Michael shows up at PUB — to say she won’t be participating

James McLeod
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NDP Leader Lorraine Michael speaks to reporters outside the PUB hearing room in St. John’s. Michael showed up to the public review of Muskrat Falls, but only to personally deliver a letter explaining why she wouldn’t make a presentation to the board. — Photo by James McLeod/The Telegram

Lorraine Michael stood on the threshold of the Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities (PUB) hearing room Tuesday, but she refused to go inside.

Michael arrived to personally deliver a letter to the PUB explaining why she won’t participate in the public review of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project.

“We want answers to the many questions around the role that conservation, feed-in tariffs and demand-side management could have on future power consumption,” Michaels wrote.

“It is unfortunate that the Commission will not have time, and has not been given the mandate, to fully investigate these issues.”

Speaking to the media Michael wouldn’t say that the whole process is a waste of time, but did say it would have been a waste of time for her to weigh in.

“I think it would have been a waste of time for me to sit in front of the commission because I wouldn’t have been able to speak to the points I want to speak to — they would tell me it’s not part of their mandate,” she said. “It makes it a bit of a farce.”

The PUB has been charged with determining whether the Muskrat Falls is a cheaper source of electricity than an isolated island alternative where energy is generated burning fossil fuels at Holyrood.

The board has said that to properly answer that question, they need until at least the end of June, but the government has refused to give them an extension, saying that their final report must be delivered no later than the end of March.

But a host of critics say the process is entirely too narrow, and that the PUB should be taking all the time it needs and looking at all options for generation.

Through the past 15 months of furious debate on the Muskrat Falls project, the NDP has remained largely agnostic.

In her letter to the PUB Tuesday, Michael said she’s in favour of the project — but only “so long as it is economically viable, environmentally sustainable, and good for the people of the province.”

As it stands, Michael said, she’s still unconvinced and wants more information from the government.

“Our biggest problem is that there has not been a full analysis done of the alternatives, and Nalcor made a choice for two options, they tell us they believe the other alternatives aren’t as good, but they’ve never presented the proof for that,” she said. “Nobody has presented a detailed analysis of wind power, for example, and that’s what I’m looking for.”

Michael said that there’s a good chance her party won’t develop a firm stance for or against the project before the government formally decides to sanction it.

“We will have clear decisions once government finishes its process,” she said. “If the government moves ahead with this and moves ahead with Muskrat Falls and then puts enabling legislation in the House — which they will have to do in order to make the project move ahead — then we will be at the point where we will be able to say yes or no.”

Michael’s letter to the PUB will be part of the public record, and will be included in the written submissions when the board publishes its final report.

jmcleod@thetelegram.com Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities, Holyrood.The board, NDP

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Recent comments

  • Steve Winslow
    February 22, 2012 - 10:39

    She was right: Going to the PUB to express her views was a waste of time for everyone.

  • Joe
    February 22, 2012 - 10:27

    Lorraine is right in not presenting at the PUB. The hearings are set up to hear only what they want to hear. There are many intelligent people with sound recommendations about sound alternatives re: Muskrat Falls. They are all dismissed for one reason or another. I think more and more it's becoming a power struggle instigated by the government . Because of democracy it has the power to do what it wants. Brian Peckford, even though he left NL a few years ago makes sense as well as Cabot Martin and others. By the way those of you who think Lorraine Michael is not intelligent have your head you know where

    • Muskrat Love
      February 22, 2012 - 12:31

      Well said Joe. I agree totally with what you said. Those critics of Lorraine Michael are the leftovers from Danny's bandwagon. They are so narrow minded and uneducated they can't make educated and well thought out decisions of their own. All they do is sit back and criticise. The women is more educated and experienced than all of them put together and that goes for the PC caucus as well. A former Roman Catholic Nun, Teacher, School Administrator, Social Activist and Humanitarian. She's traveled the world doing humanitarian work voluntarily. She worked on a number of coalitions for social justice, both regionally and nationally and fought for women's rights. That don't sound like an individual who is not intelligent or capable of making the decision not to make a presentation to the PUB. Give her credit for having the gumption not to, because she knows it is pointless to ask questions and make a presentation expressing your opinion when you know it will fall on deaf ears. Good on ya Lorraine. Keep up the good fight. Continue to stand up for the people of this province because there are not many out there who will.

  • Barry
    February 22, 2012 - 09:14

    Lorraine its about time you are showing your true colours, there for awhile it looked like you and your party had a few people fooled into thinking you were legit. That stunt yesterday just shows that you can't cut the mustard.

  • Robb
    February 22, 2012 - 08:57

    Who cares?....man, really looks bad though......but of course she has to make a big thing of it, but really, who cares.................these union huggers don't have much, so they got to try to grandstand......meaningless...

  • NDP. Voter
    February 22, 2012 - 08:22

    Yes I agree with all the comments,why are you wasting the media,s time.Why did,nt do just send an e mail.Did you even waste your own gas by driving your own car there,or again did you waste someone else's time and gas.Time to grow up Miss Michael,s.You are are on the news more then you are in the office.Think it's time to change my vote soon.

  • HANK J
    February 22, 2012 - 08:20

    The Duffs Hydro Generating plant in CBS, NL is ranked one of the top ten air polluters in Canada. It burns millions of gallons of oil per month. The cleanest, most reliable and cheapest source of power in the world is produced by the force of water running over a cliff and/or rocks. When the force of the Muskrat Falls is harnessed to drive the hydro turbines, the flow and force of water remains the same. Once the power to develop the Muskrat Falls Project is complete, the cost for this natural water power remains the same, there will always be a steady continuous force of power. Unlike fuel and natural gas prices they will continue to steadily increase.

  • NL Proud
    February 22, 2012 - 08:09

    All right, Lorraine...enough already! It's time to give it up and step down. You obviously are not a political strategist (and are not listening to one, either!!!!). You are hurting your party's chances of gaining further support in the province with this foolishness. Give somebody else a chance to "LEAD" the party to bigger and better things.

  • Chantal
    February 22, 2012 - 08:01

    I agree. What is an elected leader of an opposition party doing asking questions about matters that affect the electorate? This is insane.

  • Paul
    February 22, 2012 - 07:38

    Wow Lorraine...nice way to get on the news. If you don't know anything about the topic it is best to stay out of it altogether. The NDP here in the province is a joke. I saw yesterday the Fisheries critic was talking abt how many seals were killed back in the 1800's. Does he realize the conditions those guys worked in then and the number of people who died doing this? Unbelievable!

  • Darren
    February 22, 2012 - 07:00

    I agree with you John, maybe she would like to give the billions to social programs so all the people who can't or won't work can live like the hard-working, tax-paying, contributors like the rest of us. There will be no "Jack Layton" effect next election.

  • John Smith
    February 22, 2012 - 06:30

    Poor ol' Lorraine, she hasn't really participated since she got into politics. That's OK Lorraine, we all knew the NDP has nothing new to add to this debate, you are better off staying home out of it. LOL