Muskrat Falls has Torngat Mountains MHA Balancing the Personal and the Political

Randy Edmunds is stuck between two worlds.

The MHA for Torngat Mountains says he’s always opposed the Muskrat Falls hydro project, but now he’s a member of the provincial government overseeing it, and he’s found himself walking a line between what he believes and what his party is doing.

“I’ve made no secrets on where I stand on Muskrat Falls, I haven’t changed those views,” Edmunds said.

Still, the Liberals are making key decisions, some of which Edmunds said he can’t support.

The Liberals have refused to commit to fully clearing the dam reservoir, something the Nunatsiavut Government says is necessary to prevent methyl mercury contamination of wild game.

Nunatsiavut, the Inuit territory within Labrador, overlaps with Edmunds’ provincial riding and many of his constituents are worried about contamination.

“When you have a small population and you pretty much know everyone in your district, relationships are more so personal than anything else, and these are people that have a concern that have you painted as a target,” Edmunds said.

Just last weekend someone asked how he sleeps at night.

“Maybe I was a little bit on the edge, and I just said, ‘What makes you think I sleep at night?'”

Amid calls from his constituents to leave the Liberal Party, or resign as MHA, Edmunds maintained that wouldn’t solve anything.

“I took a serious look at that as the project became nearer and nearer to the point of no return,” he said.

“Would that accomplish what everyone wants to see happen in the district I represent? The short answer is no.”

Edmunds said he is better positioned to serve his constituents as a member of the governing party, though he admits speaking out about Muskrat Falls may not earn him many points in caucus.

“There are a lot of other issues that I deal with. We have issues in my district around suicide, we have issues around mental health, we have issues around housing, and the list goes on,” he said.

“By resigning or by crossing the floor, to me, would leave me and the people I represent at more of a disadvantage than we have now.”

As for what the party leadership thinks of his views on Muskrat Falls, Edmunds says he and Premier Dwight Ball have discussed it.

“Dwight knows very well where I stand on Muskrat Falls,” he said.

Story Courtesy of CBC Labrador Morning co-host Bailey White