Thursday, November 1, 2012


I have received some disturbing correspondence regarding my continued push for a referendum on sanctioning the Muskrat Falls Deal as proposed.

So much for the Proud and Determined Newfoundlander and Labradorian. The five general themes have emerged, all of them self-defeating, some are purely elitist.

#1. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are too stupid to understand the complexities of this deal. They will mess-up a good project out of emotion. As if the Quebec Hydro rhetoric is not propaganda meant to stir the heart at the expense of the mind. Come on, give me a break, let us read the data, hear the debates and the discussion, than make a decision.

#2. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are resigned to the fact that this is a done deal. There is nothing they can do to influence the outcome. Purely self defeatist. If enough people oppose the project and show concern by marching, protesting and doing sit-ins the government will have no choice but to listen. Giving up is akin to abandoning democracy. The Power Is In Our Hands. The government is counting on your resignation,  your indifference and your confusion.

#3. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will not participate. They will not vote. You are too lazy to have a say in the expenditure of $8 Billion of your money. That you are not interested in signing this gigantic cheque with you signature – your vote. No, they prefer a blank cheque with an arbitrary signature. Give people a chance to say yay or nay!

#4. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians elected this government, and this crop of  politicians to make these decisions. They will consider each and every argument and consideration. They will vote for what is best for us. Trust them!

#5. The cost. The government can not justify the cost of a referendum. It is expensive and unnecessary. Voisey’s Bay did not go to a referendum? Yea, democracy is expensive. Let us just cancel all elections. They are senseless anyways. Seriously, our Premier wants you to trust her with the largest single expenditure in our province, potentially doubling our provincial debt load and we should just accede, with out a direct say – because democracy is too costly. I do not buy it. While I believe it is important to keep both practical/technical and political considerations in mind, raw politics should not trump reasonably discourse and democracy.

In my humble opinion, everyone of voting age in this province should have a say in the final sanctioning of this project. There is a higher power than the House of Assembly, than the Constitution…it is the electorate.

Is it too much to ask the parties to convey in a clear and concise manner what the benefits and the risks are and let us have a vote on the proceeding. We are not a developing democracy, a third world country (although our draconian Bill 29 has many people wondering about that)  with no experience in democracy. Controversial "initiatives" should go to the public for a final stamp of approval or rejection.

A referendum is not a Trojan Horse, it is the epitome of democracy. 

A referendum would raise legitimacy.



Gordon said...

Visit and sign the petition for a referendum!

Cyril Rogers said...

Peter, I find it outrageous that people are stooping to that level of brinksmanship. It simply tells me they are scared or stupid in opposing a referendum on this issue.

Never before in our history, save for the decision to become a province of Canada, have our people been faced with an issue of such long-term importance.

Anybody who follows your blog and commentary on Muskrat Falls knows that I am adamantly opposed to the deal. Yet, despite the fact that a referendum could be in favor of the project, I strongly believe in giving the people the final say.

Personally, I would like the PUB to conduct a review whereby they can call "expert" witnesses from both sides to present evidence, BEFORE such a referendum occurs. That means giving them ample time to explore ALL alternatives and to present a final recommendation. A subsequent referendum, with the knowledge gleaned from various experts, would inform all of us who wish to exercise our democratic rights.

I am sick and tired of arrogant governments trying to pull the wool over people's eyes and, unfortunately, we have one of the worst excuses for a democratic government this province has ever seen.

The way I see it is this: If we are going to screw ourselves financially, then let us, the people, be the ones to orchestrate our own downfall. If we vote in favour and my fears prove to be wrong, so be it. That way, we can either pat ourselves on the back or take full responsibility for the final outcome.

Anonymous said...

a true democracy needs informed/ educated voters, not sheep

Anonymous said...

What a dishonest bunch

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't be so cynical. The government has the best interests of the province in mind. Nobody is going to sell us up the river. There has been more research, more information put out to the public on this development than on any one issue in this provinces past. Give it a break. It is a good deal for the future.

Anonymous said...

Mind games. Mind Games.

Democracy in this province is a joke. We are desperate for leadership, desperate for a spec of integrity. How do we keep selecting the Dunderdales and Tobins of this world when there are so many bright accomplished folks?


Sue Kelland-Dyer said...

Time for a referendum on Muskrat and full HOA debate on all mining deals in Labrador The Sun has FInally Shone on Muskrat Falls let's see the Tories deliver.

Anonymous said...

Even to think of the word referendum in this case is most ridicules.This Muskrat Falls has been studied to death time to get on with it.

Peter L. Whittle said...

Why is it stupid? The people, if I recall derailed the plan to privatize hydro in the 90's, why should they not have a say in this project going forward?

Why is it ridiculous? WHY? WHY? WHY?

Anonymous said...

Okay, here is a question. Do we now have referenda on major projects or programs involving the province? At what point do we pull the trigger on a public referendum? total cost of project? number of jobs created? Popularity of the current government (Percentage of vote or current polling numbers)? If for example, the NDP were in power and wanted to redirect public money towards subsidizing the fishery or other industry, should we as the voting public then be allowed to have a referendum on it? To those who are pro-referendum, be carefull what you wish for.