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PAM FRAMPTON: Muskrat Falls inquiry — no time like the present

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12.01.2019

“Inquiries are created in exceptional circumstances: where there has typically been a total failure to properly address the issue at hand.” — Sarah Chaster, Canadian lawyer

Stan Marshall summoned a spectre this week: that the inquiry into the $12.7-billion hydroelectric development at Muskrat Falls might wind up compounding project costs.

The CEO of Nalcor was responding to a Westney Consulting report that says the inquiry could boost the expense to the Crown corporation by anywhere from $45 million to $165 million — costs ultimately borne by taxpayers.

Marshall said he worries his staff could be distracted or demoralized by the pressures and responsibilities of the inquiry, leading to project delays. Or that sensitive financial information could be divulged that might allow contractors to see the actual size of the pie.

Of course, Marshall has always said he thought any public inquiry into Muskrat Falls should have waited until the project was complete, for those very reasons. So those concerns are not new, and they have some validity, to be sure.

(Marshall’s candour about the things that could go wrong makes a refreshing........

© The Western Star