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ON THE 11th HOUR: when the war went quiet
Surely it boosts the confidence of Newfoundlanders to hear that Premier Dwight Ball met with Quebec Premier Francois Legault and talked about developing Gull Island.
Hydroelectric potential of 2,250 megawatts is available to be developed by private interests, and markets thirsty for power await its export to the U.S.
Not only Ball says so. Nalcor Energy CEO Stan Marshall also mused recently about Boondoggle II, i.e. Gull Island.
Regarding Gull Island, Marshall told reporters last week, “Don’t be scared now, just because you made a mistake over here, that you can’t pursue opportunities. You have to have a vision. You have to understand risk.”
Newfoundlanders at all levels excel at black humour.
Regular consumers of news will recognize these arguments. They will scratch their heads, or roll their eyes, or throw something against the wall, and wonder, didn’t we already go through all this?
Some people have probably already stopped reading this column, and have run to the phone or computer to book passage to North Sydney.
You’d better get on that ferry while you still can. As soon as Ball builds the “fixed link” to the mainland — another topic discussed by the two premiers — the federal government will have a valid reason and a good excuse to stop funding the Port aux Basques-North Sydney ferry service.
Nothing has been learned from Boondoggle I. Ball and his Liberals are already dreaming of developing Boondoggle II, and the fantasy of digging a tunnel underneath the Gulf of St. Lawrence will become Boondoggle III before the hole is even 100 feet deep.
Newfoundlanders could rejoice if Ball would stop spending their money for a minute and look at a map.
Yes, getting to Halifax and the mainland in general is an irritating ordeal, especially if you hate the ocean, which more and more Newfoundlanders seem to.
OK, so under Ball’s “fixed link” plan, you would instead drive far up the Great Northern Peninsula, to St. Barbe. It’s quite a distance. Not for nothing is it called the Great Northern Peninsula. It’s spectacular, but even so.
Once there, you would enter Ball’s Burrow and traverse a tunnel beneath the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Moments later, you’d get out your French phrasebook, because you’d be in Blanc Sablon, Quebec. The Mainland!
Uh oh. Unfolding your map of La Belle Province, you would realize you are 1,100 kilometres away from Quebec City.
Notice has yet to be given about when the St. John’s Convention Centre will permanently close its doors, as its main mode of business involves conference delegates flying to St. John’s and spewing tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
One of your passengers might say, “1,100 kilometres? Why does that sound familiar?”
Then you would remember it was the distance of the transmission line to St. John’s from the now-shuttered Muskrat Falls dam.
A day later, you find yourself in Quebec City, the nearest point to cross the St. Lawrence River. You remind yourself it’s a damn good thing you like driving, because you’ve got another 1,000 kilometres to go to Halifax.
Oh well, as least you’ll get to pass through beautiful New Brunswick. While enjoying the scenery, you can muse that the projected $2.7-billion fixed link turned out to be a bargain at $5.4 billion.
All that gas you’ll burn will cause some tut-tutting around the table at St. John’s city council, which this week declared a climate emergency.
Council members gave no indication of when the wrecking balls will start swinging at all those city-approved drive-thrus.
Similarly, an announcement is surely forthcoming that cruise ships will no longer be welcome in St. John’s harbour.
Also, notice has yet to be given about when the St. John’s Convention Centre will permanently close its doors, as its main mode of business involves conference delegates flying to St. John’s and spewing tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Bookings have undoubtedly already been made and contracts signed, so it might be a few weeks until council can give a date for shuttering the convention centre, and alternate uses to which it might be put.
Of course, there is a slight chance these things won’t happen, and St. John’s city council will reveal itself to be just another collection of hot-air-producing hypocrites. We declare a climate emergency … unless, um, it costs us money.
Lots of people seem to be excited about the impending visit to St. John’s of former U.S. president Barack Obama, one of the world’s most famous hypocrites.
Please, somebody who has tickets, ask him if he will admit that his military intervention in Syria is mostly responsible for that country’s resulting civil war and exodus of refugees. Thank you, in advance.
Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.