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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Duceppe Debate Rhetoric Crosses Line

During Wednesday’s French language debate much was said by each of the candidates and while I have my own opinion about who actually won or lost the event that’s not the most pressing issue on my mind today.

We all know about the rampant rhetoric of election campaigns but there are times when that rhetoric, when put into proper context, simply goes too far. One comment during Wednesday evening’s French language debate fit this bill and the lack of reaction to it spoke volumes about the place of Newfoundland and Labrador in the Canadian federation.

Most viewers likely missed the comment as it went by rather quickly but I’m referring to Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe’s response to a viewer's question about nationalizing the oil industry as a means to lower gas prices.

Mr. Duceppe, like the other leaders, said he was against the move. Unlike the other leaders his reason was because if the oil industry was nationalized then the next thing Ottawa would do is take control of Quebec’s hydro resources.

Hold the apple cart a minute Mr. Duceppe!!! Can we rewind and listen to that again?

"Quebec's hydro resources."

Perhaps someone needs to remind the Bloc leader that the lion’s share of hydro resources and hydro dollars flowing into Quebec for the past several decades actually belong to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, not Quebec. Mr. Duceppe may want the world to believe otherwise but no amount of spin doctoring is going to change that fact.

Most people in Quebec and across Canada conveniently forget that more than 5,000 megawatts of power is still being sold to Quebec Hydro at 1960’s prices. This will continue unabated for another 33 years thanks to a one sided contract signed under duress by the government of Newfoundland and Labrador due to collusion between the Canadian and Quebec governments in the 1970’s.

It really boils my blood when I hear comments like Mr. Duceppe’s and when I see absolutely no response from Canada's federal leadership.

Not only has Quebec Hydro stolen billions on top of billions over the past few decades from Newfoundland and Labrador but even now they are throwing up roadblocks to the development of the Lower Churchill hydro development (another 2000 megawatts of clean energy) because they once again hope to reap the benefits of the smaller province’s power capability.

The federal government is standing idly by and refuses to intervene.

Harper promised a national power grid but has anyone heard anything about it since Quebec said they were against it? The reason why is clear.

Add to this insult the standard practice in Quebec of ensuring that every official provincial map depicts large swaths of Labrador as belonging to Quebec and the picture gets far worse.

All you have to do is pick up a tourist map, topographical map, survey map or official oil or mineral exploration map in Quebec and you’ll see the border redrawn to claim a large swath of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Nobody seems to even care on the federal scene.

The entire situation is disgusting and the continued refusal of any federal government or opposition party to stand up and see to it that Quebec does not run rough shod over any other province in the federation is a national crime.

The underlying concept behind Canada is that all provinces are equals. I defy anyone to tell me that there is even a grain of truth in that.

Find me a federal politician, even one elected by the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, who is willing to stand up to his party bosses and tackle Quebec over these issues and I’ll show you a politician about to be kicked out of his caucus and relegated to the farthest reaches of the independent ranks.


Anonymous said...

A simple investigation to determine what share of hydro power Quebec controls is from Churchill Falls will reveal that Quebec actually produces way more hydro than it receives from Labrador.

I'm not saying that Quebec hasn't given NL the shaft. I'm just saying that Quebec produces a load of hydroelectricity on its own, within its own borders - a lot more than Churchill Falls produces.

Patriot said...

point taken anon, but the article and its content was not written to establish precise volumes but to make a point. The volumes are of no importance.

It's like saying "I wish I had a zillion dollars".

The number means nothing the theft of churchill power means a lot.