Tom Marshall, Finance minister on the time of sanctioning of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric mission and previous Newfoundland and Labrador premier, says he knew a trio of people within the division had really useful a hang at the mission plans for one to 2 years to permit for additional evaluation.
Marshall was once Finance minister from October 2009 to January 2013. It incorporated the time of the overall critiques of energy construction choices for Newfoundland, the primary agreements for Muskrat Falls and sanctioning on the finish of 2012.
Offered on the Muskrat Falls Inquiry on Tuesday with an “knowledge word” written via the 3 body of workers participants in Finance in January 2012, Marshall mentioned he did remember it.
“They have been simply letting me have their perspectives,” he mentioned.
On Monday, former Finance deputy minister Terry Paddon had no recollection when offered with the similar file. It wasn’t addressed to somebody and there’s no documentary proof appearing who within the executive would have noticed it.
Marshall in particular recalled asking if the 3 mid-level people who wrote it have been occupied with assembly to speak about what they’d put ahead. He testified he was once instructed on the time they weren’t. And he didn’t consider their advice to extend the mission.
The memo referenced conceivable grievance of the federal government, as Marshall mentioned at the stand, however he idea that’s no longer one thing you’ll insulate the federal government from. There have been feedback at the Public Utilities Board’s (PUB) evaluation of the mission as opposed to an “remoted island” choice, however Marshall mentioned he felt the PUB had the query the province wanted spoke back. And he disagreed with a extend, given his working out time was once in fact at factor.
“This all began with us being instructed there was once a necessity for energy and if we didn’t get the ability via a undeniable date there was once going to be outages. There have been going to be outages, I believe, via 2015 at height occasions after which there have been going to be outages post-2020, 2019, there have been going to be outages always,” he mentioned.
Marshall mentioned if one thing wasn’t finished and there have been outages, equivalent to because of a failing generator at Holyrood, the federal government could be in charge for blackouts.
It was once famous that he and then-Herbal Assets minister Shawn Skinner did — at the side of senior bureaucrats equivalent to Charles Bown and Terry Paddon — reinforce the decision for an unbiased evaluation of mission prices and mission dangers for the federal government. He testified his working out was once the federal government opted to make the connection with the PUB, adopted via the hiring of Manitoba Hydro Global (MHI) for an extra piece of evaluation paintings, involving the extra complex “choice gate 3” charge estimates. He idea that was once honest.
He mentioned it will were useful, even preferable, to have the PUB evaluation when extra complex estimates have been to be had for the associated fee and agenda.
“It could were higher to permit the (PUB’s asked) extension, however that was once no longer the verdict of the federal government,” he mentioned, whilst status via his position as a part of the cupboard within the ultimate choices made.
Regardless of his private reservations and loss of familiarity with the main points, Marshall did give a speech within the Space of Meeting in November 2012 in regards to the PUB evaluation, pronouncing the PUB’s considerations across the evaluation agenda “have been by no means obviously communicated” and the software regulator was once “not able to do their activity.”
It said the later MHI evaluation paintings for the federal government “validated” the hydro megaproject because the least-cost possibility for energy, even though the inquiry has been instructed the guide didn’t come with such things as an estimated $500 million ($497 million in particular) prompt for “strategic possibility,” or whole a possibility research in any respect, it seems that via route.
Marshall mentioned he wasn’t acutely aware of that, or of the “strategic possibility” quantity no longer shared with the general public.
A brand new file entered into proof was once dated Aug. 3, 2012, and titled: “DG3 alignment consultation.” This is a sequence of presentation slides on Nalcor Power letterhead. Amongst different issues, the file contains 11 pages of notes titled “Space of Meeting debate.” They deal with “key messages” and reference a “hit squad” to be energetic all over the talk who have been to assault the location of the NDP and Liberals, and lift negatives tied not to pursuing the mission.
“I don’t recall that and I don’t assume I might have paid a lot consideration to it, slightly frankly,” Marshall mentioned of the bullet issues.
Marshall was once requested via legal professional Dan Simmons, representing Nalcor Power, if he knew a few “communications committee” that incorporated each executive body of workers and Nalcor Power representatives. He requested if Marshall may just say if the presentation was once generated via Nalcor in co-operation with — and on the request of — the federal government. Marshall mentioned he didn’t know.
Marshall continues at the stand Wednesday and is anticipated to be adopted via Jason Kean, who was once a member of Nalcor Power’s mission group.
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