Thoughts on new Nalcor leadership

As a resident living downstream from the Muskrat Falls development I care about the background of Nalcor’s new CEO.

I believe the successful individual needs certain key competencies. The first one is the whole concept around “Ecosystems Approaches to Health (EcoHealth)” that considers the connections between the environment, plants, animals and human health. The scientific research around the rise of methylmercury in Lake Melville, and the serious impacts on human health deserves immediate consideration by the new CEO. The CEO should also consider the mental health implications of this development project on people in our region.

Then there is leadership required around Indigenous affairs and reconciliation. There was a Duty to Consult, and the recent Daniels v Canada Supreme Court decision has likely created a liability for Nalcor as a result of their handling of affairs with NunatuKavut. In a region like the Happy Valley – Goose Bay area, local knowledge would have highlighted the benefits of including all the Indigenous political organizations in the earliest stages of project planning.

Given the labour intensity of dam-making, the new CEO also needs to have a strong background in labour relations. The labour costs need to be reasonable and agreements that encourage local employment should be bare minimums that are ambitiously exceeded. From a strategic planning perspective, the more local employee and business capacity that are gained will inevitably serve the Crown Corporation and the region better in the long run.

A commitment to corporate social responsibility is another key attribute I would like for the new CEO. I would feel more confident about my tax paying investments into Nalcor if the CEO embraced corporate social responsibility moving forward. When development happens in or adjacent to communities, there needs to be partnership and vision that ensures a healthy and symbiotic relationship, where both futures are enviable.

Finally, strength and creditability come from organizations with strong governance structures. The new CEO would be wise to encourage a strong Board of Directors, who are diversified, independent of partisanship, and skilled in visioning and implementation.

If the people of Lake Melville, Labrador, and Newfoundland were given a fair say in how their money was invested, I feel confident these values would be represented in Nalcor’s operations. The confrontational and dismissive approach to communications that has never acknowledged the thoughts, insights, or feelings of residents has eliminated pride of ownership in this company.

Whether it is a Crown Corporation or some of the world’s largest development proponents, these skills are needed when altering ecosystems during a time of intense climatic, environmental, and socio-economic change, and impacting communities in Canada’s multicultural North.

  1. 1. Has government accepted the monitoring and oversight model recommended by the joint panel, in Chapter 15 of their report? The panel recommended a mechanism to ensure compliance. What mechanism has been adopted if not that recommended by the panel?

    2. Has the new government revised the approach set out by the previous government in their response of March 15, 2012?

    3. Recommendation 15.1. Has government issued an authorizing regulation, listing the environmental commitments made by the proponent and other requirements recommended by the panel and accepted by the government, and enforcing compliance therewith?
    Has government agreed to require Nalcor to post on the internet an annual report describing its activities and results, along with disbursements?

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