Cheers and Jeers

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Jeers: to certainty.

Just in case you were wondering who was going to be paying for the new $300 million-or-so power line in Labrador — needed to supply future iron mining ventures — the provincial cabinet made it official on Feb. 13 with Order in Council OC2014-034. But you can read all of it for yourself: “Under the authority of section 5.1(1) of the Electrical Power Control Act, 1994, the Lieutenant Governor in Council is pleased to direct the Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities to review the costs incurred by Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro in the planning, design, and construction of a new 230 kV transmission line project between Churchill Falls and Labrador West, as described in the Labrador West Transmission Exemption Order, and where the board determines that costs were prudently incurred within the scope of the project, the board shall include such costs in Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro’s rate base for recovery in Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro’s rates.” Well, cabinet may be pleased — ratepayers, not so much.

Cheers: to paying your own freight. The Kruger paper mill in Corner Brook? $110 million government loan to pay for needed improvements, put up by the province earlier this year, on top of hundreds of millions of dollars in other incentives, forgiven fees and taxes and other help over the past few years. The Irving paper mill in Saint John, N.B.? Well, perhaps J.D. Irving Ltd.’s news release speaks for itself. “Irving Pulp & Paper will invest $450 million in a two-phased modernization program of the west side pulp mill. It is the largest investment in a pulp mill in Canada since 1993. The project will generate 1.2 million in person-hours of construction work over two phases — equivalent to a total of 600 full-time equivalent jobs. The pulp mill investment involves no provincial or federal government funding.” Now, was that a deliberately pointy little jab, or what?

Cheers: to who’s on first? Another order in council released last week sets up which cabinet ministers cover for which other cabinet ministers any time a member of the cabinet is out of the province for more than a day. If a cabinet minister is away, the “first alternate” takes the minister’s place. If the “first alternate” is also away, the “second alternate” gets the job. Here’s how you can tell if someone’s new to the cabinet: Dan Crummell, the minister of Service NL since last October, is nobody’s first alternate — but when it comes to second alternate, he’s the most popular of the whole crew, holding the job for Advanced Education and Skills; minister responsible for the Status of Persons with Disabilities; and minister responsible for the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation; Innovation, Business and Rural Development; minister responsible for the Office of Public Engagement; minister responsible for the Research and Development Corporation; Transportation and Works; and minister responsible for Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs.

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities, J.D. Irving Ltd. Service NL Advanced Education and Skills Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Business and Rural Development Office of Public Engagement Research and Development

Geographic location: Labrador West, Corner Brook, Irving Saint John Canada

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