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It’s a good thing the people of Newfoundland and Labrador have a healthy sense of humour — they need it. Given that their province sees so many political crises, if they couldn’t laugh, they’d have to cry. Wednesday brought another opportunity to display their stoicism, as an august group of local and federal worthies appeared in St. John’s, all smiles and nodding heads, to paint a happy face on a multibillion-dollar bailout for the province’s latest financial disaster. This particular disaster, the catastrophically mismanaged Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project, is the work of many politicians over many years, all claiming to be toiling for the betterment of the people, while pushing the province to the edge of a cliff it could still topple over. Muskrat Falls was a debacle-in-waiting from the day it was born. Former premier Danny Williams pushed hard for it to be built, despite any of the lessons that should have been learned from Newfoundland’s earlier calamity at Churchill Falls, a similar hydro megaproject that was supposed to provide cheap power for a generation and ended up, in the words of another Newfoundland premier, becoming “the biggest giveaway in history.”

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