The day before the government fell, Christian Paradis and Nathalie Normandeau met to sign an offshore accord for Quebec. An agreement that defined the offshore boundaries along the same lines as the 1964 Stanfield line. A border designation that is opposed by Newfoundland and Labrador, and has been for decades. This Province's western maritime boundary was left undefined in the Atlantic Accord, which established our offshore board, apparently in defference to it's disputed nature. The same rules apparently didn't apply to Quebec in the last dying moments of Mr Harper's minority government.
There is the obvious conflict of interest of having two ministers, one federal and one provincial, being from the province of Quebec, deciding a disputed issue that involves Quebec. It should go without saying that the interests of this Province could be conveniently shuffled to the side by two Quebec ministers - and they were.
The problem with recognizing Quebec's eastern maritime border is that it puts Quebec in the drivers seat. It officially acknowledges that the federal government recognizes Quebec's position in a disputed territory. It even contradicts the formal finding of the federal government's own arbitration panel that found the 1964 boundary had no basis in international law. The same law that must arbitrate maritime boundary disputes between provinces. Some media critics of my position, as well as the Dunderdale regime, state that an arbitration process is built into the document. They conveniently miss the point that the Nova Scotia/Newfoundland and Labrador negotiation and arbitration process took eighteen years to resolve. They do though say that the Accord does not allow permits to be granted in areas where there is conflict over jurisdiction along the border. Not true. It states permits already granted by Quebec can't be converted to legitimate permits by the new Canada-Quebec Board if there is a conflict. It does not state new permits cannot be granted. It does exempt the federal government from legal action should the aggrieved permit holders wish to sue. In other words, existing permits will expire when the new Board takes control. Could Corridor Resources be on their way out, and say a company like Gastem be on their way in?
Bottom line is Quebec has been taken care of, and Newfoundland and Labrador has been dealt out. Our own provincial Dunderdale government remains silent until Harper comes to town with promises of Lower Churchill glory. There are only so many coincidences in politics.
The problem with this little arrangement is it dealt our only real chip against Quebec into the garbage. The Old Harry deposit was our chance to get the Upper Churchill renegotiated - in good faith. Good faith being important as it could have gone a long way to healing the wounds between Quebec and our Province. It was our position of strength. It was our chance to remedy historical wrongs, help our fiscal situation, and ultimately look after the people of our Province. That is what we lost when Mr. Harper agreed to sell us down the road to Quebec. It's not apparent to many people now, but it will become apparent.
I'm disappointed, yet somehow not surprised, that our former Premier has not come out and spoken on this issue. I'm disappointed, because I believed his heart lay with the people here, I'm not surprised given that he did not speak publicly on the constitutionality of the PC Party's leadership process. It does seem that Mr. William's has missed an opportunity to speak out on a crucial financial issue for the Province - the value of which is many, many times that of the broken promise that resulted in the ABC (Anyone But Conservative) movement.
So, for sacrificing the vital interests of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador at the alter of Quebec's interests- again, Mr. Harper loses my support. It amazes me that his seven candidates can actually stand in their place and sing his praises when they know he stuck the cold steel blade between our collective shoulders. It makes me reflect on what kind of Newfoundlander and Labradorian could bow to this type of deceit. For the record, this one won't. That's why you don't have my vote Mr. Harper.
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)