Why no federal politician would (or should) oppose Muskrat Falls


Twitter was in, well, a twitter last week over a story by the CBC titled “Federal Liberals support Muskrat Falls project: Rae.” There was talk of division between the Liberal Party of Canada and the NL Liberals; suggestions that Liberals were “caving in” to Muskrat Falls. This talk, and these suggestions, couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If people took the time to read past the headline, they would see that Bob Rae also said:

I think that what’s important is that the provincial Liberals are doing their job because they are the people on the ground who are going to have to be assessing exactly how much it’s going to cost, and how it’s going to be financed.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no disconnect between the federal and provincial Liberals when it comes to Muskrat Falls. Pretty much all politicians, of all parties, support the development of Muskrat Falls. It’s how it should be developed is where the government and opposition disagree.

Beyond the obvious misunderstanding of Bob Rae’s comments, the suggestion that there was anything wrong with the federal Liberals supporting Muskrat Falls genuinely surprised me. It is not the job of the federal government to decide if Muskrat Falls is a good deal, or if the project is in the interests of Newfoundlanders & Labradorians. Their job is to be there, when and if the House of Assembly gives Muskrat Falls the go-ahead. While I’m not a fan of the deal that Williams/Dexter struck, if it goes ahead (which it probably will), I’d want to know that the federal government is there to support the province.

Further, it’s not like Bob Rae’s comments announced a new Liberal policy. If anything, it was a reiteration. During the 2011 federal election, Michael Ignatieff also threw his and the Liberal Party’s support behind the project. The NDP supported the project under Jack Layton, and they continue to do so since Thomas Mulcair became leader. Conservative support for the project has also been steady.

So cool the conspiracy theories; Bob Rae isn’t a secret supporter of Kathy Dunderdale. And no, the Liberal Party isn’t stabbing its provincial counterparts in the back.

Of course, Liberal Muskrat Falls policy could change in the next year, with the federal Liberals choosing a new leader in April, and the NL Liberals holding their leadership convention in November of 2013.

We’ll have to wait and see.

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About youngergrit

Postsecondary Rep: Liberal Party of NL; VP (Federal): NL Young Liberals; Policy director: MUN Liberals; Political Science student at Memorial University View all posts by youngergrit

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