Despite tough talk from Nova Scotia’s incoming premier about the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project and the Nova Scotia component of the deal, Premier Kathy Dunderdale said there’s nothing to worry about.
Dunderdale told reporters Wednesday the province’s deal is with Emera, a private corporation, and not with the Nova Scotia government, so it doesn’t really matter who’s running the province.
“I just want to remind people again that the agreement between Newfoundland and Labrador — Nalcor specifically — is with Emera. Emera is a publicly traded company,” she said.
Stephen McNeil, Nova Scotia’s incoming premier, says the Muskrat Falls project won’t have his Liberal government’s support unless the price of power is cheaper for customers in his province.
One day after winning a commanding majority government, McNeil said that’s the message he will deliver to Dunderdale.
McNeil says he agrees with a decision by Nova Scotia’s Utility and Review Board that his province needs access to more of the power from the development at a better price.
Dunderdale said these details have been negotiated between Nalcor and Emera, and there’s no cause for concern.
“As I have said a number of times before, when we plan these kinds of projects and enter into these kinds of agreements, we always examine every possible challenge, occurrence that might have some significance or impact on the piece of work that we’re agreeing to do together, and we provide remedies to that,” she said. “We certainly weren’t going to embark on a billion-dollar project or a $6-billion project and leave it open to whatever vagaries might develop in Nova Scotia, so all of those issues have been covered off in the agreements between Nalcor and Emera.”
McNeil said Nova Scotia private utility company Emera, which is proposing to build the $1.5-billion Maritime Link that would ship electricity to his province, is free to proceed with it.
Darrell Dexter, the former NDP premier of Nova Scotia, was a proponent of the $7.7-billion project that would transmit power from Labrador to Newfoundland and Cape Breton through subsea links.
McNeil’s Liberals won 33 seats in the 51-seat legislature in Tuesday’s provincial election, while the New Democrats were relegated to third-party status with seven seats.
The Progressive Conservatives become the Opposition with 11 members elected.
Dunderdale said that even if something did happen to jeopardize the Maritime Link portion of the project, the deal still works just as a plan to supply power to Newfoundland.
“I want to remind the people of Newfoundland and Labrador that this project makes sense for us first,” she said. “This project was planned around the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.”