Go Home Out of It
By: Ryan Young
The ongoing feud between former premiers Roger Grimes and Danny Williams got raised up another notch last week with an indirect war of words between the two former political heavyweights. Williams was making headlines with his speech to the St. John’s Board of Trade while Grimes was speaking out to the media, with both men coming to very different conclusions.
You can’t really blame Roger Grimes for taking his chance to get in a few shots. The man was dragged through the mud and back again during the 2003 election and campaign and for years afterwards by an angry Williams who was resentful that Grimes could hang on as premier for so long without ever being elected to that high post. Cummupins were a long time coming for Ole Grimey, but with the facts we now know about Danny’s legacy, Muskrat Falls, Roger Grimes has been eager to let the public know that despite all the mud-slinging, Danny didn’t know best after all.
In a recent CBC story, Grimes calls Muskrat Falls “the price of pride.” He maintains that his government was very close to reaching an agreement with Hydro Quebec to develop Gull Island, but that the deal was nixed after the election because Williams was unwilling to deal with Quebec. He refers to the Maritime Link as an “extension cord across the gulf,” and blasts Danny’s vision as being a short-sighted and petty “screw you” to La Belle Province that never made any economic sense.
Williams fired back in his Board of Trade speech by assuring us all that Muskrat is indeed a good deal, but the benefits will not be realized until years down the road. He rationalized mitigating electricity rates by saying that we only had to extend the debt terms and use profits from Nalcor to keep rates down to manageable levels. It all sounds very well and good when you listen to Danny go on in his great oratory style, but when you look a little deeper, things begin to fall apart. For starters, Nalcor has not returned one cent of dividends for the province since it was created by Williams in 2007, and any future revenue will come from the rate payers who will be forced to buy Muskrat power at outlandish prices. As for extending the debt schedule, that is all fine and good for the now, but do we really want to push any more of that debt along to our children and grandchildren? Muskrat Falls is not, and never has been a good deal, no matter how much Danny may try to spin it that way.
Just why are we listening to Danny Williams and Roger Grimes anyway? Both men have had their time in the sun, and are long past the time that they should be bowing out of the public eye. Yes, Danny wants to do his best to convince us all that his legacy project is anything other than what it actually is, a big mistake, but no amount of speeches can contradict the realities that the common folk will now face because Danny likes a good gamble. Grimes wants to enjoy the “I told you so” for as long as he can, and you really can’t blame him after the abuse he took, but you have to wonder if he might have been better served by doing his gloating on the inside and letting history settle the score for him instead of taking every possible opportunity to speak-out against his old political nemesis.
Its time for Danny and Roger to bow out and give up on the game. They each had their turn and they will each have to let the years decide who was the better premier. The petty back and forth between two grown men just highlights how much of a joke #nlpoli has really become. When you have two former premiers going toe to toe on an issue, while the current premier stands back and enjoys the brief distraction, you really have to wonder what the hell is going on in this province.
What we need right now is strong leadership and accountability. Dwight Ball promised both in abundance, but has delivered on neither. If Muskrat is such a good project and the North Spur is really nothing to worry about, then show us the data and open the books. It doesn’t have to be so shady, all you have to do is tell the truth and let people see for themselves. Instead we are treated to a great big game of egos and we never get any closer to the truth. We don’t need the egos of two former premiers hanging over this project any longer. It’s time for the by’s to go home out of it and leave their legacies for history to decide.