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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

April 13, 2016

 

For Immediate Release

 

Does Government Still Have Confidence in Nalcor and

 

the Government’s Muskrat Falls Oversight Committee?

 

In the House of Assembly on Tuesday, Keith Hutchings, Natural Resources Critic for the Official Opposition, asked the Natural Resources Minister if the government still has confidence in Nalcor’s executive team, and the government’s own Muskrat Falls Oversight Committee staffed by senior public servants.

 

On December 21, 2015, Premier Ball and Minister Siobhan Coady decided to spend a million dollars to commission a report by EY (Ernst & Young) on the Muskrat Falls project. That number has since ballooned to $1.7 million. As late as April 11, the Natural Resources Minister was not even sure about the status of the EY report. Yet, less than a day later, on April 12, she was releasing a report and promising to fully implement all Ernst & Young recommendations, even though the report and its recommendations are not yet complete. Officials at Nalcor have challenged the accuracy of this preliminary report and questioned the limited discussion between Ernst & Young’s people in accessing information. Meanwhile, the Muskrat Falls Oversight Committee, chaired by the Clerk of the Executive Council (Cabinet) – staffed by senior public servants – also provides oversight on the project on a quarterly basis.

 

Hutchings is wondering why the province needed to spend $1.7 million (and maybe more) for EY (Ernst & Young) to access information that the government was readily able to access from Nalcor for free. “I’m just wondering if the minister could identify what information she and her officials couldn’t get access to that Ernst & Young was needed to access? And why would you bypass the executive at Nalcor, Nalcor’s Board of Directors, and the public servant Oversight Committee?” Hutchings asked.

 

“I remind the minister that EY (Ernst & Young) was involved in the prior quarter oversight committee report, so they were already involved in oversight with Muskrat Falls, and involved with it through the Oversight Committee, yet we are spending $1.7 million so far,” said Hutchings.

 

Hutchings is also wondering how the Minister can give a carte-blanche promise to fully implement the recommendations of a report that has not yet even been completed. “Is she going to take action in isolation from Nalcor’s management team and the government’s own Oversight Committee?” Hutchings asked. “Has the Minister lost faith in the Oversight Committee chaired by the Clerk of Cabinet, as well as the Nalcor leadership team, as indicated by her willingness to automatically accept all the recommendations even though she has never seen them?”

 

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Media Contact: Heather MacLean, Director of Communications,

 

Office of the Official Opposition, (709) 729 6105, heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca

 

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