MacDonald calls PUB report "farce"

James McLeod
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Dean MacDonald quickly dismissed the Public Utilities Board report into Muskrat Falls as a “farce” that never should have happened.

Speaking to reporters this morning, MacDonald confirmed that he supports the proposal to develop a hydroelectric dam at Muskrat Falls in Labrdor.

MacDonald is touted as a likely candidate for the Liberal leadership. He will be challenging current interim-leader Dwight Ball, who has spent a fair bit of time in the House of Assembly this spring questioning the government's plans for Muskrat Falls.

“I commend Dwight for the questions that he's asking on the project, because that's really good. You know, all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians want a good output from Muskrat Falls, and I think Dwight and his team have done a great job of asking tough questions,”  MacDonald said. “I'm a proponent for it, but I feel that there's been lots of parts of the process flawed, that's for sure.”

Earlier this week, the PUB report into the project was released by the government; the board refused to certify whether Muskrat Falls is the cheapest option for meeting Newfoundland's electricity demands.

But MacDonald said the PUB process was flawed from the start, with board chairman Andy Wells publicly making critical comments about provincial crown energy company Nalcor, who is proposing to build the dam.

MacDonald also said too much credence has been given to critics, such as former deupty minister David Vardy and former St. John's city manager Ron Penney

“If you read the report, you know, Penney and Vardy are quoted more than Manitoba Hydro, the Consumer Advocate and Navigant. So that doesn't work,” he said. “Unfortunately in this debate there's lots of voices adn they're all gettign equal weighting, but I can tell you you're not going to ask Mr. Vardy or Mr. Penney to build a dam for you. You're going to ask Nalcor, Navigant, Manitoba Hydro.”

Organizations: Public Utilities Board, Manitoba Hydro

Geographic location: Muskrat Falls, Newfoundland, St. John's

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Recent comments

  • Maurice E. Adams
    April 06, 2012 - 12:01

    AGREED---- I think the Minister may be playing games and is merely laying the stage for the approval of Muskrat Falls no matter what ---- that is why he is now that his government would only approve Muskrat Falls if they saw it as being in 'the best interest' of the people/province ---- that is the latest new excuse he would use to approve Muskrat Falls --- even it is NOT 'least-cost'....... They keep changing the goal posts ----- the government plans to approve Muskrat Falls PERIOD. The only 2 independent reviews (Review Panel and the PUB) could not conclude 1) that we need the power, and 2) that Muskrat Falls was least-cost. SO now government must change its tact so they can say, nevertheless, that they have concluded that Muskrat Falls is "in the province's 'best interest'"....... Who do they think they are fooling?

  • Minister Jerome Kennedy made a statement tonight on CBC TV's
    April 05, 2012 - 21:24

    Minister Jerome Kennedy made a statement tonight on CBC TV's "Here and Now" that he is'nt married to the Muskrat Falls Hydro Project and that he is going to lay off fighting the opponents and wait until more details come in to point him in the direction that will be the least costly energy source for the people of this province. He must have forgotten to tell the other MHA's because tonight two Conservative MHAs, Littlejohn and Lane called VOCM Night Line to combat what the opposers had to say. It appears to me that nobody in the provincial government has changed his/her mind on the Muskrat Falls Project. They are playing a little game with our minds again. Matter of fact everything I hear is that they have spent so much on this project already that it is too costly for them to get out of it. All we are asking is for our politicians to come clean and tell us the truth of the matter.

  • jimmy
    April 05, 2012 - 15:58

    It looks like Mr macdonald has won over Mr Ball,but I think Ms Jones will have something to say on this,or I think she should. After seeing her expression on T V today ,i think she is not convinced. Just an observation. Forget the Muskrat falls for a moment,Mr Macdonald is in Danny"s Pocket.

  • I want a Premier who does not want to pilfer our natural resources for their own Dynasty
    April 05, 2012 - 08:26

    I don't want another Premier to get in power who is going to lord over our natural resources and pilfer them for his/ or her own family empire or to cater to lobbyists who might have the influence of their ears. Instead I want them to do what they are elected to do, that is accept the salary that is set out by the province, and convert our natural resources into industries right here in our province that will create vibrant economies here and grow our population back to where it was in the 1990s.

  • John in Whitbourne
    April 04, 2012 - 21:52

    I support the Lower Churchill development for the simple reason that it is a productive asset that will pay for itself over the next thirty years. As long as the debt is matched by a regular cash flow there is little risk. That little risk is due to the chance that a disruptive technological change can provide an alternate form of energy for less. One example is the 'holy grail' of modern engineering: a working nuclear fusion system. The possibility exists that Natural Gas could power a new station at Holyrood for less than the cost of transmission from new dams in Labrador. This depends on the assumption that gas prices stay low for the next 30 years. That is fraught with risk and requires analysis. I would rather commit to using Natural Gas as an automotive fuel because car service lives are short enough that you can go to a new fuel in five to ten years. Electricity is also a possible automotive fuel (and extremely hard to tax, I might add). That is an out for the province if we can't sell all of the electricity away. Heat pumps and electric vehicles kill a lot of watts (pun intended). Don't be confused by the idea of using Newfoundland and Labrador sourced gas. If gas is economical as a power fuel here, it can be brought here from away in LNG tankers. We should only develop offshore gas if it can be delivered profitably to market. If that will produce a profit, the industry will do it without our help. If not, we should simply buy the gas from away,

  • Cyril Rogers
    April 04, 2012 - 19:24

    The most farcical aspect of this article is the notion of Dean McDonald being a "Liberal". I am a Liberal in many respects but do not support the current Liberal establishment, as they are simply another reincaration of the old boys club that brought Danny to power. People like Mr. McDonald, touted as saviours of the Liberal Party, are simply opportunists who will lead us wherever they want us to go, if are willing to blindly follow them. While these guys may make us feel good, we are abdicating our responsbility to make informed decisions and vote on principle. If the Liberal Party goes in this direction, it will never survive. Mr. McDonald is a member of the ruling elite in St. John's who know little about us as people. Their idea of progress, in my opinion, is megadeals that enrich some and leave a massive debt for the ordinary person.

  • Dean MacDonald not the right fit
    April 04, 2012 - 16:52

    My opinion is that if Dean MacDonald runs for the leadership of the Liberal Party, it will set the party back a decade.

    • John in Whitbourne
      April 04, 2012 - 21:55

      Yeah! Yvonne Jones is such a better choice! I'm tired of her narrow minded and shallow questions .... but she's the best I've seen in the Liberal Party of NL.

  • David
    April 04, 2012 - 14:59

    Will MacDonald become known as Danny Jr., or Joey the 3rd.....? Whatever.

  • Political watcher
    April 04, 2012 - 14:43

    Considering that Dean MacDonald owes everything he has to Williams he would stand atop Signal Hill and bark at the moon if Williams said to do so. If the Liberals are planning on re-vitalizing their pary I don't think it is a good idea to have their front-runner for leader being a yes man for a former Premier. MacDonald will roll over and give Williams everything he wants including Muskrat falls.

  • Maurice E. Adams
    April 04, 2012 - 14:03

    What was flawed from the start was that.Nalcor and government DID NOT have enough confidence in their proposed multi-billion dollar make work project to give the PUB the time, the authority and the resources to reach a pro or con decision. +++++++ That is why government: ----- (1.) exempted the proponent and the project from the regulatory authority of the PUB (the public's regulator), (2.) the Reference Question was so restricted in what the PUB could assess that ALL OTHER options were EXCLUDED, (3.) the scope of the Terms of Reference (TOR) was essentially set by Nalcor (4.) the language in the TOR was attempting to prejudice the PUB by stating in the TOR itself that Muskrat Falls was 'least-cost', (5.) in doing any cost comparison the PUB had to use Nalcor's cost comparison numbers AND METHODOLOGY to try to reach a conclusion, (6.) Nalcor refused to answer dozens and dozens (perhaps hundreds) of questions from MHI, the PUB, and consumers, (7.) the PUB was forced to compare options OVER A 57 YEAR TIME PERIOD, a time period that heavily biased the proposed Muskrat Falls project (intentionally so) in favour of the Muskrat Falls option, (8.) government refused to give the PUB the time needed to do their due diligence on behalf of consumer, (9.) government refused to allow the PUB to review, evaluate and report on DG 3 (sanction quality) numbers, (10.) the Minister sent a letter to the PUB during the 'public' review process in an attempt to prejudice the PUB's quasi-judicial decision (just to name a few).

  • Robert G Holmes
    April 04, 2012 - 13:59

    I'm quite sure this question has been put, but I haven't seen an answer. Given the expected stable demand for electrical power on the island for the next 50 years, what technical and economic feasibility studies have been made to address alternative sources of supply? a) Energy Conservation measures b) Upgrading the transmission Grid c) Upgrading existing hydro generation d) Replacement of fossil fuel generation e) Wind farms on the peninsulas f) Maximizing Co-generation and CHP, (Central Heating and Power) g) Other

  • PC's and Liberals for Muskrat
    April 04, 2012 - 13:52

    Well, Dean is a PC in Liberal clothing. Or an oppotunist.

  • Mark
    April 04, 2012 - 12:54

    Nobody's asking whether Nalcor can build a dam. That's not the question. The question is whether Newfoundlanders (as ratepayers and taxpayers) need to be on the hook to such an extent for this massive capital project.

    • David
      April 04, 2012 - 15:04

      Stop it! If you bring logic, facts or rational thought into this, this will devolve into an objective, fair debate.....with a possiblity of reaching an optimal, prudent decision! Witch! He's a witch, Mark is a wittch!