Tuesday, September 18, 2012
GETTING DOWN TO THE WIRE WITH MUSKRAT
The “decision gate three” numbers are in but they will not be made public until Manitoba Hydro International reviews them.
Three months later than originally anticipated, the provincial government has confirmed that it now has the crucial “decision gate three” numbers that will determine the costs and risks of moving forward with the proposed Muskrat Falls power project.
Interestingly enough, Nalcor has already spend millions of dollars a building a power line and access road to the site despite the lack of official sanction for the project. Many in the province feel that the investment and work show the “decision gate”, public hearing and planned debate in the House of Assembly are farces.
When former Premier Danny Williams announced the project a few years ago the cost was estimated at $6.2 million. The original estimate is now considered to have been very conservative. Even the Dunderdale “Muskrat Express” admits the costs are going to be much higher than originally forecast.
If the numbers are ready, the government should release them so that the opposition parties and other concerned groups can review them. Why should we have to wait for Manitoba Hydro International to review the information? They are just a government funding clearing house.
It is also time that the Dunderdale administration announced the details of the proposed non-binding debate in the House of Assembly. What will the rules of the debate be? Will MHA’s be able to call and grill witnesses? Will it just be a show trial?
Much depends on the Premier finding an approach that is seen to be transparent, informative and non-partisan. I still think a provincial referendum, after the debate, would be the best way to make a final decision on sanctioning the project.
Posted by Peter L. Whittle