07 May 2013

Ground Control to Major Tom #nlpoli

New Democratic Party leader Lorraine Michael asked natural resources minister Tom Marshall in the House of Assembly on Monday about Husky’s plans for natural gas development offshore Newfoundland and Labrador.

The story appeared in upstreamonline.com on May 3 and SRBP told you about it the same day.

Here’s what Marshall said about the article:

I have not had the opportunity to read the particular article that which she is referring to, but I would also be happy to have a discussion with the company.

Had not read it but would be happy to talk to the company about their plans.

That wasn’t the first thing Marshall said, though.  His first answer to Michael was this:

I along with my officials had an opportunity to meet with officials of Husky. I believe their focus right now is on the new field that they are dealing with offshore Newfoundland and Labrador.

Sounds a bit like he had already heard about the development plan.  Evidently not, though, because when Michael pressed him on it, Marshall said he didn’t know about the article.  In itself that’s an amazing thing given that his officials had had three whole days to get him a copy.

At the end of his first answer, Marshall this rather curious line:

I do not believe that this liquefied natural gas is a priority for the Province at this time.

Not a priority for the Province.  With a capital “p”.  Tom was was speaking of the provincial government.  We know natural gas isn’t what Tom and his friends want.  Natural gas development buggers up their megadebt project at Muskrat Falls.

Not a priority for the provincial government doesn’t mean, though, that the oil companies aren’t interested in proceeding with a development.  On that score, Marshall pronounced himself ready to talk about the development he admitted knowing nothing about because it would be “an exciting addition to the economy of this Province.”

The gang at Hansard made a mistake there.  In this case, they should have spelled the word with a lower case “p”, meaning the province but not the synonym for provincial government.

Natural gas would be a huge development for the provincial economy.  But it isn’t a priority for the provincial government.

That’s the only way Tom’s comments make any sense. 

Otherwise you’d have to believe the provincial government isn’t interested in natural gas development,  the natural resources minister and his staff couldn’t be bothered to track down an article about a potentially huge economic development in the offshore, and yet he still wants to talk about this exciting development even though Tom and his colleagues don’t think it is important.

The only way you’d think that makes sense is if you took one too many trips outside the tin can without your protein pills and helmet.