Friday, May 18, 2007

Time for Wells to resign from CNLOPB (1)

I number this blog post (1) because I'm sure I will be producing more of these over time simply because, as sure as the sun rises in the east, Mayor Wells does not know how to keep a civil tongue in his head.

Remember, this is the man who recently embarrassed himself, his city and his position on the CNLOPB Board by arguing at a recent oil conference that the province needed to separate from Canada in order to get more clout over the offshore.

The habit he has of bitterly shooting off his mouth at whatever target he feels has done him wrong will be sure to put him in a bad spot. He just can't help it.

Sure enough, it has already started and you can read it here on CBC.

In the March edition of OilWeek magazine, Wells said he believed the board had not properly handled a proposal for the Hibernia South development, and even suggested the board was "incompetent."

On April 27, Ruelokke sent a letter to the federal and provincial natural resource ministers, alleging Wells violated conflict of interest guidelines. "Such comments speak to the integrity of the board and are clearly inconsistent with the principle that members shall act in good interests of the board in a manner that conserves and enhances public confidence and trust," Ruelokke wrote.

In classic Wells fashion, Wells responded with, "He can get stuffed on that. He's not going to be telling me how I'm going to respond to any issues that come before this board. I'm not going to stand by and allow some bureaucratic hack to tell me what I can and cannot say on matters of public interest."

If Mayor Wells feels strongly about the incompetence of the Board and the Chair, Max Ruelokke, then he should do the honourable thing and resign. But he won't.

Instead he will continue to snipe for the sidelines, sit in the corner of the room in board meetings and sulk and whine while the other members try to do their job and generally do all he can to undermine the Board and Chairman Ruelokke in public and in private.

Wells will do all he can to force the Board to take the actions necessary to remove him. Then Wells will do what he always do when he's crossed in public - he will sue. Will he win his suit? I doubt it. Wells' modus operandi is now well-known from as far back as his days on the Public Utilities Board when he was removed from that regulatory agency (through improper procedures, the courts ruled).

This time the CNLOPB will ensure that all i's will be dotted and all t's crossed at every step of the slow and inexorable removal process to forestall any liability issues. But if he keeps up this nonsense then remove him they will.

So what will Wells' spiteful scorched-earth policy accomplish? In the short-term there will be much noise and smoke and flaming from Wells and his provincial government allies. No doubt there will be more talk of Ottawa stabbing the people of the province in the back. The talk radio lines will be swarmed with his slavish and short-sighted supporters.

But in the long view, there will be few ill effects and more than a few positive ones. Wells will be removed from a Board he never had any credentials or background to join, Ruelokke will stay as chair in a much more peaceable environment and the offshore oil and gas regulatory universe will unfold as it should.

No comments: