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Former N.L. premier expected to take stand at Muskrat Falls inquiry

Kathy Dunderdale was at the political helm when Muskrat Falls, a $12.7 billion hydroelectric project that has turned into a boondoggle, received sanction in 2012

December 17, 2018  The Canadian Press

ST. JOHN’S, N.L.—A former premier of Newfoundland and Labrador who sanctioned the Muskrat Falls hydro project is scheduled to testify at an inquiry looking into the controversial project.

The first phase of the hearing is set to wind down this week with former premier Kathy Dunderdale expected to take the stand.

Dunderdale was at the political helm when Muskrat Falls received sanction in 2012, marking the occasion with a celebration at Confederation Building in St. John’s at the time.

Her testimony comes after the inquiry heard dramatic testimony last week from Ed Martin, the former CEO of the Crown corporation behind the project.

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Martin was head of Nalcor Energy until 2016, and was described by inquiry co-counsel Kate O’Brien as the “gatekeeper” overseeing the Labrador dam that has doubled in costs to more than $12.7 billion.

His combative testimony prompted commissioner Richard LeBlanc to lose his patience and slam his hand on the table, telling Martin he’d had enough of his “foolishness.”

Peter Alteen of Newfoundland Power is also due to take the stand, followed by Dunderdale who is scheduled for the remainder of the week.

She is the last scheduled witness during this first phase of the inquiry.