12 July 2011

All three NL parties back Muskrat project

Voters in Newfoundland and Labrador who are worried about the current Tory administration’s plans to double the public debt and public electricity rates need worry no longer.

The project will go ahead as currently planned regardless of which party forms the government after the October general electricity.

Liberal Party leader Yvonne Jones, the last apparent hold-out among the three party leaders in the province,  told NTV’s public affairs show Issues and Answers this weekend that she would accept independent reviews of the project that confirm it is the lowest cost alternative.

Jones said that rather than kill the deal, she’d send it to the province’s auditor general and the public utilities board for review.  The ruling provincial Conservatives have already sent the project to the public utilities board.  That conveniently wipes one of Jones’ options off the table.

That leaves Jones with the Auditor General. There’s basically nothing the AG could do with the project.  The AG’s office lacks the in-house skills and expertise to make any assessment of the project.

NTV’s Michael Connors put the question to Jones bluntly, asking if she would approve the project if the independent reviews confirmed the project was the lowest cost alternative.  Jones answered that “obviously” she would but that doubling rates told her it wasn’t the best way to go.  Of course, if the reviews don’t back her up, Jones already committed to approving the project.

Why Jones has been criticising the megadebt project remains a mystery. 

- srbp-