Wednesday, April 4, 2012

RENEWAL, CONFUSION & MESSAGING

It should be an interesting day in the House of Assembly.

The Official Opposition has been on the offensive in the wake of the Public Utility Board's refusal to rubber stamp Nalcor's assertion that the proposed Muskrat Falls energy project is the lowest cost option for meeting the island's future energy needs.

Today the Liberals will head into question period knowing that they have a divided house. The division is not amongst the caucus or the party's official policies but the very public pro-Muskrat, anti-PUB comments by the man perceived  to be the Liberals future white knight.

Well known St. John's business leader & former Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro Chair, Dean MacDonald, a long time advocate of the Maritime sub-sea route made the media rounds yesterday afternoon denouncing the PUB.

MacDonald said that he would never have send the project to the PUB in the first place, citing internal biases from former hydro employees and a lack of expertise. He also said that the some of the best experts in the world work for Nalcor, and he can not understand why anyone would doubt them.

The rub is that during last fall's election, Opposition Liberals called on the government to put a hold on the project until independent international experts could  review the proposal. The Liberals have been critical of the project and turned up the heat in light of the PUB non-report which was released on Monday.

MacDonald also indicated in interviews with the CBC and VOCM Nightline that he would have preferred that the government studied the alternatives in a public and transparent way ensuring that logic, not emotion, settled the argument on the Muskrat Falls proposal.

He said he was pleased that the Premier is now going to allow a special debate on the project. The government's refusal to allow a debate, he indicated, has helped fuel unwarranted suspicion about the project.

The Liberals have been calling for a special debate on the proposed development and for current studies on wind and natural gas energy. The government caved in on both issues on Monday after the PUB refused to give its blessing to the project.

It should make for an intense question period as the government throws up the leader in waiting's comments as an indication that the Liberals are out of touch with what the public and their own party wants.

Incidentally, MacDonald will be front and center at a Liberal Party Press Conference scheduled for this morning to announce a Liberal Renewal Process spearheaded by  MacDonald, former leader Kevin Aylward, former M.P. Siobhan Coady, newcomer Alice Collins Phd and others.

It is certain that if MacDonald becomes boss, he wants to take the party in a different direction.

The party is also unveiling it's new party logo!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Perhaps he is going after the PC leadership. Dunderdale is looking cooked!