09 September 2009

NL caught screwing with Churchill Falls: the quotes

Yet more on the story of the year that everyone has thus far ignored.

1.  What part of “F**k off!” wasn’t clear?

From Dave Bartlett’s story on page three of the Wednesday Telegram (not online):

“They [Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation lawyers and directors] felt that we had extinguished their rights to the whole watershed area that they require to produce electricity in the Upper Churchill and that would cause them some concern,” said [natural resources minister Kathy] Dunderdale.

Dunderdale is quoted elsewhere in the story as saying that there was possibly some “ambiguity” in the 2008 legislation.  “Ambiguity” means doubtfulness or uncertainty over the meaning of words or phrases. 

Extinguishing a company’s rights to their business doesn’t sound like something that is a bit “iffy”.

2.  I don’t think that’s the conspiracy they meant…

Kathy Dunderdale, from debate on emergency legislation to change the “ambiguous” wording of the water rights reversion bill to something a bit more concrete:

Mr. Speaker, my head is kind of spinning with some of the things that we have heard here today. There are conspiracy theories all over the place. So much of this, of what we heard this afternoon, is so far out in left field that I am not even going to bother to comment on it, Mr. Speaker.

Certainly I am not assigning, nor is this government assigning, any motive to the board of CF(L)Co. We believe that they are negotiating this agreement in good faith. CF(L)Co has an issue, the lawyers have an issue, with the definition as it exists in the current legislation, and because of that ambiguity that is in that legislation we are back here today doing the amendment.

Of course not, Kathy.  The people who found out you were trying to f*ck them over would logically not be the ones with ulterior motives.

But since you insist you weren’t trying to screw them (now that you got caught)  let’s leave it at that.

3.  Dunderdale, on one alternative to the emergency session:

If this definition issue caused CF(L)Co to delay entering into the agreement Nalcor Energy still had the option of placing the proposed agreement in front of the Public Utilities Board and asking for an agreement to be imposed upon the parties. This would be a legitimate process, Mr. Speaker, as provided for under the legislation, but it would take up valuable time - time that is better applied to other tasks before us in advancing the project.

Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, if the agreement was put before the PUB for consideration, the PUB will be considering a proposed agreement that was subject to the same ambiguous definition of the Lower Churchill River raised by CF(L)Co.

Translation:  we were really worried about costly, embarrassing and ultimately unsuccessful legal action when CF(L)Co sued our asses off.  calling the House together in a hurry is way cheaper.

4.  No deal is imminent.  There are a few people running around St. John’s who think this emergency session means there’s a Lower Churchill deal around the corner.

Guess again.

There are only two serious issues holding up the project:  markets and money.  Four years after the “go it alone” option, note what Dunderdale listed in the House as two of the outstanding issues to be settled:

Some of these outstanding issues include ratification of the New Dawn Agreement with Innu Nation; an environmental assessment, which is expected to be complete next year; finding customers for the power, and obtaining financing for the project… [ Emphasis added]