Nothing more than 'spin'

Dave Bartlett
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Lower Churchill strategy premature, say opposition parties

A provincial government news release on the Lower Churchill Project has the opposition parties accusing the government of jumping the gun.

On Wednesday, the Department of Natural Resources issued the release announcing the Lower Churchill Construction Projects Benefits Strategy, which outlines how contractors, engineers, consultants and others who want to bid on work on the proposed hydroelectric development must operate.

From left, Yvonne Jones, Lorraine Michael and Kathy Dunderdale

A provincial government news release on the Lower Churchill Project has the opposition parties accusing the government of jumping the gun.

On Wednesday, the Department of Natural Resources issued the release announcing the Lower Churchill Construction Projects Benefits Strategy, which outlines how contractors, engineers, consultants and others who want to bid on work on the proposed hydroelectric development must operate.

The release states that "at least 21.5 million person hours of construction employment on two hydroelectric developments at Gull Island and Muskrat Falls, as well as the Labrador-Island Transmission Link, and at least 6.5 million in engineering and project management person hours" will be created by the project.

"Through the Lower Churchill Construction Projects Benefits Strategy with Nalcor Energy-Lower Churchill Project, the employment and business activity during the construction phase of this project will bring tremendous opportunities to all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians," said Natural Resources Minister Kathy Dunderdale.

Dunderdale also states all work on the Lower Churchill project which can be done within the province will be done here.

But Liberal Leader Yvonne Jones points out the project has yet to be sanctioned and there is still a considerable amount of work to do even to get the project that far.

"A lot of this stuff is premature," Jones told The Telegram Wednesday.

"My sources are telling me that (the province is) spending approximately $700 million just through the environmental assessment," she said.

Jones said for that massive amount of money, there should be some sort of guarantee the project will go ahead.

"(But) there are no guarantees on the Lower Churchill right now," Jones said. "Everything is completely up in the air."

The Liberal leader said there's currently no customer for the power, no financing for the project, no current transmission capacity on power lines and outstanding issues with the Innu, both in Quebec and in Labrador.

And Jones believes many of those issues will be outstanding for a number of years.

"I think a lot of this is PR and spin," she said.

NDP Leader Lorraine Michael agrees the news release may be more about political posturing than any real advancement with the Lower Churchill project.

And she also agrees the project is far from sanctioned.

"I have no problem with the government or Nalcor putting a strategy together, but I think the announcement today is just government plucking something out of the air ... to make people think something is happening," she said.

"The long and the short of it is the environmental assessment process is far from over," Michael said.

dbartlett@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Lower Churchill Construction Projects Benefits Strategy, Department of Natural Resources, Labrador-Island Transmission Link

Geographic location: Gull Island, Quebec, Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Randy
    September 24, 2010 - 12:00

    The lower churchill will never be built while Danny Williams is running the show--You can take that to the bank .The man's an egomanic

    • Toby
      November 06, 2010 - 18:50

      I can't believe people still say this BS about Mr. Williams. I, like many other Newfoundlanders, think he's one of the best premiers we've had in a long time.

  • William Daniels
    July 20, 2010 - 13:03

    BREAKING NEWS !! The williams government managed to make a deal with themselves !! More smoke and mirrors with this government. time for the Premier to get a different Comm Director. Jeez.

  • Eli
    July 20, 2010 - 13:03

    I agree with the opposition in this case. It's off the board, Williams himself said as much a few weeks ago.

  • Mark
    July 20, 2010 - 13:03

    Time for all of our politicians to go on the summer BBQ circuit and just shut up.

  • John
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    BREAKING NEWS!! Yvonne Jones and Lorraine Michael disagree with the Williams government. Give me a break. No customer??? The whole of the east coast of North America is nearly in a state of emergency due to lack of power on the grid. Customers are certainly not a problem. Even Toronto has had rolling blackouts this year with the intense heat. Jones is looking for guarantees??? A liberal leader looking for absolutes, laughable at best. So again we have the honorable 'hopposition offering nothing. That should be the liberal slogan for the next election...Vote Liberal...We Offer Nothing! The Williams gov. is at least attempting to do all they can to advance this development. They have come a long way with The New Dawn Agreement with the Innu, and Innuit. Of course they, like everyone else is only concerned with how much free money they can get out of it. Wave some money at them and they will go away. The transmission situation is a problem, no doubt. However much has been done to address this issue as well. Of course we could have let Roger (poppy eyes) Grimes, a fine example of Liberal Leadership, sell it off to Quebec Hydro for nothing, which he almost succeeded in accomplishing. Maybe Heavonne wiould have been happy with that? I surmise that this is more the opposition parties scrambling to get their mugs, and their useless negativism into the media. Yvonne always seems to side with Quebec, and Quebec Hydro reguarding the lower Churchill. I wonder will she end up working there after she loses her seat in the next election? I personally am sick of hearing her highlight all the possible problems with this project. Let's hear some solutions Yvonne, and Lorraine. Lets hear what your great decision making abilities would let us achieve. Give me a break.

  • ILoveJohnSmith
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Well well well, it's the legendary John Smith with his monologue of daily pro-Danny gibberish.
    Feeling good today John? Feeling scrappy? Looks like it.
    Good.
    Let me really get you going.
    First of all, let's not dispute the undisputable: this news release was utter garbage. Hypothetical person-hours for a project that isn't close to becoming a reality? C'mon John, take your blinkers off for a few seconds and even you will see that the release was nothing more than propagandist rubbish.
    Now, let's delve a little deeper and dissect your impressive, albeit misguided, monologue:
    1) The need for clean, green power is not in question. I agree - there will be no problems finding customers when and if the project becomes a reality.
    2) A Liberal leader looking for absolutes? C'mon now John, settle down. Opposition leaders (even your beloved Danny) make these kinds of statements all the time. And be fair - $700million deserves at least a little questioning. Wasn't it your beloved King who slammed Jones for blindly agreeing to the misguided appropriation of the mill? Ergo, shouldn't she be asking questions?
    3) The Williams gov. is at least attempting to do all they can to advance this development. They have come a long way with The New Dawn Agreement with the Innu, and Innuit.
    Oh John, John. Here's where you've gone right off the tracks. Yes, the New Dawn Agreement was progress. But it had nothing to do with the Inuit (not Innuit, as you so cleverly label them). And don't think that the signing of an MOU (that's Memorandum of Understanding, John) is the same thing as a finalized, signed deal - it's not. And for you to say that the Aboriginal peoples are only concerned about money is a broad, massively overgeneralized statement brimming with racism (you're not a racist, are you John?). Many Innu are genuinely concerned about the legacy costs of damming up their river and what it will mean to the lifestyle and history of a very proud people.
    5) The transmission situation is a problem, no doubt. However much has been done to address this issue as well.
    What, exactly? Ranting at Hydro-Quebec? What good has that done, besides provide Danny with a go-to diversion every time he messes something up? And what about the so-called Anglo-Saxon Route John? Danny says that's his preferred option - why isn't he just abandoning Quebec and getting it done? (That was a rhetorical question, John. Let me provide the answer). Because he knows it's not cost-efficient. He knows he has to deal with Hydro-Quebec, which is why he won't ever get the deal done.
    6) Yvonne always seems to side with Quebec, and Quebec Hydro reguarding the lower Churchill. I wonder will she end up working there after she loses her seat in the next election? I personally am sick of hearing her highlight all the possible problems with this project. Let's hear some solutions Yvonne, and Lorraine. Lets hear what your great decision making abilities would let us achieve. Give me a break.
    Oh John, that one was so good it sounded like it came right out of Danny's mouth (oops, it probably did - sorry to reveal where you get your source material from).
    Here's a solution, John: maybe it's time to recognize that Hydro-Quebec, love 'em or hate 'em, is the biggest utility in North America and that to make the project happen, Danny will have no choice but to deal with them. Should he try and get a great deal? Sure. Should he use the Upper Churchill contract as a bargaining chip in these negotiations? Sure. Should he stop ranting at Quebec whenever something doesn't go his way? Indeed.
    There you go, John. Feel free to have an online apoplexy - hope I've got your heart rate up. Maybe, just maybe, this will make you think twice before you blindly post such utter garbage (who am I kidding?)
    Best
    An Amused Observer

  • Darrell
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Nearly a brain between the 3 of them, if you turn them sideways you could see Croner Brook.

  • W
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    The whole of the east coast of North America is nearly in a state of emergency due to lack of power on the grid.

    = = =

    John Smith, can you name any place where there have been power shortages, rather than transmission probelems?

    Thanks!

  • Frank M
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Dunderdale is grasping at straws to try and rehabilitate her career.
    Jones and Michael are only stating the obvious.

  • member of the 20%
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Minister Blunderdale has zero credibility left. Dan, would you please reign her in. After the Abitibi fiasco, promises of polluter pays, and, prosecution of Quebec Innu hunters to the full extent of the law, PAWLEASE!! Stop with the false hopes, lies, deceit and coverups!!

  • Polly
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    While this government deals in the hypothetical , provinces like Nova Scotia are inking deals :
    The Nova Scotia government and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Inc. have finalized a deal to build a wind turbine plant at the former TrentonWorks railcar factory.
    In a statement, the government announced it closed the transaction today with the South Korean manufacturing giant.---- The Chronicle Herald .

  • S
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    @ John. . . . Sorry buddy but you are not even close.

    The east coast of North America is not short of power notwithstanding Blunderdale's claims. Thanks to the economic downturn, wholesale prices for electricity are way down indicating surplus supply. Also, check the price of natural gas (a US east coast major energy source) which is also way down.

    The reason Toronto and other cities are having rolling blackouts is not a shortage of power, it's the result of years of low maintenance on electrical infrastructure. Much of it is seeing the end of its useful life and has to be replaced.


    If you are going to attack others for their ignorance, do some research first to avoid demonstrating that your remarks are based on knowledge rather than political hackery.

  • Andy
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Jones clearly doesn't understand how Environmental Assessment works.

    'My sources are telling me that (the province is) spending approximately $700 million just through the environmental assessment,' she said.

    Jones said for that massive amount of money, there should be some sort of guarantee the project will go ahead.

    You can not guarantee that the Project will go ahead until the Environmental Assessment is complete. If you could, what would be the point of EA?

  • John
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Well, amused observer, the only one here having a $hit fit is you. Sounds like I touched a sore spot, oh well...you'll be alright, the welfare checks come out tomorrow. LOL

  • Eli
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Anybody know if John Smith took his medication this morning?

  • Darrell
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    I can't wait until the next election so we can vote in a better alternative OH wait I forgot I am still living in Newfoundland there isn't one.

  • Sea-Dog
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    This particular story has resulted in the biggest pile of long winded garbage that I've ever seen since i learned to to read. Bull-Sh-t begats more Bull-Sh-t, heaven help us all

  • W
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Dunderdale also states all work on the Lower Churchill project which can be done within the province will be done here. IS that like if Williams said all the heart valve replacements that can be done in Canada will be done in Canada.

    I wonder if Bill Gates owns a Mac