Nfld. & Labrador

Protesters want more input on Muskrat Falls

More than a hundred people gathered for a march and rally in St. John's organized by the People's Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Demonstrators call for more transparency on Muskrat Falls, reports Krissy Holmes 1:53

More than a hundred people gathered for a march and rally in St. John's organized by the People's Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador, a group that's protesting the government's handling of the Muskrat Falls project.

Protesters waved pink and green flags and chanted slogans as they made their way from Harbourside Park to the Colonial Building on Military Road.

In the crowd were people of all ages, from small children to seniors.

Don Reades of St. John's said he is worried his grandchildren will be paying the bill for the Muskrat Falls project for decades to come.

"It's a large amount of money," he said, adding that he thinks the province should hold a referendum on the issue.

"If they're going to go into deficit and cut services to do this, this is something we should all have a say in."

Organizer Angela Record called the PC administration's handling of Muskrat Falls "undemocratic."

"They're spending lots of money telling me what I'm supposed to think," said Record, referring to the government's $500,000 advertising campaign promoting the project.

Don Reade said he's worried his grandchildren will be stuck footing the bill for Muskrat falls for decades to come. (Emily Brass/CBC)

She also blasted the Dunderdale government's decision to exclude the Public Utility Board from the decision-making process.

"The PUB said it didn't have enough information to make a decision. They should be recalled and given all the information they need," Record said.

Political participants

Also at the event were members of the NDP and Liberals, as well as union representatives.

NDP Leader Lorraine Michael complained about the way the government has handled the proposed project.

"We have to force this government to allow the democratic process to work," Michael said during a speech in front of the Colonial Building.

"I can't believe that I'm standing in the twenty-first century with a government that doesn't understand that it has to respect the voice of the people," she said, making a parallel to Sir Richard Squires, who fled the historic government building when an angry crowd gathered demanding accountability 80 years ago.

She said she plans to call on the house of assembly on Monday to mandate the PUB review the Muskrat Falls proposal, along with any other potential energy alternatives.

Michael pointed out that a petition circulating at the rally asked lawmakers to do just that.

People of all ages took part in the rally in St. John's. (Krissy Holmes/CBC)

"When I stand tomorrow, I will be standing, knowing I speak for people in this province," she said.

Actor and activist Greg Malone kicked off the rounds of speeches at the podium.

"What's the rush?" Malone asked, imploring the government to take a little more time before launching the mega-project.

"That river's not going anywhere."