The Price of Progress
By: Ryan Young
The price of progress. That’s what we often hear when we talk about projects like Muskrat Falls. The destruction of ancient ecosystems and ancestral lands can always be written off as the progress of man. The desire to build and to achieve bigger and better, and to quench our insatiable thirst for power has always outweighed our desire to protect and to preserve and to use our technology to live in harmony with the land instead of against it.
But I ask you to consider this phrase “the price of progress” very closely. When it comes to Muskrat Falls where is the progress, and how great is the price? We must ask ourselves if the poisoning of our own people for a dam we can’t afford for power we don’t need and can’t sell really qualifies as progress.
Everyone in the province except the most partisan Liberals and Conservatives have accepted the fact that there will never be a profit turned from Muskrat Falls…well, not for the province anyway. Despite assurances from the last five premiers, from Danny to Dwight, that have tried to sell us on the income that will come back from the Muskrat Falls project, it has become quite clear that there is no market for expensive Muskrat power. The billions in cost overruns will be recouped by higher taxes and skyrocketing electricity rates paid by the people of the province and we all know it. So why does our government still try to sell us on this myth? They really must think we are that dumb.
Sadly, the worst price to be paid for this project has no real monetary value. How do you put a price on human life and health? Environment Minister Perry Trimper promises compensation for those affected by methylmercury poisoning, but who determines what a life is worth, or the monetary value of a culture that spans millennia? How do we determine the value of life and property lost if the North Spur does not hold? These are questions that I would not want on my own conscience, but sooner rather than later someone will have to answer them.
So I ask a favor of all of my loyal readers and all of the great people of Newfoundland and Labrador. If you are unable to stand with us today, either in Labrador or St. John’s, please take a moment to write the premier and tell him that you do not support poisoning our own citizens. Tell him that you do not trust Nalcor’s assessment of the North Spur. And most of all, tell him that we refuse to be a province divided, and that you demand action to #makemuskratright
You can email the premier at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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