For unto us a dam is born

Peter Jackson
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Good evening, brave and righteous Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

Today is a day that will live in infamy. It will live, not die, but live and breathe, heart pumping in mortal pride, the blood of ages pumping through its veins like the mighty Churchill River courses through the heart of the Big Land.

For today, unto us a dam is born. Unto us, a debt is given.

More on that later.

Newfoundland and Labrador is a very special place. Not special as in a child put in a special class, but special as in holding a very special place in our hearts. It is a special place that holds a special place in our hearts.

People like to stay here. Some people leave, but they always want to come back. And when they come back, they stay back — usually. Unless they go away again.

People who come here sometimes stay here. At least for a while. Mostly, though, they leave again. But they always have nice things to say.

The rest of Canada is OK. But it does not have the magnificent splendour of the Long Range Mountains. True, there are the Rockies. But they don’t even look real.

The rest of Canada does not have the swirling North Atlantic lapping against its rugged shores. Except a little bit in Nova Scotia. And P.E.I., New Brunswick and Quebec, to some extent. But it doesn’t swirl as much there.

No, we are a special breed, we Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. We are inextricably linked to our barren and rocky homeland. Inexplicably linked, too. No one is better than us. We are the best.

And now we have reached this remarkable milestone, not only as a people, but as a breed and as a species.

This great hydroelectric dam will be our salvation. It is born of the sweat and toil of our ancestors who, for centuries, eked out a proud existence in this unforgiving land — a land which is nonetheless better than anywhere else in Canada. Especially Quebec.

This dam will bring us electricity. But more than that, it will bring us stability and security. It will bring us prosperity and comfort. It will bring us peace, love and understanding.

And all for the low, low price of 10 billion dollars.

That is not true debt, my friends. Because the government doesn’t have to pay it off. We all do. But we are not the government, and the government is not us. The government builds, and the Crown corporation taketh away.

So, let us raise our voices in song, as we do so often in the parlours and the concert halls, and in the lounges late at night before the bartender kicks us out.

And as we sing our praises to this dam, so too will the very rocks and stones of this sacred land on which we walk, when we haven’t moved away for work. So, too, will the mighty seagull soaring over the swirling waves. And the ospreys and the kittiwakes and murres and turrs. Well, murres or turrs. They’re the same thing.

The mighty snowy owl will sing its praises. So, too, would the half-digested remains of a shrew passed by the snowy owl, if it could sing.

For Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, our history begins now. There was no history before now. We were a people outside of time. Now, we are born again. Not born again as in some weird cult handing out flowers, but born again as in realizing our true purpose in this world.

That purpose, as we’ve known since our forefathers fished the once plentiful cod off our precious shores, is to generate electricity. Great, sparkling gobs of electricity.

It is our destiny.

It all begins here!

It all begins now!

Rejoice greatly!


Peter Jackson is The Telegram’s commentary editor. Email

Twitter @pjackson_NL

Geographic location: Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador, Churchill River Long Range Mountains Nova Scotia New Brunswick Quebec

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Recent comments

  • David
    December 19, 2012 - 17:32

    Perhaps the government should ban a few other things while they are pushing through their Nalcor / Muskrat Falls legislation……… heat pumps, R-2000 houses, all insulation, vapour barrier, flourscent light bulbs, Energy Star rated appliances and low-e argon windows. We’ll be the laughing stock of the country, but at least the project will be a real success!!

  • Winston Adams
    December 19, 2012 - 12:59

    The well off can affort efficient heating, and will cut their energy bill despite price increases. Most cannot, not without a rebate program. So the poor will get poorer and bear the burden. Govn was using efficient heat for schools, per their new energy policy. Just heard they are going back to old style electric heat. Nalcor needs to keep the demand up. Progress going in reverse.

  • Concerned
    December 19, 2012 - 12:23

    David, congradulation, I just put in a new wood stove, much more work, but I enjoy it. I havn't turned on my heat in a month. My next step is solar panels, this government is going to have to work very hard to get extra money out of me.

  • John Smith
    December 19, 2012 - 09:28

    ...sounds like something Russell would write...LOL

  • Maurice E. Adams
    December 19, 2012 - 09:01

    Sorry David, the more you drive down demand, the more Cabinet will direct the PUB, the more the PUB will direct Nalcor, the more Nalcor will direct NL Hydro, the more NL Hydro will direct NL Power to charge ratepayers more --- because the legislation now before the House (which is a pre-condition of the Loan Guarantee) will require by law that if demand goes down, rates have to go up to meet the locked-in 50 year take or pay Muskrat Falls contract. We are being screwed by both our federal and provincial Conservative governments. PUB authority (a pre-condition of the Loan Guarantee) is being totally usurped by the politicians --- Cabinet. The PUB will be directed to meet the needs of industry---- paid for by whatever it takes by ratepayers.

  • David
    December 19, 2012 - 08:46

    Peter - Well done. I enjoyed reading this and I agree 100% with the sarcasm. Unfortunately, I will not be helping out as much as other rate payers to pay for this new project. I just retrofitted my house with mini-split heat pumps. The typical rate payer will pay for Muskrat for 50 years. I'll only spend about 7 years paying for my heat pumps.