Dunderdale sanctions Muskrat Falls project

James McLeod
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Premier Kathy Dunderdale formally sanctions the Muskrat Falls project.

Premier Kathy Dunderdale made it official Monday evening; the government has sanctioned the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project.

This means there's effectively no going back on the $7.5-billion megaproject, which was first announced more than two years ago by then premier Danny Williams.

Dunderdale held the news conference right in the spacious lobby of Confederation Building, with a sizable crowd of business leaders, current and former politicians as well as members of the public in attendance.

The move concludes more than two years of debate and examination of the project, and means that Crown corporation Nalcor will now proceed full-bore with work on the Churchill River in Labrador.

The past few months has featured intense political debate around Muskrat Falls, with both the Liberals and the NDP vocally expressing misgivings about the deal to develop the project.

The announcement was heavy on pomp and ceremony. The government arranged for a choir to sing before the start of the announcement, and the ceremonies included multiple speeches and a formal singing of the sanctioning document.

This project "allows us as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to stand tall on the national stage," Dunderdale said.

Organizations: NDP

Geographic location: Muskrat Falls, Churchill River

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Recent comments

  • Proud Newfoundlander
    December 18, 2012 - 14:32

    i had to leave home 15 years ago because we could not buy a job in Newfoundland. I also grew up in a single industry town that closed, displacing 5000 people. Newfoundland is long over due to take charge of its future. Maybe, just maybe, the province is on a course to no longer export its sons and daughers like a commody. I never want to have the look on my face that my father had as i waved goodbye through the glass at the airport. My children see their grandparents as often as we can, but they are growing up in another province without the famiily support that i grew up with. So to those who are opposed, i wonder if you have lived elsewhere seeing your family a few times a year if you are lucky? if not, you are lucky! I am not a fan of Dunderdale, but admire her courage to follow through on this important turning point. At least Newfoundlanders are charting their course, not Ottawa, not big american companies. Maybe many are too young to remember the day 35,000 lost their jobs with the stoke of a pen in Ottawa. Beyond the emotional side, it is good business. ask yourselves this: did any of you get to have input on the mills, mines, etc. of long ago? Of course not. They were private industry deals. So, we could spend the next decade posturing or get on with it. I say get on with it. The window of opportunity will not stay open for ever.

  • Albert Webber
    December 18, 2012 - 13:02

    Yet again! Where's the Aboriginal LEADERs? Shame...

  • Cape Rayer
    December 18, 2012 - 11:45

    And the cable is to go underground 2 km through the bogs to the shore before going under the Cabot Strait. That might be hard to do... Personally I am not in favor of this project.

  • a business man
    December 18, 2012 - 01:06

    Excellent.......the interest of the majority is being served. Thank you Premier Dunderdale.

    • Brad
      December 18, 2012 - 07:43

      That's not logical at all. I can walk into a room where 8 out of 10 dislike Muslim people. That doesn't mean I'm wrong.

    • Tim Jamison
      December 18, 2012 - 10:22

      If you're in the minority, you're probably wrong. That's how democracies work. That's why we have a majority

    • Brad
      December 18, 2012 - 11:08

      I would have supported this project had Danny been all over it and not some toothless, spineless premier who keeps giving away, giving away. In case you haven't noticed, we are on course to run a deficit of over $750 million this year, our base price of oil is set way too high, Dunderdale cost us $100 million alone (Abitibi clean-up). In regards to the project, the cost keeps going up. Any over-runs are covered 100% by Nalcor (which also means the NL govt is responsible), even though Emera is footing half the bill on our undersea cable link and getting so much power at a steep discount, while we pay more for our OWN power. It makes zero sense that the govt isnt doing it what-so-ever, I don't like the Liberals, and I really don't like the NDP (especially Lorraine), but I don't like this project either because we all know Blunderdale will muck it up somehow. You can bet if there was a viable 4th option, the PCs wouldnt be in power right now.

  • gord
    December 17, 2012 - 22:06

    "I sailed the ship but we struck the rock that sank er" I don't re call having any say myself on this project! Other political parties tried to speak for people that were not heard but here we are burdened again for years. Now public services are going to be slashed while we all suffer to make this project survive.

  • ohyeah
    December 17, 2012 - 21:43


  • Play it again ...Dan
    December 17, 2012 - 20:11

    This speech was a spoof of joey saying " burn ya boats boys, there's two jobs for every man." This is the second time this has been sanctioned, once with harper and once with williams...and twice with penashue. Why was that?

  • Mr Cod Fish
    December 17, 2012 - 19:20

    The political level in the province (not gov employees) were hell bent on pushing this at all costs. Gov employees received this before the announcement: The debate was a farce. We have a dictatorship. "We encourage all Provincial Government Employees to tune into the Evening Telegram news for live coverage of this event." and "The next chapter of Newfoundland and Labrador's story begins with Muskrat Falls" We don't need the debt. We don't need the power. We have more undeveloped power on the Island (hydro) than there is in Muskrat. Follow the money trail. Someone is going to profit and I except everyone involved with this decision to be rewarded by corporations -- boards of director seats, etc.

  • Eli
    December 17, 2012 - 18:55

    East-West corridor? Access to all of North America? Where are the contracts?

    • Tim Jamison
      December 18, 2012 - 10:33

      These things take time. In the real world, we're not entitled. We're going to have to work for these things. And we will

  • Corporate Psycho
    December 17, 2012 - 18:18

    The special interests are waddling up to the trough already.

  • concerned taxpayer
    December 17, 2012 - 18:17

    As a taxpayer I disagree with the Blunderdale Government and the way they are handling the provinces finances. The public service and average taxpayers will pay for corporate greed and cheap electricity for mining companies in Labrador. Meanwhile the rest of us suffer and schools close, hospital staff layed off and an even huger deficit looms over us all. Muskrat Falls will be of no benefit to the average family in this province and in fact it will send even more people below the poverty line. Kathy and Danny aren't worried about how to pay the bills though like most of us.

  • Jay Person
    December 17, 2012 - 18:11

    Merry Christmas, everyone.

  • John Smith
    December 17, 2012 - 18:00

    ...about time...

    • Little Man Dan
      December 18, 2012 - 07:43

      Yippee! come here Johnny, lick my boots.

  • Don II
    December 17, 2012 - 17:45

    A Government that is capable of expropriating an environmentally polluted pulp mill it did not want is capable of making much bigger mistakes and has now done so! The approval of the Muskrat Falls project comes as no surprise. As usual, the Government of Newfoundland has chosen to ride roughshod over the rights of the people to know all of the facts about what their Government has signed on to do. The passage of Bill 29 was confirmation that the Government of Newfoundland has secrets it wants to keep hidden from public scrutiny. No debate, no inquiry and no regulatory review and the deal is done. If the Government of Newfoundland has made mistakes in their plan for the Muskrat Falls project as it has with other questionable projects, sooner or later the facts and the truth will emerge. When the day of reckoning arrives, I wonder if our illustrious Government will be so eager to trumpet its accomplishment! The politically well connected little piggies are already fighting to get to their snouts in the Government contract trough. When all is said and done, the people who think that their electric bills will be drastically reduced by the construction of the Muskrat Falls project will be sorely disappointed to find that their electric bills and taxes will be much higher to pay for this very risky and secretive venture! I wonder how long it will be before Hydro-Quebec, labor unrest, unforeseen construction problems or out of control cost overruns throws a wrench into the Muskrat Falls project? Whether the Government of Newfoundland likes it or not, there are many questions regarding the Muskrat Falls project which must be asked and answered.

  • jerome bennett
    December 17, 2012 - 17:42

    I don't buy this crap.Stand tall my ass.Open up the books and be accountable please.Too much money for these clowns to sink into another black hole like the Upper Grand.

  • mr. scrooge
    December 17, 2012 - 17:38

    i taught the DOOMSDAY prediction was dec 21, after seeing these 3 go YAP YAP YAP, the DOOMSDAY starts today for newfoundland/labrador.

  • Charlie
    December 17, 2012 - 17:04

    Great, maybe now the government will be able to something other than bicker with other parties and groups about the deal. What will they use next to get voter's minds off the dismal economy.

  • W Bagg
    December 17, 2012 - 16:59

    Who writes those speeches?

  • Maurice E. Adams
    December 17, 2012 - 16:58

    The premier says this is the "fortunate generation". She is right about that, because it will be future generations that will pay the price.

  • Jay
    December 17, 2012 - 16:52

    A "formal singing of the sanctioning document?" Who put the music to that?