Sections

No choice between heating and eating

Protesters gather at Harbourside Park in downtown St. John’s, to demand that the Muskrat Falls project be shut down


Published on July 3, 2017

Anti-Muskrat Falls protesters march along Water Street in St. John's Monday afternoon.

©Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

Members of Anti-poverty NL and the Labrador Land Protectors joined forces to protest against poverty in Newfoundland and Labrador and the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project.  

People gather for a rally and march to protest the Muskrat Falls project in St. John's Monday.
Joe GIbbons/The Telegram

A group of about 60 protesters gathered Monday at Harbourside Park in downtown St. John’s and marched down Water Street, chanting, “Muskrat Falls is a sham.”

Elise Thorburn, an organizer with Anti-poverty NL, is concerned about how fuel poverty affects the people of the province.

“Fuel poverty is when you spend 10 per cent or more of your income to pay for electricity and heating costs,” Thorburn said. “Newfoundland and Labrador has the highest rates of fuel poverty in Canada, and Muskrat Falls will only increase the fuel poverty on this island.”

Protester Alicia Dellavalle is one Newfoundlander who is feeling the effects of fuel poverty.

“I work, but I am unemployed right now,” said Dellavalle. “It’s very difficult for me to pay my heat and light bills as it is right now.”

The protest was centred on three main demands: reversal of the nine per cent rate increase for Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro customers that went into affect on July 1; reinstatement of the Home Heating Rebate program; and shutting down the Muskrat Falls project.

Jodi Greenleaves, originally of Cartwright, read a statement on behalf of the Labrador Land Protectors, to Premier Dwight Ball.

“While we are happy to hear that the water levels are being lowered in the Muskrat Falls reservoir, we want more action regarding the independent expert advisory committee from the October 2016 methylmercury agreement. Premier Ball, this is supposed to be the work of the Labrador Affairs office. To ignore us is to not only break your agreement with us from January 2017; it is to break the mandate of your office and position.”

The Labrador Land Protectors have demands of their own, including an independent review of the North Spur.

“If the North Spur fails there will be loss of life downstream, a whole community washed away and a section of another completely under water. This includes homes, businesses, churches and other essential services, utilities and roadways.”

“The support for the Labrador Land Protectors is growing, and we are getting stronger,” says member Angus Andersen. “But we must remember our goal, stop Muskrat Falls.”

Earlier story:

Protesters rally against Muskrat Falls in St. John's

A protest rally aimed at the Muskrat Falls project moved its way through downtown St. John's Monday aftermoon.

Protesters gathered at Harbouraside Park around 1 p.m. before heading along Water Street with banners and placards.

Among the things protesters were calling for was an audit of Nalcor's handling of the hydroelectric project.

More details on the protest later.