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EDITORIAL: Cheers & Jeers Aug. 19

Premier Dwight Ball and Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady said they’re concerned by leakage at a temporary cofferdam at the Muskrat Falls site, and an inability to deploy an ice boom which was planned to protect the construction site from ice damaging the site over the winter. Both Ball and Coady were on the defensive in the House of Assembly Monday from questions on the subject.
Premier Dwight Ball and Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady. — SaltWire Network

Jeers: to a distinct shortage in the answers department. The lawyer representing Premier Dwight Ball and Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady at the Muskrat Falls Inquiry says it’s not up to Ball and Coady to investigate why wetlands capping failed to take place before the Muskrat Falls reservoir was flooded. Former environment minister Andrew Parsons refers all questions to current Environment Minister Lisa Dempster, who says she won’t talk about things that happened before she was minister. And she says that she won’t investigate what happened, either. In other words, if you’re asking questions, shut up and go away. Open and accountable it certainly isn’t. The premier promised something would be done. It didn’t happen. Perhaps someone in government should be willing to explain why.

Jeers: to sleeping fiscal giants. Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador sounds polite enough, announcing that, “MNL is holding an emergency meeting on municipal wastewater management on Friday, September 6, 2019 in St. John’s. Our members still have concerns regarding the Wastewater System Effluent Regulations (WSER) and their ability to be compliant with them without additional resources and time.” You may have heard about the regulations: they are the federal rules that would slap St. John’s, Mount Pearl and Paradise with fines if a secondary wastewater treatment plant isn’t in place by 2020. And, at this point, it won’t be. But it’s not just those three municipalities facing big bills and big fines — across the province, estimates are that something close to $700 million in work has to be done on 290 aging and inadequate waste water treatment systems.

Cheers: to Dildo and making the absolute most of the Jimmy Kimmel-a-palooza. It’s been a ride, all right.

Cheers: to finding the money we need for Muskrat Falls electrical price mitigation, and solving our provincial debt woes as well. “OK, OK, President Trump. We give in. We’ll sell you Greenland.”

Cheers: to shovels, and shovelling it. Friday’s news release is yet another chapter in the decade-long saga of the Corner Brook hospital: “At a ground-break ceremony today, the Honourable Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, marked the beginning of construction of the new acute care hospital in Corner Brook.” Never forget that one of this province’s premiers, Frank Moores, once claimed construction of a tunnel to Labrador had begun, and even dug a hole on the Labrador side. Still waiting for that one…

Cheers: to true reporting grit. The Muskrat Falls Inquiry was millions of pages of exhibits, days upon days of testimony, and the difficulty of making order of it all up at the end of the day while writing cogent, on-time news articles. We don’t often do this, but cheers to Telegram reporter Ashley Fitzpatrick for steadfastly taking it all in and delivering, each and every time.

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