When it comes to negotiating with Quebec on topics like the Upper Churchill, maritime boundaries, Old Harry, or even the upcoming talks on equalization payments, you need to know who and what your dealing with. The common refrain throughout Canada is that Quebec likes to have it both ways. In this article by Kevin Dougherty of the Montreal Gazette you will see that played out in their own words.
It goes back to my blog - Poker Quebec Style. The gullible will be eaten by the politicians of Quebec. There are just too many examples of that happening to ignore it. It is not being anti-Quebec. It's just reality. Newfoundland and Labrador requires the vision and courage of conviction to battle this mentality, and prevail in order to look after the welfare of our people and province. What the Quebec politicians in this story are saying is that if you don't follow our will, then we will tear down your house. They will bank on the media to turn public opinion in their favour, because to do otherwise would be to risk the country.
It is a blackmail of the lowest order. We in Newfoundland and Labrador will not sacrifice our people or province any further on the alter of pacifying Quebec. We did not enter Confederation to become the economic colony of Quebec. It's time for the Quebec government to look for a new insurance policy.
Sovereignty threat is Quebec's 'best insurance policy': Drainville
By Kevin Dougherty, Gazette Quebec Bureau October 24, 2010 •Story•Photos ( 1 )
"The reason we have bargaining power in Ottawa with questions such as Old Harry is because they know they have to respect Quebecers," says Parti Québécois MNA Bernard Drainville. “Because Quebecers are masters of their decisions and might decide one day to be sovereign.”- Bernard Drainville, the Parti Québécois MNA for the South Shore riding of Marie-Victorin, says the prospect of Quebec sovereignty is “the best insurance policy” the province has ever had.
“Even non-sovereignists should not let it go,” Drainville said during a pause in a weekend meeting of the PQ to discuss Quebec’s energy independence. Just having a sovereignist party in Quebec bolsters even the federalist cause in the province, he added, “because it is their bargaining chip.” “The day that Mr. Legault or others drop sovereignty, not only do they drop the best collective project we could have, but they drop the best insurance policy we will ever have in Quebec.”
Drainville was referring to François Legault, the former PQ minister, who is rumoured to be creating a new party that would shelve the idea of another sovereignty referendum. Drainville is also his party’s spokesman on Old Harry, a huge hydrocarbon structure in the Gulf of St. Lawrence where drilling is allowed in the Newfoundland sector, but not in Quebec’s sector, pending federal approval. “The reason we have bargaining power in Ottawa with questions such as Old Harry is because they know they have to respect Quebecers,” he said. “Because Quebecers are masters of their decisions and might decide one day to be sovereign.”
Drainville told about 500 delegates and observers at the weekend meeting that Ottawa is delaying an agreement with Quebec to develop its undersea resources to keep the province dependent on equalization payments. “Is the federal government afraid Quebec will be too strong, too rich, too free?” Drainville asked PQ delegates at the end of his presentation on Old Harry.
Old Harry is 460 metres below the Gulf of St. Lawrence, with possibly as much as 2 billion barrels of oil. The formation straddles the disputed undersea border between Quebec and Newfoundland. PQ finance critic Nicolas Marceau estimated Old Harry is worth $160 billion to Quebec, enough to pay the accumulated provincial debt. Newfoundland and Labrador has had an agreement with Ottawa, which according the constitution owns offshore resources, for 25 years. That agreement allows Newfoundland to collect royalties on its undersea oil and natural gas.
Drainville noted Prime Minister Stephen Harper only said this week, after the National Assembly unanimously adopted a PQ resolution on Old Harry, that he favours a similar accord with Quebec.
Equalization is money paid by Ottawa to the poorer provinces, including Quebec. Newfoundland, because of its oil wealth, no longer receives equalization.
Drainville called equalization payments “compensation for damages” Quebec receives because Ottawa favours other provinces, such as Ontario and Alberta. “If we were independent, we wouldn’t have to go to Ottawa,” Drainville said. “If we pump our own oil, we don’t have to buy from others.”
I REST MY CASE.
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.
US computer engineer & industrialist (1955 - 2011)