Dunderdale devotees deserve decimation

Brian
Brian Jones
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

The downside to Kathy Dunderdale’s departure from the premiership is it sparks an ever-so-slight chance the Tories won’t be decimated in the 2015 provincial election.

And, of course, utter and thorough electoral decimation is exactly what the PCs deserve.

It is what they would have got with Dunderdale still driving the stricken ship.

Thus the applause at the conclusion of Dunderdale’s I’m-done speech Wednesday at Confederation Building. Tory MHAs and PC stalwarts had their slight hopes reignited that some of them might actually survive Slaughter 2015 (not to be confused with Blackout 2014).

Arrogance, condescension and stubbornness are among the boatload of undesirable attributes that brought about Dunderdale’s downfall. Her “time to step back,” as she put it Wednesday, came surprisingly fast — a mere two years, three months and 11 days after she was elected premier on Oct. 11, 2011.

The first female premier leaves a woeful legacy:

• Bill 29, increasing government secrecy, a retrograde act that was supported by all Tory MHAs.

• Shutting the Public Utilities Board out of the Muskrat Falls process, a detestable and indefensible political manoeuvre that was supported by all Tory MHAs.

• Rigging the Muskrat Falls debate by making it an either/or proposition rather than considering the wide assortment of other options, a crass manipulation that was supported by all Tory MHAs.

• Approving the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project despite broad and ample opposition, and substantial evidence it will prove to be a massive economic disaster, an approval that was supported by all Tory MHAs.

• Failing to recognize and admit the obvious, that when 200,000 people are in the cold and dark, and without hot meals, it is indeed a crisis — a failure that not a single Tory MHA had the courage to point out to their leader.

Whoever takes the wheel of the wayward Tory ship has some explaining to do. First on the list, given the above, is why anyone should cast a vote for any one of this crowd, who have created such an impending catastrophe for Newfoundland (and Labrador).

Changing course

It isn’t just Dunderdale who needed to go. The Tories need to go.

Pressure now turns to Liberal Leader Dwight Ball and NDP Leader Lorraine Michael. A primary question is whether either of them is willing to say bluntly and publicly that, if elected, they will put a stop to the Muskrat Falls project.

Stopping Muskrat Falls is the most important long-term issue facing the province.

“I will not foist a half-century of needless multibillion-dollar debt upon the citizens of this province.”

Whoever says that first gets my vote in 2015.

Anyone who still doubts that Muskrat Falls is disastrous folly should consider this: every single prediction its supporters have made has proven to be false.

Former premier and Muskrat Falls midwife Danny Williams claimed the project would make Labrador (and Newfoundland) an exporter of hydroelectricity, with accompanying profitability that even a multimillionaire could admire. If you recall, that was the initial rationale for developing Muskrat Falls.

It was said that New Yorkers were hungry for hydroelectric power. False.

It was said New Englanders were hungry for hydroelectric power. False.

Well then, Nova Scotians want hydroelectric power. Yes, but Nalcor will sell it to them for less than it costs to produce. Profitability? Muskrat false.

It was even said Muskrat Falls electricity would be sucked up by grateful and power-hungry Ontarians.

Fittingly coincidental with Dunderdale’s announcement this week comes news of a hydro scandal in Ontario. Apparently, according to a Canadian Press report, Ontario has too much hydroelectricity, and has been selling its excess power for less than the cost of production to customers in the U.S., Quebec and Manitoba, at a loss of $1 billion per year.

Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached at bjones@thetelegram.com.

Organizations: Confederation Building, Public Utilities Board, Canadian Press The Telegram

Geographic location: Muskrat Falls, Newfoundland, Ontario U.S. Quebec Manitoba

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Stephen  Redgrave
    Stephen Redgrave
    February 11, 2014 - 16:35

    Brian, you're absolutely right. I started to take a like to KD after she relaxed as bit regardless of Muskrat falls. I would love to see all that money spent right here on the island , making us stronger and more independent--but we all know that won't happen. After meeting the heads of Nalcor and their subordinates , it was easy to see...Kathy had very little say in anything at all. I hate complaining without having a better solution, but in this case , I don't. Kathy gave us a lot of good laughs , now it's time to move on. Dwight Ball worries the heck out of me--"energized, Liberal values, stoked and ready", but no words,or sentenses that make any sense. He's not a leader--no way!

  • Charles Murphy
    January 24, 2014 - 17:50

    Back in June of 2013, I made announcement to the people of N & L , that I would be seeking the leadership of the Liberals party, But on July 5/2013 I was denied the right to run, If the people check the western star archives, you'll find out what I said about fracking and other topics. As for muskrats Falls, If that question was ask of me, My answer would be, We need to put the breaks on concerning this project. Can this project be viable for our people, The answer is yes, Only in conjunction with another project, where we the people would receive all the benefits, But I would need the western star for a week to explain everything in details. Don't see that happening

  • phil earle
    January 24, 2014 - 17:34

    Your article is Right on the nail Brian. And I repeat your description of Dunderdale , (and her party) as the best sentence I ever read to describe them ..."Arrogance, condescension and stubbornness are among the boatload of undesirable attributes that brought about Dunderdale’s downfall." It is the policy decisions that this government has made over the past term that has caused a revolt in the minds and hearts of our people and not just the actions of premier Dunderdale. Her stepping down, is but removing one of the multi heads of Hydra, where the body remains unaffected. MRF's Project , Bill 29, and our neglected power supply and grid are, just as you point out, are the real issues. Include also the decisions to give OCI what they want with closure of plant, shipping out our raw fish inheritance and finally the CETA horror show which submitted to Harper and EU by giving up our protection for MPR's. If the opposition parties don't use all this to win a new government in the next election...there is no hope for this province. p earle

  • Winston Adams
    January 24, 2014 - 13:52

    Muskrat should be stopped, the sooner the better. Every weeks delay tightens the economic noose around our necks, for generations. The Liberals or Ndp should state this. The Pub inquiry results may show the need to stop it, but that's more time and meanwhile more money wasted on MF.

  • david
    January 24, 2014 - 11:57

    A tribe of incompetent, ignorant boobs with a Blue flag, an a tribe of incompetent ignorant boobs with a Red flag......Whose turn is it?

  • It's a no win
    January 24, 2014 - 11:15

    It's a no win situation for the residents of Newfoundland and Labrador. We have had two unelected premiers over the past three years and there's a third unelected ruler now waiting in the wings to spend our taxes and public funds as he sees fit for another year after that. Three unelected premiers over a four year period is an unprecedented miscarriage of the democratic system. Is it not? Newfoundland and Labrador has fallen into a very deep hole and the PCs are bringing in bigger and bigger shovels.

  • Angus
    January 24, 2014 - 10:59

    While I agree Muskrat Falls isn't a good deal, there won't be and backtracking on the project now. The PC's will hold off an election until 2015 and by that time the project will be to far advanced to be stopped. Bill 29 is just a symptom of another problem in western democracies whereby the only poll that frightens politicians is the vote that elects them. In between these elections, most politicians seem to feel that they are free to do as they please without regard for the public who hire them. Their all too cozy relationship with business (as seen by Richard Alexander's comments about Tom Marshall and the fact that Bill Barry is considering running for the PC leadership-both anti labour and highly against any type of government run social program) is a cause for concern. Corporate and business leaders have far too much influence in the affairs of government that is supposed to be for the people and by the people and off the people. What is needed is a complete overhaul of the democratic system and a new philosophy defining the relationship of governments and the people who they claim to represent. But while the present system is in place, I doubted much will change regardless of who is elected.

  • Tony Rockel
    January 24, 2014 - 10:01

    I'm tired of hearing people saying it's too late to stop Muskrat Falls. If it goes ahead, it's going to cost us $10 to 12 billion, plus the ongoing costs of operating such a monstrosity, with its ongoing massive line-losses and the risks of prolonged outages from such a vulnerable transmission system (especially if it's maintained by the NALCOR nincompoops). We wouldn't have to live with those risks if we generated our electricity on the island by connecting our existing hydro generators to the grid and bringing in some genuine 21st century conservation technology. Why be so defeatist about the supposed inevitability of MF?

  • DON II
    January 24, 2014 - 09:50

    The current PC Government will never change its abusive behavior of its own initiative. The PC's have power and many corporate and local clique masters to serve with that power. The opposition parties would be well advised to get copies of this article by Brian Jones in which he outlines Premier Dunderdale's woeful legacy and ensure that it is referred to often during the next election to remind the people of why they should remove the PC's from office. The article refers only to the issues that are known in the public domain but I can assure you that the PC Government of Newfoundland committed many more abuses of power that were suppressed by Bill 29 and never picked up on by the media or the opposition. The unethical, incompetent, wasteful and corrupt PC administration has trampled on people's rights, acted to please lobbyists and local cliques, expropriated peoples land and businesses, wasted tax payer money by the tens of millions of dollars every year, ignored public complaints, ruled with an iron fist, rammed through the Muskrat Falls project without proper scrutiny and enacted the State Secrets and Cover Up Act known as Bill 29 all without justification! If the people want to continue to be ruled by an iron fisted, heavy handed, willfully blind and abusive dictatorship such as is currently in power, the PC's will have nothing to fear in the next election. The PC candidates for Premier can now start lining up to begin their campaign to become the next dictator of the "Evil Empire" that currently rules Newfoundland and Labrador. Hopefully, the people have had enough of incompetent and corrupt politicians and bureaucrats operating in secret, acting to please lobbyists, corporate interests and local cliques, enacting laws, rules, regulations and policies which are draconian, unconstitutional and which snuff out open debate, public scrutiny, transparency and access to Government held information. Hopefully, the people will throw the PC's out of office at the earliest opportunity. However, it may be that the people will decide that it is better to vote for the devil they know! The winds of political change will never blow in the corridors of power if the people refuse to open the doors!

  • Goose
    January 24, 2014 - 08:40

    They deserve the same decimation that Grimes and his Liberals received. Forget MF, it's done. If you're someone who throws his vote at who ever makes a promise then you're someone who gets the government he deserves. You may not have noticed but politicians have earned a reputation of forgetting their promises after election day.

  • Jon Smith
    January 24, 2014 - 07:42

    The biggest failure is not recognizing that the proper use of the money pissed away at Muskrat would enhance the future. It could be used for a heritage fund (put away for the rainy day), improve infrastructure, improve health care and a raft of other things. The sad thing is that the new premier interim is steeped in the same stupid lines-Muskrat or die. The best thing the new interim could do is set the stage for Newfoundlanders to get to the polls as quickly as possible to minimize the damage the PC's have inflicted and continue to inflict.

  • John Smith
    January 24, 2014 - 06:25

    Wow...they are allowed to actually print this tripe? It is laughable at best, and criminal at it's worst. Muskrat Falls was first proposed as an answer to our needs here Mr. Jones, not as a money maker, whether or not we sell power to NS or to New England makes no difference, because it is for the same price. Muskrat Falls came in 2.5 billion less than the nearest alternative....and then they wonder why the days are numbered for the Telegram? Yikes....

    • Frank
      January 24, 2014 - 17:45

      I agree with you this time John. The verbal diarrhea that this guy spews on a weekly basis is nothing short of hate speech. I wonder who he will direct his invective at now that his favourite whipping girl is gone. I would swear he must get an envelope of cash from the Libs or NDP to publish these slanderous attacks. I am glad I cancelled my subscription to the telegram. I expect this from VOCM, just read the comments that they allow to be printed on their website. But the Telegram should be renamed the Tattler for allowing this.

  • Susan
    January 24, 2014 - 06:11

    Stop bullying Kathy and Lorraine because they are women. Shame on you

  • Angus
    January 24, 2014 - 06:11

    Unfortunately Muskrat Falls will not be stopped since it is already too late and with the PC's continuing with the development it will be well advanced enough in the next election that none of the parties will be in a position to stop it. What we should focus on as a population is a complete overhaul of the relationship of government to the people who hire them. Just eliminating Bill 29 won't do since Bill 29 is merely a symptom of a larger problem within democracies whereby those governing are only held accountable during and election. It is not the first time that after an election, government has ignored the electorate (remember Sprung, Come by Chance...) and built up a relationship with the business and corporate elite that has become a little to cozy as we have seen from Richard Alexander's remarks yesterday after Tom Marshall was confirmed as premier to be and Tom Padden completely ignoring the Muskrat Falls project in his audit. A new system of government must be designed for the 21's century and soon before we end up like the Ukraine.

  • Angus
    January 24, 2014 - 06:04

    Unfortunately Muskrat Falls will not be stopped since it is already too late and with the PC's continuing with the development it will be well advanced enough in the next election that none of the parties will be in a position to stop it. What we should focus on as a population is a complete overhaul of the relationship of government to the people who hire them. Just eliminating Bill 29 won't do since Bill 29 is merely a symptom of a larger problem within democracies whereby those governing are only held accountable during and election. It is not the first time that after an election, government has ignored the electorate (remember Sprung, Come by Chance...) and built up a relationship with the business and corporate elite that has become a little to cozy as we have seen from Richard Alexander's remarks yesterday after Tom Marshall was confirmed as premier to be and Tom Padden completely ignoring the Muskrat Falls project in his audit. A new system of government must be designed for the 21's century and soon before we end up like the Ukraine.

    • Cyril Rogers
      January 24, 2014 - 12:50

      It is NOT too late to stop Muskrat Falls. The Tories CAN pull the plug but are unlikely to do so. As I have stated repeatedly, it would be a painful decision, given the amount of money already expended on the project. However, the alternative….to continue…is sheer folly. It will take some intestinal fortitude on the part of the government and its caucus but, for the long term betterment of the province…it must be done. Deteriorating infrastructure, rolling blackouts, cutting back on essential services…all of these will features of the next several decades if this province keeps throwing money away on Muskrat Falls. And, while they are at it, disband that failed entity called NALCOR.

    • Ken Collis
      January 24, 2014 - 13:19

      I agree that it can't be stopped, but it can be made better. Every cent made from Muskrat Falls from the sale of excess power to the corporate taxes of the builders, and the income taxes of their employees should go towards paying off the debt. After Muskrat is paid for is time enough for Nalcor to consider the planned expansion. If you include this with a much more reasonable rate for the mines and such that want very cheap power and the project could be almost feasible. I'd vote for even Micky or Goofy if they would include this in their platform. This, and the repeal of bill 29 and Nalcor exemption of PUB examination would, I think, maybe save the PC party. They could change a lot of minds with a "New Leader, New Vision" campaign. If they brought in this as legislation every MHA would HAVE to vote for it. What a great change of direction that would be. Oh, and of course, remove Ed Martin from the public teat!!!