Tuesday, October 16, 2012

WHERE IS THE BEEF?




 Where are those Decision Gate Three numbers for the Muskrat Falls’ Development.

The Government, Nalcor and the P.C. Party  has gone on a full scale charm offensive but the new numbers are still very visibly absent from the debate.

Since receiving the numbers the Premier has addressed the board of trade, a group of business people have started a pro-muskrat lobby group, the premier continues to dish opponents to the deal, the communication decks have been cleared and non-partisan reviews like the one offered by Gorden Weil - that was published last week in the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies – are ridiculed.

The Premier promises an informed debate. She says the project will move forward only if the numbers support doing so. Most people are resigned to conventional wisdom which suggests this is already a done deal. The debate in the House of Assembly – window dressing. No binding vote, not witnesses! Another exercise in ring fencing the discussion on a deal that is done already. Where is the referendum to give us all a say? What about a proper debate?

But I digress. My  primary concern boils down to the numbers? Where are they? What is taking so long? The public and the opposition need them, and soon. It is bad enough that we have to wait for the credibility damaged  Manitoba Hydro to provide it’s  final evaluation.

When first announced, the project carried a price tag of $6.2 billion. Some are already saying the price tag is going to come in at $9 billion! Quite a rise in two years!

Now, I think the public are not all that engaged with the big numbers, after all $4 Billion or $12 Billion, it is debt, just another big number.  What they want to know is what ratepayers will be paying every month for electricity after the project is sanctioned compared to ratepayers in the rest of the country, in particular Nova Scotia.The question is how will this impact my costs?


The question that government should be asking is, how much are you are willing to pay to get around Quebec and sell our power to the Unites States? Of course that is flawed as well because the capacity is not going to be there and the markets have not been shorted up.

The “transparent” government said it would make numbers public after Manitoba Hydro International has done a review. That was well over a month ago. We are past the middle of October and the numbers have been in since early September!
 
Stop playing the emotion game. It is time to put some meat on the bones.

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