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?