Coverage missed point of constitutional challenge

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The Telegram has run many stories on my constitutional challenge of the Muskrat Falls project, as have others, yet it seems the main point is being overlooked.

The Supreme Court of Canada, in 1984, conducted a constitutional review of the Reversion Act brought in by the Peckford government. One of its key findings, that is being completely ignored by our government, is:

“The company (CF(L)Co) signed a contract with Hydro-Quebec whereby it agreed to supply and Hydro-Quebec agreed to purchase virtually all of the hydro-electric power produced at Churchill Falls for 65 years.”

The Supreme Court went on to say that the only power not committed to Hydro-Quebec was 300 MW of recall, and 225 MW dedicated to Twinco that has now reverted to the province.

The key words here are “for 65 years,” meaning until 2041.

Contrast that with the comments made by the premier two weeks ago during a press scrum:

“In terms of 2016, the language in the renewal contract is significantly different than in the old contract. And there will be electricity, more over the 300 MW available for Nalcor. If the energy is delivered in a different way ... So there will be power, it was anticipated when that renewal contract was signed that there would be excess power, that was the way the power was going to be delivered, control now rests with Nalcor in terms of how we deliver that power, and if that power is ours to use ... but anything above that, especially under the renewal contract belongs to Nalcor.”

You see how out of touch Williams, Dunderdale and the PC Party are?

They have placed the entire Lower Churchill project on the foundation of the water management agreement for this purpose.

Gilbert Bennett, VP for the Lower Churchill at Nalcor is on the public record as stating such.

In his words, essentially 1500 MW of power from the Upper Churchill would be free for Nalcor to take.

The Supreme Court of Canada has already ruled that is not the case for “65 years.”

This is what is missing from your coverage.

The reason I am in court is to stop further damage to all of us from this deliberate strategy that will cause us to lose in Quebec’s courts, and the Supreme Court of Canada — again.

At least former Premier Peckford had the sense to have the Reversion Act go to the Supreme Court before he enacted any of its provisions.

At least he did not spend a billion dollars before he did so.

Surely he would not have spent

$10 billion on such a fatally flawed strategy. In the end, we are the ones who would have to pay for that historically terrible strategy.

Brad Cabana

Hickman’s Harbour

Organizations: Supreme Court of Canada, Hydro-Quebec, PC Party

Geographic location: Quebec

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Recent comments

  • Wondering
    August 08, 2013 - 15:17

    Brad,Why didn't you seek assistance with legal arguments from the Vision 2014 Group? Or did they or why didn't they offer you assistance? It really looks bad for the lawyers to take a position similar to yours but they take no action!

    • Brad Cabana
      August 09, 2013 - 18:34

      I can tell you that I asked for their assistance through a third party and received no response. They have not offered or given any assistance of any type.

  • Paul
    August 08, 2013 - 09:41

    Brad...I wish more thought like you. This is a careless act the government is proceeding with until they have their ducks in a row. The ducks are so far out of whack now I fear for the financial future of the province. 1 billion spent that could have reduced our deficit wit many billions to go and the only ones that will benefit regardless are the companies doing the work on the project most of whom will support the government regardless of who is in office. STOP THE DAM PROJECT til this is decided. That will be another motto in 2015. What the provincial government is doing now is negligence.

  • Michael
    August 07, 2013 - 18:20

    Here's a little research project - did Brad Cabana seek the limelight, write letters to media or represent himself at court cases while he lived outside if Newfoundland?

  • Too Funny
    August 07, 2013 - 10:36

    It;s so sad, watching poor Brad desperating trying to remain in the spotlight; to remain relevant. Who needs the Kardashians when you got Kabana for entertainment value.

  • Ed Power
    August 07, 2013 - 08:00

    While we - as a population - will not get much from this multi-billion dollar morass, we can take comfort in the knowledge that the legal profession in 5 or 6 provinces will be feasting on the carcass of this white elephant for decades. I guess one could still call this a "Job Creation" project - even if providing jobs for legions of law school graduates isn't what was originally intended.

  • Concerned
    August 07, 2013 - 07:46

    I was startled when the premier made this comment 3 weeks ago. 300 MW of additional capacity from the Upper Churchill? Hydro Quebec have rights to all but the 300 MW RECALL, 225 MW Twinco, and the townsite load. This is both from a Energy and Capacity perspective. This has been reinforced in the 1984 and the 1988 supreme court decisions. Nalcor are treading on dangerous ground. The issue is that when they looked at the WMA in 2009 it was with the much larger Gull Island project. With its larger resevoir it was not that much of an issue, other than it precluded contracts for firm power. On Muskrat Falls, for island demand, it means that we will not be able to decommission Holyrood. Poof... there goes the lowest cost and really any other real arguement for the project.