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)

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Quebec route vs Under the Sea

This weekend, at the annual convention of the Progresive Conservative Party of Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams made it known - Newfoundland will proceed with a sub-sea cable to transmit power from Labrador to eastern markets. Thus, hopefully, ending the debate of selling further power to Quebec for it to retail to the rest of the east.

Of course much of the debate, if not all, was created by the duplicitous actions of Hydro Quebec and the Power Contract of 1969. While hopefully the debate ended this weekend, politically there was absolutely no other option open to the Newfoundland government. To be exact, the cost of the Upper Churchill Falls contract to date, and projected to 2041, at current rates will be aproximately 91.5 billion dollars. That is 91.5 billion dollars Canadian. That is Newfoundlands direct cost. It is necessary to view it in that light as these are revenues that the Newfoundland people did not get to realize. This is money that is floating the mammoth Hydro-Quebec and the neo-nationalist agenda it and the political elite of Quebec perpetuate. On the backs of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. They know it and we know it. The animosity this betrayal has created will last intergenerationally, and now has the potential to permanently imprint itself on Newfoundland's political culture.

In reality, therefore, there was never really any chance Quebec would get it's hands on even one more nano watt of Newfoundland's power. Ironically, there are still some in the form of the provincial Liberal Party that espouse a positive view of any business relationship with Hydro Quebec.  Whether it be on open air radio shows or in the provincial media, they push the view that our business relationship with Hydro Quebec was, and is, a good one. Hard to imagine. In a sadomasochistic way I suppose, if you're into that, which most of us are not. Perhaps that is one of the fundamental reasons the provincial Liberals in Newfoundland are not even on the radar politicially. Or in the hearts and minds of the people.

In any case, with the partial development of the Lower Churchill, and just as importantly the laying of the sub-sea cables to Nova Scotia, a new era is on the horizon for Canada's "newest and coolest" province. Whether the Upper Churchill Falls contract expires by natural death in 2041, or suffers a more immediate termination, the sub-sea cables will be ready to transmit that power to the eastern seaboard. Energy, and perhaps financial, independence will become a reality and those blessings will give a long overdue bounty to the great people of Newfoundland and Labrador. They overwelmingly deserve it.

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