Thursday, March 24, 2011

On eve of federal election, NL had better watch its back

This is a dangerous time for Newfoundland and Labrador.

On the eve of an expected federal election, the Harper Conservatives can’t see past Quebec (75 seats).

From a political perspective, NL (7 seats) doesn’t exist.

The Globe and Mail reports today that the Harper Conservatives have inked a deal with Quebec for the development of Old Harry, a Gulf of St. Lawrence prospect that could contain billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas.

Quebec and Ottawa have apparently agreed to a joint management and revenue-sharing agreement, similar to the Atlantic Accords that the federal government struck separately with NL and Nova Scotia in the 1980s.

Details of the agreement — to be unveiled today — will apparently “open the door” to oil exploration by providing Quebec with 100 per cent of the royalties from offshore resources.

But there’s another major impediment to the development of Old Harry that has been outstanding for more than 30 years, an obstacle that I reported on last fall for Atlantic Business magazine.

Quebec and NL have yet to agree on an offshore boundary.

Located in the Laurentian Channel, Old Harry is about 29 kilometres long and straddles the Quebec-Newfoundland boundary, agreed to by Quebec in 1964, but still disputed by Newfoundland and Labrador.

Considering the chilly relationship between NL and Quebec over development of the Lower Churchill hydro project in Labrador and the transmission of power through Quebec — not to mention a continued bid for redress on the Upper Churchill contract — the chances of reaching an agreement on the Gulf boundary have been a challenge, to say the least.

But then VOCM Open Line host Randy Simms speculated today that the Kathy Dunderdale administration may have traded off the province's claim to Old Harry in exchange for a loan guarantee from the federal government on the Lower Churchill.

The Montreal Gazette reports that the 1964 boundary has been recognized.

Dangerous times indeed.


Brad Cabana said...

He was speculating a trade off. It would be the worst possible trade ever to give up at least 50% of $200 billion (Old Harry) for loan guarantees for the Lower Churchill deal that would save us $900 million over the life of the fiancing. Surely that isn't the trade off. If that were the trade off I would expect to see people in the streets of St John's along the lines of Egypt. Ant trade off to share Old Harry should have at a minimum renegotiating the Upper Churchill to a minimum 50/50 share, and a $10 billion compensation pay out for the previous 30 years. At a minimum. This is our best chance to make a big move for the people. If it's blown, so will the financial future of this land. Some of us are planning plan B's incase our politicians try to sell us down the road.

Brad Cabana said...

Speaking of in case, the Montreal Gazzette released a story stating Paradis has agreed to give Quebec the 1964 boundary. This despite the fact that the Federal arbitration panel which resolved our dispute with Nova Scotia stated the 1964 agreement was not an agreement in law, and could not be used to set maritime boundaries. Regardless of political stripe, we can't let the Province take one here - the stakes are too big. I spoke with the Editor of the Gazzette and he agrees. He's going to interview Dunderdale and the PQ politcos once he sees the actual document.

Anonymous said...

Dave Callahan said ...
I think history both distant and recent , have proven that any deal inked with Quebec , that even remotely has anything to do with Newfoundland , is a going to be a bad one for us .
And rather than spending a huge amount of money to go through the futile process of litigation which Quebec will , and always does win ,
BUY FRIGGIN GUNBOATS AND WAIT RIGHT ALONGSIDE "OLD HARRY" and blow the drill rigs all the way back to Quebec .

I know this may sound a little foolish , and it was meant that way . But what is just as foolish would be to think we would win anything in a fight that takes something away from Quebec . Stephen Harper just did us in again , for his benefit and political gain in Quebec.
If this is a tradeoff for a deal on a loan guarantee with Ottawa to develop the Lower Churchill , then whoever inked that deal is an idiot.With the demand that will be placed on cheap ,safe,and clean energy in the US and Canada now as a result of the Nuclear disaster in Japan , this deal will be easy to finance , without having to give up anything. However , I feel that this must be moreso Quebec having its way with us again , literally, Newfoundlanders are far too bright to be goaded into a foolish deal like this . Aren't we?

Anonymous said...

The problem with Newfoundland and Labrador is that its full of Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans.So says Canada.

We as a people have been treated no better in Canada as a people, a nation or as a distinct society in Canada then the Jewish people that have lived in Germany before 1939.

Mr Harper has done more then the impossible.First, he had turned me into a Liberal wanting nothing more then to see him disappear from Canada.Now he has done something more incredible. He has turned me into a separtist.

I see now that we as a people have no more a place in Canada then a fish has out of water.

As a former Canadian Armed Forces member myself I see that my time serving what I thought was my country was nothing more then a waste of time.Placing my life in Danger in such places as Rwanda, the Golan Heights and others as a waste of time on my part.

I now stand waiting for a Messiah.Someone to lead our nation out of bondage and into the promised land of self rule.

Calvin Noonan

Brampton Ontario Canada

( Formerly of Orch Pit Cove Newfoundland and Labrador )