July 4, 2017
Honorable A. Brian Peckford P.C.
Open Letter to Premier Ball
Like many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians my anxiety over the development of the Muskrat Falls Hydro Project in Labrador has increased over time.
It was an ill conceived project from when Premier Williams first announced it.
On March 3, 2012 I wrote then Premier Dunderdale requesting an independent review.
This was not done.
The cost of both Lower Churchill Projects , Gull Island and Muskrat Falls was $6.4 billion in the report of the Joint Environmental Review Panel in August , 2011.
Now the smaller of the two projects ,Muskrat , which was approved, is to cost $12.7 billion according to the latest Government figures. Two projects at $6.4 billion in 2011 to one project ( smaller) to cost $12.7 billion in 2017.
Something wrong here.
The Joint Panel also recommended a financial review before the project was approved.
This was not done.
Now we learn that one of the major contractors, SNC Lavalin , had a risk report done only four months after Muskrat was approved . In this report many significant deficiencies were identified and that the management team on the project lacked expertise . This , at the beginning of the project!
Yet, nothing was done .
I think this last revelation is the straw that broke any confidence that anyone still had in the project.
So, Mr. Premier , it’s time to audit this project .
I call on you now to authorize through your administration a formal forensic audit and that you will also authorize a public inquiry if circumstances warrant it as a result of the audit.
No doubt it could be argued that this audit could slow down the project. I think not . To me, time is now the enemy of the good——to anyone ever finding out what happened.
A number of years from now will be too late–new circumstances, different political dynamics , will mitigate against the real answers being discovered.
We all know ,now , how that has worked so far , don’t we?
There has been a lack of accountability and transparency right from the start on this endeavour.
It must stop!
Citizen/taxpayers have a right to know what happened , who is responsible for this tragedy. Aren’t they the ones who will be paying for it?
I informed Premier Ball I would be making this statement.
Honorable A. Brian Peckford P. C.
Former Premier (1979-1989)