Bill for trans­former move just $240,000

The Labradorian - - FRONT PAGE - BY EVAN CAREEN

While the costs for the RCMP have not been tal­lied yet, the costs for the RNC and sher­iffs re­lated to the Nal­cor trans­former move in Labrador this sum­mer comes in at $239,610.49, ac­cord­ing to an ATIPP re­quest by the Labradorian.

The num­ber of of­fi­cers who were in Labrador for the move is un­cer­tain, with the RCMP stat­ing “op­er­a­tional rea­sons” for not giv­ing the num­ber de­ployed. When the RCMP were de­ployed to Muskrat Falls in Oc­to­ber 2016 for the demon­stra­tions at the gates, the cost was in ex­cess of $750,000, for less of­fi­cers and for far less time. Jus­tice Min­is­ter An­drew Par­sons has said in in­ter­views he ex­pects the num­ber to be in the $10-mil­lion range once RCMP costs are in­cluded.

The of­fi­cers were de­ployed to Labrador to en­sure the safe pas­sage of trans­form­ers des­tined for the Muskrat Falls project. There were no ma­jor in­ci­dents re­lated to the move and many say the of­fi­cers were a waste of money.

Denise Cole, a mem­ber of the Labrador Land Pro­tec­tors, said these costs are “ridicu­lous and un­nec­es­sary.”

“Those of us in Labrador pro­tect­ing against the hy­dro project have al­ways been peace­ful, we have never threat­ened any of the equip­ment that has come to the work site and it’s been com­ing to our ports and trav­el­ling our roads since 2012,” she told the Labradorian.

She pointed out that Nal­cor ne­go­ti­ated an agree­ment with the Town of Cartwright to travel the trans­form­ers through and Nu­natuKavut, who threat­ened re­sis­tance to the trans­form­ers, is now in a new re­la­tion­ship with Nal­cor.

“So it was re­ally overkill for any such ser­vices (RCMP, sher­iffs, etc.) to pro­tect Nal­cor’s trans­form­ers be­cause let’s be hon­est, it was never about pub­lic safety,” she said. “If gov­ern­ment was re­ally con­cerned about the safety of peo­ple in Labrador, es­pe­cially us down­stream, they would put money to­wards the rea­son­able re­quests we’ve had for years now.”

Cole said if safety was a con­cern gov­ern­ment would sup­port the in­de­pen­dent re­view of the North Spur, they would have en­forced the methylmer­cury agree­ment, and they would start a foren­sic au­dit of Nal­cor right now.

She said the of­fi­cers de­ployed was re­lated to in­tim­i­da­tion.

“Gov­ern­ment will try to blame Land Pro­tec­tors for those costs and that will be a lie,” she said. “Po­lice on site can tell you that. Sher­iffs run­ning around search­ing tents to have them come out empty handed will tell you that. There were no threats from us even though the vi­o­lence gov­ern­ment showed us in their ac­tions was very clear.”

The Department of Jus­tice and Pub­lic Safety told the Labradorian the cost of the RCMP of­fi­cers will be made avail­able once the in­for­ma­tion has been re­ceived by gov­ern­ment.

FILE PHOTO

These two char­ter buses used to trans­port peace of­fi­cers were some of the ve­hi­cles var­i­ous po­lice forces used to bring in of­fi­cers dur­ing the sum­mer.

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