Muskrat Falls is a go — get over it

Tony Collins
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Now that the likelihood of anyone pulling the plug on the Muskrat Falls project is … unlikely (note to self: check thesaurus) some concerns are being expressed as to the effect this is going to have on the state of mind of its opponents.

These are the perennial wet blankets and gloomy-guts who have spent every waking hour for what seems like an eternity coming up with every possible argument under the sun as to why Muskrat Fall is going to bring about an end to life on Earth as we  know it.

No stone has been left unturned by this intransigent band of belligerent agitators in their never-ending quest for new and ever-more damning reasons why Mus­krat Falls has to be stopped before it drives every Newfoundlander and Labradorian into the poor house and blights the province’s economy for countless generations to come.

If nothing else, you have to admire these people’s persistence. Where lesser mortals would have thrown in the towel long ago, these self-appointed, self-involved and self-serving prophets of doom show no sign of running out of steam.

They’re like the Japanese soldiers who used to turn up occasionally on remote Pacific atolls as late as the 1970s. Nobody had ever bothered telling them the war was over, not that they would necessarily have surrendered, in any event.

No doubt a few diehard fanatics here will persist in calling the open-line programs and writing interminable letters to the paper with yet more objections to be added to the long list of fatal Muskrat Falls flaws, but there’s been a noticeable lessening of hostilities in recent months.

Perhaps it’s starting to dawn on them that they’ve been fighting a losing battle for nigh on these many years and that the time has come to lay down their arms.

Even some members of the media have started taking a lot of what the usual crew of Muskrat malcontents has been saying with a grain of salt, or at least with a slightly healthier degree of skepticism than used to be the case.

Meanwhile, some health-care professionals are beginning to worry that without other “safe” targets at which to direct their anger and aggression, many of these pickle-pusses and bellyachers are going to be left with a huge gap in their lives.

They’ll have fewer opportunities to vent their spleen, no one to get mad at and nothing to pound the breakfast table about, which doesn’t bode well for their spouses.

It was fine while Danny Williams was still around. Newfoundlanders prefer their idols with very visible feet of clay and if they can’t find any, their frustration levels go right through the ceiling. The higher our former premier’s popularity ratings the higher their blood pressure, the more intense their pathological hatred of the man, the greater their ire and indignation, and the more hysterical the general tone of their public pronouncements.

Kathy Dunderdale also drew a lot of the heat, partly because she was a woman and, even better from her enemies’ point of view, a woman who strongly endorsed one of her predecessor’s chief legacies,  Mus­krat Falls, which made her even more of a demon — and that much more vulnerable — in the eyes of her detractors.

But now that things have started to calm down a bit we’re left with the problem of what to do with all these moaners and groaners who aren’t going to have as much to complain about as they’re used to.

What’s going to become of all the Muskrat Falls denigrators when they realize that no one is reading their blogs anymore, and that their opinions, for what they were worth to begin with, are of no further interest to anyone other than their own inconsequential followings of online apostles and acolytes?

(For that matter, what about the pundits, myself included, I guess, who might actually have to find some­thing new to rant on about now that their favourite go-to topic for stirring up their readers no longer has the desired effect?)

Perhaps for the sake of everyone’s sanity, it’s time we all took a deep breath, counted to 10 and tried to be a little less extreme in our views. In the past, some of the accusations levelled against the Muskrat Falls project by its critics seem to have crossed the line between constructive criticism and what, in effect, amounts to outright treason.

It’s one thing to raise legitimate concerns about a mega-project of this size and scope. It’s a different matter altogether to do everything in one’s power to ensure its failure, such as aiding and abetting the competition.

And so, in the meantime, let’s hope that cooler heads prevail, that the peevish and petulant minority of obstructionists in our midst find better ways to occupy their leisure hours and that a project which could do so much to benefit the entire province is ultimately allowed to succeed — in spite of all the nasty things that have been said about it.

Tony Collins lives and writes in Gander.

He can be reached by email at

His column returns Aug. 2.

Geographic location: Gander

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Recent comments

  • samuel J.
    July 21, 2014 - 21:40

    Tony Collins, one of the Tories best sucker-uppers, would like all governments critics to go over Muskrat Falls in a barrel. All this talk is too much for the intellectually challenged Tony. It makes his head hurt. Now if you think his disdain for the vocal anti-Muskrat crowd is a recent sentiment - you'd be wrong. If you check Tony's record of sickly sycophance, you'll discover he has always spouted a pro-government, pro-Muskrat view. So much so that - way back when Muskrat was a gleam in Williams' myopic eye - he publicly acknowledged Tony's unqualified, uninformed, unconditional support. Going all the way back to the guy's underwhelming gig in rural development, I had never found anything he wrote or anything he said even mildly interesting - let alone insightful. Typical for Tony is that, in this instance, he offers no facts, no figures, no logic in defence of this $10 billion extravaganza - just that he has tired of hearing about it. Learn to look away Tony or plug for your ears. Like the momma Churchill that gave it birth, this baby Muskrat will another symbol of the arrogance, stupidity and greed that have long dogged Newfoundland's economic development ambitions. Yes it is a go, but no points to Tony for stating the obvious. Find something else to write about.

  • Tom
    July 21, 2014 - 16:20

    Criticism = treason. Thanks for the math lesson Tony!

  • david
    July 21, 2014 - 08:06

    Yup. Newfoundland is a dictatorship, with a long litany of idiots as our dictators, and an endless list of white elephants as their legacies. Get over it.

  • Dolf
    July 20, 2014 - 20:24

    Another Bobble-head out of the closet, as if he was ever in there. Tell us Tony, why LEGISLATION to sanction this already out of control project?

  • When Thesaures roamed the Earth!
    July 20, 2014 - 06:27

    Tony should check the Sanskrit rooted word Pundit in his dictionary before he claims to be it, but in fact is just harnesses the great power of the thesaurus to bedazzle us. Please? This writing is self servingly gauche, fun and as smarmy as Ed Hollett but with 70% less intelligence and few insights to match Uncle Gnarley save the relevation that Kathy Dunderdale is female and daniels feet are as fast as his lips. Tony chooses to look under a former premiers skirting for answers than under the bonnet of the personified project being treated so nastily by superdetractobellyachers. Pundit used to mean wise respected expert but today pundit is used even for a PC PC columnist with a thesaurus but no dictionary. This is a great column and as much as I want Muskrat stopped it makes me laugh because I love finding good examples of double binding in society. Maybe we don't need Tesla or Ballard or Faraday and Edison to pop the hood. Maybe Freud, Jung, Brooks and Bateson or Marcuse can better understand the schizophrenic Muskrat. If only the provinces only busy neuropsychiatrist could get Muskrat on the couch. Then we would get progress, maybe?

  • Patrick Henry
    July 20, 2014 - 00:15

    Oh come on. All criticism of Kathy Dunderdale was either a result of the fact that she is a woman or because she endorsed the Muskrat Falls project? I suppose none of the criticism came because people genuinely disagreed with many of her government's other policies or manner of carrying them out - including concealing facts from NL citizens through the passing of Bill 29? After checking the word unlikely in a thesaurus, you should take a moment to look in a dictionary so that you can better understand the meaning of the word treason. Public criticism of the PC party or its policies does not amount to treason, Tony.

  • Rosalind
    July 19, 2014 - 20:00

    Waiting for someone to give me one good reason why we need MF since it's not because of a power shortage ..we have more than we need.

  • lonenewfwolf
    July 19, 2014 - 19:52

    what a tool this guy is. who's your next guest columnist? alex jones? do some real journalism and find out what emera is REALLY getting out of this deal

  • Nichol
    July 19, 2014 - 19:04

    Yes, it may be a go, but is that any cause for celebration by the NL ratepayers legislated to pay for it all (except the ML)? I submit not....but all the solid arguments by those opposed, who take time to research these things, unlike the simple words in your article, could not possibly overcome the great propaganda machine spawned by the Government and Nalcor. Here's a really, really basic question which you should not have any trouble researching.....North American Hydropower projects are normally considered to be good, safe investments, providing long term returns for the proverbial 'widows and orphans'. Muskrat Falls could not attract a penny of private capital on it's own. Did you ever think to wonder why? It was simply too risky. There had to be a unique type of 'project wrap' developed by Fasken Martineau, the law firm handling the 'Sovereign Guarantee' which ensured that the lenders were not exposed to any project risk at all....and recourse is direct to the 'Sovereign source'. That is how tightly the lending institutions are protected from any risk whatsoever. Good solid projects don't require that kind of protection, and we are yet to see what Dunderdale promised Harper, in return for the FLG. While the weather may be warm, drinking too much 'Kool Aid', particularly the nasty Government flavour, is not good for one's health.

  • Tony Rockel
    July 19, 2014 - 18:54

    Yes, and human-made climate change is also "a go". I guess we should get over that and just let it happen, too.

  • Maurice E. Adams
    July 19, 2014 - 08:40

    A "shoot the messenger" article, it there ever was one. Not a fact, not a single piece of evidence to support the position taken. Nevertheless, a great representation of the Muskrat project itself.

    • Look in the Mirror
      July 20, 2014 - 09:07

      "Not a fact or a single piece of real evidence to support a position" - isn't that a page out of your book?