June 28, 2017
For Immediate Release

Important Questions, Serious Allegations:

Commission an Independent Audit of Muskrat Falls Project Now

Paul Davis, Leader of the Official Opposition, is urging Premier Dwight Ball to commission a thorough, independent audit of the Muskrat Falls Project right now.

“In light of important questions, serious allegations and contradictory statements about the sanctioning, management and costs of the Muskrat Falls Project, it is clearly in the public interest that people be informed sooner rather than later about the facts by an authority that is truly independent, impartial, trustworthy, highly respected and fully empowered to examine all aspects of the project, from its conception to the present day,” said Davis.

“The previous administration released numerous independent reports by Manitoba Hydro International, Navigant, Ziff, Hatch and others about various aspects of the project, which was also reviewed by the Government of Canada when it provided a loan guarantee. When further questions were raised, Premier Tom Marshall and I, as Premier, commissioned and released oversight committee reports to dig into the numbers and focus a brighter spotlight on project management. We released those reports from early 2014 right up until the government changed in December 2015. When the Ball government took over, however, they clamped down on the release of oversight reports and have hidden their management of the project behind a veil of secrecy. No oversight reports were released in their first 18 months. Why not?”

“Stan Marshall stated in March 2016 that he had the cost overruns under control and was not expecting any more surprises. Last Friday, Mr. Marshall’s update added an additional billion dollars to the project without providing a clear breakdown of the additional costs. This billion-dollar cost increase has happened under the watch of the new CEO and the Liberals. Why such a large jump over the past year? Are the Liberals attempting to shy away and distract from discussing the billion-dollar cost increase that has happened under their watch? The recent news conferences by the Premier, the Natural Resources Minister and the new Nalcor CEO – awash in innuendo – have raised more questions than they have answered,” said Davis.

“The Premier’s refusal to immediately commission a thorough, independent audit of the project is indefensible and raises suspicion. Where is the Nalcor Board of Directors on this very important issue? They have a responsibility to ensure the best interests of the people of the province are protected. People want an independent authority to tell them, not only who knew what when, but where the new numbers are coming from – not only if there was lowballing of the numbers in the past, but if there is highballing of the numbers now. Our government demanded that kind of oversight, but the current Liberal government is running from scrutiny by hiding the oversight reports and finding excuses to delay or avoid a thorough, independent audit. If the Premier has nothing to hide, let him commission an auditor who is truly independent, authoritative and empowered to look at everything, including the current project management. And let that audit be released directly to the people through the Speaker of the House of Assembly, without filtering by the current administration,” said Davis.

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Media Contact:
Heather MacLean, Director of Operations and Communications
Office of the Official Opposition
(709) 729 6105, heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca