Natural Resources Minister Jerome Kennedy is criticizing the opposition for not asking questions on Muskrat Falls, but says there is no need for a dedicated debate in the legislature on the $6.2-billion megaproject.
"I had thought that the house of assembly would be of much more value to us in assessing and raising issues on Muskrat Falls," Kennedy said on today’s episode of On Point with David Cochrane.
"I’ve been very disappointed with the opposition’s lack of raising these issues on Muskrat Falls."
But Kennedy is batting aside questions about why the Tory government is not holding a formal debate in the legislature on Muskrat.
He says there are other opportunities in the house to raise the issue.
"The problem right now is that I’m not sure these opposition parties are going to provide quality debate on anything," Kennedy said.
Other big megaprojects and public policy issues have received dedicated debate in the past — often at the insistence of the Progressive Conservatives.
On Point with David Cochrane
Watch the full episode on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. NT
The legislature reconvened for a special session in 2002 to debate the Voisey’s Bay deal. The same thing happened in 2005, when Fishery Products International wanted to spin off some of its assets into an income trust.
Liberal MHA Yvonne Jones slammed Kennedy’s comments.
"This is just total arrogance on behalf of Jerome Kennedy," Jones said during an On Point panel appearance.
"It’s so typical of a person when you have nothing intellectually to say that you attack the person. That’s what I’m seeing here."
Jones says the Liberals have many issues to discuss, such as health care, transportation and municipal funding.
Those, she notes, can’t all be put on the backburner just to talk about Muskrat Falls. And that’s why a special debate on the hydro project is important.
"We want a full debate on this issue," Jones said. "When they’re ready to do it, we’ll be ready to stand and do our piece. In the meantime, we can’t sidetrack all the other important issues that are going on in this province."
Meanwhile, NDP MHA George Murphy says he is "disturbed" by Kennedy’s comments.
"That’s marginalizing a large sector of this population, as far as I’m concerned," Murphy said.
Murphy says consumers are asking questions about what the power project is going to cost them, but still don’t have straight answers.