Premier Tom Marshall has been in cabinet since 2003. He’s held pretty well all the big portfolios connected to Muskrat Falls, including natural resources and finance.
He should know details about Muskrat Falls backwards.
That’s why his comments in the House of Assembly on Monday caused such a stir:
“In 2019, I expect the dividends that will come to the Province from Muskrat Falls will be about half a billion dollars a year. I expect that before the Upper Churchill comes back , I think those dividends are going to amount to $3 billion a year, each and every year.”
Lots of people wasted lots of time trying to figure out what Marshall meant. They spent that time because what Marshall said couldn’t possibly be true. The numbers just didn’t add up. You'd be looking at something like 70 cents a kilowatt hour for electricity for one thing. That’s pretty scary considering that the only people who will pay for Muskrat Falls electricity are ordinary taxpayers in the province.
And dividends are not the total amount of money coming in. They are the a part of what is left over after all the bills are paid. So in order to make $3.0 billion in dividends, the sales revenue would be insane.
Turns out that what Tom said wasn’t true. He acknowledged part of that on Tuesday:
The figures that I was referring to were for all of Nalcor. I inadvertently used the word Muskrat Falls, but it is all of Nalcor. I talked about how the investment that is being made in a company that is owned by the people of Newfoundland will pay dividends and create wealth for the people in the future.
All of Nalcor.
Okay, well that would include Muskrat Falls and a whole bunch of oil that the taxpayers gifted to Nalcor.
And the $3.0 billion is supposed to be a dividend.
Regardless of whether the Premier was talking about Muskrat falls or all of Nalcor, the number is so fishy that really the Premier should release the information on Nalcor that he found so confusing.
There’s no reason to keep it secret. After all, it’s public money.
And the Premier did shag it up royally, despite all that experience.