Nfld. & Labrador

Muskrat Falls protest planned for St. John's

A new group opposed to the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric megaproject will voice its concerns on Sunday.
Organizer Con O'Brien said everyone is invited to take part in Sunday's protest of Muskrat Falls. (CBC )

A new group opposed to the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric megaproject will voice its concerns on Sunday.

The People's Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador will gather for a protest in downtown St. John's at Harbourside Park at 12 p.m., and plans to walk to the Colonial Building.

Organizer Con O'Brien said everyone is invited to take part.

"If you're pro-Muskrat Falls, if you're sitting on the fence, or if you're an anti like myself, and you have concerns, it's really important that we show the government that there are people who have legitimate concerns," he said.

Question about costs

O'Brien said what worries him the most about the deal is the proposed cost, and the possibility that Muskrat Falls could bankrupt the province.

He said while the provincial government claims the total revised cost of the project is $7.4 billion, O'Brien said it's likely to be more because the amount of interest during construction was not factored in.

"We're 500,000 people, and we, as the ratepayers of Newfoundland and Labrador, are the ones who are going to be harnessed with making the payments on the loan to build this big, big megaproject, and when you get into [a] $10-billion deal, that's an insurmountable fee," he said.

The house of assembly reopens on Monday. O'Brien said now is the time to make government aware of the opposition to Muskrat Falls.

"I would like to see the Public Utilities Board drawn back in it — that's what we're really shouting out for at this march," he said.

"With the Public Utilities Board, we could have that opportunity to have that regulated review. And once that decision came through and what their recommendations were, well then they have the opportunity for the government to make their decision or to have a referendum on that result."

Protest song

O'Brien, who's also the lead singer of the Irish Descendents, decided to write a song about the Muskrat Falls project, called "Our Daughters and Our Sons."

He said the song has been a work in progress.

"I've been working on the song for a number of months, and as the story changes, so did the song," he said.

"I was waiting for the time to put it out there. I think it's a way for everybody to get involved in a little way."