«2012 Speech from the Throne The First Session of the Forty-Seventh General Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador March 5, 2012 ...»
The province’s billion-dollar fishing industry remains among Newfoundland and Labrador’s most important. While there are significant challenges in some areas of the fisheries, My Government has been working vigorously to build partnerships and find solutions to these challenges. The fishing industry has been studied for decades. We have a good understanding of the structural deficiencies that serve as impediments to progress. To effect change, we need the collective will to come together for a common purpose, to set aside old agendas and work together to address the core problems. My Government is there. It is imperative that all partners come to the table with a firm resolve to move forward.
Sometimes, with so much focus on the challenges, people lose sight of the opportunities available in global seafood markets and the successes we are achieving in building a stronger fishing industry. Under the province’s Fisheries Technology and New Opportunities Program, we will continue to fund industry-led development projects in the fishing industry, leveraging additional dollars to drive research and development. Newfoundland and Labrador is rapidly becoming the growth centre in Canada for aquaculture, an important contributor to our economy in rural and coastal communities. Continuing investments in aquaculture will enhance biosecurity to safeguard our reputation for product excellence in this growing industry. The new Coastal and Ocean Management Strategy and Policy Framework will advance growth in ocean industries by balancing interests and safeguarding
ecosystems. The province is working with fish processing companies on the establishment of seafood sales consortia. Better market intelligence, export development and targeted promotion will enable this province to increase the value, and enhance the economic benefits, of this billion-dollar industry for the people of the province.
Industries, Regions and Communities
In other sectors as well, Newfoundland and Labrador is growing. The gross value of mineral shipments is forecast to exceed $5.6 billion in 2012, while corporate investments in mineral exploration, which hit a record high of $172 million in 2011, are projected to reach $234 million in 2012. Like shipments and exploration, mining-related employment is also expected to reach a record high this year.
Across all sectors, the level of private sector investment in Newfoundland and Labrador this year is projected to exceed $8 billion, and public capital spending this year will continue to be significant. Economic activity in our province this year will be white hot.
Over the past eight years, My Government has invested billions of dollars in infrastructure to improve the quality of life in our communities and lay a solid foundation for new investment.
The Trans-Labrador Highway is among the most exciting initiatives to happen in our province’s history, and its completion remains among My Government’s highest priorities.
As part of continuing to invest in the growth of communities and regions, My Government is developing a new formula for municipal support which recognizes the contemporary nature of municipal governance and is equitable and transparent. My Government is also encouraging communities to work in partnership with their neighbours to share service delivery wherever possible so that we can take advantage of economies of scale, enhance capacity and promote growth. Through collaboration and innovation, communities will be better able to deliver high-priority services to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.
2012 Speech from the Throne 16 MARCH 5, 2012 NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR Volunteers and non-profit organizations also have a vital role to play in delivering services within communities, strengthening community infrastructure and drawing people together just as such organizations have been doing so effectively for centuries. My Government will work collaboratively with the community organizations to develop innovative approaches to the increasingly complex challenges our people and communities face; it will introduce accountability provisions that measure performance outcomes and help community organizations improve their overall impact; and it will investigate new initiatives that reward results. It will nurture partnerships between and among community, academic, private sector and government bodies because it believes that effective collaboration has the power to make real change and enhance the overall quality of life in our province.
From the smallest partnership to the largest project, Newfoundland and Labrador is growing.
Hebron is expected to make up some of that new growth as the proponents take the last regulatory step before project sanction. The ramp-up of Hebron construction at Bull Arm and other locations will further drive growth and confidence. Together with Vale Inco’s Long Harbour project, Hebron fabrication demonstrates our capacity to add value to commodity industries and enjoy the benefits of skills transfers. Having negotiated equity partnerships in three offshore projects, My Government has established an international reputation for strength and proficiency in the energy sector.
The Shift to Renewable Energy
We are about to take our energy sector leadership to new heights by advancing another project in our energy warehouse. Among the most important things Newfoundland and Labrador can do to fortify and grow our economy is to shift from nonrenewable sources of fuel purchased on the world market to renewable sources of fuel generated here at home.
Wide swings in the price of oil mean instability for jurisdictions that rely on oil to meet power needs. Muskrat Falls gives us an alternative to fossil fuel – an alternative that is not only more stable but also less expensive than any other option.
2012 Speech from the Throne 17 NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR MARCH 5, 2012 The development of Muskrat Falls is needed to meet the electricity needs of individuals, families and businesses in Newfoundland and Labrador. It is the least-cost means of meeting those electricity needs. The project will have the added benefit of transitioning our province from reliance on greenhouse gas-producing fuels to clean, green, renewable energy.
The Muskrat Falls development proposal has received more advance scrutiny than any other project in Newfoundland and Labrador’s history. It has been on the drawing board for decades. Later this year, My Government will make its sanction decision. A number of
significant factors will inform the Government’s decision, including these:
▪ In June 2011, the Government asked the province’s Public Utilities Board to review and report on whether the Muskrat Falls project represents the least-cost option for the supply of power to Island Interconnected customers compared to the Isolated Island development option. The deadline for the final PUB report is March 31, 2012.
▪ In August 2011, the Environmental Assessment Joint Review Panel released its report on the Muskrat Falls generation project. The Government is completing its review of the panel report, including its recommendations, and will communicate its decision in the coming months. The Labrador-Island Link and the Maritime Link are also registered for joint Federal/Provincial Environmental Assessment.
▪ In August 2011, the Governments of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia signed a Memorandum of Agreement to provide a loan guarantee for the Muskrat Falls project.
▪ In September 2011, Nalcor released an independent review of the Muskrat Falls project undertaken by Navigant Consulting. The review validated the proposed development of Muskrat Falls and the Labrador-Island Link as the long-term, leastcost supply option for electricity consumers on the island of Newfoundland.
▪ In November 2011, the official signing of the Innu Land Claims Agreement-inPrinciple, the Lower Churchill Impacts and Benefits Agreement, and the Upper Churchill Redress Agreement occurred.
▪ In February 2012, as part of the PUB review, Manitoba Hydro Inc. released its report that analyzed two generation expansion alternatives: Muskrat Falls, and an Isolated Island system. Manitoba Hydro concluded that Muskrat Falls is the least-cost option to supply power to customers on the Island to meet anticipated load growth.
▪ Last week, the Consumer Advocate affirmed the conclusion of Manitoba Hydro that Muskrat Falls is the least-cost option for supplying energy to the province.
If the Government decides to sanction the project, it will then take the required actions, such as bringing forward the requisite legislation during 2012-13 so the project can move forward.
Partisan campaigns must not colour the Government’s decision. Neither unreasonable attacks nor fear to act should deny people the power they need at the lowest cost. Failure to take the right course of action today would be no different than taking the wrong course of action a generation ago.
Muskrat Falls will be a decisive step toward energy self-reliance, positioning the province not only for Gull Island development later on, but also for the return of control of the Upper Churchill to Newfoundland and Labrador in 2041. In the decades to come, there will be sufficient renewable energy in Labrador to fuel unprecedented growth throughout our province. Not only will we have the natural resource commodities, the skilled workforce, the culture of innovation and the solid backbone of reliable infrastructure that developers require, but we will also have inexpensive power in bountiful supply. What we do not use, we can sell to buyers hungry for power, generating revenue to grow our province and benefit our people.
The Best is Yet to Come Newfoundland and Labrador is ideally positioned to achieve growth the like of which the province has never seen and few in the province ever imagined. This growth is neither fortuitous nor inevitable. It will be achieved only if we continue to make sound decisions and resist the calls to sell ourselves short for lesser gains. It will be achieved only if people park their divisive agendas and come together to partner for growth. This is true in all sectors, including the fisheries. Surely it is time to put Newfoundland and Labrador’s best interests first, to forego the negativity and to focus on people so no one is left behind. My Government has been given a decisive mandate to steer the course and to build on the solid foundation it has established. By creating a healthy climate for business growth and innovation, by supporting individuals as they reach out to grasp the opportunities before them and by sharpening the focus of the public service to concentrate on addressing high priorities, My Government can ensure the peak in economic performance we are enjoying today becomes the new high plateau on which we build a more prosperous society for our children and grandchildren. Considering how far we have come already, we are right to be optimistic, right to be confident and right to believe that the best is indeed yet to come for Newfoundland and Labrador.
Mr. Speaker and Members of the House of Assembly:
Estimates of expenditure will be laid before you in due course and you will be asked to grant supply to Her Majesty.
I invoke God’s blessing upon you as you commence this new Session.
May Divine Providence guide you in your deliberation.
2012 Speech from the Throne www.gov.nl.ca/thronespeech