I’m often asked why I continue to tweet, blog and write about Site C when preliminary works have started,contracts are being issued( some ridiculously early) and the current premier is clearly hell-bent on getting past the point of no return.
I always reply: “Because this project is wrong. Because this project was exempted from review because the current government knew it was wrong. And because people’s homes, lives and cultural traditions will be lost.” I, like thousands of others, just want Clark to halt the project to let the BC Utilities Commission review it like they were created to do. The Liberals are making politics of this now with memes that say they stand with the 1000 British Columbians working on Site C:
But they say nothing about the economics of the dam-they absolutely won’t touch that-or who is standing with and supporting the hundreds of thousands taxpayers and BC Hydro ratepayers who will foot the bill.
This isn’t about Left or Right. It’s about doing what’s right- period. Which is why this new editorial from Newfoundland on the Muskrat Falls project officials there now admit was the wrong choice, is so important to all of you http://www.thetelegram.com/Opinion/Columnists/2016-07-08/article-4580974/Brian-Jones:-Billions-wasted-on-the-dam-thing/1
By now, it is painfully clear the so-called “naysayers” have been right all along about the debt-inducing disaster that is the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project.
Some insightful sayers of nay have been reciting reasons for their opposition since 2012. Others began earlier, in 2010, when the Father of Muskrat Falls changed his career path from hyping hydro to hockey.
The definitive defeat for the majority yay-sayers came with the recent admission by new Nalcor boss Stan Marshall that it was a mistake to have approved the Muskrat Falls project.
Coming from him, the criticism has considerable gravitas. After all, he has been in the power business for years.
Even so, some people said essentially the same thing years earlier, but were largely met with mockery and denigration.
(And yes, I was one of the early naysayers. From my Sept. 30, 2011 column: “If Kathy Dunderdale and her PCs have their way, billions of taxpayers’ dollars will be blown on a hydroelectric megaproject that will prove to be financial folly. On the bright side, your children and grandchildren will be able to curse the ‘Upper Churchill’ and ‘Lower Churchill’ in one breath.”)
The yay-side cheerleaders won Round 1 — approval — of the Muskrat Falls project.
Now we’re into Round 2 — whether to continue with the Muskrat Falls project.
There have been calls for the megaproject to be stopped. Some people, not willing to walk entirely out on such a tricky limb, suggest it be delayed or “mothballed,” a popular term in online comments.
It’s like 2012 all over again: naysayers allegedly don’t know what they’re talking about.
Reasonable pleas to not start Muskrat Falls were ignored. Equally reasonable pleas to stop Muskrat Falls are likewise being ignored.
The standard explanation for not stopping the project is, “It’s too late.”
That might sound convincing, if you don’t think about it too much. But back up a bit.
Even Nalcor’s CEO — Marshall, not Martin — admits starting the project was a mistake.
So, a mistake that was to originally cost the ratepayers of Newfoundland (and Labrador) $4.4 billion (2010 estimate) will eventually cost them at least $11.4 billion. The cost of the mistake has almost tripled, but let’s forge ahead anyway.
We know it’s a mistake. We admit it was a mistake. It will be a hugely expensive mistake. But we can’t do anything to stop the mistake.
Wrong. It is a false argument. The stubbornness behind the refusal to cancel the project is what got us into this outrageous mess to begin with.
The carry-on-and-make-things-worse camp — which includes the Liberal government — says the project can’t be stopped because the province has signed contracts and will be sued if it breaks them.
It is to laugh. Can’t break contracts? Will be sued? This, from a province that has gone to court time and time again to try to break its contract over the Upper Churchill?
Don’t be fooled again. Contracts and imagined legalities have nothing to do with why Muskrat Falls won’t be stopped, even though it obviously should be.
Here is the real reason. Tell your grandchildren you heard it here first.
If the government stops Muskrat Falls, it will be on the hook for the approximately $3.6 billion that has already been spent, plus its various loans.
If the project continues, ratepayers — not the government — will be on the hook for the $11.4 billion.
“Better that you have to pay billions than us.” That’s the kind of leadership we’ve come to expect.
He’s right. And now I want you to do something.
Go read this again. And every time you see the words Muskrat Falls, substitute Site C. And then print it off and put it in a drawer for you to send to your MLA in a few years, especially those who said it costs too much to break contracts.
You can thank me later.
Dermod Travis of Integrity BC has posted this fabulous video talking about the financing of the Site C project. Check it out