Lorraine Michael Question Period (11.04.2013)

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

MS MICHAEL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
Emera and Nalcor's latest application to the Nova Scotia utility board is, in essence, a new deal, and there are experts who are saying that. That agency will rule on whether this deal meets conditions set for project sanction of the Maritime Link, an essential piece of Muskrat Falls.
So, Mr. Speaker, I ask the Premier: Will she submit this new proposal to the PUB so they can decide if it is a good deal for the people of this Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, I love it every time I have an opportunity to get up and talk about what a wonderful project this is for Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Mr. Speaker, many times in this House of Assembly in the last two years we have been accused, by parties opposite, for building this project and trying to build the Maritime Link and bring the power to markets that did not exist – did not exist in the Maritimes, Mr. Speaker, did not exist in New England. Here we are today, Mr. Speaker, we cannot even get out of Nova Scotia. We can sell everything that we are producing in Nova Scotia.
This is not a new deal, Mr. Speaker. In terms of Muskrat Falls the plan always was 40-40-20. It still is, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The Leader of the Third Party.

MS MICHAEL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I ask the Premier: Why is the future of her $8 billion-plus Muskrat Falls hydro project that we are paying for being decided by a Nova Scotia PUB charged with ensuring their province gets the best deal for Nova Scotians, not for people in this Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, that is a wonderful question, because it captures the whole disconnect between this debate since the very first days. Muskrat Falls, first and foremost, is being built for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Anything we are doing with Emera, Mr. Speaker, is to commercialize the extra power we have until we need it here in Newfoundland and Labrador, either for industrial development, hopefully in Labrador, or for increasing demand from ratepayers in the Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS MICHAEL:Mr. Speaker, I am asking the Premier: Will she explain to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, while the people of Nova Scotia enjoy far lower electricity rates from the Muskrat Falls Project than they are, who will be carrying the financial burden? Explain that to the people of this Province.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, I can explain it again. It has been explained over and over again, even by the PUB. Their experts, Manitoba Hydro, have explained time and time again that Muskrat Falls for us is the least-cost option. We have to build generation. We have to run transmission lines the length and breadth of this Province. There is over a $2 billion difference between Muskrat Falls and the next least-cost option. They have never been able to disprove that fact. If you can, do it, please.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS MICHAEL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
On Friday, the government announced that low-income wage earners will be waiting another year before receiving any relief through a wage increase.
I ask the Premier: Will she explain to the lowest paid workers in this Province why she did not follow the recommendations of her advisory committee to bring minimum wage up to a level that would meet the cost of living?
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister Responsible for the Labour Relations Agency.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am indeed very pleased to be able to speak to that particular question. We are very pleased with the announcement we made on Friday.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KING: It puts us in a spot, Mr. Speaker, where at this point in time the announced wage increases we have on the table puts us as only two jurisdictions in Canada will be ahead of us based on that announcement. We are very proud of that.
We have done a lot of other things besides the minimum wage increase, Mr. Speaker, to support those low-income earners in our Province. I talk about the Home Heating Rebate, the drug plan, the health care plan we provide, the low-income supplement for seniors, just to name a few.
There is more to supporting low-income families and low-income earners in this Province, I say, than simply raising the minimum wage. That is why we have a complete suite of packages available.

Associated Caucus Members: 

Share this page: