Monday, November 5, 2012

PRESSING POLITICS LEVELS THE MUSKRAT DEBATE



Been fighting a bugger of a cold over the weekend and today.

The mind is willing but the body can not seem to follow orders. 

An interesting time to be out of commission with the American election tomorrow, the ongoing side shows related to the Muskrat Falls Proposal and the new leadership selection process chosen by the provincial Liberals at their annual convention over the weekend.

The best reading that I have come across over the last few days is John Samms "Pressing Politics". It is well written, well researched and objective.

 Samms is taking an investigative approach to his blog. No he says - she says. He is interviewing the players, asking direct questions and offering the answers, nearly verbatim, to his readers. It is a refreshing approach in a local blogosphere full of hidden agendas.

Last week, I pointed out that Meeker On The Media has dug in, and dug in deep, to ask pertinent questions. That this is an important debate, questions need to be answered, even if they have been addressed before.

It is important to look at the history of Labrador power development, to do so with your eyes wide open. We can not be afraid to move forward because of the failures of the past. Our relationship with Quebec on the export of power has not been good. They have exploited and blocked us over and over and over.  Those who say that is not the case are blinded by partisan politics ,or full of shit. Some of them are both.

I feel that the 2002 near miss with Hydro Quebec was flawed.  I felt that way in 2002, and did not hesitate to say so. In fact, I applauded Dean MacDonald for his role in sending the rushed arrangement re-cycling bin. 

Revisionists, including Grimes, seem to have conveniently forgotten the truth. The deal left this province solely on the hook for cost overruns and I certainly did not feel Newfoundland and Labrador were going to be the prime beneficiary. In fact, many MHA's and ministers were very much opposed to the deal for fear that Quebec could end up owning the project.

Some of these issues might have been resolved via further negotiations. However, with an election a year away, the partisans wanted to be able to pound their chests about delivering the impossible. Fortunately, Dean MacDonald and a handful of others, doused the momentum before it was too late. 

Sure there are some Liberals, particular those senior  advisers and ministers who lost their cozy jobs on October 21, 2003, who want to propagate the bull shit story that Dean was driving a knife into  Premier Grime's back on behalf of his good friend, P.C. Leader Danny Williams.  They were bitter going into the campaign and worse after.  They needed to place blame. MacDonald became a convenient scapegoat for misplaced arrogance and incompetence.

In my estimation, he stood up for what was right, he asked the tough questions and got unsatisfactory answers. He stood up to the so called smart "people" who were comfortable with the proposed arrangement. They failed to offer firm assurances to the hard questions. 

Instead of rubber stamping a flawed deal,  or I would argue - incomplete deal,  MacDonald resigned and washed his hands of it. 

Restricting the merits of one flawed deal is just a red herring. Opposing this proposed deal because it's architect was Danny Williams is stupid. Legitimate criticism like questioning how secure water rights are, how conservative the cost overruns are, how secure is the Nova Scotian commitment is are important and how badly we need to export power are much more important issues.

It was refreshing to read John Samms' interview because I know that MacDonald did the right thing. We should be grateful, not critical.

If you are going to read one blog during this debate, be sure to add "Pressing Politics" to your favorites - unless you prefer your information filtered through partisanship and small mindedness.


6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Who is responsible for Muskrat cost overruns?

Who is responsible for Maritime Link overruns?

Who is the beneficiary of Muskrat? The revenues will be paid by NL to themselves!

You and Danny's Boy need to give your heads a good shake.

Peter L. Whittle said...



I am not selling this deal, I am just making a point that some of the people who are opposed to this deal were very supportive of a deal that offered a lot less information, was potentially another upper churchill and certainly would have been a mistake.

Don't let a little correction to the revisionist history get your pee all hot!

Brad Cabana said...

Here's the point you and Samms seem to conveniently forget - Dean MacDonald was head of the ship when CFLCO signed the 1999 Shareholder's Agreement with Hydro Quebec. A deal worse in its conent then the Power Contract of 1969. A deal that gives Quebec a veto over the most important and strategis steps that CFLCO, or its boss the government, could hope to make.Interviewing MacDonald without even bringing that up is a clear sign of Samm's non-objectivity. I'm surprised that you wouldn't see that given its very place in history and given MacDonald's apparent wish to be Premier of this province.At times I think you are right on the money and fair, and then times like this happen, that seem to come from left field, and I have to sit back and reassess.

Anonymous said...

So Dean says he did the right thing? What a surprise!

Peter L. Whittle said...

Brad:

I have certainly discussed that issue on my blog before. It was part of the the deal that fizzled out with Bouchard.

Not conveniently forgetting anything, I am saying the 2002 deal was not a good deal and that it was derailed because MacDonald refused to rubber stamp it!

In fact, I think Roger might have defended the 1999 Shareholder's Agreement and GWAC when he was minister of energy. I think Dicks may have been the minister at the time.

If I recall correctly - the deal was struck to increase cash flow to protect HQ from taking over Chruchill Falls. It was a case of costing more to operate than revenues. a CORRECTION WAS NEEDED.

Anonymous said...

Deano can't even be arsed to donate to "his" party!!!