In my lifetime, about 60 years, except for the downfall of the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery, I think the two greatest financial happenings were the Churchill Falls deal and the Hibernia deal. I think the third greatest financial happening will be the Muskrat Falls deal.
Let’s do a bit of “what if.”
What if the government of the day for the Churchill Falls deal had made the bold step of footing 50 per cent of the cost for 33.5 per cent of the returns? I feel if the private investor could spend 50 per cent less and receive 66.5 per cent, they would have agreed to it. As of 2007, our share would have been
$30 billion, according to the Nov. 7 Telegram. That’s a good return on 50 per cent cost of developing the project.
If the provincial government of the day for the Hibernia project had taken a $2-billion share instead of the federal government taking it, the $2 billion would be long paid off and we would be getting an extra eight per cent of revenue instead of Ottawa getting it. A good return.
The government of the day is planning a major investment in the Muskrat Falls project. Is it a good investment? We don’t know and won’t know for a long time to come.
In the first two projects, there would have been a large public outcry about how we could not afford such undertakings. As it turned out they would have been excellent investments.
To get anything done, we have to gamble on it being the right thing.
I feel the Muskrat Falls project is the right thing and will lead to a better, cleaner future. The major benefits may not be seen in the near future, but in the long term, they will be.