Boondoggle chasing

Boondoggle chasing r1 ... View archive version A couple weeks back I received a message from reporter Sarah Cox that stirred a mix of excitement and anxiety in me.

In short: she wanted us to send her to Newfoundland. Why? Well, there’s a public inquiry going on there right now into the Muskrat Falls hydro dam, a project that is years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget.

The inquiry is looking into why the project was pursued, why it wasn’t stopped by the provincial government as costs skyrocketed and whether it was really the best option for new power. It’s also digging deep to find out when regulators recognized the project was a terrible deal for hydro customers.

Sound familiar?

The case of Muskrat Falls has haunting similarities to the Site C dam in B.C. and Manitoba’s Keeyask dam — except, in the case of Muskrat Falls, this public inquiry is actually going to give the public some answers.

What’s more, Sarah told me, embattled contractor SNC-Lavalin is going to be on the witness stand at the inquiry the week of March 25.

Queue my editorial fretting: this is a really big story — and, aside from local media, almost no one is covering it. But sending a reporter to Newfoundland for a week isn’t cheap. Airfare and other travel expenses alone run about $2,500.

The price tag would cause a lot of cash-starved news outlets to stop in their tracks. But this inquiry is important for all of Canada and the whole point of The Narwhal is to report on stories that aren’t being covered elsewhere. The long and the short of it is: I said yes.

I said yes because I had faith that you — our readers — would be willing to help us send Sarah to Newfoundland.

Within a few days, I heard from one major donor who offered to cover half of Sarah’s costs if I can just find the other half. That means we need just 25 lovely readers to give $50 apiece.

Are you one of them? If so, please give $50 or whatever you can today so we can get Sarah to the inquiry.

Read on to find out what else we've been digging up this week!

Emma Gilchrist
Editor-in-chief, The Narwhal

B.C. approves 314 new cutblocks in endangered caribou habitat over last five months

By Sarah Cox

The new cutblocks cover almost 16,000 hectares in total, an area almost eight times the size of the city of Victoria. Read more.

VIDEO: It's freaky warm up North

By Jimmy Thomson

Much of Canada's North is in the grip of a heatwave. It may not seem warm by southern standards, but the 17 degrees Celsius seen in some parts of the Northwest Territories this week is far above the historical average for March. Records are being broken across the North, and the unseasonable warmth is reminding people of what's to come with climate change. Watch the video.

What the federal budget offers Canada’s struggling journalism industry

By Emma Gilchrist

Tax breaks, labour rebates and, at long last, the possibility of charitable support for news. Read more. ICYMI:

Two Banff National Park wolf packs likely decimated by trappers

By Sharon J. Riley
Just outside Banff National Park, Craig Comstack, an avid outdoorsman, felt the prickly sensation of being watched.

His eyes met those of a wolf, just 10 metres away. It was huge, he said — much, much bigger than his own dogs.

He froze.

Then he noticed that the wolf was trapped in a wire snare. Comstack and the wolf stared at each other.

“I wish there was something I can do to help,” Comstack remembers thinking. Read more.

Healing and hope: how Indigenous guardians are transforming conservation

By Judith Lavoie
Australia has reached its international conservation commitments through Indigenous Protected Areas, creating 3,000 jobs in the process. Will Canada follow suit? Read more. Note from a Narwhal "This ain't 'alt-journalism'. It's the journalism you would see if your newspaper had an environment section." — Nicole

Heck yes, Nicole. Thanks for your support!

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