Not a bailout: executive editor Dawn Chafe defends Muskrat Falls rate mitigation

Posted on September 01, 2021 | By Dawn Chafe | 0 Comments

Yes, I’m in favour of the Muskrat Falls rate mitigation proposal. No, this is not an endorsement of any candidate or political party. Yes, I believe this mitigation is necessary if we are ever to have a national energy grid and a decarbonized future. No, it’s not a bailout. And yes, it should not be necessary.

Newfoundland and Labrador is indeed a puzzle, shrouded in mystery, wrapped inside… let’s just say it’s got a lot of issues.

One of the most resource-rich provinces in the country, it is also one of the most economically unstable. Its unreliably-cyclic-highs and all-too-reliable lows are as endemic as its fog-strewn springs and wink-b’y-they’re-gone summers.

Consider its legitimately world-class fishery. It fed countless boats for thousands of years, from Indigenous harvesters and Norse explorers to more recent European and Canadian fleets. Though greedy overfishing caused it to bottom out in the 1990s, today’s N.L. fish and seafood sector is still worth more than a billion dollars a year.

And though much-maligned in a decarbonizing climate, the province’s offshore oil sector produced more than a quarter of Canada’s conventional light crude for the past 30 years—plus more than $22 billion in provincial royalty payments.

Mining, too, has been both a literal and figurative gold mine thanks to abundant reserves of iron ore, nickel, copper, cobalt—and yes, gold. With more than 7,000 people directly employed, mining is one of the province’s oldest and most lucrative industries.
And then there’s Churchill Falls.

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