You just don’t know what a new day will bring to politics from Confederation Hill. Just a few weeks ago at the Liberal Convention in Gander, Premier Dwight Ball, smiling like a Cheshire cat after eating the whole codfish by himself, guaranteed the skeptics in the audience that they would win the next election. Perhaps he knew something that very few knew at the time. He had a secret he wanted to share but, it wasn’t time.
And then the new slogan setting up his campaign for the next election appeared on the horizon. New frontiers were to be exploited. Perhaps the Liberal government was going to take us where no other political party has taken us before? They’re proposing to go deeper than anyone has ever gone before in search of black gold, not into space but underground, under the ocean, over a 1,000 metres down.
Forget Muskrat Falls. It will disappear if we don’t think about it. Act like it’s not ours.
If you want the deepest oil proposal site, go to Bay du Nord. That’s the New Frontier. It seems it has the potential of billions in revenues and hundreds of jobs. Excuse us, hundreds of jobs? Shouldn’t that be thousands of jobs? The Liberals are proposing to spend another x-number billion of dollars on a few hundred jobs and they’re smiling and looking for photo-op sessions from the media?
Haven’t they forgotten something? Muskrat Falls, perhaps? Remember, ratepayers of this province and this province only paid a hefty price for voting Progressive Conservative and their pipe dreams a few short years ago, and that $12.7 billion owing on that project is still ongoing.
Whatever will become of Muskrat Falls now that the New Frontier has been blessed by those high in the heavens? It’s time to move on from attention-seeking Muskrat, it has too many flaws and there’s a New Way to do things, enough of Muskrat Falls. We must pursue greater adventures, greater alliances, increase our debt by more billions, trillions, if necessary; let the future take care of itself. That’s the only way out of this financial quagmire we’re in. Spend, spend, spend until it really hurts like hell, then spend some more. Spend what we don’t have and never had. Spend like there is no tomorrow. Spend like we have billions and billions and trillions and trillions. Who cares?
The government says there’s no money to do anything. Suddenly, without warning, there is a second multi-billion-dollar project. Where did that money come from? It must be, it has to be from the secret vaults in the lower bowels of the people’s building on Confederation Hill. Politicians are sitting on it as we speak.
So, don’t believe any government when they say there is no money. There’s always billions and billions. So, go ahead, spend until the waters off our coast are once again teeming with codfish. Forget Muskrat Falls. It will disappear if we don’t think about it. Act like it’s not ours. There’s a New Frontier to be conquered. “The future of our offshore begins today” exclaimed the premier.
The project will have an estimated operating cost of $10.9 billion and cost $6.8 billion to get it up and running. What’s another $6.8 billion to really get the province up and running? Nothing, mere pittance.
Sound familiar? Thousands and thousands of jobs will be created, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will come back home and feast on all the wealth generated by this potential project. They will never have to leave again and it will pay for Muskrat Falls.
The reality? There won’t be thousands and thousands of jobs created, our long dispersed ex-patriots will not be returning home, and it won’t pay for Muskrat Falls. There’s an estimated 500 jobs to be created from these billions. Does any of this sound familiar? Will this New Frontier become another pitiful, debt-ridden boondoggle? If it does, who will pay the price this time?
Scotty, Spock, Capt. Kirk, if you’re listening, please beam us out of here. Quickly, Scotty. Are you there?
Ah, the New Frontier, going where no Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have gone before. To the depths of debt and beyond. Bon voyage.