07 August 2012

The Multiple Muskrat Falsehoods #nlpoli

Zack: Check it out, all about planets this month.

Leonard: That’s an atom.

Zack: Agree to disagree. That’s what I love about science, there’s no one right answer.

Ya gotta love Tory MHA Keith Russell.

Well, not really, love him unless you enjoy a politician who just keeps putting his foot in his mouth all the way up to the hip.

Russell called VOCM’s Back Talk last week to correct supposedly false statements by others.  But in the process, Russell spouted not one, not true but a raft of completely false statements about Muskrat Falls.

Before we get into Russell’s false statements, let’s correct big false statement that Back Talk host Paddy Daly repeated when he kept referring to Muskrat Falls generating 824 megawatts of electricity.

Not true.

Ain’t gonna happen.

The reason is that the water just isn’t there to produce it.  Nalcor estimates the dam will produce 4.9 terawatt hours of electricity per years…on average.  That’s roughly the same as a plant that with installed generating capacity of 570 megawatts, not 824 MW. 

As a result, we know already that Muskrat Falls will not produce enough electricity to meet its Newfoundland and Nova Scotia commitments.

So when Keith Russell stated talking about all the mining projects that Muskrat Falls would support, you know he was completely, utterly and totally wrong.

What Russell said isn’t true.

It also wasn’t true when he said Nova Scotia wouldn’t get electricity for free.

Under the agreement signed last week, Emera will not pay Nalcor one single penny for any of the electricity the company receives for 35 years.  Not a sou.

They will pay to build a transmission line. 


What Russell is doing is claiming that the cost of the transmission line is the same as paying for the electricity.

It isn’t. 

At 1:40 or thereabouts in the call, he mentioned stabilising electricity rates on the island and diversifying revenues for the province.  Again, not true. The public utilities board sets electricity rates for the people of the province and it is the PUB that keeps electricity rates stable.  They’ve been doing it very well because for all the jumps in oil prices over the past five years or so, electricity rates haven’t gone up by comparable amounts.

As for diversifying revenue streams – let’s see if we can finally give that lie the final knock it deserves. The only people paying for electricity from Muskrat Falls are the ratepayers of Newfoundland and Labrador. That’s not a new revenue source for the provincial government. That’s the same one the provincial government has always had: taxing its own people.

By the time poor old Keith got to about the half way mark of his comments, he was spouting nonsense about his party running the province in a fiscally responsible manner.  We know that is not true because both Danny Williams AND Kathy Dunderdale have admitted to boosting public spending to the point where it is unsustainable.  Plus, they both refused to do anything about it except talk.

That’s fiscally irresponsible.

Falsehood, after falsehood after falsehood and Russell just kept on going. 

Now these are not just matters of opinion. This is not like you can just say “agree to disagree”  - a favourite Tory tactic -  and walk away. This is stuff where what Keith Russell said is clearly, unmistakeably and irrefutably false.  Keith isn’t alone.  His entire caucus says the same things.

And they are just not true.

No matter how many times you repeat a false statement, it does not magically become true.  But what is really scary about all this is that Keith Russell is not just wrong about pretty much everything related to Muskrat Falls.

Nor is it merely that he doesn’t know that he is wrong.

It’s that he is so convinced that he is right and everyone else is wrong that he just won’t listen, let alone think for himself.