Muskrat Falls, leadership issues expected during this session
© — Telegram file photo
Politicians returned to the House of Assembly this afternoon with what could be the most chaotic political landscape in recent memory.
Liberal interim leader Eddie Joyce is joined by two other compatriots who want to be leader — Dwight Ball and Jim Bennett were both clearly angling for maximum time in question period this afternoon.
As for the New Democrats, their caucus shrunk to three members after a bitter and public caucus revolt. Dale Kirby and Christopher Mitchelmore were consigned to seats in the back corner of the chamber, sitting as independents.
Question period started off with Joyce asking about the Muskrat Falls project, and a long-term power purchase agreement which Nalcor has made with Emera in Nova Scotia for surplus power.
Joyce said that the government is essential selling Muskrat Falls electricity at pennies on the dollar while Newfoundlanders and Labradorians pay the full cost. Premier Kathy Dunderdale said what's being sold to Nova Scotia is unreliable surplus power, which isn't useful to Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Liberals also posed questions about the Canada-Europe free trade deal, and it's impact on the Newfoundland fishery, along with Labrador ferry service, workers' compensation and Labrador issues.
The NDP also started off with Muskrat Falls issues, with leader Lorraine Michael treading on the same territory that Joyce covered. Michael also asked why the government is delaying plans to raise the minimum wage.
Natural Resources Minister Derrick Dalley also made news by announcing a moratorium on onshore and onshore-to-offshore fracking, until the government can do more public consultation and review. Both the NDP and the Liberals applauded the move.