March 13, 2014 was a Thursday.
Normal cabinet day.
According to Auditor General Terry Paddon’s report on the Humber Valley Paving contract, Nick McGrath, then minister of works and transportation called his deputy minister at 8:45 AM and asked him whether he’d heard that HVP wanted to get out of their Labrador paving contract. (p.39) He hadn’t.
There’s no indication of how McGrath became aware of HVP’s problems. According to Paddon’s report, McGrath told him that he “may have” heard about HVP from colleagues. (p.54) It’s all pretty vague.
The deputy called Gene Coleman at 9:15 AM, according to Paddon. Coleman, son of the erstwhile Conservative leadership candidate McGrath claims he had not heard of, confirmed the company “would not be going back to Labrador” (p. 54) in 2014, at least not without compensation. Coleman indicated that without compensation, HVP would want a mutually-agreed termination of the contract with the government. (p.39)
The Fairity Intervention
At 9:30 AM, the deputy got a call from Kevin O’Brien. He was calling about the HVP contract, too, even though O;Brien had no reason to be involved. (p. 39) Asked by Paddon later how he became aware of the issue, O’Brien - who was also an organizer for Frank Coleman’s leadership campaign - said that he had heard “colleagues” talking, wanted to speak with the deputy about other issues but raised the HVP issue because of the potential connection to forest fires in Labrador. (p. 54) O’Brien was minister of fire and emergency services