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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Giving it All Away

Our province’s position on the Lower Churchill has me baffled, befuddled and bewildered.

I’m right there with Danny when it comes to big oil and the federal government but I can’t help wondering if those battles are a skillful misdirection. A magician’s ploy meant to shift attention from other issues such as the Lower Churchill project.

Ever since Williams swore we'd develop that project ourselves he's touted the dream of an east/west power grid as one way to ensure Ottawa's support. He's spoken of the hunger for clean power in Ontario and the U.S. and he's proudly said he wants to export the electricity through Quebec or, if necessary, via the so called Anglo Saxon route.

Some have gleefully patted Danny on the back for threatening to bypass Quebec. Not me. Not that I'd mind doing so, just on principle. What bothers me is why, through all the rhetoric, he hasn’t once talked about using that power to diversify the economy here at home.

I'm not naive enough to believe we can use all of that power ourselves, not right away anyway. I know we’ll need to sell some to finance the project and ensure a solid return, but why the hell does Newfoundland and Labrador have to plan for near total export?

What’s wrong with using OUR resources to attract industry to OUR province and why has every government we've ever elected told us our only way forward is to walk backward?

It began when we gave away our sovereignty. Since then it’s been one giveaway after another.

The Upper Churchill sees billions of dollars flow to Quebec while Newfoundland and Labrador barely makes enough to keep the turbines spinning.

INCO signed a deal for a processing facility in the province and replacement of ALL the ore shipped out. Where’s the processing facility or smelter and who among us actually believes we'll actually recover any of the minerals already exported?

Oil and Gas – Do you see any of it refined in the province? Do we have any petrochemical industries worth speaking of?

A few months ago I made contact with Natural Resources Minister, Kathy Dunderdale. As a concerned citizen I wanted to know if the province had been courting any major industrial players like Alcoa or Alcan in an effort to have them set up shop in Labrador, once an abundant supply of power was available of course.

Ms. Dunderdale politely informed me that she had already reviewed a study into that option and it was not feasible because it would cost the taxpayers, you and me, $1 billion dollars.

That's a Billion with a very big 'B'.

Since this wasn't what I expected to hear I followed up with the obvious question, "why"?

I mean who the hell lets a number like $1 billion dollars hang out there and quotes from some unnamed study without providing any details?

I thought she’d give me a hint. She didn’t.

First I was given the impression it was a joint study between government and industry. After I pushed a little harder I was told it was an issue of confidentiality because the study had been undertaken by a publicly traded company, not the government itself, and it had only been “shown” to government. Go figure.

Can't these people do anything for themselves?

First Wade Locke has to tell our provincial government what the new equalization formula really means and now the Minister of Natural Resources is deciding our collective futures based on the results of a study supposedly "shown" to her by an unnamed industry player.

I'm sure what ever company it was had no vested interest in getting the Province to pony up a cool billion.

Will someone please stop the insanity!!!

I started my little waltz with Ms. Dunderdale in November of last year. More than six months later I’m still listening to the dance music but I'm no closer to an answer.

Are we really missing something in this province generally and Labrador specifically that would cause a power hungry company to just walk away from one of the last great power projects in North America?

What is it and why does it cost so much?

These are all questions nobody seems in a hurry to answer.

Companies like Alcoa are scouring the earth for clean, stable and inexpensive power. For some reason the Lower Churchill doesn’t fit their bill. That’s something all of us needs to worry about.

If something is truly necessary to attract industry here maybe it should be discussed openly instead of swept under the rug. It may be expensive but it could be money well spent and since you and I pay the taxes around here perhaps Ms. Dunderdale should be a little more open about the whole issue.

Our government has an opportunity before it to use our resources wisely. It has a chance to resolve a lot of the issues we face today and do things right this time around, maybe for the last time. The question is whether or not they’ll have the vision to do it right or if they'll simply follow the course of those who came before and give it all away.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Another good article Patriot.

I'm going to make a prediction. I'm going to send it to Patriot at his email address and ask him to keep it quiet for the next day or so before releasing it on this site.

It will be interesting to see if my prediction comes to pass. (interesting to me anyway)

Anonymous said...

Patriot I am borrowing the last paragraph in your last post and I am going to ask Premier Williams a question.

Premier Williams are you going to be the Premier who is going to seize the opportunity at hand, or will you go down in history no differently than the other Premiers of this province.

You Premier are operating in an age enlightenment and industralization, like never before witness in the World, since communications are rapid and two of the largest nations have stirred and are coming into the development age. Premier Williams if you blow this opportunity for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians at this juncture, you will go down as the most hated Premier in our History. Please do not do it, since your are the most loved at the moment.

Patriot I think here is the point where you should advertise your blog through the Open Line Shows, and ask for a vote of the electorate that Premier Williams does what he is saying he is going to do.

I am right behind the Premier in what he is telling us, but if he does the opposite, no differently than what our past-Premiers did, I will then have lost all of my faith in mankind.

Patriot since you are knowledgable with the electronic age, maybe you can do what Mr. McCann did during the Atlantic Accord and set up a site for comments.

I think with all the energy that we have that can be harnessed, Premier Danny should set aside at least 10 per cent for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador to become industralized.

I heard a gentleman on the News a couple of days ago advising us that the United States is looking for all of the energy we produce. I hope and pray our Premier has more foresight than to sign it all away. God only knows we have been long suffering, awaiting here in this province for industry to happen. It can happen here no differently than anywhere else in the world, all we need is the people with the ability and expertise to make it happen.

After all we have the resources and we have the strategic locations, so we all have to MAKE IT HAPPEN.

Premier Williams ARE YOU WITH US IN THIS ENDEAVOUR?

Anonymous said...

Now that I have put the question to Premier Williams, and since Mr. Ed Hollett has become a public figure on this blogsite, I would like to know what Mr. Ed Hollett's opinion is on using some of Newfoundland and Labrador's resources to fuel industry in this province?

Ed Hollett said...

Simple answer, anon: Every deal to develop the Lower Churchill since 1990 (if memory serves) included a portion of power reserved for NL and a portion for export.

In the case of the 1990 negotiations, it started out with a 2400/800 split and progressively over time the portion available to NL grew until it was the full 3200 MW estimated to be produced.

Basically the only way the Lower Churchill will be developed is with a long-term power purchase agreement or agreements that offer creditors with a guarantee they'll get their money back.

So if we can export the power, get the thing built and make a profit, I say go mad. The agreement should build in a mechanism to have power available in NL but actually, that ability already exists if we were interested in local industrial development.

The Electrical Power Control Act, 1994 already assigns the power to the PUB to manage hydro distribution.

Anonymous said...

Ed - Why is it then that we aren't interested in local industrial development?

Is the government negligent in its duties by not following a pattern of industrial development to provide local economies here, the same way that the other provinces have done with their own resources and with imports from a province like Newfoundland and Labrador.

Have all of our government leaders been out of touch with reality? Do they not know that when the electorate goes to the polls to elect them, the thing that is foremost on their minds is that this time we will have someone who is going to do things right.

Sorry Ed for having to ask you such questions, but I know you were part of the Liberal Machinery/Government at one time, and I am wondering if you possess that information?

Ed Hollett said...

"Why is it then that we aren't interested in local industrial development?"

Where'd you get that idea?

Caps Lock said...

Ed said: "The agreement should build in a mechanism to have power available in NL but actually, that ability already exists if we were interested in local industrial development."

Ed you say the ability already exists if we were interested in local industrial development. Since Ed you have worked in and around government, why didn't the government during your time of employment there, especially when Voisey's Bay Nickel came up for development, not guarantee that the Nickel was processed in Newfoundland and Labrador to create industry here instead of seeing it exported to Sudbury, Ontario and Thompson, Manitoba to create economies in those provinces? You must know the answer since you seem to have a lot of information on most matters.

Edward G. Hollett said...

"...not guarantee that the Nickel was processed in Newfoundland and Labrador to create industry here instead of seeing it exported to Sudbury, Ontario and Thompson, Manitoba to create economies in those provinces".

You know the answer too, or perhaps you have forgotten.

The deal with VBNC requires the company to build a smelter/refinery in NL. Work is currently underway to build that smelter/refinery at Long harbour.

Job done on that one.

Anonymous said...

"and since Mr. Ed Hollett has become a public figure on this blogsite,"

Becuase he knows he has someone to read his dribble here if he causes shit ,thats why.

Building a name on the back of Myles Higgons .What a pathetic little man .

WJM said...

Work is currently underway to build that smelter/refinery at Long harbour.

I'm still waiting for Chairman Dan to fulfil his promise to reveal the "holes" in that deal that you can "drive a truck through".

Meanwhile, speaking of work underway, how many people are working on the Hebron project?

Anonymous said...

Hey Ed,

this is why you dont splatter your information around the world .

http://www.thetelegram.com/index.cfm?sid=40612&sc=79

So ,what have yo done to protect yourself?

OH ,how is Mark Walton doing in Toronto,Ontario ,Canada.You dont have an address or Phone number do you ed.I was going to "POP" over and see a fellow Newfondlander!!!

Anonymous said...

WJM ,your not disagreeing with Ed are you .

David Ryan said...

David Ryan from Arlington, Washington writes: My letter to the Three Stooges:

You three gutless, spineless, traitors should be ashamed of yourselves for turning your backs on your homeland.

Two of you were born here before we entered Canada, on bended knee, and have been on both knees ever since, begging like Oliver Twist begging Mr. Bumble for some more gruel.

You have been too busy kissing the arses of the rich and powerful in Ottawa so you can keep your pathetic jobs in a government built on deceit and lies.

You’re all pathetic. The rural areas of Canada are getting the royal shaft once again so that the have provinces, and Quebec, can come out ahead again. It doesn’t matter what is fair, just which areas have enough MP’s to ensure that His Royal Highness, Mr. Harper, can stay in power.

Mark my words, as soon as your value to the mainlanders is reduced, you will find yourselves powerless.

As soon as the people of Newfoundland have the chance to go to the polls again, you will find yourselves unemployed.

Once again, Newfoundland gets screwed and you three have done nothing but cover your own asses.

Shame, shame, shame.

Gord Pittman said...

Gord Pittman from Ottawa, Ontario writes: When will we realize that the current system is set up to feed the heart at he expense of the extremities. This has been the way from the start when we were a colony. Our resources were used to feed England. Now we feed Quebec and Ottawa with our resources. They have the seats and thus that is where the resouces and monies go. The only way this will ever change is by getting a new heart and to feed it ourselves. This can only be done by standing on our own two feet. If the feds won't let us stand on our own two feet then it is high time we get out. What the hell are the people of NL afraid of? They have a great leader, tons of resources, incredible confidence, and the ability to raise whatever funds they need to develop their own resources and country for their own people.

Enough is enough! Get out and take control! What we have to lose and what we have to gain is a very simple analysis.

jim said...

JIM DUCEY from FORT MCMURRAY, ALBERTA writes: ITS QUITE CERTAIN PRIME MINISTER HARPER IS PLAYING ROTTEN POLITICS IN BREAKING HIS PROMISE TO US.
PREMIER WILLIAMS FIGHT FOR OUR RIGHTS IS BACKED BY THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE OF NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR, WHICH INCLUDES OUR MOST PROMINIENT FINIANCIAL ADVISORS. HARPER SHOULD REALIZE THAT MOST CANADIANS ARE REALIZING THAT HE IS NOT TO BE TRUSTED, BECAUSE A MAN IS ONLY AS GOOD AS HIS WORD.

Anonymous said...

I am so Happy to read this post from My Newfoundland and Labrador home amd see the last 3 posts. Thanks

Please advise all that his post exists to pour out your feelings.

Anonymous said...

I am so Happy to read this post from My Newfoundland and Labrador home and see the last 3 posts. Thanks

Please advise all that THIS POST exists to pour out your feelings.

Edward G. Hollett said...

Someone claiming to be David Ryan from "Arlington, Washington" wrote about three people, two of whom were supposedly born before Confederation in 1949.

Who are you talking about, David?

WJM said...

Enough is enough! Get out and take control!

Control of what?

Caps Lock said...

Ed, Simon and WJM have taken on a role on this blog in trying to control people's minds in Newfoundland and Labrador, the way minds have always been controlled since we came under Ottawa. It reminds me of the role of Federal Reserve System chairman of the United States Alan Greenspan and now Ben S. Bernanke in the manipulation of economic cycles for the Macro Economy of the Western World.

And we know how a spin on words have been used by the Reserve Chairman, whoever was in power at the time, over the years to keep things on the move.

The same form of control is used by the three posters I mentioned here, who seem to be favoring the position of the Federal Government and Big Corporations.

WJM said...

trying to control people's minds

But the Z-ray machine isn't working, so you can put away your tinfoil hats for now. Hope it's still under warranty.

Lloyd said...

Toronot,Ontario ,Canada writes

I am so disgusted I simply cannot read this blog any further.If this is the extent the federal governement of Canada has to go, to gain control of the people of this province ,maybe Newfoundland should not be involved in canada.Wow,thasnks for the email guys.

babe in boyland said...

lloyd, im guessing youre a newfoundlander visiting or living in toronto. are you planning to come home when we seceed? or just wait till they deport you as an illegal alien?

hey - we could be the mexicans of canada. thats progress.

and caps lock, these guys are doing mind control??????????? canada has been controlling newfoundlanders minds since confederation??????? i dont think so. nobodys in control of my mind but me. is anyone in control of your mind? youre that implying ottawa is. or are you so different from the rest of us that us lesser mortals can be mind controlled but you cant??????????

what a load of shit.

Ed Hollett said...

Yes, Caps Lock and I have a monopoly on the aluminum foil you'll need to shield yourself from the Evil Mind Control Rays I emit too.

I think we have no established pretty clearly the bizarre lengths you'll go to in order to defend whatever it is you believe in.

Anonymous said...

'tinfoil hats' and 'aluminum foil' -

Hmmm - I wonder does the paycheque of each of the authors who wrote the words above come from the same bank account held by the Federal Government? One of those little money pools that the Feds put aside to pay people to do carry out such duties, such as counteracting everything that is written on this blogsite.

Do you think these two posters have some connection to each other?

Anonymous said...

"we could be the mexicans of canada. thats progress."

babe ,who said that we weren't already.

Anonymous said...

It is easier for Mexicans to cross the Rio Grande than for the islanders to cross the gulf. I guess that means the mexicans have an advantage we don't.

babe in boyland said...

have you tried crossing the rio grande?

Ed Hollett said...

"Do you think these two posters have some connection to each other?"

Only to the extent that sane people dismiss the paranoid nonsense of that earlier comment on mind control with the sarcasm it deserves.

Only to the extent that we likely share contempt for people who post anonymously and do nothing but slag others - as you just did.

WJM said...

I'm going to make a prediction. I'm going to send it to Patriot at his email address and ask him to keep it quiet for the next day or so before releasing it on this site.

Hey anonymous coward, how'd that prediction work out?

Anonymous said...

Hey anonymous coward, how'd that prediction work out?

June 28, 2007 11:42 PM - Grow -Up Wallace,your better then that !!!!

republican said...

You guys wanna know something!! Your the reason they "SHOULD NOT" have taken the strap Outta the schools!!!pathetic.

Anonymous said...

babe in boyland said...

have you tried crossing the rio grande?

June 28, 2007 4:14 PM - To Be TOTALLY honest :), I haved crossed the Rio-Grande and TEXAS is great!!!

Anonymous said...

Feel free guys to pour your hearts out.Thats why you have been brought here.