08 November 2012

Muskrat Falls propaganda a no-brainer #nlpoli

From the latest issue of the Irish Loop Post, Craig Westcott’s editorial “You won’t strain your brain reading government’s last minute batch of Muskrat Falls propaganda.”

There is more to read in a Victoria’s Secret catalogue than Nalcor’s electricity demand forecast, according to Craig.

[Westcott's editorial, unedited:]

It turns out the provincial government’s carpet bombing of reports that supposedly justify the Muskrat Falls project is an even weaker attack than I had anticipated.

Expecting to see 300 and 400 page tomes on everything from electricity demand forecasts to exhaustive studies of wind energy and natural gas, I decided to set aside a weekend to examine the material and asked Jerome Kennedy’s communications director for hard copies of all the reports.

Boy was I surprised when I got the envelope containing all the documents. That’s right: One standard size 9 x 12 envelope was big enough to contain all six reports.

I slapped together last minute term papers in first year history class that were more exhaustive and better researched than these six skinny volumes. Your typical Batman Comic of the 1970s was three and four times as thick as most of these documents.

Take the “Electricity Demand Forecast,” a document that I had been eagerly awaiting for two years having carefully gone through most of the material on the project to date, constantly noting the glaring absence of any document or research by Nalcor that proves energy demand is going up when any careful look at the figures of the past 20 years clearly shows demand has actually been going down.

The “Electricity Demand Forecast” released by natural resources Minister Jerome Kennedy and Nalcor president Ed Martin this week is composed of nine, count ‘em, nine pages of fluff with four pages of even weaker fluff disguised to look like appendices and footnotes.

There are plenty of footnotes, mind you. The thing is most of them wouldn’t pass muster in any paper I ever saw submitted at MUN. Ten of the 34 footnotes attached to the document say “Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, System Planning Department.” In other words, no actual document or research material is actually cited to back up the apple pie and motherhood type claims made in the document. We’re expected to take the word of some anonymous people who work for Nalcor and who still haven’t shown any research to back their outlandish claims about energy demand.

This would be very funny stuff if it wasn’t for the fact that we’re going to sink seven, or eight or 10 billion dollars into this boondoggle so Danny Williams can have his so-called legacy and his new mining buddies can play Nalcor off Hydro Quebec to get the cheapest and most subsidized power rates in North America.
What I’d like to know is how much did Kennedy and Dunderdale pay for this fluff and which of the government’s PR buddies got the contract to write the equivalent of a high school valedictorian speech? I can probably guess. Danny and Kathy have used the same two PR companies for most of the government’s work.

How Jerome Kennedy is able to keep a straight face while Nalcor officials stage “technical briefings” for the media on this fluff speaks to his tremendous ability to play bullshit poker with the best of them. I guess you don’t defend dirt bag drug pushers, murderers, pimps and thugs for so many years, arguing before judges that every one of them are model citizens who help old ladies safely cross streets and whatnot, without developing a nonchalance at defending the indefensible.

No doubt bullshitting is an acquired skill, but it only sometimes works on juries and seldom fools judges.