Editorial: Cheers & Jeers

Jeers: to a kind of corporate Karma. Back in May, 2012, Nalcor held a major in-house weekend meeting to analyze the different risks that might threaten the Muskrat Falls project. One of those risks? Companies from the province. The issue was local firms might not be credit-worthy enough to see contracts all the way through. The problem solved itself, however. As the risk team pointed out “Risk is closed due to the following: We have no particular requirement to use N.L. contractors from a benefits perspective, rather our packaging strategy is largely aligned with using larger national/international contractors. We have defined our performance security requirements.” Yes. Larger national/international contractors. Like Astaldi, the major contractor thrown off the site last week after running into financial trouble. Failure of such a large contractor, by the way, was not included in that particular review as a recognized risk.

Cheers: to things that could easily happen in this province. The RCMP were called in Upper Tantallon, N.S., after two unfamiliar women were spotted entering an unlocked house by a neighbour. The women were carrying a vacuum cleaner and mop. By the time police arrived, the women were gone, but nothing was missing. The women were hired cleaners who had simply gone to the wrong address.

Jeers: to curious timing. Everyone certainly gets to pick when exactly they want to quit their job — and after 17 years, former premier Paul Davis can legitimately be sick of politics and be looking forward to something new. Davis says he’s not planning to run federally, nor are there health concerns or a new job in the offing. It was, simply, that “The time is right. After 17 years in politics, it’s a good time for me to move.” Davis’ departure will mean the government has to call a byelection in his seat — whoever is elected will be in office for less than a year before the next provincial general election. On top of that is the cost of running the byelection: byelections cost more than $100,000, and if Davis had just hung on until April, there’d be no requirement to have one before the general election. Unfortunate.

Jeers: to hanging your hat on student evaluations. Here’s (supposedly) a real study on whether free chocolate chip cookies affect the ratings that professors get. From the abstract: “Results from end‐of‐course student evaluations of teaching are taken seriously by faculties and form part of a decision base for the recruitment of academic staff, the distribution of funds and changes to curricula.” But do the results accurate measure the value of the course? The study’s results? “A total of 112 students completed the evaluation form. The cookie group evaluated teachers significantly better than the control group. Course material was considered better and summation scores evaluating the course overall were significantly higher in the cookie group.” Sigh.

Related story:

Astaldi ordered off Muskrat Falls project site

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