Thinking strategically

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In Russell Wangersky’s Oct. 2 column, “Watching the Muskrat,” he calls Muskrat Falls “a project that’s been covered to the point that a significant part of the population doesn’t even want to hear about it anymore.”

While Wangersky may be right, now is not the time to lose focus. I’m urging Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to continue to tune in, read and listen to information, and shape an informed opinion.

I’m in favour of the Muskrat Falls project moving forward.

Like many others, I’m waiting for final numbers, but if they deliver the same conclusion as the first round of information, I think we need to put politics aside and act strategically.

It’s important to be tied to the North American market and provide future development opportunities for the people of the province and region. I believe this will be the lowest cost-interest rate environment possible for the government to take on the debt to fund the development.

Muskrat Falls is an opportunity to demonstrate to Canada and the world, the visionary, tenacious people we are. It’s a chance to control our energy and economic future, and become environmental leaders. Improving our environmental performance by closing the Holyrood plant would make Newfoundland and Labrador almost fully powered by renewable energy.

I believe the team at Nalcor would only recommend sanctioning a project that is truly the best solution. Not only are they experts with professional reputations on the line, they’re fellow Newfoundlander and Labradorians.

I’m not asking people to adopt my opinion. I’m asking them to stay engaged in this conversation — follow the media coverage, read the reports, go to Nalcor’s website and ask questions.

We all have a responsibility to think about where we want Newfoundland and Labrador to be five, 10, 20 years from now and what we need to do to get there.

 

Rob Crosbie

St. John’s

Organizations: North American

Geographic location: Falls, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada Holyrood

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  • a business man
    October 13, 2012 - 11:38

    Let's say MF/higher energy costs causes people to lose their homes. Then, there will be cheap homes with sellers looking for a quick sale. As an investor, I would be able to buy up multiple homes and make a profit. When you think about it, if higher energy costs causes people to no longer have enough money to own their own home, the demand for rental properties will go up. So not only will I be able to charge higher rents, but I will also be able to acquire more rental properties at a cheaper cost. Next, if energy costs cause businesses to want to leave newfoundland because of higher energy costs, then I might get some work as a lawyer to help them leave. More realistically, companies may no longer be able to operate in newfoundland because of the higher energy costs, and I could buy these companies and offshore them, thus turning a quick profit. Lastly, as an industrial user of energy, I am expecting cheaper energy from MF. I hope this articulates some of the ways that MF supports me and demonstrates why my judgement is not flawed. If you still disagree with me, then oh well, I still support MF.

  • Winston Adams
    October 09, 2012 - 11:45

    GOMEZ, you say that energy efficiency being 1/3 the cost of any new gneration source "sounds too good to be true".On the one hand, if this is true, why haven't you heard it before, especially from Nalcor, Manitoba Hydro or others? After all they are saying they are seeking the lowest cost energy for the consumers.On the other hand, why hasn't John Smith posted to ridicule this or ask "what study". He is so swift on the keyboard to ridicule anything anti Muskrat Falls. Now the study is an American one. But that doesn't diminish its application to Nfld or to MF as a comparison. Moreover, where the comparisons in the USA for new generation is mostly gas or coal, and E.E. is 1/3 the cost, what would be the comparison to hydro in Canada? Well, the comparison for Quebec Hydro is probably similar at about 1/3 the cost. But if quebec can bring on hydro at about 5 cents per kwh, and MF is as some say, close to 30 cents per Kwh delivered, but even if we say might be as low as 20cents per kwh, what does this arithemic suggest? It says EE may be 1/6 the cost of MF. I wouldn't argue that cheap, but I do beleive that EE for NFLD is 1/4 to 1/5 the cost. Yes , sounds too good to be true.But true nevertheless. But EE has to be properly applied, here as elsewhere, as the report states, and as other jurisdictions are doing.

  • Winston Adams
    October 07, 2012 - 09:57

    John, you ask if you are gullible--for taking Nalcor at face value.You say "Nalcor had covered all the alternatives and explained why wind, solar ,gas, LNG, etc. would not be the lowest cost alternative". But John. What is this "etc"? Could this mean ENERGY EFFICIENCY? You, like Nalcor, seem to have a mental block against those words John. So I"ll say it again. ENERGY EFFICIENCY. Repeat after me. ENERGY EFFICIENCY. E-N-E-R-G-Y E-F-F-I-C-I-E-N-C-Y. Lowest cost option John. LOWEST COST OPTION. Says who? An international consultant who are experts in this field. Lowest cost by how much ? Answer: 1/3 the cost of ANY new generation source John. And what does it do for retail electricity prices John? For fellas like you who complain about electricity prices going up. Here's the bottom line: for a 8 percent increase in price, which fully funds the cost, household bills drops 24 percent. Imagine that John. When the consumer pays half, 4 percent extra cost to the electricity rate gives 24 percent reductiion in houshold bills. Compare a 4 percent increase to 40 or 50 percent via the Rat scheme John. Now where is the Nalcor study on ENERGY EFFICIENCY John? Oh, I know. A dozen words from Nalcor which says Nflders are not interested. Condescending? I beleive, a long time ago Russell at the Telegram remarked on this. And you , like Nalcor, say "I will not discuss this topic" Yet much of North America and the world are actively going this route. And Crosbie says the RAT scheme is visionary, and we will show the world. Sounds like cucumber talk, remember Sprung "this long in 6 weeks". But that was only 20 million. This is 6 billion and growing every day.So, to answer your questiion,are you gullible? No. You are wilfully blind.

    • Jay
      October 07, 2012 - 19:12

      What is this? The "Adams Family Page" ""Mysterious and spooky.......

    • Gomez
      October 08, 2012 - 20:30

      1/3 the cost you say. Sounds to good to be true.

  • NL TURF
    October 06, 2012 - 23:39

    Great job !!!! - A Business Man - !!! Tell it like it is my friend!!! Funny as usual!! Why do you guys/gals get sucked in by his irrational rants ?? Unfortunately, errr sorry , fortunately - A Business Man - is probably casting off the 5th bottle top of a Dominion Ale and still looking out the window to see if the mail carrier has his pokey cheque in hand!! Trust me guys/gals , look back at previous posts ,and you will see this guy/gal is an imposter and is more to be pitied, then brought to task!! Keep these outrageous posts coming - A Business Man- , Humor is never an imposter!!

  • Komrad
    October 06, 2012 - 23:38

    Kvick komrads. Der is a person dat supports dis project. Ve must kvickly shout him down. Ve demand dat he explain 'imself to our satisvaction. Der is no oter opinions permitted but ours.

  • Jacklyn Adams
    October 06, 2012 - 15:13

    A Businessman says: "regardless of Maruice has argued, I, as a taxpayer, citizen and voter, have the right to support Crosbie, Crosbie's view, and MF as a whole. Even if MF will destroy newfoundland, I still have a right to support MF because MF is in my interests. Let's see Maurice refute that." I'm his daughter. I can refute it and I didn't even study Muskrat falls like my dad has. If you are a Newfoundland businessman, with your business tied into Newfoundland, then if this project destroys Newfoundland, then it will destroy you as well. So how will that benefit you?

    • a business man
      October 08, 2012 - 11:36

      Good question. As an investor, I have business interests all over the world. So if my newfoundland business were to be destroyed, then I will still be making money in Ontario, Europe, the USA and other more important areas. That said, it is my opinion that there will always be a need for the goods and services that I sell. For example, I own a call center in newfoundland......lets say that MF makes operating a call center too expensive....I will not be destroyed, I will just leave! I will just go somewhere where it is cheaper to operate. I have made a point to ONLY invest in businesses that allow me to pick up and leave. that is why I don't invest in mining or fishing...because the workers have too much power. By investing in companies like call centers and other technology based industries, I can just pick up and go when think things are not going my way. Essentially, I have made a point to only invest in flexible businesses which allow me to walk away when the going gets tough. So really, from my point of view, I truly think MF is a good thing, but if I am wrong, then I will just move the companies. I really have nothing to lose and potentially lots to gain. Lastly, if MF is wrong, it is not my mistake,...I am not doing it. I am just selfishly supporting it. The government is doing it. Thanks for your question, I hope I have answered it appropriately.

  • Maurice E. Adams
    October 06, 2012 - 14:22

    To "A BUSINESS MAN":--- While you have a right to support Muskrat Falls, to do so "because it is in your own interest" would only be valid if indeed Muskrat Falls was, 'in actuality', (as you say) "in your own interest"........ However, Muskrat Falls can only (in actuality) be in your own interest if indeed it is fundamentally a sound business venture that will provide the people (and the province) a real economic advantage.......... It is only by doing so that Muskrat Falls can help build, foster and move the province forward economically and therefore provide the sound business environment that will truly benefit "A BUSINESS MAN" like yourself. .... Since Muskrat Falls does not offer a sound business case and does not foster the development and growth of a solid business environment (and in fact, the opposite), then Muskrat Falls fails to be in the 'best interest' of even "A BUSINESS MAN" like yourself...... Accordingly, while your right to support Muskrat Falls exists, based on a fundamentally flawed premise (your flawed judgment that it will benefit you) is fraught with ERROR and without rational merit.

    • a business man
      October 08, 2012 - 11:27

      With all due respect, your thinking is quite narrow and that is why you are failing to see how I can benefit from MF. Let's say MF/higher energy costs causes people to lose their homes. Then, there will be cheap homes with sellers looking for a quick sale. As an investor, I would be able to buy up multiple homes and make a profit. When you think about it, if higher energy costs causes people to no longer have enough money to own their own home, the demand for rental properties will go up. So not only will I be able to charge higher rents, but I will also be able to acquire more rental properties at a cheaper cost. Next, if energy costs cause businesses to want to leave newfoundland because of higher energy costs, then I might get some work as a lawyer to help them leave. More realistically, companies may no longer be able to operate in newfoundland because of the higher energy costs, and I could buy these companies and offshore them, thus turning a quick profit. Lastly, as an industrial user of energy, I am expecting cheaper energy from MF. I hope this articulates some of the ways that MF supports me and demonstrates why my judgement is not flawed. If you still disagree with me, then oh well, I still support MF.

  • a business man
    October 06, 2012 - 12:41

    regardless of Maruice has argued, I, as a taxpayer, citizen and voter, have the right to support Crosbie, Crosbie's view, and MF as a whole. Even if MF will destroy newfoundland, I still have a right to support MF because MF is in my interests. Let's see Maurice refute that.

    • Eli
      October 06, 2012 - 15:42

      U should be Premier. Our debt would be in outer space. Constitution or no, even Ottawa would drop us like a hot potato.

    • Winston Adams
      October 06, 2012 - 17:55

      Mr , Business Man, your view that even if MF destroys Nfld, you still have the right to support MF. This view is in line with others you have expressed- that you would rather see rural Nfld fail because this helps your business and your companies, and your family. This seems similar to the view of some business people, not all, that support this project when the economics almost certainly means financial failure, but not before substancial profits go to those with a personal business interest, leaving the public on the hook. Failure will leave the average person burdened with high taxes and poor services. You and those like you can register as citizens of Alberta to avoid the high taxes here- because self interest is the bottom line. And yes, you can support MF for that reason. And it appears that even if the majority of Nflders don't support it, the support of people like you, and many of the Board of Trade, have more sway. It's the way Banana Republics work, the few fleeceing the majority. It went on here big time until 1933, and somewhat since. You would be a happy man, a HAPPY BUSINESS MAN, if you were here then. Perhaps your success have roots to that era? And you are a disgrace to the business men and women who think different from you, who want to see our people as a whole prosper. A business person may take a high, even a foolish risk with his/her own money. But it's inhumane to take foolish risks with the public purse. MF needs reasonably high certainity as to a growing electricity demand and profitable sales to avoid being a foolish venture. Show me the certainity? Complete uncertainity is fine with you. You're, a treasure. A real treasure. How many business men/women support your view? But I guess you have the right to express it. It's in the Charter' right? Immoral business is not good business, it's just business.Convince me that MF is good business and I'll support it. Seems to be a strategy for failure, and if so, you'll support it.

    • a business man
      October 08, 2012 - 11:19

      I stand by my position that I would rather see rural Nfld fail because this helps my business and my companies, and my family. I cannot speak for any other business people, but it is my view, and I vote accordingly. With all due respect, your job, your companies and you family are not my concern. That is your job. I am not making government do anything. If government chooses to put forward a project that will allow me to make money while leaving the public on the hook, then I will laugh all the way to the bank. But government ins't completely stupid. They know companies like mine will make more money and pay more taxes. They know that some revenue will be generated. And YES, HELL YES, I will register as a citizen in another province to avoid the high taxes here- because self interest is the bottom line. Actually, right now, very few of my businesses are registered in other provinces/states, and I am still able to make money in newfoundland. Make no mistake, I certainly want to see newfoundlanders prosper, but I really do not have have a stake in whether or not they actually do. My success is based on the success of other economies. I cannot convince you MR is good business for you, but I'll take a shot and convincing you it is good for me. As an industrial business owner, I expect cheaper energy. As an offshore investor, I hope that the increase in energy costs leads companies to offshore production to my foreign factories, or leads to an opportunity for me, as a lawyer and MBA grad, to offer consulting and legal services to companies that are leaving newfoundland for a jurisdiction with cheaper power. Lastly, MF is good business for me because if there actually is a burden that the taxpayers do get stuck with, I will be long gone. Sure, I may sound cold, but you have the same opportunities. You can invest in offshore companies, you can register as a citizen of another province.

  • Cyril Rogers
    October 06, 2012 - 12:11

    Mr. Crosbie, you stated, "I’m in favour of the Muskrat Falls project moving forward." Fair enough! But at what point would you say it is too costly a burden for the people of this province. I have no doubt that increased power costs mean nothing to some of the well-to-do of our society but, realistically, the major burden will fall on your average person and low income earners. These increases will not reflect a person's income but simply their consumption of power, regardless of income level. I can afford it and so perhaps can you but I know of hundreds of people who will struggle even more to make ends meet if this goes ahead. Having said that, I will respond in turn to your FOUR major points in support of the project. POINT ONE: The final numbers, while we still don't have them, will be at least 20% higher than the initial estimates and even then the economics did not add up. Now, combined with stable and likely declining oil prices, despite spikes and occasional volatility in prices, the economics will be even more obtuse. POINT TWO: You say its important to be tied to the North American market. This project will NEVER sell a kilowatt of power to any market beyond Nova Scotia and even that is very doubtful. There is no real transmission capacity and, if the mines the government is suddenly touting in Labrador go ahead, there won't be any power for Nova Scotia or the Island, unless taken from the Upper Churchill. Think about the implications of that! POINT THREE: MF is visionary, a chance to control our economic destiny, and so forth. Need I remind you we will have a current account deficit of close to $600 million this year, due to the incompetence of our finance department and its projections for oil that seem to come out of a hat. We''ll have an economic vision that will be a nightmare when we, the people, are faced with an additional 6-8 BILLION dollar deficit. Not pretty when oil production is about to decline and prices are, at best, stagnant for long periods. POINT FOUR: You said, "I believe the team at Nalcor would only recommend sanctioning a project that is truly the best solution" I believe you are wrong in that NALCOR was negligent in looking seriously at other alternative. So said the Joint Review Panel and the PUB in more polite language. FURTHERMORE, this was a political decision, made by the former Premier and now driven by political expediency, arrogance, stupidity, or all three. I would be happy to entertain a rebuttal!

  • Kev
    October 06, 2012 - 11:40

    Linked to the North American market? Muskrat power is too expensive to sell in the rest of Canada, let alone the US, except at a loss. The only way linking to the North American market might make sense is as a way of bringing cheaper mainland power in to Newfoundland. Make no mistake, people... This is going to be 1934 all over again.

  • Winston
    October 06, 2012 - 10:53

    Maurice has completely destroyed every argument put out by Crosbie. Only error maybe is that we are presently about 85 percent hydro and MF would take us to 98 percent-but what cost to gain 13 percent. An we can more than gain that 13 percent by efficiency at less than 1/4 the cost. Others are doing it.

  • William Daniels
    October 06, 2012 - 09:18

    Oink, oink. Of course he is in favour of it !! If it's such a great deal why don't the super rich (Williams, Penney, Bennett) put their own money on the line?? By the way I don't need any of these people telling me how to be a proud NL'er either.

  • John Smith
    October 06, 2012 - 09:07

    There are still people out there who don't believe we need the power, let alone put thought into what is the best way to produce it. Maybe I'm just gullible, nieve...but when Nalcor came forward and stated that the province needs more power I believed them. These are the professionals we pay to ensure that our power supply is kept up to date. If a doctor came forward and said we need to update a cat scan machine why would I doubt him? So I thought if the many professionals at Nalcor stated we will need increased supplies of energy over the next 5-10 years...I said they must know, they have the experience, the education, and they are not a private corporation, they belong to the province of NL. Others however immediately said wait a minute. We don't believe what these experts, and learned professionals are saying. Nope. Not good enough for us. They are out to gouge us...to get us...for some unfathomable reason...So, once again we look to the mainland to guide us. The government hires a world recognized company, thought by many to be one of the best consulting companies on the globe...Navigant...who came back with a report that not only backed up our need for power, but said we will actually need even more than what Nalcor said we would. Fine...more undisputable truth. Nope, not good enough for the naysayers. They said it was corrupt, the corrupt people at Nalcor, gave bad numbers to Navigant...they lied. So then we go to our PUB. After 9 months, 2 million extra dollars, one extension, 15,000 pages of information, hundreds of exhibits...the PUB hires their own experts. Great I said...this will finally silence the naysayers. The MHI report came back and stated the exact same thing as the Navigant report, we will need even more power. Nope, not good enough for the naysayers, Nalcor is corrupt, Navigant is corrupt, MHI is corrupt, the PC government is corrupt. Everyone is corrupt except for those who are against the project. So...the next step by the government is to agree to a debate in the house. They once again go to MHI, the company the PUB picked as being experts in the field, and asked them to go over the numbers for Muskrat, and the alternatives. Eventhough Nalcor had covered all the alternatives previously, and explained why wind, solar, gas LNG etc would not be the lowest cost option...but hey, that's Nalcor...and they are corrupt, and are out to get us...right, right... I forgot that for a second. So now we are about to get the DG3 numbers, of course we know that if they show muskrat to be the best option the naysayers will all point to how it's a conspricy on the part of Nalcor, and the government, and they are all out to get us. What I would ask the naysayers is what would be a good test for muskrat? Who could we go to that would appease you? Is there a company, a government, an individual?The PUB were given every possible aide to get them to present on the project...but after 9 months and 2 million dollars they said they wanted the D3 numbers. Which is fine, but was beyond the scope of what the government asked them to look at. The government said based on the information before you...the DG2 numbers..the 15, 000 pages of info, and hundreds of exhibits, and MHI's report what do you think so far?? They came back and said...duh...we don't have a clue b'y.... yep, that's about right. So here we are...with reports stacked up to the ceiling, all pointing to the fact that we will need the power, and that muskrat is the lowest cost option. But, that's not enough for the Know Nothing Naysayers, nope...it's all a big conspriacy, and Nalcor is out to get us...how utterly sad and pathetic....

  • Strategic thinker
    October 06, 2012 - 09:02

    Think strategically? Building a damn and connecting to a market that we have no competitively priced product to sell are wonderful tactics, but offer no strategic advantage. If you want a strategic advantage, develop our gas industry by using a new gas generation plant as an anchor client. That will open opportunities in transportation as well as power generation that can be scaled to our needs. Building an overpriced dam in Labrador offers little other than short term jobs and unnecessary and obnoxiously high long term debt.

    • Rosie
      October 07, 2012 - 05:57

      There are a ton of benefits related to developing MF. And there is a ton of information out there about that. Perhaps you have been too distracted by the noise out there to take the time to read any of it. We need the power - and this WILL be stable power. After it goes on line we will pay increases less than the rate of inflation. And until it goes on line our rates will continue to go up either way. So let's not be short sighted here. I realize it's more fun to try to discredit the experts and the strenght of MF but it is going to bring many long-term benefits including energy supply and stable rates. The three provinces in Canada with the cheapest and most stable rates and powered by large hydro. And I think we need to get out of our own way and do the smart thing. If we don't our future generations will look back any wonder why we didn't have the foresight to do so.

    • Strategic Thinker
      October 08, 2012 - 09:52

      Do you support burning $10 bills to generate electricity Rosie? That would bring benefits, including stable power at a fixed cost. How about we raise your taxes by 200%? That would bring benefits as well. Just because there's a ton of reason to do something doesn't mean that there's many more reasons reasons not to. Your comparison to other provinces that use hydro power is nonsensical. Those provinces developed hydro power that was economically feasible. Muskrat Falls is not. If this project goes ahead, our future generations will look back and say ''what were they thinking''. In 2041, we will be awash in cheap power. We need to consider the implications of that before rushing in.

  • Maurice E. Adams
    October 06, 2012 - 08:16

    "we need to put politics aside and act strategically." DONE THAT (I have never been a member of either the Liberal or NDP parties, but have in the past been a director of the PC party and campaigned for Ross Reid federally)..... "It’s important to be tied to the North American market and provide future development opportunities for the people of the province and region." (Emera has 2 years to decide to 'opt in', and if they do not we will have to sell ALL excess Muskrat power to Quebec. "Development opportunities" ---(with power that costs 30 cents/Kwh?) ....... "I believe this will be the lowest cost-interest rate environment possible for the government to take on the debt to fund the development." (Interest rates have nowhere to go but UP, and Muskrat will be 'funded' mostly by ratepayers who will see $35 billion comes out of their pockets over 50 years -- $21 billion even AFTER 2041 when we have near-zero cost Upper Churchill back)........ "Muskrat Falls is an opportunity to demonstrate to Canada and the world, the visionary, tenacious people we are." .......(Some vision.... produce for 30 cents and sell for between 3 and 9 cents)..... "It’s a chance to control our energy and economic future,"....... (Come 2041, we will still owe so many billions, we will be weak fiscally, and again be at the mercy of Quebec) ..... "become environmental leaders." ........ (73% of our greenhouse gas emissions are from the Transportation and Large Industry sector, 8% from Holyrood. Muskrat is an $8.5 billion climate change plan PAID FOR BY RATEPAYERS, while the large emitters (transportation and industry) is let off the hook) ...... "Improving our environmental performance by closing the Holyrood plant would make Newfoundland and Labrador almost fully powered by renewable energy." .....(We are already about 90% renewable and by avoiding the real polluter, Transportation and large industry, government is targeting the smallest emitter on the backs of ratepayers)....... "I believe the team at Nalcor would only recommend sanctioning a project that is truly the best solution."...... (YES, the best solution "for them")..... Not only are they experts with professional reputations on the line, they’re fellow Newfoundlander and Labradorians....... (So was Joey) "I’m not asking people to adopt my opinion. I’m asking them to stay engaged in this conversation — follow the media coverage, read the reports, go to Nalcor’s website and ask questions." ..... (How about other websites that tell the other story? ---- www.vision2041.com ) "We all have a responsibility to think about where we want Newfoundland and Labrador to be five, 10, 20 years from now and what we need to do to get there..... (YES, and when we arrive, we do NOT NEED to have a $35 billion yoke around our neck).

    • Jay
      October 06, 2012 - 13:02

      No wonder Ross Reid lost his seat in that election. Give it a rest, you're starting to sound like all of rest of the tired old Tories from Peckford's time.

  • roy
    October 06, 2012 - 08:10

    I for one am sick and tired of hearing Muskrat Falls, the news media have been making hay of this project keeping it going to keep ratings up, they are as bad as the liberals and their lawyer friends who are creating doubt anyway they can and the NDP i don't know where they stand i don't think they do. If i hear more about muskrat i will throw up , i have given up listening to open line. Sensationalism is their game remember when aqlmost every new media sent reps to show devistation on our last huricane all they had to show was pictures of egor. The news media creates news even when there is none.