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BRIAN JONES: Who’s to blame for Muskrat Falls? ‘Not me!’ ‘Not me!’

 The construction site of the hydroelectric facility at Muskrat Falls, Newfoundland and Labrador is seen on Tuesday, July 14, 2015.
The construction site of the hydroelectric facility at Muskrat Falls, circa July 2015. — file photo

“Who put those hot peppers in the dog’s food dish?!”

“Not me.”

“Not me.”

Who supported the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project?

“Not me.”

“Not me.”

Liars! Grow up and ’fess up. If you are one of the 70 per cent of Newfoundlanders who voted for the Progressive Conservatives in the 2007 provincial election — giving the PCs 44 of the 48 seats in the House of Assembly — you are partially to blame for the disaster that the Muskrat Falls project has become.

If you are one of the 79 per cent of Newfoundlanders who supported former premier Danny Williams at the height of his popularity, you are definitely to blame for the disaster that the Muskrat Falls project has become.

If you are one of the 56 per cent of Newfoundlanders who voted for the Tories in the 2011 election — handing the PCs 37 of the 48 seats — you cannot deny blame for Muskrat Falls, unless you are willing to lie or bend logic until it snaps.

Denying blame for the Muskrat Falls debacle is more popular than catching cod on Saturdays.

Apparently, not a single Newfoundlander is to blame. Muskrat Falls was just blown onto our shores by the strong North Atlantic winds.

A crowd of singing and strumming Newfoundlanders is taking the blame show on the road, touring a political musical production to the mainland. According to reports, the essential gist of “No Change in the Weather” is that the federal government should give money to Newfoundland to help this province deal with the twin financial fiascos of Churchill Falls and Muskrat Falls.

I love a rip-out-your-heart Irish tune as much as the next lad, but let’s keep our whining at home, people.

Asking the federal government — i.e. Canadian taxpayers — for a bailout should be beneath all of us, except for Premier Dwight Ball and his Liberals, who have already done it.

The Liberals’ manipulative and fanciful “rate mitigation” plan relies on receiving $200 million per year from Canadian taxpayers.

The folks behind “No Change in the Whining,” er, “Weather,” make finger-pointing a high art, by suggesting — with a catchy beat, to be sure — Canadian taxpayers give Newfoundlanders $1.3 billion (yis b’ys, with a B) per year to counter the effects of the two Falls disasters.

Newfoundland politicians can’t believe their good luck. All the finger-pointing and blame-casting toward the feds and the twits at Nalcor Energy is letting them avoid the blame they earned and deserve.

Try to imagine how people might react in, say, Ontario or B.C.

“Did we force Muskrat Falls on Newfoundlanders?” someone in Sarnia might ask.

“Did we tell Newfoundlanders to build Muskrat Falls?” somebody in Burnaby might wonder.

No, and no. Of course not, and of course not. There is no reason or rationale to ask Canadian taxpayers to give a dime toward paying for Muskrat Falls.

Newfoundlanders’ blame avoidance often relies on the federal government’s loan guarantee that helped the province get cheaper financing for the project. Aha! Mainlanders are to blame.

Unless … did you vote for a premier or political party that asked for — nay, demanded — the loan guarantee? No? Liar! Yes? OK then, be an adult and admit culpability. Stop shifting blame.

Newfoundland politicians can’t believe their good luck. All the finger-pointing and blame-casting toward the feds and the twits at Nalcor Energy is letting them avoid the blame they earned and deserve.

Who prevented the Public Utilities Board from examining the Muskrat Falls project before it was approved? Newfoundland politicians. Who made it illegal for anyone but Nalcor to sell power to Newfoundlanders? Newfoundland politicians. Who refused to stop Muskrat Falls, even though it was obvious in 2015 the project was an unfolding disaster? You know it.

Granted, it was extremely irritating to hear recent comments by Nalcor Energy CEO Stan Marshall and retired Memorial University political science professor Steven Wolinetz that Newfoundlanders share the blame for Muskrat Falls. In both instances, it was like the fox blaming the chicken for not enjoying lunch.

(The Memorial U. eggheads spoke naught during the vital years 2010-12. It was as if Astaldi Canada built a dome of silence over the MUN campus.)

Hard as it is to admit, Marshall and Wolinetz are right. Newfoundlanders are to blame. Not the federal government. Not Canadian taxpayers.

Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He doesn’t want to be reached about this column.


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