Bill for transformer move just $240,000
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.
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.