Newfoundland and Labrador's Natural Resources Minister Jerome Kennedy says he now welcomes the opportunity to debate the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in the house of assembly.
On Tuesday, Nalcor, the government's energy corporation, released a report, which said Muskrat Falls would be the best option to meet the province's energy needs over the next half-century, despite a project cost of $7.4 billion.
Critics of the project, including the provincial opposition parties, have been questioning whether the project is worth the financial risk. Government has said a house of assembly debate on the project will happen in the near future.
On March 24, 2012, on an episode of CBC Television's On Point with David Cochrane, Kennedy said there was no need for a debate on the megaproject.
"The problem right now is that I'm not sure these opposition parties are going to provide quality debate on anything," Kennedy said at the time.
But on Wednesday's Radio Noon Crosstalk on CBC Radio One, Kennedy said his feelings on a Muskrat Falls debate have changed.
"Even though I'm a politician now, that fiery lawyer is still in me. And at that point, I was more critical of critics that I am today," said Kennedy.
"And I became very open to the debate as a result of the PUB's failure to make a decision."
In a report released on April 2, 2012, Newfoundland and Labrador's Public Utilities Board said it did not have enough information to determine whether Muskrat Falls hydroelectricity project would be the best long-term power option for Newfoundland.
Meanwhile, the provincial opposition parties have been fighting with the government over what rules should be in place for the house of assembly debate on Muskrat Falls.
NDP leader Lorraine Michael said a letter sent to opposition leaders last Friday — outlining how the debate will proceed in the House of Assembly — was "heavy-handed."
Kennedy, however, said he's determined to stick with his new outlook on challengers to the government's position on Muskrat Falls.
"What I've tried to do is take into account all the issues that are being raised. Not to look at it emotionally, look at it logically," said Kennedy. "The people in our province have an interest in this … that our critics are not our enemies, they're simply raising issues which they feel have to be raised."
Government has not yet set the date for the house of assembly debate on Muskrat Falls.