Tuesday, October 30, 2012

THE MUSKRAT COMMUNICATIONS SMOG



The terms of the Muskrat Falls legislative debate have been established, the Decision Gate Three numbers will be released today and the provincial government is about to unleash an information blitz that will create a certain communication smog.

It would appear that it is all systems go for the project as the government continues to ring fence the debate and convince the public that the development is timely, affordable and the best option to address the anticipated demand for electricity on the island and in Labrador.

Media reports in advance of the announcement indicate that the government is pleased with the numbers, the review by Manitoba Hydro International's assessment and the new $7.5 Billion price tag.

Government’s communication on the proposal has been confusing, creating a great deal of skepticism in recent months.

Muskrat Falls has been held up as a way to end Hydro Quebec’s stranglehold over Labrador power exports; as a green project that will result in the closure of three coal/crude thermal electricity generators; as answer to a predicted increase in demand for electricity on the island; as a money generator for energy exports; as a legacy project; and most recently as the key to opening up billions of dollars in mining projects in Labrador.

As for the debate. It is window dressing of the most manipulative kind. The opposition parties are crying foul, the government is saying it is offering much more than the previous government did with previous emergency debates on controversial issues like Voisey’s Bay and Meech Lake. In the end, there will be no committees, no witnesses and no binding vote.

I am looking forward to the numbers and hopefully a conclusion to negotiations on the long promised federal loan guarantee.

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