Cheers & Jeers

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Jeers: to shorthand. As the debate around Muskrat Falls goes on (and on and on), both sides have gotten fast and loose with the facts. But one thing’s for certain: under every scenario on the table, prices are going up dramatically. That’s why it’s important to understand that, when a Tory MHA says on “Open Line” that the project will mean lower electrical prices, or when Natural Resources Minister Jerome Kennedy tells the House of Assembly, “Mr. Speaker, the price of electricity rates will depend on the price of oil without Muskrat Falls. With Holyrood, prices will go up — with Muskrat Falls, down,” they actually mean something different that what they’re apparently saying. Even the Tories’ own math doesn’t show prices going down — what they mean is that, in their view, the dramatic power increase we can expect with Muskrat Falls would be even more dramatic if we went with the other option. Nothing is going lower — except maybe the quality of the debate.

Cheers: to making a point. Liberal MHA Eddie Joyce released documents that once again show how ridiculous the provincial government’s claims are about the reasonableness of Bill 29, which dramatically reduced public access to information. How strict is the new Official Secrets Act? Well, the Liberals asked for copies of feedback from Grade 4 to Grade 11 students in Labrador who had taken part in a provincial Mining Matters workshop. Every single comment the students made was blacked out under an exemption designed to protect privacy — more than a little bit of comedy, because the comments were anonymous anyway. You have to feel for the Dunderdale government — it’s not easy protecting the privacy of the already-anonymous. We look forward to the government’s next set of improvements, perhaps mandating the immediate incineration of any document deemed sensitive — meanwhile, the provincial budget for black markers used to cover up information must be growing dramatically.

Cheers: to statesmanship — and honesty — trumping gamesmanship. Here’s Government House Leader Darin King, responding in the House of Assembly to a Liberal complaint that Finance Minister Tom Marshall had said an opposition member wasn’t telling the truth: “Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would ask you to review Hansard, but I think the member clearly knows when we talk about parliamentary language, that there was no language made by any member on this side of the House directed or accusatory to any member on the other side of the House. We would expect every member in this House to be telling the truth. That should be a given when we come in through the door, Mr. Speaker.” Now, King knows full well that Hansard doesn’t record heckling in the House, so it’s unlikely anyone would be caught. But Marshall took a different route — he stood and apologized for his comments. So here’s a question: did Marshall’s actions show King to be less than truthful?

Organizations: Government House

Geographic location: Labrador

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  • Winston adams
    December 04, 2012 - 19:30

    My piece on "Efficiency by the Numbers' in the Telegram shows that while rates go up, the consumers bills actually go down. That is something neither options presently considered by Nalcor can offer. It is what many other jurisdictions outside Nfld are doing. Same thing as a efficient Hybrid car . gas price goes up but gas usage goes down. With electricity effective rebates to customers for cost effective heating does it.

  • Winston Adams
    December 03, 2012 - 13:54

    Cyril , wind in Hawaii can hanndle at least 20 percent of the system total energy consumption and 50 percentof their peak load . GE did the study. Their system is an isolated one like ours. nalcor's early statements about wind here being only good for less than 5 percent---very misleading.

  • Cold Future
    December 03, 2012 - 11:57

    It is interesting that the loan guarantee will cost the feds nothing???The savings are said to be about $1 billion over the project life. They could have picked any number because not one cent will be put in by the feds. It is the equivalent of the NL government devising a calculator to tell the people how much they will save by not developing an imaginary/dreamed up option which can and is given any cost that makes the calculator work to dupe the public. It is also interesting that mr harper and Mackay have dictated that the guarantee is contingent on NS coming aboard with the Gulf cable. This effectively gives NS the upper hand in the bargaining over the price of energy and the cost overruns for the cable and any upgrades to NS transmission facilities.Sort of resembles Joey having the price reduction for the last 26 years of UC pushed down his throat at the last minute. ABC'd again by the C's, an old NL story in a new era-makes us feel good don't it?

  • Cyril Rogers
    December 03, 2012 - 11:27

    Every time Minister Kennedy opens his mouth he is misleading people, whether intentionally or otherwise. Oil prices may rise in the long term but will not, in any significant way, contribute to large annual increases in the cost of electricity. To start with, oil burning at Holyrood is only contributing 10-12% to our annual needs, despite having the capacity to handle closer to 40%....the same amount that NL Hydro is being forced to purchase from Muskrat Falls, on its "use it or pay anyway' plan. Wonder who made that deal? Bear in mind that we will always need thermal generation, for backup if nothing else, so Holyrood will eventually be replaced by newer gas-fired generators that are much cleaner and more responsive to peak loads. They can cover any gaps caused by wind, if wind farms were built....at a fraction of the cost of Muskrat Falls. Incremental increases will always occur but one wind farm would cost less that the annual interest payments on the debt associated with MF. It could easily be absorbed into the system, at minimal cost to consumers. I am not advocating for much of an increase in capacity, by any means, because there are other ways to decrease consumption......... but there is no vision and no leadership from either the government or the utilities on that.

  • Dirty Bill
    December 03, 2012 - 09:43

    Since bill 29 and watching how this Muskratfalls is being handled and unfolding, I find it hard to believe anything our Tory MHA's say any more. If This new office of public engagement is suppose to replace bill 29 then we have dropped the bar to an all time low. And I tunk that the MHA's mustashes for movember were drawn on by steve kent with is new marker, after the minister told him to. What a talent!