Dunderdale says meeting with PM will push Muskrat talks
Premier rejects calls for debate in house of assembly to include witnesses and expert testimony
Posted: Sep 27, 2012 9:57 AM NT
Last Updated: Sep 27, 2012 12:48 PM NT
Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale says her meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper will help finalize the Muskrat Falls loan guarantee, which she says needed a “push.”
The two leaders met for 40 minutes on Monday and agreed to move those talks to a quick resolution.
“Sometimes when you get negotiators at a table for a certain length of time, it requires a push from above to get negotiations concluded,” Dunderdale told reporters Wednesday.
'Sometimes when you get negotiators at a table for a certain length of time, it requires a push from above to get negotiations concluded.'—Premier Kathy Dunderdale
Harper pledged a federal loan guarantee for the Muskrat Falls project, or equivalent financial support, during a 2011 campaign stop in St. John’s.
Talks to finalize the arrangement have dragged on for nearly a year and a half.
Dunderdale says the loan guarantee needs to be finalized soon, so Manitoba Hydro International can complete its work on the final Muskrat Falls cost projection.
The lower interest rate from that loan guarantee will be included in the final project costs, and will form part of an analysis being done now by MHI.
That MHI report is central to the provincial government’s case for Muskrat Falls, and will play heavily in the special debate expected later this fall.
“So when we talk about a cost, you know that we have nailed it down as much as it can be nailed down,” Dunderdale said.
But a group that opposes Muskrat Falls says government-funded reports can't form the basis of a proper debate on the largest public expenditure in the province's history.
“Stop talking down to the people of the province,” Richard Cashin of 2041 Energy Incorporated said at a press conference Wednesday.Nalcor, Newfoundland and Labrador's Crown energy corporation, plans to tap Muskrat Falls on Labrador's Churchill River for hydroelectric power. (CBC )
“Give the MHAs their chance to have a fully informed debate — the ability to call witnesses, pro and con.”
The Liberal Opposition has made the same demand.
But the premier is not agreeing to those calls for a Muskrat Falls debate in the legislature that would include witnesses and expert testimony.
“Listen, the Liberals laid down the template for these kinds of debates, on Voisey’s Bay,” Dunderdale said.
“And that’s the template that we are going to use.”
The premier rejected questions about comparing that private-sector mining deal with a multi-billion-dollar publicly-funded energy expenditure.
“There’s the same opportunity to question facts and figures,” Dunderdale said.
“There has been no other project in the history of this province that’s ever gotten this kind of scrutiny, ever.”
If the debate follows the Voisey’s template from a decade ago, it will involve only MHAs talking to MHAs for one week.
According to the premier, the final Muskrat Falls project numbers, along with reports on natural gas and wind, should be ready soon.
She thinks those will be released, and the debate held, before the end of October.
That will set the stage for the government to make a final decision on whether or not to green-light the project.
Latest Nfld. & Labrador News Headlines
- Controlling hospital infections a continuing concern
- The Newfoundland and Labrador government is refusing to release what it calls a draft report on hospital-acquired infections — a report that one health official said found rates higher here than the national average. more »
- Crew safe after vessel sinks off St. John's
- Gander search and rescue says four crew members from a vessel which capsized about 70 nautical miles northeast of St. John's have been rescued by the crew of another ship. more »
- Crown loses bid to appeal killer's release
- The Crown has been denied a chance to appeal a decision in a disturbing murder case on the west coast of Newfoundland. more »
- Shoal Point retracts claim of drilling approval
- Shoal Point Energy has retracted an earlier claim that it had received approval from the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board to drill a new well on the west coast of Newfoundland. more »
Top News Headlines
- Harper 'not consulted' about Duffy Senate expense repayment
- Prime Minister Stephen Harper says that not only did he not know about his chief of staff's "gift" to repay Senator Mike Duffy's expenses before the story broke in the media, he was not consulted and did not sign off on Nigel Wright's decision to write a personal cheque. more »
- Mayor Ford stays silent while his brother defends him
- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford continues to stonewall the media over allegations that he was recorded on video smoking what appears to be crack cocaine, but his brother Coun. Doug Ford told reporters Wednesday that the story is untrue. more »
- 'You will see him again in heaven,' Sharlene Bosma tells daughter
- Sharlene Bosma told more than 1,000 people at the public memorial service for her slain husband, Tim Bosma, about the love they shared. more »
- Rob Ford fired as Don Bosco Eagles head coach
- The Toronto Catholic District School board announced Wednesday that it was turfing Mayor Rob Ford from his position as head coach of the Don Bosco Eagles senior football team. more »
- Bay Roberts couple win $2M on scratch ticket
- Labrador school a 'toxic' place to work, says report
- Facebook post foreshadows teen's robbery arrest
- Marshall asks Senate committee to review her pay
- A0A not OK for Shea Heights residents
- St. John's to spend $1.5M to develop park
- Crown attorneys' group head leaving post
- Crew safe after vessel sinks off St. John's
- Court date set for nurse involved in privacy breach