Letter: Score one for democracy

Published on November 7, 2016

It is always a surprise to see Newfoundland and Labrador in the Globe and Mail. The editorial in the Globe of Friday, Oct. 28th was entitled “A victory for science and simple decency at Muskrat Falls.”

In it, the government of Dwight Ball was properly excoriated for even thinking about flooding the reservoir without removing the topsoil, and forcing the Innu and Inuit who hunt and fish in the region to change their diet or be poisoned or — as St. John’s Liberal MP Nick Whalen instructed them (with unfathomable vulgarity) — to “eat less fish.”

One thing deserves comment. In both the editorial and the press conference that preceded it from St. John’s, we were told that this is a victory for science, or even that science will henceforth decide how to proceed.

It is not a victory for science at all. It is a victory for democracy. Science decides nothing; people do. Premier Ball and Nalcor had decided that the Innu and Inuit concerns were not significant enough to warrant slowing down the process of flooding the reservoir, and increasing the cost of the project even more.

Democracy, this time, in the form of political protest such as has never before been seen in the province, forced him to rethink the issue.

Sean McGrath, professor and head

MUN department of philosophy

Director, For a New Earth