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From politics to the Muskrat Falls project

The Muskrat Falls Inquiry is about to hold its first hearing. — Telegram file photo
As the Muskrat Falls project and the Muskrat Falls Inquiry progress, names like Darin King, Shawn Skinner and others — familiar to many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians — have been dropped. - SaltWire File Photo

Familiar names pepper the public inquiry

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

As the Muskrat Falls project and the Muskrat Falls Inquiry progress, names familiar to many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have been dropped.

They haven’t been the centre of attention, and are not upcoming on the inquiry’s witness list, but they were mentioned in project-related news, documents and testimony. They are listed here, as a matter of public interest.

Shawn Skinner

A former MHA for St. John’s Centre from 2003 to 2011, Skinner is also a former minister of Natural Resources, leaving that role and political life before the Muskrat Falls project was

Shawn Skinner.
Shawn Skinner.

sanctioned. He eventually became senior director for business development with Aecon Construction Group Ltd., being part of a bid for the Muskrat Falls project work package for construction of the spillway, powerhouse and transition dams in Labrador. Skinner commented publicly during the evaluation of bids, suggesting Astaldi Canada was not familiar enough with the area and, as an outsider, would be a liability if awarded major project work. Astaldi Canada was ultimately awarded the contract package Aecon’s joint venture had sought. Skinner’s comments have been noted at the Inquiry, and he testified on Nov. 2, 2018, for the Inquiry's first phase, dealing with the project pre-sanction.

Paul Shelley

A former MHA for Baie Verte and former Labour minister, Shelley decided in 2007 he would not run again. His name has been raised at the Muskrat Falls Inquiry in relation to Astaldi Canada, after that company was formed in March 2012. Astaldi hired Shelley as the company’s local labour consultant, supporting its bid for Muskrat Falls project work. Back in March 2013 he was referred to as the senior director of business development with Astaldi Canada.

Darin King

Darin King.
Darin King.

A former Progressive Conservative MHA for Grand Bank from 2007 into 2015, King did not seek re-election and moved on to become executive director for TradesNL, the Newfoundland and Labrador Building and Construction Trades Council, and the Resource Development Trades Council (RDTC). The RDTC is an umbrella organization which has 16 member unions working on the Muskrat Falls project. In fall 2018, the RDTC issued a public notice that workers were not all getting paid at the Muskrat Falls construction site and King personally called for a meeting between the RDTC and Premier Dwight Ball to address the situation. During his time in politics, King held cabinet portfolios including Education, Business and Justice.

Brian Crawley

A former chief of staff to Danny Williams, Crawley left government and landed at Nalcor Energy in 2011 after responding to a job ad. He became the manager of integration with the Muskrat Falls project (by 2017, he had moved into a role with the Town of Conception Bay South). His name has come up during the Muskrat Falls Inquiry in relation to his role at Nalcor. Manitoba Hydro International referred to Crawley being involved in reviewing draft reports. And in June 2016, after seeing a letter from the project management team to be sent to Nalcor Energy’s new president and CEO Stan Marshall, he suggested in an email that the team give a heads up about the critical letter to the former president and CEO, Ed Martin. “If this document should go to government, they would most certainly use it against Ed,” he wrote at the time.

Bob Rae

Bob Rae
Bob Rae

A former NDπ premier of Ontario, and a former MP who was, for a time, interim leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Rae has worked as a consultant and lobbyist since leaving federal politics in 2013. His lobbyist work included efforts for Astaldi Canada in 2016 in relation to the Muskrat Falls Project. In a quarterly call that year, Nalcor Energy president and CEO Stan Marshall noted he had received a call from Rae. Rae was registered at the time as an active lobbyist. In the provincial registry of lobbyists he stated his registration was for “discussions to resolve construction contract issues for the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project.” In 2017, he was named the Special Envoy of Canada to Myanmar.

(NOTE: This is an updated version, to clarify Shawn Skinner's time as a witness in the Inquiry's first phase.)

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