Medicine for the Rabid Muskrat

Here is a column from today’s National Post discussing the changing of the guard at Nalcor in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The second last paragraph contains some confusing wording. I was trying to discuss the poor prospects for out-of-province sales of power and my brain saw “market value of power for export” but my fingers plunked out “electricity prices”. The print version might be read as referring to domestic NL prices (which is not what I meant).

It is a rare pleasure to find some development in Canada’s electricity industry these days where consumers and taxpayers are likely to get a fair shake. The appointment of Stan Marshall is such a development. Marshall is not just a demonstrated clear thinker, but he has none of the conflicts and baggage that afflict so many now associated with the Muskrat Falls project. It will be particularly interesting to watch for implications arising from Marshall’s analysis of Muskrat Falls for the core group of big dam interests in Canada deeply entangled in Muskrat Falls, such as Manitoba Hydro, SNC Lavalin and E and Y. Those fixated on executive compensation as an explanation for all that ails the world might note that Mr. Marshall’s compensation at Nalcor will be big step down from what he was paid by Fortis.

Muskrat Falls represents a potential wound to Canada’s unity. The project was conceived of by then premier Danny (Chavez) Williams as yet another attempt by NL to frustrate the 1969 Upper Churchill power contract with Hydro Quebec. If his frustration of the contract was successful, he would be considered a hometown hero. If it failed, he and other NL chauvinists and racists could blame it on those perfidious frogs. Stephen Harper could not possibly have considered the implications of Muskrat Madness carefully when committed the $5 billion federal loan guarantee during the 2011 election. An irony of Harper’s careless initiative is that the only electoral gain Harper achieved was to secure the victory of Peter Penashue, arguably the worst Tory caucus member of his day. Muskrat Madness still has the potential to become recognized as Stephen Harper’s worst lapse of judgment. Without the federal loan guarantee, it is not clear to me that the project could ever have gotten started.

Here is a terrific short TV news item on Mr. Marshall’s first press conference by Michael Connor at NTV. Connors has distinguished himself over the years as one of the most astute mainstream media reporters following Muskrat Madness.

Here is an interesting discussion from a former NS energy minister speculating on the implications of NL aborting the Muskrat Falls project. Emera’s stock price has dipped a little with Mr. Marshall’s arrival.

Here is a piece from the ever-astute Ed Hollett emphasizing what a breath of fresh air Marshall’s arrival represents.

One Comment

  1. Does anyone have a current estimate of what has already been spent on MF, as well as the current estimated costs to complete the project ? NL should negotiate with the federal government to reimburse them for half of today’s tab. Everybody would be better off.

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