In 1967, Former Premier Joey Smallwood signed a deal to develop Churchill Falls Hydro project and Newfoundlanders have been cursing him ever since because they feel he made a bad deal.
In 2012 Premier Dunderdale and the PC Government will sign the Muskrat Falls deal; this is a deal put in place by Former Premier Danny Williams, who, as soon as the deal was signed with Nova Scotia, quit the Government.
My question is why do we need this expensive power when we have a surplus of power now? Reasons as told by the present government?
We need the power, but we only need 40%. We are going to give Nova Scotia 20% for free for thirty years because they will build the so called Maritime link and the other 40% is for sale. We do not have a market for this 40% and cannot produce it at a price the market will bear.
Unlike Churchill Falls, which was financed by business people, Muskrat Falls is going to be paid for by you and me when we get our hydro bill. We need only 40% but we are asked to pay for 100% of the project.
When people didn’t buy the argument we need the power, we heard a statement by Premier Dunderdale, saying we need it for the mines in Labrador. At present time, people of Labrador City are paying a little over three cents per kilowatt-hour, (KWh) while my hydro bill is close to 12 cents per KWh. That means that if we sell to the mines in Labrador, we will be selling for approximately two cents per KWh because, if not, they will get it from Hydro Quebec, which has a surplus of cheap power.
When that argument didn’t fly, Premier Dunderdale, in a speech to the Board of Trade, said we needed to do this to get back at Quebec. So we are going to supply power to the mines in Labrador for approximately two cents a KWh so that Hydro Quebec cannot sell their power.
At the same time, Nalcor will be charging us at least 10 times more because we are paying for the project.
My question is, what have we got to get back at Quebec for? We signed a deal which was not a good deal, but we did sign it, and a deal is a deal. Would we be any different if the deal was reversed? I don’t think so.
Danny Williams, at a meeting in Corner Brook, said look at all the jobs we will be creating. As a person who is paying for this project, and like a lot more Newfoundlanders and Labradorians living on a fixed income, I am not concerned one bit about creating another make work project. That’s how Mr. Smallwood sold the Churchill Falls project – to create jobs. We don’t need Muskrat Falls for jobs. We have a job to get workers now to fill jobs that are available.
According to Nalcor, this project is 98% green. A 1,100km transmission line destroys a lot of forest that will never be allowed to grow again. Not So Green.
Jerome Kennedy, the minister who was responsible for, and is pushing it hard, made the statement on CBC Talk shows that we are burning 18,000 barrels of oil a day to operate the Holyrood plant. I heard later that that plant only operated one day last year.
Mr. Kennedy is using the same tactics he would use in a murder trial. Although you know the person is guilty, you use whatever means possible to get the person acquitted. He is doing the same now trying to get the people to believe in this project by putting all kinds of information out there that is not true.
Minister Kennedy, if you want us to believe in this project, please tell us what our Hydro Bill will be when Muskrat Falls comes on stream, and why the rush?
This project was rushed through from day one and hundreds of millions spent on a project that wasn’t sanctioned. We couldn’t even give the P.U.B. enough time to do their work. What difference would another year make? The Nova Scotia Government is not rushing.
Another year would give critics time to analyze this deal and get all the questions answered; but this government thinks all the critics are wrong and they, the Government, is right. Well Premier Dunderdale, your Government is wrong a lot of the time, the expropriation of the Mill and its baggage in Grand Falls-Windsor are one prime example of how good your experts are.
Joey Smallwood will go down in history for making a bad deal on Churchill Falls. Kathy Dunderdale and her crew will go down in history for making a much worst deal because we, as rate payers, will be paying for this folly for the rest of our lives. If my telephone rates go up or my TV programs go up, I have a choice to go with another provider, with my hydro, I have no choice. Nalcor can waste whatever money they want to and we have to pay for it.
If this Government would take the blinders off, they would see that we could make up whatever power we will need by other means, like small hydro and wind power, etc. much closer to home, without building this expensive transmission line.
(Retired) Capt Wilfred Bartlett
Green Bay South