If you were
disturbed by the Telegram Brian Jones’ “apocalyptic” editorial last week (finally, it seems, ‘mainstream’
meets blogger) which forecasts the inevitable shutdown of Muskrat Falls
because it will prove to be too expensive to operate – you will be equally frightened
by the fact that the Premier’s assertions around rate mitigation are grounded
in ideas that are just as fraudulent as those that brought us this project.
JONES IS RIGHT. But that’s another
As if to
prove he doesn’t get it, the Premier promises rate mitigation — engaging a
Committee which will include Nalcor — letting the fakers, possibly fraudsters, extend
the deceit that pervades the Muskrat Falls project.
us to believe that rates “can’t go above 17%”; that ‘robbing Peter to pay
Paul’ has financial merit.
incarceration of Jim Learning, Marjorie Flowers and Eldred Davis — three
stellar people from Labrador whose concern is for health and safety issues and
for the need to get to the bottom of the alleged corruption — doesn’t motivate
him to do his duty.
Premier is so inured to possible malfeasance at a high level that no act of
public demonstration will motivate him to change, what is the public to do?
Are they to
tolerate his flat-footedness, Ball having calculated that not pissing off Cathy
Bennett or Danny Williams is more important than any other consideration?
not the brainchild of this Premier. But he has enabled the debacle.
|Anthony Rockel photo|
have shut down the project when that option made sense — two years ago, –when
the power house was barely under way. He refused, AND in failing to authorize a
Forensic Audit, he has closed the door to the ONLY real option
available for rate mitigation.
is to refute the debt on Muskrat Falls altogether and to cancel the reckless
deals which Nalcor entered into with Emera.
Any person —
whether Premier, Finance Minister, Consumer Advocate or construction worker —
is delusional if they believe that there is another plausible course.
us to join with him in a miasma of BS, an entirely rhetorical conversation — as
if unbridled optimism alone, however unsupported or inane, is enough to find
the $400 million suggested to be the number to keep rates below 17 cents per kWh.
And remember, this is not about finding a subsidy for just one year. It will be
required every year for decades. (Of course, the $400 million figure is contrived from
a false starting point. The project cost will exceed $12.7 billion. And the
operating costs will be far higher than even Nalcor’s latest ‘stab’ at a number. So, even though $400 million annually is a massive figure, when the final numbers come in, the amount of subsidy needed will be even greater.)
Nalcor possesses secret sources of cash!
crown corporation already let Emera inject hundreds of millions of dollars into
the Labrador Island Link — allowing them to earn 8.8% on their money when the
Federal Loan Guarantee funding costs only around 2.4%?
PAYDAY LOAN store already been visited?
folks. It is time to stop listening to this Premier.
engaging in the kind of deceit for which the Tories and Nalcor are infamous. Rate
mitigation will require direct funding from taxpayers or from reduced public
services. There is simply no magic bullet.
truth — considering current tax levels, the size of the public debt and the
deficit — is that the option Ball is really talking about is to grab the money saved
from closing segments of rural Newfoundland and from shutting down schools and
hospitals throughout the province.
the Western Star recently:
“The cost of
this project will be reflected in the [electricity] rates to Newfoundlanders
and Labradorians. My job right now is to manage those rates so we do not put
our province in an uncompetitive environment in three to four years out.”
unaware that the damage is done.
necessary to service $12.7 billion, pay back the capital, and operate the
project, post-commissioning, is simply too large to mitigate.
Even if the
rates are subsidized by $400 million per year, the money is not generated by any wealth
creation process. It is, as the Anonymous Engineer has described, “just a
transfer of accounts, further increasing the budget shortfall or deficit.”
bluntly, this conversation is not about making electricity rates bearable; it
is solely about increasing the dim prospect that the Liberals will survive the
should the reader conclude?
the public should know that a Forensic Audit is needed now, not just to expose
the culprits but to establish the legal basis on which the province will inform
the bondholders in New York and Canada — including the Federal Government —
that Muskrat Falls is a huge fraud to which they have been (possibly) witting
We need to
tell them that we are not paying — that they are not getting their money back!
We need to
cancel the reckless contracts which Nalcor signed with Emera — including the
one covering the Nova Scotia Block: the free power. No one should think that Emera
is an unwitting party to this mess.
As Cabot Martin wrote on this Blog in June:
Cabot Martin’s entire post — Deceit, Emera and Muskrat Madness, dealing with
the implications of civil fraud in the context of the Muskrat — needs to be
read by every Newfoundlander and Labradorian.
that this is fair warning: IF WE DON’T PURSUE A CASE OF CIVIL FRAUD, WE WILL
HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO UNDERTAKE THE CLOSURES ALREADY REFERRED TO.
lawsuits that will ensue will constitute the biggest litigation in Canadian
But, for our
very economic survival, we have to take that approach — first, because it is
the right one; second, because it is the only one!
not pay for an eternity for someone else’s unethical and quite possibly illegal
If we let
Premier Ball dither on the timing of a Forensic Audit, if we listen to his
blather on the mitigation of rates and on making Nalcor pay — a morally bankrupt crown
corporation, reliant on the taxpayer for its continued
survival — we will consign ourselves to penury for the next fifty years.
it is a difficult approach. It will be hard for many people to contemplate —
just as putting Muskrat “on ice” seemed incomprehensible two years ago.
public needs to know that repudiating illegally–obtained debt is a sensible
concept, because of the overwhelming evidence that fraud underpinned Muskrat
that it is time to stop thinking of how hard the idea is to grasp, and start putting your
mind around the need to survive — the need to be able to afford to ‘live’ here.
That is only one of the reasons a Forensic Audit is essential, but it is an important one. It is the first step to getting this elephant
off our collective backs.