Nfld. & Labrador

John Crosbie sees Muskrat Falls as risky but essential

Former lieutenant-governor John Crosbie says the Newfoundland and Labrador government could have done a better job explaining the Lower Churchill project.

Former LG doesn't 'give a damn what anybody else thinks about it'

Former lieutenant-governor John Crosbie speaks with St. John's Morning Show host Anthony Germain. (Heather Barrett/CBC )

Former lieutenant-governor John Crosbie is throwing his support behind the multi-billion-dollar Muskrat Falls megaproject, calling it a risk that Newfoundland and Labrador needs to take.

"Now that I'm out of the lieutenant-governorship and have the right to express my own views, I'm going to be very supportive," Crosbie told the St. John's Morning Show during a wide-ranging interview after he finished his term at Government House.

"I don't give a damn what anybody else thinks about it, I think this is a risk worth taking."

Crosbie said that without the ability to wheel power across Quebec — and without a federal government willing to take on the issue as one of national significance — Newfoundland and Labrador needs to be able to export the power through other means.

Newfoundland and Labrador, its Crown energy corporation Nalcor and Halifax-based Emera Inc. are partners in a plan to export power that will be generated at Muskrat Falls. Much of the power will flow to Newfoundland, with at least 20 per cent reserved for Emera's customers in Nova Scotia and potentially beyond.

While polls have shown that the majority of people in Newfoundland and Labrador support the plan — which now carries an official price estimate of at least $7.4 billion — Muskrat Falls is the target of steady attack from critics, who call it too risky and likely to saddle ratepayers with expensive power.

Crosbie said he believes that government could have done a better job of explaining Muskrat Falls to the public.

"Obviously it has lacked conviction," he said.

"I can't say that they've done a tremendous job in their advocation of the project. They've had a lot of opposition so they've had serious problems."

Crosbie said if the province has done proper risk assessment it should be able to prove to naysayers that the megaproject is worthwhile.