28 June 2012

Shifting from non-renewable to renewable #nlpoli

Scan through the official record for the House of Assembly for the spring 2012 session and you will find example after example after example of a variation on this theme:  “…our vision for a prosperous future is the use of our non-renewable resources to secure a renewable future.” 

St. John’s West MHA Dan Crummell said those specific words on May 8.  But over and over again, the provincial Conservatives in the legislature tied oil money to things like Muskrat Falls.

Steve Kent (Mount Pearl North) on May 8:

The returns from this non-renewable sector are actually being used to build a renewable energy future for Newfoundland and Labrador.

Wade Verge (Lewisporte), May 8:

That is one of the reasons that as a government we are looking at Muskrat Falls and we are looking at the Lower Churchill. We have a vision for the future. Muskrat Falls is one of those projects that will help us as we give up our reliance on non-renewable resources in the future.

Keith Russell (MHA Lake Melville), May 8:

By using our non-renewable resources, Mr. Speaker, as a means of catapulting us into a renewable resource-based economy, this will in effect liberate us from the dependence and exposures to the realities of oil and oil markets and pricing. This, Mr. Speaker, is what it takes to be successful.

But that flurry wasn’t the only time.  Just look at these examples:

Municipal affairs minister Kevin O’Brien, Hansard, March 6, 2012:

I heard the Leader of the Third Party yesterday, as well, and I took it as an endorsement of Muskrat Falls, because she talked about moving from a non-renewable to a renewable economy. That is exactly one part of Muskrat Falls. Even though we have said categorically, time after time, that project has to – has to – stand on its own, it moves us from that non-renewable economy to a renewable economy. That is exactly what it does.

Paul Lane, MHA for Mount Pearl South, Hansard, March 12, 2012:

I will not sit on the fence. Muskrat Falls certainly is a great project for our future. It ties in to the Province's energy plan of taking the non-renewable resources we have and investing them into renewable resources for the future, for our children, for our grandchildren. I am pleased to be part of that. Again, it ties in to the great leadership that this government has shown right throughout the whole process.

Natural resources minister Jerome Kennedy, Hansard, March 13, 2012:

What we are doing, Mr. Speaker, we are taking our non-renewable resource monies, our oil money, we are building schools, infrastructure and hospitals leading with Muskrat Falls and Gull Island, hopefully, to the development of a renewable resource economy.

Natural resources minister Jerome Kennedy, Hansard, March 15, 2012:

As we utilize our oil, the non-renewable energy is used to develop a renewable energy economy, Mr. Speaker, consistent with the energy plan.

Glen Littlejohn, MHA for Port de Grave, Hansard, June 6, 2012:

Mr. Speaker, one of the central commitments in our provincial Energy Plan is to reinvest the portion of our non-renewable energy money into our renewable energy developments. Mr. Speaker, doesn't that make sense? Doesn't that make sense to us, and doesn't that make sense to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, that while we are reaping some of the best benefits we have, the resource we have now is non-renewable, so let's inject some of that non-renewable money into planning for the future and giving us clean, green, renewable energy, Mr. Speaker.

Still, for all those examples of what the Conservatives thought was their strategy, somewhere along the line they shifted their plan from using money from non-renewable resources to build Muskrat Falls to borrowing all that money.