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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

November 23, 2016

 

For Immediate Release

 

 

 

Any New Churchill Agreement Must First Be Brought to the House of Assembly

 

‎Paul Davis, Leader of the Official Opposition, said, "Any new agreement on Churchill River hydro power must first be brought to the House of Assembly for debate and Members' vote before it is ratified."

 

Davis brought a private member's resolution‎ to the House of Assembly on November 23 on behalf of the PC Caucus to demand such a debate and vote on any such agreement.

 

Davis said, "The Premier has confirmed that the province is now talking with Quebec about Churchill power. The Premier has not disclosed the details of what is being discussed. We can only guess what Quebec might demand and what the Premier might be prepared to put on the table.

 

"Quebec has proven to be a master strategist‎ when it comes to hydro negotiations, and that has cost our province tens of billions of dollars that we would have received under fair agreements. We must make sure our province is never again out-maneuvered at the bargaining table, and the best way to ensure this is to bring everything out into the open for scrutiny, debate and the decision of the House of Assembly before any agreement is finalized.

 

"We remember how close the Grimes government came in 2002 to making a Churchill power agreement that was so bad for Newfoundland and Labrador that it led Hydro board members‎ to resign in protest. The Quebec Premier at the time described it as a blessing from Heaven. We must never allow our province to be tied into another bad agreement,” said Davis.

 

"We believe any new hydro agreement involving Quebec should provide redress‎ for the Upper Churchill agreement in recognition of its gross unfairness to our province - which has cost us billions and is continuing to cost us revenue that we should be earning for our power. We also believe any new agreement should allow us to transmit electricity through Quebec under fair conditions, which Quebec has denied us in the past.

 

"As we draw closer to 2041 and the end of Upper Churchill ‎contract provisions that give Quebec our power for next to nothing, Quebec will be looking for as good a deal as they can get. They are naturally looking out for their own best interests. We must be careful to ensure we protect our own province's best interests at the negotiating table and never sell out for short-term gain or a quick deal.

 

"I am pleased that other parties have spoken in favour of our resolution. We will be doing everything in our power to ensure this commitment to full disclosure, debate and the vote of Members of the House of Assembly is honoured, and be vigilant in ensuring the best interests of our people are fully protected," said Davis.

 

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Media Contact:

 

Heather MacLean, Director of Communications, Office of the Official Opposition,

 

(709) 729 6105, heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca

 

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