What is Ball Trading Away at the

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With Premier Ball refusing to disclose what he’s trading away at the Atlantic Accord review table, PC opposition leader Ches Crosbie is worried.
Wednesday, January 23, 2019

St. John’s, NL (January 23, 2019) – With Premier Ball refusing to disclose what he’s trading away at the Atlantic Accord review table, PC opposition leader Ches Crosbie said he has received information from a credible source within the last 24 hours that the Ball Liberal provincial government may be willing to compromise on the province’s Atlantic Accord in exchange for immediate cash under an arrangement that shares the benefits across eastern Canada.

According to Crosbie, “Ball is a weak premier negotiating from weakness who has a habit of selling out for short political gain.  He already sold us out on the fisheries fund when he accepted a pan-Atlantic fund that gave our province just a fraction of what we’d been promised.  It concerns me that the same federal minister who negotiated the fisheries fund (New Brunswick’s Dominic LeBlanc) is now heavily involved in talks on the Atlantic Accord.”

“Given the Premier’s failure to deliver on the fisheries fund or Equalization, people have zero confidence that he will deliver for Newfoundland and Labrador on the Atlantic Accord.  He needs to stop horse-trading away our benefits in secret and let people see what’s on the table.”

Crosbie said that the Atlantic Accord is the most important legislation for Newfoundland and Labrador since the Terms of Union with Canada, but the federal Liberals have always hated the idea that Newfoundland and Labrador should be principal beneficiary of our offshore resources, believing them to be Canada’s to share.

Bradley Russell
Director of Policy and Research
(p) 1.709.729.3668
(c) 1.709.685.3161




Atlantic Accord

·         In the 1980s, the federal Liberal government of Pierre Trudeau took the position that offshore oil and gas resources that Newfoundland and Labrador brought into Confederation were under the jurisdiction of Canada, not Newfoundland and Labrador.  In 1982, Trudeau sent the issue to the Supreme Court.  In 1984, the Supreme Court ruled in Ottawa’s favour. www.heritage.nf.ca/articles/politics/atlantic-accord.php 

·         In 1984, federal Opposition leader Brian Mulroney promised Premier Brian Peckford his government would deliver joint offshore management and ensure the province would be the principal beneficiary of offshore development.

·         In 1985, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and our federal Cabinet representative, John Crosbie, delivered the Atlantic Accord, establishing the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board and allowing the province to collect taxes and royalties from offshore projects as if the resources were land-based properties of the province.

·         In 2004, Premier Danny Williams battled Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin for a renegotiated Atlantic Accord fiscal arrangement that would make the province the principal beneficiary of offshore development.  The Liberals promised a deal with a cap that the Williams government said would be grossly unfair.

·         In 2005, after months of struggle, Williams reached a renewed Atlantic Accord fiscal arrangement with the Martin government.  Williams negotiated compensation totalling about $3 billion based on application of the principal beneficiary principle.

·         The 2005 Accord agreement stated: “No later than March 31, 2019, the parties agree to review the current arrangement.” www.gov.nl.ca/atlanticaccord/agreement.htm 

·         In February 2018, Premier Ball told Noia he wanted the review to begin earlier. cbc.ca/1.4534195 , vocm.com/news/premier-calls-for-review-of-2005-atlantic-accord/ 

·         In April 2018, Premier Ball met with Prime Minister Trudeau and said the review had started. ntv.ca/atlantic-accord-review-begins-after-premiers-meeting-with-prime-minister/ 

·         On January 16, 2019, Liberal MP Nick Whalen said: “We’re working with the province and with Cabinet to try to find solutions to a number of issues affecting the province, and certainly Equalization, how that plays a role within the Atlantic Accord amending agreement which is now up for renewal, and I think you would have heard Minister O’Regan talking about that in his remarks over the last couple of days is really our number one focus right now. … There are areas where the province has not received the full benefit of the deal that’s been struck with Ottawa, certainly without respect to the offshore oil and the Atlantic Accord, that’s why there’s an Atlantic Accord amending agreement.  If the province chooses to use money that it might receive under such an agreement for its rate mitigation, that would be up to the province.” ntv.ca/liberal-mp-nick-whalen-talks-re-election-rate-mitigation-and-atlantic-accord/ 

·         Also on January 16, 2019, Premier Ball said: “I’m not going to get into the specifics of the talks, but we all know that there’s Atlantic Accord discussions that are happening.” ntv.ca/liberal-mp-nick-whalen-talks-re-election-rate-mitigation-and-atlantic-accord/

·         On January 17, 2019, Minister Seamus O’Regan said: “We are constantly talking. I’m talking here amongst my colleagues here at our Cabinet retreat. Everybody is firmly aware of the situation in the province and I’m getting all hands on deck here amongst the federal government as well. We’re going to try and find some solutions, but that right now is stuff that we’re discussing, Trust me – as soon as we get to a point where I can discuss it publicly, I will. … We have to discuss the Atlantic Accord, of course, because the Atlantic Accord deadline is approaching and we’ve been talking about it consistently since we were elected. That time is coming closer, but we recognizing that the abiding principle of the Atlantic Accord is that Newfoundland and Labrador is the primary beneficiary of its resources and we will make sure that that happens. .. I think that anything that can put the province on a better financial footing is better for the province.” ntv.ca/as-soon-as-we-get-to-a-point-where-i-can-discuss-it-publicly-i-will-seamus-oregan-says-of-rate-mitigation/


·         In March 2017, Premier Ball stated: “We will be participating in Equalization, Mr. Speaker. It’s a five-year – next year negotiations will start, Mr. Speaker.  Newfoundland and Labrador will be at the table, Mr. Speaker.  We will be there. We will not ignore any opportunity to leverage federal financing for this province. Not like the crowd opposite that did when they were in government.” www.assembly.nl.ca/HouseBusiness/Hansard/ga48session2/17-03-30.htm 

·         That same day, Premier Ball stated: “We're going to stand up for this province and we will make sure that we get our share. If it’s Equalization, if it’s federal financing or leveraging in any capacity we're going to go after it.” cbc.ca/1.4049151 

·         In March 2018, the Parliamentary Budget Officer released Equalization reform scenarios, two of which would have benefited Newfoundland and Labrador significantly. www.pbo-dpb.gc.ca/web/default/files/Documents/Reports/2018/Fed%20Transfers/Fed_Transfers_Prov_Territories_EN.pdf 

·         In 2018, the Trudeau government quietly renewed the current Equalization formula for another five years to 2024 as part of their omnibus budget bill, without vocal opposition from the Ball government. www.macleans.ca/politics/ottawa/the-trudeau-liberals-fast-one-on-equalization-not-so-fast/ 

·         In 2019-20, the Equalization fund gives approximately $2 billion to Nova Scotia, $2 billion to New Brunswick, $0.4 billion to PEI, $13 billion to Quebec, $2 billion to Manitoba, and zero to Newfoundland and Labrador. www.fin.gc.ca/fedprov/mtp-eng.asp 

Fisheries Fund

·         In December 2015, Justin Trudeau wrote the Premier regarding “the $400 million fund” promised to Newfoundland and Labrador for being the only province to give up minimum processing requirements in the fisheries under the CETA agreement with the European Union, stating: “The abolition of minimum processing requirements is clearly of great concern to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and your government’s support of the CETA was earned, in part, by a promise from the Government of Canada to help the industry adjust to the new reality.  That promise should be honoured.” cbc.ca/1.2890792 

·         In March 2017, on the watch of federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc, the Trudeau government announced that the $400 million CETA fisheries fund for Newfoundland and Labrador was dead.  Instead, they pointed to Newfoundland and Labrador’s $100 million share of an Atlantic fisheries fund. Rather than objecting, Premier Ball said: “This $100 million goes a long way….” cbc.ca/1.4019403 

Surf Clams

·         In February 2018, then-federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc cleaved off 25 per cent of the Arctic surf clam quota at the expense of processing workers in Grand Bank. cbc.ca/1.4548425

·         In July 2018, Prime Minister Trudeau shuffled Minister LeBlanc from Fisheries to Intergovernmental Affairs. atlantic.ctvnews.ca/cabinet-shuffle-leblanc-moves-from-fisheries-to-intergovernmental-affairs-1.4017923 

·         In September 2018, the federal Ethics Commissioner ruled Minister LeBlanc was in breach of conflict of interest rules because a family relative was involved in a company awarded part of the quota. www.ctvnews.ca/politics/dominic-leblanc-in-conflict-over-surf-clam-licence-ethics-commissioner-1.4090516


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