Labradorians getting minor share of Muskrat jobs
Nalcor Energy admits that Labradorians are not getting first crack at construction jobs at the Muskrat Falls site, although it promises things will improve as the megaproject proceeds.
While the Crown corporation has promised a "local first" hiring policy at the central Labrador site, only one in three of the people at the site are actually from Labrador.
More than 200 people were involved in the construction work near the Churchill River. Nalcor is building an access road, is running power lines and is clearing space for a work camp.
Denise Cole, who has been working with a group that protested in September at the work site, said oft-promised benefits have not been panning out.
"There's an illusion that Labradorians are getting the biggest benefit from this," she said.
"It's not exactly as they're presenting it to the rest of the province and to the rest of Canada."
Nalcor said guarantees about local hiring will be upheld when the project is sanctioned, and as construction work increases.
Cole is skeptical.
"If you're going to push this, that this is a Labrador-focused project, then in all avenues and all areas you don't get to pick and choose," she said.
No one from Nalcor was available to do an interview.
A decision on sanctioning Muskrat Falls is contingent on new budget figures that are expected to be released this fall.
The house of assembly is also scheduled to have a special debate on the multi-billion-dollar project, although the legislature will not pass judgment on the plan.