Peckford: Public deserves more details on Muskrat

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Former premier Brian Peckford


An open letter to Premier Kathy Dunderdale from former premier Brian Peckford emailed late Wednesday evening.


Dear Premier,

On March 3, 2012 I wrote you a letter in which I expressed my concerns about the Muskrat Falls Project. One of the statements made in that letter was:

“I believe some greater certainty is required and that the present proposal be subject to a broader set of questions undertaken by an objective, independent, transparent process.”

This was not done and today the province finds itself with additional challenges.

Given the recent legal action of Quebec Hydro and the recent decision of the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board I think there is a need for your Government to provide more information and clarity on the possible and probable ramifications that these actions might have on the project and the province.

For example, given the legal action, does this pose additional risk to the province?

If you have legal opinions that the Quebec action is really frivolous then I think you have an obligation to make these opinions public. And the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board decision seems to mean that additional undertakings will have to be made thereby potentially changing the present arrangements.

Do such changes impact the project or province in any way? Furthermore, the people need to know the cost of this project today including the interest cost during construction.

This is a multibillion-dollar project with huge risks as these latest actions validate. I think the people of the province need to be reassured that the government is firmly in control of this project and that these latest two developments do not in any way heighten the risks and jeopardize the viability of the project.

This letter will be copied to the media


A. Brian Peckford

Qualicum Beach, B.C.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board

Geographic location: Quebec

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Recent comments

  • Petertwo
    July 28, 2013 - 06:48

    Cyril Rogers- again, I really do not know much about the Muskrat project but to say there are no other markets than Nova Scotia flabbers me gast, a bit. Nova Scotia opens the door to whole of the USA. I suspect Nova Scotia is looking after their interests as much as NALCOR, a corporation, and Quebec are looking after theirs. Why are you only concerned about Quebec's interests, what about this province's interests? Electricity is going to be in very heavy demand as fossil fuels give out, or become banned because of their atmospheric pollution. With Quebec's greed for this province's resources and it's total intransigence towards this province, the province needs to look after itself for a change.

    • Tony Rockel
      July 30, 2013 - 15:51

      The demand for imported electricity in the US has declined and is actually falling, thanks to abundant natural gas and new energy-saving technologies. Muskrat Falls electricity will be too expensive to be competitive with local power production in the US.

  • roy rowsell
    July 27, 2013 - 10:00

    Peckford dont speak without clearly thinking before he does so he should alway be given respect. Sprung was a study. I want you negative people towards him to research Come by Chance refinery, Kruger paper mill, the 1980's fight with feds over Constitution issue and other issues while he was in power. Keep up thinking about us Peckford, got a feeling we need him more now then ever.

  • Petertwo
    July 27, 2013 - 08:48

    Cyril Rogers, you missed the point of my comment. Whether the falls is viable or not, I have no idea, my comment was about when do we stop being a "Quebec Colony"? If the falls project is not viable than why is Quebec even concerned, surely the project would just die on the vine? And Quebec's interests are well protected already as we all, disgustingly, well know.

  • Cyril Rogers
    July 26, 2013 - 09:55

    Petertwo....Quebec is not the basic problem with Muskrat Falls. The project itself is simply not viable and can never be viable. We cannot find any markets other than Nova Scotia and they want want power for way less than it will cost to produce it. How can anybody support the production of power for sale to any jurisdiction that will get it for way less than cost. Please remember that Nova Scotia will already get 20% for NO cost, except its own transmission and construction costs. The other 60% will cost us, the ratepayers, multiple millions to subsidize, if we foolishly agree to their demand for access to that power. Does that make sense to you? Quebec is merely protecting its own interests, like Quebec always does, and it is being aided and supported by a federal government that could care less whether we ever make a dime from it....which we will not. However, Quebec's greed is NOT the issue as I have already stated. Our problem is a political cabal that will not see the obstacles in their path because they refuse to take the blinders off. That includes the architect of this deal, Danny Williams, along with his cronies at NALCOR.

  • Petertwo
    July 26, 2013 - 08:34

    Off hand a superficial impression and not really knowing much, it appears to me from the Peckford letter he is working as a lobbyist for Quebec. Essentially it seems to say to the province, show us what you got so Quebec can get it's court ducks all lined up. I have to wonder how long Quebec, aided by Canada (represented by any Ottawa parliament), is going to be allowed to continue to treat this province like a colony of Quebec? They are going to decide the future of this provincial project in another province, Quebec, supreme court. Does no one else not wonder about this? And any future project as well? Quebec has claimed to be kept down by Canada in the past, maybe Canada was doing it right, perhaps they were only trying to keep the lid on Quebec Imperialism? Ever since this Muskrat project started I wondered how long it would be before Quebec reared it's ugly head again, that was a given from the beginning. It's perhaps time that this province stopped being the political sacrifice for the Quebec vote, for any federal political party, none of whom ever seem to fully support us!

  • Marshall Art
    July 25, 2013 - 19:57

    Hey, Cyril Rogers; it's very big of you to admit that you're pompous.Your comments reek of pomposity so one doesn't have to know you to come to that conclusion. As far as self serving politicians of the highest order, like Peckford and Tobin are concerned, I don't care squat about anything they have to say about anything. On another subject, you think a person's opinion is garbage simply because that person doesn't use his/her real name ?. It's called a pseudonym, Cy, it's a person's pen name, a fictitious name, just letting you know so you don't have to look it up in your dickshunairy. I could be Steve Kent or Paul Lane, Cy, and you can tear your hind quarters apart thinking about that..

  • Pat M
    July 25, 2013 - 19:50

    The SPRUNG greenhouse failure is not the issue here. Mr. Peckford does have a point, whether or not people believe he should voice it. I am very concerned about the MUSKRAT FALLS project and how far it is going to sink us, especially now with the Quebec Hydro legal action and the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board recent decision. I think it should be clear to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador that this project was not as carefully planned as our Premiers, both Williams and Dunderdale, and the other government officials involved, led us all to believe and now they better tread carefully so as not to waste more of our tax dollars, because in the end who pays for this - we do.

  • Doug Smith
    July 25, 2013 - 19:12

    I hope the government takes Mr. Peckford’s sensible, reasonable, cautionary letter seriously. He makes some very good points. Why all the negative comments about Mr. Peckford? He left the province to better himself just like so many other Newfoundlanders do. What is wrong with that? Even with this province a “have “ province, people still leave . Doug Smith, Grand Falls-Windsor

  • Winston Adams
    July 25, 2013 - 15:58

    Clyde Wells said " it may be possible to grow cucumbers at the North Pole , but is it economic to do so" . Likewise, it may be feasible on a technical level to bring muskrat Power south as proposed, but is it economic? Perhaps Peckford is more aware than most of this, and would understand that at times it is necessary to pull the plug. According to the Nova Scotia review, transmission losses are 17 percent. Transmission losses is the wasted energy due to a very long line. Transmission losses to St Johns is about 10 percent. Average transmission losses may be near 15 percent. For a 10 billion project, this is 1.5 billion to heat up the sky and ocean. And you can't sell the losses from transmission. You may generate 824 MW at the site, but sell only 85 percent of that at the other end. Natural gas producing electricity near to the load, in the USA, have transmission losses of only 1 or 2 percent. And where has been the discussion on the cost of these transmission losses? Why is this 17 percent figure exposed by Nova Scotia PUB but not here? Just one factor in the economic question for this project. In terms of cost it is as important as an extra billion to shore up the North Spur, or the cost of the generators..... cost is cost. Perhaps an economist can comment whether these losses were considered when assessing revenue generation from the sales of electricity? Muskrat Falls... sounds good, seems green, .... but in terms of economics, may be rather dumb, at the present time and circumstances. Their legal opinions too they have kept secret. Could be that too was dumb?

  • Torey Nomore
    July 25, 2013 - 14:15

    When that Secret Society known as the Con Party of NL gets the ire of own of their own, you can see we need information; lack of transparency and accountability, the top 2 of 97,593 reasons that I cannot vote Tory no-more.

  • Jon Smith
    July 25, 2013 - 14:08

    Folks, this is not about the Sprung Greenhouse, its light has burned out long ago and with a capped off price. The Muskrat has the potential to burn holes in the pockets of generations to come and the price may be a moving target for the life of it.

  • hmmm
    July 25, 2013 - 13:32

    Something happens to politicians after they leave office. While in office they would earn the scorn of the public because of their efforts to avoid doing the right thing. It is only after their life in politics do they seem to recognize what is the right thing to do. Too bad they never practiced what they now preach.

    • Observer
      July 25, 2013 - 19:07

      Let me go directly to the point without preamble: If Brain Peckford thinks there are questions that need to be answered, then, by golly, let's get on with answering the questions he's raising. I don't care how much he was misguided on the Sprung greenhouse disaster and I don't care if one's leaning in Liberal NDP or PC . If this man, this former Premier, is concerned, then so am I. I trust this man with my province's well-being as much as I trust anyone. I couldn't say it any clearer.

  • saelcove
    July 25, 2013 - 13:31

    So all of a sudden everyone agrees with blunderdale um

  • Michael
    July 25, 2013 - 13:17

    Greenhouse Brian. You left with your loot bag for greener pastures. Do you still have your stash in Cayman Islands?

  • Cyril Rogers
    July 25, 2013 - 13:11

    Marshall, you are entitled to your opinion, but I would appreciate it if you would stick to the issues. I make frequent comments, particularly with regard to Muskrat Falls, but have never ever dismissed a person's right to their opinion and have never put somebody down for disagreeing with me. Debate these points with me if you wish but leave the gratuitous comments out of it, if you don't mind. I may well be pompous but you don't know me so you are basing your judgement on ignorance...not a place to start a reasonable debate.

  • Danny Who
    July 25, 2013 - 13:09

    How can you start to build a house if the bank will not tell you what your mortgage payments will be? That's what Danny Williams failed to answer when Muskrat was proposed and continues today.

  • wayne
    July 25, 2013 - 13:09

    Lord give me strength. The man who brought us the Sprung Greenhouse fiasco and who moved to the other side of the continent is offering his wisdom. Let's see if we can get a mystic to talk to Joey in the afterlife and see what he would thing. Chocolate bar and rubber boot factories were right up there with cucumbers. Whether this is a good deal or bad, Mr. Peckford has got "more nerve than a tooth ache" to question any governmemnt's projects.

  • Don II
    July 25, 2013 - 12:50

    To Robb: No question about it, Mr. Peckford will have to wear the Sprung debacle and it does diminish his credibility. I do remember flying in a plane out over Whitbourne and we could see the Sprung Greenhouse light show in the sky as clear as day at 11 o'clock at night! However, the $20 Million that was wasted on Sprung will pale in comparison to the hundreds of millions of dollars that could go down the drain on the Muskrat Falls project if it gets badly mismanaged. As for Quebec being at fault, once again that is a myth that the Government of Newfoundland has promoted successfully for decades and the people have bought into it. To be fair to Quebec, if your neighbor came to you and offered to pay you $10,000 a year for the next 10 years to let him put a pipe across your land to pump water across to his other property located next door to you, would you say no to that deal even when you knew that your neighbor was going to pay you $100,000 for permission to pipe across your land when he could have dug a new well on his other land next door for $10,000 in total? Is it your fault that your neighbor has more money than brains? Quebec was offered a deal by Newfoundland and its partners that it could not refuse, now Newfoundland has buyers remorse and sour grapes, is that Quebec's fault?

  • Marshall Art
    July 25, 2013 - 12:32

    Hey, Cyril Rogers, enough already, with the pompous, holier than thou rhetoric. If you want to listen to the concerns of a former NL Premier who dumped NL like a hot potato and left his 'beloved' Province with a $100,000 gift in his ar$e pocket, that's your business. People who choose instead to consider the source, well, that's their business. Nobody is trying to 'discredit' Brian Peckford; his actions speak for themselves. Ditto for Brian Tobin , who also doesn't care squat about NL. and couldn't get out of here fast enough when it suited him.

  • Jon Smith
    July 25, 2013 - 12:13

    Good to see the former premier put in some good advice to the "damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead-ship of fools PC government". It's time the PC's wake and do exactly what the Quebec government and Nova Scotia government are doing-guarding and protecting the rights and well being of their constituents. If the NL government could do that then we could all shout "Vive Newfoundland and Labrador Libre".

  • Tony Rockel
    July 25, 2013 - 11:51

    To all of you geniuses using the Sprung episode to dismiss Peckford's very legitimate concerns: is that your best shot? If you are that dumb, you really do deserve to have Dunderdale for a boss.

  • Anna
    July 25, 2013 - 11:14

    Steve Kent and group must be going mad trying to think off names to use as alias to discredit Mr. Peckford. All Mr. Peckford is doing is making a valid case of asking the present government to review the status of Muskrat Falls in light of the announcements this week from Quebec and Nova Scotia. At least Mr. Peckford respected the people who voted for him and didn't talk down to us like the current government. With this current government if you dare to disagree you are a traitor.

    • Eli
      July 25, 2013 - 12:08

      You might be right Anna, but I recall Charlie Power's parting comment when questioned why he didn't speak up about a certain issue: "You've never attended a cabinet meeting with Brian Peckford" he said, the implication was shut up or you're out! Those were Brian's days as The Green Bay Crackie.

  • Cyril Rogers
    July 25, 2013 - 10:55

    The fact that so many former PC leaders, and Cabinet Ministers from past administrations, are very skeptical of this project, should inject a dose of reality into the very soul of Conservative land. That some Internet posters, hiding behind their pseudonyms, choose to attack the messenger, speaks more of a mean-spirited and less than credible argument, than it does of what Mr. Peckford is actually saying. I felt Mr. Peckford was grasping at straws with his Sprung deal but it was a pittance in terms of cost...compared to the fiscal cliff that is Muskrat Falls. If you are going to try and discredit Mr. Peckford rather than refute his argument or concerns....shame on you! Your opinion is absolute garbage if you don't have the courage to put your name to your comments, especially when you are castigating another individual.

  • crista
    July 25, 2013 - 10:48

    Not going to get into he said she said but reading the article and what he wrote to the premier what he is saying is give the people of Newfoundland and Labrador the rights to have your own voice and have a say as to what has been done and let the people know what was done so they can decide for them selves so you can be Newfoundland and Labrador again so you can decide your own GOOD FAITH????and go by the rules of law so it can be in GOOD FAITH!!!! AND bring back the balances of the scales of justice!!!! And the rules of Legislation so educated people are not left insulted and laughed at by the rest of the World and the ones that have there own interest of every thing that is gone on and going on???? and the rest of you that are going to be stuck paying the bills????

  • Marshall Art
    July 25, 2013 - 10:45

    Brian Peckford took off like his ar$e was on fire when he was finished with NL, , as did Brian Tobin and Frank Moores. True Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, no doubt about that. Peckford must still be pinching himself over the $100,000 gift at his going away party but he knows the generosity and naivete of his loyal followers knows no bounds. This ' true blue ' Newfoundlander and Labradorian is now sending us his pearls of wisdom while hove off at his residence at Qualicum Beach, British Columbia. Cucumbers, anyone ?.

    • Mr Skeptic
      July 25, 2013 - 12:13

      All he is asking for is transparency, what does it matter where he now lives?

  • John
    July 25, 2013 - 10:20

    Show some respect for the former premier. I was not a conservative when Mr. Peckford was premier and I certainly did not support all his governments policies but I did come to know the former premier as intelligent and colour full.. I believe he has watched the debate on Muskrat falls and does have some important comments to make and especially after his sprung green house failure. I personally am worried at what the future has to offer us if we don't get this right. More information is warranted premier Dunderdale not hiding under a cloak of secrets and political trickery.

  • Maggy Carter
    July 25, 2013 - 10:20

    With rare exceptions Mr. Peckford has refrained from wading into provincial politics since leaving office. The fact that he has done so now, and the fact that his message is addressed to the present head of his old political party, is a testament to the gravity that he attaches to this issue. There are a great many people in all walks of life in this province who share that concern. I suspect many of the posts condemning Peckford for his comments originate from this government's communications bunker. Efforts to discredit Peckford typically revolve around the word 'Sprung'. Yes Sprung was an ill-advised investment by the crown, but the $20 million loss pales in comparison to the failed investments of his predecessors and successors alike. It is absolutely minuscule alongside the extraordinary risks attaching to Muskrat Falls. Polls have shown over time that many Newfoundlanders support this project but the point of Peckford's letter is that that support might well be based on an inadequate, inaccurate understanding of the costs and risks involved. That fear will exist as long as we have Bill 29 and as long as NALCOR and Government continue to be shielded from the kind of disclosure and accountability laws that exist all across Canada. When comparing the successes and failures of the current administration with those of Peckford, objective people will acknowledge at least three important points: (1) that the Peckford administration was far more open and honest than the current one; (2) that, on balance, the Peckford government achieved more - and better protected the province's fiscal integrity - than has this government; and, (3) that whereas this administration took office at a time when government revenues were at an all time high, Peckford's administration had to struggle with an extraordinary level of public debt and a legacy of failure, mismanagement and corruption left over from the dark Smallwood years.

  • Steve
    July 25, 2013 - 10:18

    "Our Brian" is an @$$hat, it is long overdue that somebody tell the half-twit to fly the B'Jesus out of here and never be heard of anymore.

  • McCadden
    July 25, 2013 - 10:15

    The audacity of Peckford -the author of the "Water Rights Reversion Act" of 1980-to comment on a subject about which he - as Premier - wasted too much public money during a frivolous legal battle which our own Supreme Court of Appeal threw out! This man's ego knows no bounds. Remember the "Day of Mourning" he declared when the Court determined that his Water Rights Act was a joke? Brian Peckford was one of our WORST Premiers. His record leaves no room for doubt that he has no business commenting on any current affairs in this Province.

    • coco
      July 25, 2013 - 12:50

      You have been misguided or perhaps you are living outside the province and completely unaware that Ms. Dunderdale holds the lowest public approval rating ever of any other premier in living memory of the history of Newfoundland and Labrador.

  • concerned
    July 25, 2013 - 10:08

    Nalcor are spending a Sprung every month right now. They do not compare. Dunderdale would be unwise to ignore the please of Peckford. I am tired of Nalcor and the Government stating that they will be making the decision in the best interest of the province, when they will not disclose the information to the people. It is a farce. I salute Peckford for doing the right thing, yet again.

  • Scott Free
    July 25, 2013 - 10:02

    er, Brian...didn't you get the memo? Little Man Dan issued a decree saying that Muskrat Falls was his legacy project and the Dunderdale Dimwits ploughed ahead. Furthermore, He proclaimed that no questions be asked; no opposing views offered; and we're not to waste our time thinking, that's been done for us; period. Here, drink your Kool-Aid.

  • William
    July 25, 2013 - 09:51

    The former premier is no longer a resident of Newfoundland, so who is he to demand answers? And why does he always write open letters to the premier? Why not just private letters? He couldn't handle a small project like sprung. Is he hoping to Spring back home for another shot at politics - we hope not.

  • jay
    July 25, 2013 - 09:41

    This province owes Brian Peckford absolutely nothing. He left this province and went to greener pastures selling his snake oil elsewhere, belittling the current government. He must be running low on funds and needs a good contract. Good riddance to him. By the way, Muskrat Falls was one of his dreams when he was here.

  • Blair Brookfield
    July 25, 2013 - 09:33

    If it wasn't for Brian Peckford's efforts, we wouldn't have such a vibrant offshore oil industry today. Man deserves more than a little respect. Sprung failed because the choice of crop and people whining so much about the light. If it was still around today, they could be growing high-grade medical marijuana there and making a fortune.

    • Eli
      July 25, 2013 - 12:21

      Sprung was stupidity that cost us $22,000,000.00! I'd skip town too with that on my conscience. But put aside his little tet-a-tet with Phil Sprung and listen to what he has to say about Muskrat. He raises identical questions to mine and the answere aren't forthcoming.

  • Paul
    July 25, 2013 - 09:00

    The Sprung Garden failure is a far cry from this Muskrat Falls debacle. We the tax payers will not only see our rates increase by 60% but will be left holding the bill for all the increasingly unknown development costs. Oh and all the legal costs to follow. No longer will we be a "Have Province", a moniker which will have been short lived. Bring back Danny, Brian, Joey anybody but the current bunch.

    • Kev
      July 25, 2013 - 09:45

      Bring back Danny? Are you nuts? Why so he can finish driving NL off the cliff? Danny should be exiled to St Helena.

    • Robb
      July 25, 2013 - 10:04

      So Paul, you consider, what was it like 25 million dollars, in 1987 dollars to be a far cry from MF...???....MF will generate much needed clean energy, while your far cry of millions of dollars produced cucumbers....????....cucumbers, the only thing that I would pick out of my like "Butt out Brian" said below, I believe that Kathy Dunderdale and her government are working in GOOD FAITH for our province to get the best for us....if you think different and want to spread the lies and innuendo, then you are clearly ndp to knock off the lies....our rates will be going up by 60%...??...and just how do you know this....???...again, fear mongering, lies, and please, just keep it to yourself, and let the big boysgirls run the province properly.

  • Don II
    July 25, 2013 - 08:52

    Former Premier Brian Peckford knows from experience of what he speaks and he should be listened to. Considering the efforts made by former Premier Peckford to advance the possibilities and potential for development of hydro-electricity and oil and gas resources in Newfoundland and Labrador, the current Premier would be well advised to pay attention to Mr. Peckford's advice and begin the process of laying all of the cards on the table face up in a more open and transparent manner. Engaging in politically expedient bravado, blaming Quebec and living in denial in the face of a very negative reality is not a wise policy for Premier Dunderdale to pursue. Although Mr. Peckford was not successful in all of his attempts to improve the position of Newfoundland and Labrador to reap the most benefit from natural resource and hydro electricity development, he did set the stage for the better position which Newfoundland and Labrador now enjoys in comparison to the negative position it was in when Mr. Peckford became Premier. If Premier Dunderdale follows Mr. Peckford's advice, she will make great strides in moving the Province further toward actually fulfilling Mr. Peckford's famous prophesy of: "Some day the sun will shine and have not will be no more."

    • Robb
      July 25, 2013 - 10:13

      Well Don II, what Peckford really meant to say, "some night the sun will shine..."...oh wait, that was the lights of Sprung...and for all of us who remember double daylight savings time back in 1987, the sun shone brightly from Mt. Pearl......heck, air plane pilots could use it for he has to wear this debacle, and that makes him less credible in many eyes......... and when you say blaming Quebec, what would you expect..?...Quebec has shafted NL and Lab at every chance, so why in the name of god would we go back to that trough is just a no-brainer.......but therein lies the problem of no-brainers, just dirty politics...

  • But Out Brian
    July 25, 2013 - 08:51

    Brian, You do not live in this province any longer so just take your opinions to the BC government or someone who cares! I work, live and own a home here in NL and I am very happy to say that I trust that Kathy Dunderdale and her government are working in GOOD FAITH for our province to get the best for us. Good Bye!

    • Tony Rockel
      July 25, 2013 - 09:22

      "Working in good faith??? After shutting us out of the process with Bill29? You've got to be kidding!!

  • Harvey
    July 25, 2013 - 08:50

    Peckford, we put up with you long enough.You left with a bundle of tax payer's money.You abandoned the province for greener pastures. Now butt out,Goon.

  • But Out Brian
    July 25, 2013 - 08:49

    Brian, You do not live in this province any longer so just take your opinions to the BC government or someone who cares! I work, live and own a home here in NL and I am very happy to say that I trust that Kathy Dunderdale and her government are working in GOOD FAITH for our province to get the best for us. Good Bye!

  • Fred Penner
    July 25, 2013 - 08:33

    Mr Peckford's comments are perfectly valid and should be addressed.

  • jeremiah
    July 25, 2013 - 08:24

    Fine one to talk! Sprung! Go away, Brian. You had your shot and you blew it.

  • Robb
    July 25, 2013 - 08:15

    While I have great respect for Mr. Peckford, I can only say one word....Sprung.