The Blog Post “WHY DUNDERDALE CAN’T CONNECT” attempts to explain the
underlying reasons the Premier is floundering in the Polls. The Premier, and her Administration are
languishing, in third place, having literally dropped off the political
that “….the Premier must give herself a defined period, say six months, during
which to make the positive connection with the electorate….failing this test,
the Premier should call it a day”.
ground’ for much of the summer. Her popularity is showing no signs of
On Saturday the Telegram ran a front page commentary by its
chief editorial writer, Russell Wangersky, announcing: “Premier, it is time to go”.
and dignity that ought to be afforded a First Minister, but there was no
equivocation. Said Wangersky, to the Premier, “Your race is run. You may not know it yet – you may not even
want to believe it – but it’s over”.
Again, on Tuesday, Sept. 10 Wangersky wrote a column headlined “Lights on, nobody’s home”.
Today’s item is also about the Premier’s ‘loose ends’. It explains how the outstanding issues could severely harm this Province. They speak to the urgency of why the Premier must provide us clarity, right away.
It would be fine, if the ‘fine mess’ in which the Premier finds
herself, were her misfortune alone or just that of her party. Regrettably, the ‘mess’ is ours; the Premier’s
political career is mere detritus. Of greatest importance is what she has
unleashed by having prematurely and ill-advisedly sanctioned the Muskrat Falls
Every day the sun rises, another million dollars is spent
without the certainty that it is going anywhere, except into a black hole,
under a Labrador sunset. Millions more are being committed.
trusted the Government that it had a firm grip on all the questions of
economics, engineering and the law. If
the Premier is not careful, her Administration’s silence, on some critical
issues, will soon inspire ‘doubt’; if it continues, ‘fear and anger’ will surely
follow. Newfoundland history is replete
with lessons. The Premier would do well to read history; the Sir Richard
Squires saga may be a good reference point.
critical issues are playing out. They
have enormous consequences, but they did not appear out of nowhere. The Premier
received fair warning, in every case. In
a nutshell, here are the main ones:
Utility and Rate Board of Nova Scotia (UARB) has refused to sanction the
Maritime Link as that Province’s lowest cost option. All it did was issue an ultimatum, to Nalcor,
to deliver up an additional 40% of the power (60% total) from Muskrat Falls (at
a price of 5-9 cents per KWh) to allow Nova Scotia to achieve a blended cost of
around 10 cents per KWh, flat for 35 years. (Cabot Martin’s recent Telegram Article is an excellent expose of this issue).
Federal Loan Guarantee has not been issued, and in the absence of approval from
the UARB for the Maritime Link, the FLG stands little chance of being approved.
Quebec’s legal challenge, in the Courts of that Province, over water management
rights is a ‘show stopper’ for the Project, if HQ’s position is upheld. If you
think this view unwarranted, this comment can be found on page 19 of a White
Paper entitled, “Incremental Power Imports”, prepared by the New England States Committee on Electricity, and just
released to the public. It states,
succinctly: “…Hydro-Quebec filed a lawsuit against Churchill Falls that puts the Muskrat Falls project in jeopardy.” Local critics are not the only ones focussed
on the Quebec action. Lawyers, familiar with the court case, believe that the
initial court decision and subsequent appeals may run into 2016, or later.
challenges by other groups may also derail the Project.
millions of dollars, now being spent and committed, by Nalcor, are monies paid
directly out of the Provincial public purse; billions will have to be borrowed
by the Government, and added to the public debt, in order to keep the machinery
the absence of the Federal Loan Guarantee (FLG), and clarity of the legal
challenges referred to, there is no certainty that the Provincial Government
will be capable of raising the billions of dollars necessary to complete the
Project. Indeed, even if the money is
found, in the absence of a favourable Quebec court decision, on water
management, the amount of firm power from Muskrat Falls will only be enough to replace
the Holyrood Generating Station.
Province should be advancing billions of dollars to this megaproject?
own political problems and display only a concern for the public interest. She must do so, personally, squarely in front
of the cameras.
of these issues and to provide clarity to the problems her unwise Administration
and a naïve and foolhardy Nalcor have created.
financial turmoil in the face of these challenges. Perhaps, the Premier plans to capitulate to
the blackmail tactics of the NS UARB, in the hope that the Federal Government will
ignore all the legal issues, and get her off the hook, at least for now.
pay for Muskrat Falls, for all of the cost overruns plus 80% of the overruns on
the Maritime Link. (Sir Richard Squires’
narrow escape, from the Colonial Building, really does make interesting reading!)
price of, or delay, that Province’s participation. The current NS Official Opposition Party has
vigorously opposed the deal.
communications strategy with the electorate: “If you need to know something for
your own good…we decide when and how to tell you”. While sanction of Muskrat Falls was reckless,
the Premier would, again, be unwise to let public ‘scepticism’ grow into ‘doubt’,
or worse. She needs to explain how the Government plans to deal with the very
real problems facing this Project.
Premier, will you continue to spend every cent the Government can borrow and
will you keep on spending until the money runs out?
please muster the courage to send out a Press Release informing us you have shut
the Project down.