Top News

Editorial: Muskrat Falls covered in ink

['The construction site of the hydroelectric facility at Muskrat Falls, Newfoundland and Labrador is seen on Tuesday, July 14, 2015.']
Muskrat Falls construction site, July 14, 2015.

Think of this as a correction – but not the usual kind.

And then keep this number in mind: 3,375.

One of the issues with the current world, where everyone can publish their own opinions on the internet, is an unfortunate situation where, for their own reasons, people decide to invent their own narrative. It might be about the present — witness, for example, the index being kept by the Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale, who has recorded demonstrable lies in Donald Trumps speeches, tweets and other public utterances (totalling 907, as of Dec. 7) — but more often, it’s about the past.

Armed with incomplete or inaccurate information, some people simply insist that the sky is green or that ducks sink.

So, back to 3,375. One of the recent claims in the wild world of the internet rodeo is that this newspaper only recently started covering issues surrounding the Muskrat Falls project.

Fact is, all the way back since the project was a twinkle in the eye of Danny Williams’ administration, we’ve covered it. That 3,375 number? That’s the number of columns, editorials, stories and articles we’ve carried on the project.

We’ve written about the inability of Manitoba Hydro — a division of which issued a report supporting the choice of Muskrat Falls — to keep its own house in order, with its own hydro projects failing to meet schedules or budgets.

That 3,375 number? That’s the number of columns, editorials, stories and articles we’ve carried on the project.

Heck, we’ve even written — long before Muskrat Falls was in the calamitous state it’s in now — about the fact that only a small percentage of major global hydro electric projects come in anywhere near their original budgets. We’ve written about the shale gas revolution and its effect on oil and electricity prices, about the fact the project was built on assumptions that could — and did — prove to be wrong. Back in 2011, we were writing about the way one consultant was arguing (in work done for Nalcor to support Muskrat Falls) that electrical and oil prices would stay high, while, for a U.S. client, an arm of the same company was arguing 100 years’ worth of extremely cheap natural gas would displace other sources of electrical energy. We’ve written about the way the project was reviewed by Nova Scotia’s public utilities board, and about the way the same review didn’t take place here. We’ve written and written and written.

We’ve written about the project’s flaws when it was extremely unpopular to do so — Telegram staff have been described as traitors to the province for continuing to cover the project critically.

Think of this: if the articles we’ve carried on this project had been written by a single reporter, writing two stories a day on the project, week in and week out, that reporter would have written on nothing except Muskrat Falls for almost seven full years.

And anyone who says otherwise is reinventing history for their own purposes.

Recent Stories