Brian Lee Crowley

Lower Churchill pledge is mostly political

The Toronto Star asked me what I thought of the recent Conservative promise to help the Lower Churchill hydro-electric project in Newfoundland and Labrador:

The mega-project will transmit power generated in Labrador via two sub-sea transmission cables, first to Newfoundland, across the island, and then across the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Nova Scotia for distribution to lucrative North American markets.

Some suggest Harper has made a “political calculation, not an economic” one.

“I think this ‘green’ stuff is a total fig leaf,” said economist Brian Lee Crowley of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, an Ottawa-based think-tank.

Crowley said there are other cost-efficient clean energy alternatives, with natural shale gas projects coming on-stream and prices dropping.

“This is the Tories signalling to Newfoundland that they will help them in the decades-long battle to the death with Quebec over control of hydro resources in Labrador . . . It’s about using Newfoundland nationalism in order to get back in the good graces of the Newfoundland voter.”

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Brian Lee Crowley