14 June 2010

Telling quotes: Lower Churchill version

The Premier made a few telling comments in the House of Assembly today about the imaginary Lower Churchill project.

Asked about interest in a new American transmission line NALCOR is interested in,  the Premier had this to say:

Mr. Speaker, this Province is not prepared to enter into commitments unless it has actually something to go on. I think this is just the opposite of the question that the hon. member asked last week as to why we had not entered into certain contracts. We had not entered into them because at that point we did not have any power to sell. … [Emphasis added]

Didn’t enter into contracts because there was no power to sell.  Sounds a lot like what actually happened in Quebec.  Faced with the need under open access rules to option space on the lines for power – but having no Lower Churchill power to sell -  NALCOR decided to try and delay the process with administrative appeals.

There’s no point in buying transmission space for power that doesn’t exist.

Of course, that is exactly the opposite of what the Premier told a handful of people who turned up to hear his speech last week in Ottawa.  He told them that Quebec transmission requests sailed through the regulatory agency while NALCOR’s wound up in delays and appeals.  He just didn’t say why they wound up in delays and appeals. [Hint:  it had nothing to do with Hydro-Quebec’s involvement in any conspiracies.]

The Premier also said that:

This is the best, clean, green renewable energy project in North America and it will happen eventually.  [Emphasis added]

You have to listen to the way he added that word “eventually” in there. It was a softly. But it is there and it is also closer to the full story than anything else.  The project will happen eventually. And that’s pretty much what every Premier since Joe Smallwood has known.

The Lower Churchill just isn’t happening on the schedule the Premier promised.  In fact, the project doesn’t have a schedule any more.

Then there was the moment where he seemed a bit confused:

…we will pay for new transmission. There is a co-operative attitude. Your divide and conquer attitude, whether it happens to be Quebec or New Brunswick, simply does not work.

Divide and conquer in Quebec or New Brunswick?  He actually accused the opposition Liberals of trying to divide and conquer in Quebec and New Brunswick. Huh?  Don’t worry.  Anyone else reading the transcript is likely as confused as you are by these sorts of ludicrous claims.

Then again, since the project is off, ludicrous claims are all that remain.