I’ve thrown a few bricks Kathy Dunderdale’s way, but today, I’ve got to say thanks. She listened to pleas from this writer and others for more information on Muskrat Falls. We have been inundated with information over the past few weeks. I only wish it had been provided sooner.
I’m not going to stomp on Nalcor or the Tories for spending taxpayers’ money to explain their case. I do, though, have to call into question those self-serving motherhood ads, with that great theme, “the power is in our hands.”
We wanted information, but it comes with a campaign that takes another backhanded slap at those who would oppose the project as anything but true Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.
That’s an unfortunate approach, and another bad piece of advice someone sent the government. The first was the public relations mess they are now trying to clean up.
The premier says, “Never before in the history of our province has a project undergone such scrutiny. And so it should have.”
Still, we can’t escape the tone that belittles those of us who are just looking for answers.
It may be inexperience, but some people at Nalcor and at Confederation Building don’t get it. Every time there’s a hint that things have changed, another salvo defeats the purpose.
We see an apparent kinder, gentler Natural Resources Minister Jerome Kennedy saying debate is good, and then the government opts to discuss Muskrat Falls through a private member’s resolution.
Really? Wouldn’t an administration so confident in its position that this is truly the right thing bend over in contortions to allow independent experts to stand before MHAs and the public and state what to the government is painfully obvious, that Muskrat Falls is the best option?
Perhaps they’d even have someone spell that out in layman’s terms.
Please don’t tell me, as I heard one radio host say, that this is too technical for people to understand, so we shouldn’t have a vote on it.
Heart surgery is technical and delicate; this is a decision that should involve the best available analysis, informed debate and some common sense. I can and will make a judgment on that. I cannot perform heart surgery.
The public relations exercise as the government and Nalcor rolled out the information recently may be classed as a charade by some, but really, we asked for it. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. I’m old school. I’d rather have too much information than too little. Yes, there is a lot of what might best be termed propaganda, but a wealth of knowledge as well.
I give credit to the government and Nalcor for finally providing me with plenty of material supporting their position. It was not a waste of time or money.
I truly believe Ed Martin and those at Nalcor have our best interests at heart. Public relations aside, they’ve done the best they could do, assessing our needs, coming up with a plan, putting a price tag on it and making a recommendation to the government.
Behind the scenes, there had to be agreements with aboriginal groups and another province, and crystal-ball gazing at a time when the world economy is in, well, a mess.
I’d still love to have independent advice from some agency which isn’t directly working for, or being paid by, Nalcor or a government that has already said this is the way to go. That is unlikely to come now.
I consider myself an average voter. I read the paper, listen to the radio and watch television daily. I’ve pored over the long-awaited and welcome pamphlet on Muskrat Falls and searched out information online. I am closer to taking a position on this project today than I was three weeks ago.
I’m following question period and the answers from the government in the legislature and forming opinions as best I can. I encourage everyone to do the same.
Please don’t be sick of Muskrat Falls. It’s too important an issue to go away.
Gerry Phelan is a journalist and former
broadcaster. He can be reached at