The provincial New Democrats are accusing the Conservatives of dictating the terms of the House of Assembly debate on Muskrat Falls.

The government house leader, meanwhile, defends the approach.

The spat stems from a letter Government House Leader Darin King sent to opposition leaders on Friday, which outlines how the debate will proceed in the House of Assembly.

NDP leader Lorraine Michael calls it heavy-handed. 

"I'm really getting tired of the government doing things and playing games and then using language that you can't hold them accountable for," complained Michael. "They just keep, you know, using double-speak."

Michael says the letter doesn't address items brought up in a meeting between the three house leaders, such as the amount of time the opposition will get to review information the government has yet to release.


House Leader Darin King says he's stunned by the NDP's criticism. (CBC)

King says he's stunned by the NDP reaction.

"Three hours ago I was in St. John's," said King. "Now I'm sitting in Marystown on the Sobey's parking lot and it just seems like a firestorm and I haven't had a chance to respond to anything."

King says the letter only pertains to what will happen inside the legislature, not the other issues brought up by the opposition.

"If we don't come to consent on the rules of the debate, there is no special debate on Muskrat Falls. It's as simple as that. The rules that govern the legislature are clear."

The NDP objects to the way the PCs are handling the matter.

"We shouldn't be doing this through a letter that is written with ultimatums," said Michael.

King says a follow-up meeting is still going to happen, and that it's just been delayed due to a pressing matter that's come up in his district — namely, the fight for jobs at the fish plant in Fortune.