Two former members of the provincial public service have been granted standing for part of the Commission of Inquiry Respecting the Muskrat Falls Project, including former auditor general Terry Paddon.
As testimony closed on Tuesday, Commissioner Richard LeBlanc said he had been weighing an application from Paddon and lawyer Todd Stanley, ultimately deciding in their favour.
The written decision notes the two men applied for standing — including the ability to have questions posed by their lawyer in the cross-examination of witnesses — only after the hearings were already underway, with no explanation noted for the delayed request.
The two asked to be granted standing now as “Former Civil Servants of Government NL,” but LeBlanc said other civil servants already have been involved in the process, and he did not want any unnecessary confusion.
Both men will be represented at the daily hearings by lawyer Gerlinde van Driel.
They will have limited standing for the first phase of the inquiry, covering to the point of the project’s sanctioning (green light) at the end of 2012.
Paddon retired as auditor general of Newfoundland and Labrador in October 2017. But he was also the province’s deputy minister of Finance from 2004 to May 2012.
He was appointed to the role of auditor general before the Muskrat Falls project was sanctioned, but worked within government while the hydroelectric project was being weighed.
Stanley was a provincial Department of Justice lawyer from 2001 to 2013 and, according to LeBlanc’s decision, "provided advice to the Department of Natural Resources regarding such matters as energy policy, resource-related legislation and regarding the Muskrat Falls project."
Stanley became assistant deputy minister of Justice in 2013 and deputy minister of the same department in 2017, more recently leaving for private practice.
LeBlanc noted neither Paddon nor Stanley were looking for part or all of their legal costs to be covered. Instead, they indicated their costs “will be paid for by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.”
The two have been ordered to disclose any documents or things in their possession with relevance to the inquiry (assuming it has not already been collected by staff). More than three million documents have been collected to date as part of the inquiry’s work.