“don’t go chasing rabbits” evokes a warning against one going off on a tangent,
getting distracted or confused. In
politics, it is a caution, to politicians, that they may have missed the big
issue in pursuit of one minor or of no consequence at all.
Minister John Diefenbaker was once quoted as saying something like: ‘when I
hunt bears I don’t go looking for rabbit tracks’.
the NDP did recently. It needs reminding that it should be hunting bears; that its job is to stay
focussed on “big picture” politics.
The NDP barely
noticed the bomb-shells planted, for the Dunderdale Government, in the Nova
Scotia UARB Decision on the Maritime Link.
The UARB is a semi-judicial body; its decisions should not be ignored,
even when they come out of Nova Scotia.
instead, to explode, like lightening, over the Legislative Commissioner’s
Report on the poor judgment of Tory MHA, David Brazil; as if the Commissioner
had not effectively dealt with the matter and proposed the correct response.
have mined several far richer nuggets, compliments of the UARB, and exploded them
in full view of the media.
At a time
when the House of Assembly is closed, you might expect that they would be
looking for reasons to steal some of the scant spotlight put on politics, in
the summer. You would think that they
would want to, at least, share public attention with Candidates for the Liberal
that would have required studying the 137 page UARB Report and figuring out
what it all meant. Much easier to read
the Ethics Commissioner’s 17 page Report; one that even a simpleton could
the UARB revelations and why are they so critical?
Scotia’s Utility and Review Board refused sanctioning the Maritime Link (ML),
as the lowest cost option for Nova Scotia.
In order to satisfy that condition, it stated, Nalcor must commit the
remaining surplus or “Market-priced power” from Muskrat Falls. It did say the
power could come from another source, but everyone knows there is no other
cheap power, unless Bay d’Espoir is offered up.
demands the legal certainty of being able to “levelize” the
cost of the power previously committed Nova Scotia Block. It anticipates the surplus power will in the
5-7 cent range per KWh; making Nova Scotia’s cost of all the power it receives,
from Muskrat, average around 10 cents per KWh over the thirty-five year contract.
was made notwithstanding the fact that Nalcor informed our own PUB that at
least 80% of this power is committed for our domestic consumption to 2030.
stated, using impeccably clear language, that Nalcor had committed the power to
Emera. All that was left was for the
parties to “codify” the agreement, in writing.
researchers, checking Hansard, will likely find multiple occasions when the
House was misinformed as to the purpose of Muskrat Falls and the arrangement
between Emera and Nalcor.
either of the Opposition Parties might legitimately ask those and many other
questions, too; such as:
Premier and the Minister of Natural Resources deliberately lie to the House, on
those occasions when they spoke of that Project’s ability to meet future
domestic demand, meet the needs of Labrador mining and be available for export
to the United States?
How much of
the anticipated capital, to be spent on Muskrat Falls, will actually be capital
invested for Nova Scotia?
annual cost, to this Province, of subsidizing up to 60% of Muskrat Falls power to that Province?
an effort to secure Muskrat sanction.
the types of questions the NDP would want to put to the Government in a
reconvened House of Assembly?
Commissioner reported that the Member for Conception Bay-Bell Island broke the
rules of the House, that he should receive only a “reprimand”, noting that he
did not profit, personally, from the Adult Basic Education Program he ran on
Commissioner could have recommended a harsher penalty. He did not.
the Government to re-convene the House, while not having a snow ball’s chance
in hell, is nevertheless a clarion call that an important issue is afoot. It is
a standard part of any Opposition Party’s tool kit; but it should not get overuse,
especially when more important issues are ignored in favour one borne, in part,
out of rank partisanship. Notably, it
was former MHA Yvonne Jones’ written complaint that sparked the Commissioner’s
release of the UARB Decision, it makes no sense that the NDP did not use the
opportunity to call for the re-opening the House to air the serious revelations
that it contained.
wonder that the NDP, like the Liberals, are still viewed as a Party that pulls
its punches on Muskrat Falls.
chose to “chase rabbits” while the Liberals are off chasing each other. Yes, I understand the Party has its sights on
Mr. Brazil’s District. Likely, though,
they turned off more of his constituents than was sensible.
both Parties forgot to pursue the biggest issue of the summer, one that demands
credit to neither of them.
one, in the NDP, ever thought a lesson could be learned from “Dief the Chief”.
Postscript: The NDP
should get a boost soon. Independent
MHA, Tom Osborne informed the Weekend Telegram that: “I think I’ll be making an announcement next week.” Osborne was referring to his political future and which Party he intends to join. I can’t imagine, though, he is going back to the
Tories or that he would favour the Liberals, and not just because the Leadership contest is unfinished. “Big picture” politics could get more interesting. Readers may wish to revisit TOM OSBORNE: OPTIONS FOR A POLITICAL ORPHAN. Tom Osborne may wish to read :