The Tragedy Continues
I was told today that Former Premier Danny Williams was on local TV last evening in St. John’s talking about , of all things , Electric power and Churchill Falls. Now I have had this checked out . I am not joking and I am not manufacturing fantasy. Whether I have lost my mind, I doubt. But, of course , that’s always possible . But let’s assume I am still sane for the time it takes to write this piece .
This is the person who negociated this Lower Churchill , Muskrat Falls project. You know the one that has gone from around $6 billion to over a $11 billion and still rising ,and fraught with innumerable problems since its construction began . You know the project that sees Newfoundlanders and Labradorians paying more for the power generated ( the power that originates in the Province of Newfoundlnd and Labrador , remember) than people in Nova Scotia. The one in which questions were framed in the review of the project to ensure that the ‘proper’ answers were given . Yes, that one.
It wasn’t enough to let Quebec fleece us on the Upper , we had to repeat the feat with a second fleecing on the Lower : this time at the hands of our Atlantic neighbour. Two Provinces ‘got us ‘ on the same river! And we are not talking millions of dollars rather billions of dollars. I mean the Willams expropriation of the Grand Falls mill properties , violating Trade laws , only cost $130 million and all Canada had to share in that .
Back in the early seventies as a rookie member of the House of Assembly , I listened to former Premier Smallwood ( that’s the fellow who , through his minions , tried to force me to go campaigning for his Candidate in the 1971 election) try and justify the Upper Churchill Contract . It was amazing to watch the man try and twist ( we diplomatically call it ‘frame the argument’ now ) the information then to attempt to save his legacy beyond the Confederation deal. I shouted across the floor of the legislature : ‘the Greeks knew about inflation.’ The poor man was trying to use the inflation argument as if it was a new economic phenonem.
Williams’s latest entry into the discussion reminds me of that Smallwood incident: An attempt to obfuscate /deflect another disaster.
No doubt this new discussion , which is circulating the rumour of some imminent new deal on the whole Churchill River with Quebec and which somehow is to get Newfoundland and Labrador Province out of its Muskrat financial fiasco is convenient now for this second Twin.
Now , hope on hope this rumour isn’t true with the now Premier Ball!
I mean who in the Province needs Triplets On the Churchill ?