Lorraine Michael Question Period (03.07.2013)

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Third Party.

MS MICHAEL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

In December, the Premier stopped at nothing to ensure Muskrat Falls legislation was passed in the House.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the Premier, if she was aware then of the $1.6 billion deficit when she was forcing the Muskrat Falls mega debt project on Newfoundlanders and Labradorians through the House of Assembly this past fall?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, let me repeat again how happy I am to be back in the House of Assembly because we really have to start dealing with fact as opposed to spin. Muskrat Falls is one of the best projects to happen to this Province in a very long time, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Mr. Speaker, this week we heard the Leader of the Third Party talking about diversifying the economy, government had to diversify the economy. Well, Muskrat Falls is diversifying the economy, Mr. Speaker.

Twenty billion dollars will come into the coffers of Newfoundland and Labrador, thanks to Muskrat Falls, Mr. Speaker. The only puzzle in all of this is why the Leader of the Third Party remains against this project, Mr. Speaker. Stakeholders like unions support it. Her national leader supports it, Mr. Speaker. She still stands against one of the best things in Newfoundland (inaudible).

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Third Party.

MS MICHAEL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I point out to the Premier that another huge mega development – this project in this Province is not diversification of our economy. I want a yes or no answer, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS MICHAEL: Yes or no –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair has recognized the Leader of the Third Party.

MS MICHAEL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I just want a yes or no answer. Did the Premier in December know that we had a $1.6 billion deficit looming in the future? Yes or no?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Mr. Speaker, let me share a little life lesson with the Leader of the Third Party. You do not always get what you want.

Mr. Speaker, Muskrat Falls is a good development. Mr. Speaker, yes, we knew we were coming to a deficit in 2012-2013, and if you had read the budget documents for the last four years you would have known also. Mr. Speaker, we have heard spin from the Opposition parties talk about our deficit being due to $600 million transferred to Muskrat Falls.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Spin, spin, spin, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Absolute spin.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Speaker has acknowledged the Premier. The Premier has the floor.

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, we have heard from both Opposition parties over the last number of weeks about the deficit and the fact that $600 million have been allocated to Nalcor for Muskrat Falls. Wrong, check the facts. Do not continue on your practice of not allowing the facts to interfere with –

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The Leader of the Third Party.

MS MICHAEL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I did not hear a yes or no answer to the $1.6 billion. All I heard was spin.

Mr. Speaker, last year the Premier said her government was conducting a review to try and reduce spending and they were going to protect jobs as best they could. She also said that her first priority was to provide efficient, effective services for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. With job losses mounting, her first priority seems to have changed, Mr. Speaker.

I ask the Premier: Will she table the core mandate review that was started a year ago so that the people of the Province can see what her priorities really are?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, our principles remain the same, and our record speaks for itself. In the last nine years we have come from a virtually bankrupt Province, Mr. Speaker, to have one of the leading economies in this country.

In terms of fiscal management, Mr. Speaker, our work has been validated by no less than the Governor of the Bank of Canada, our bond rating agencies, our banks across the country. Every think tank in this country validates the work that is being done. It is hard to listen to criticism from the Opposition, who in their day – particularly the Official Opposition, who ran six deficits out of seven and nearly bankrupted this place, Mr. Speaker. It is a far different picture in Newfoundland and Labrador today then there was in 2003, and we will not give up the progress –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The Leader of the Third Party.

MS MICHAEL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS MICHAEL: I ask the Premier, Mr. Speaker: How can she justify spending money on Muskrat Falls while making cuts on the backs of our government service staff to deal with the deficit she has created?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Mr. Speaker, it is hard to understand that after the hours and hours and hours of debate that have taken place, and the number of briefings that have occurred on Muskrat Falls in the last two years, the Leader of the Third Party would still be of the mindset that somehow Muskrat Falls is contributing to the $1.6 billion forecasted deficit, Mr. Speaker.

All I can do, Mr. Speaker, is ask the Leader of the Third Party to show the people of Newfoundland and Labrador where five cents in the 2012-2013 Budget is going to Muskrat Falls. Show us.

Associated Caucus Members: 

Share this page: