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Premier Dwight Ball and Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady have been granted standing as individuals for Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the Muskrat Falls Inquiry.
It will allow them, through their lawyer, to bring forward evidence and question witnesses called to the stand.
According to documents newly posted to the website for the Commission of Inquiry Respecting the Muskrat Falls Project, a request for standing was delivered by hand to the inquiry office on Dec. 7. Commissioner Richard LeBlanc has offered a written decision, dated Dec. 14, approving the request.
Specifically, it was for standing in the next phase of the inquiry, dealing with cost overruns on the project, and Phase 3 later in 2019, with hearings dealing with potential systemic matters and policy the province can consider in the future. Hearings are about to wrap up for the inquiry’s first phase, addressing potential alternatives and the decision to pursue the Muskrat Falls power development.
Ball and Coady were represented in their application by Peter O’Flaherty and O’Flaherty Wells Law.
LeBlanc has recommended funding be provided to them as a pair, for one lawyer, covering travel to attend the inquiry if necessary (for sessions in Happy Valley-Goose Bay).
“It would be unfair in my mind to expect them to personally pay for legal representation during Phase 2 and Phase 3 of this inquiry,” the commissioner stated in his decision.
Both Ball and Coady have 14 days from the date of the decision to provide the inquiry with any relevant information or documents in their personal possession, being essentially anything not already disclosed through the disclosure process already undertaken.
There was no comment on why the application has come now, as opposed to at the start of the inquiry when there was a call by LeBlanc for applications for standing.
Last April, LeBlanc made a point of noting neither Ball nor any members of the Liberal government sought standing as individuals or as a group.
The Muskrat Falls Inquiry