Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the
round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're
not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify
them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change
things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the
crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that
they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Steve Jobs
US computer engineer & industrialist (1955 - 2011)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Good Old Harry

When you here the name "Old Harry" you could be forgiven for thinking it might be some old clock in England, or a funny nickname for the old guy down the street. However, Old Harry really stands for big money, big oil and a seriously annoyed Quebec. You see old Harry is the name for a 29km long oil/gas deposit off the coasts of Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Newfoundland. Technically, atleast according to Quebec, the majority, if not the entirety, of Old Harry lies within Quebec's maritime jurisdiction. We can't really call them maritime boarders as the players are all in the same country - although sometimes you might wonder.

This time around, unlike 1969, Newfoundland has got a jump on Quebec in exploiting this massive resource. You see, any province wanting to explore/drill on the offshore must have a revenue sharing agreement in place with the federal government. It must also agree on being compliant to federal legislation and establish regulatory oversight. Newfoundland has already gone through that entire process, and has had many years of experience in the field. Quebec - has not. The Quebec government has been pushing Ottawa to finalize a deal so they can begin hauling in the catch, so to speak, at Old Harry. Ottawa on the other hand has told them to negotiate with Newfoundland first to straighten out the border differences between the two.

Where does that leave Quebec? Deep in it I would say. For starters, Newfoundland has begun work on it's side of the line with an eye on beating Quebec to the field. Afterall, just because they drill on the Newfoundland side of the line doesn't mean they can't empty the Quebec side of the resource. Question that? Go back to the Saddam Hussein days and the slant drilling Kuwait and Iraq were doing to each others fields - depending on who you spoke to. Newfoundland is definately in a position to hand Quebec its first massive financial lose since it lost on the Plains of Abraham. No doubt the separatists in Quebec will say this is yet another humiliation inflicted on Quebec by the rest of Canada.

However, before they speak, they should remember the Upper Churchill. In the resource war that now consumes Atlantic Canada and Quebec, this is just another salvo - albeit painful. There will be no peace, no good will, no sharing amongst the family until the blight that the Power Contract of 1969, and the Upper Churchill enslavement, are set aside for a new agreement. This isn't just a one off. This is going to become the norm - and it is dangerous.

Those of us that love this country are very concerned that pettulant provincial battles constantly rip at her fabric, and the greatness we have as one is threatened by the greed of some. Never has any province in the history of this land been subjected to an economic enslavement such as the Upper Churchill contract by another province. Her own fellow Canadians. It has cost Newfoundland entire lost generations and monumental wealth - replaced of course with massive debt and horrific demographics. The Upper Churchill contract must be set aside voluntarily, or otherwise. If not, the eastern half of this country will come to resemble an internal economic civil war. Quebec needs to understand that greed can only take it so far, and it's dream of dominating the hydro electric market is not going to happen. There is no great separate manifest destiny for the province of Quebec, and she must immediately halt her ridiculous "nationalistic" energy practices.

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