BAY DU NORD: OUR POLITICIANS GENUFLECT TO CENTRAL CANADA

 Last week’s post by Ron
Penney, a member of the negotiating team that hammered out the terms of the “Atlantic
Accord” for the joint Federal/Provincial management of NL’s offshore oil and
gas, ought to remind us of its importance and hard-fought origins.

It should raise concern,
too, that a process that began under Premier Paul Davis, with an amendment to the Atlantic Accord Implementation Act (the slippery slope) in 2015, was compounded in 2019 when the Feds made changes to their environmental legislation, which the Ball Government refused to oppose, which effectively gave the GoC control over offshore environmental assessments. This was not the intent of the Accord.  When the Feds stop approving Development Plan Applications, what is the function of the C-NLOPB?

Penney’s post is required
reading for other reasons, especially for a broader understanding of how GNL has
let this vastly important economic tool be subverted under the guise of
national interest by Federal Cabinet Ministers content to sacrifice NL’s
economic prospects in the service of dubious and unfairly distributed environmental
objectives.

Those environmental objectives
omit consideration of our interests and favour those of Central Canada and B.C., just as
they protect their politicians’ backsides.

Of course, Ontario, Quebec
and British Columbia are chiefly placard wavers for climate change; the loudest are
constituents who want last year’s gas prices, while they clog up GHG emitting air travel with trinket and apparel orders on Amazon and Shopify.

It must be wonderful that
their more influential Cabinet Ministers get to download the burden on far less
politically powerful – though, admittedly, more poorly led – provinces like NL.

NL, for its part, has one
of the lowest carbon footprints on the globe. Point me to a history of
environmental stewardship in this province as remotely abusive as that of industry
in Central Canada!

Problem is, NL’s
politicians, federal and provincial, have been co-opted into this corrupt
paradigm because it plays to their partisanship and other loyalties, their
insecurities, to their blatant stupidity, and to their lack of imagination as
to NL’s place in Canada.

In this context, a CBC
story posted February 10, 2022 illuminates our enormous leadership vacuum
though, not to anyone’s credit, it received less attention than if a hole was
discovered in Mrs. Murphy’s pease pudding bag.

The CBC reported that Bay
du Nord “
will not proceed without approval from Ottawa, with
Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault expected to decide next month
whether to give the project the environmental green light”. The report added that
“Guilbeault is caught between opposing sides of the debate around the
cabinet table…that several Liberal ministers from Ontario, Quebec and
British Columbia want to reject Bay du Nord.”

Note that a
critical part of our economic future is a matter of debate? Where? Not here. 

Your
destiny is being arbitrated in Ottawa and you have no say, seek no say,
 in the matter.

Federal Environment Minister Guilbeault under arrest


The CBC informed
on Friday, March 4
th that the Federal Cabinet needs another 40 days to decide. Perhaps, the holdup is not whether to destroy our economy but if we
should be towed out and sunk, too.
 

Of course, the
earlier news story says it all.

Andrew
Parsons didn’t speak to the issue last time, choosing only to release a
statement that expressed support for Bay du Nord.  

A
more able, engaged and energetic Minister would have gotten on a plane for
Ottawa to, if necessary, kick down the door of Minister Guilbeault’s office (he would be familiar with those tactics) to tell
him that he may have succeeded in helping Greenpeace scuttle the seal fishery, gotten arrested at some anti-oil protest, but
when it comes to making decisions for this province, Quebec, Ontario and B.C. can both jump in the nearest river.

Even
if the idea entered his head – and it wouldn’t – Premier Furey would have
warned him of a deckhand’s position opening up on the Ferry to North Sidney.

Then
there is lame Shamus. The CBC story said the Minister could not comment
because the project is “under active review.”

Is
the man even capable of more? He could, at least, have been honest and said  “under review…by outside interests”.

And
from the second NL Minister, Gudie Hutchings? 

Who?

Not
one, but two gutless wonders!

No
NL politician – and, regrettably few others – remember that it was the Federal
Government that mismanaged the fishery and watched it collapse, destroying or
undermining in the process, a large swath of rural NL.

Equally, few – and not to their credit – are capable of recognizing that the Feds are going to destroy urban NL by
destroying its offshore oil sector.

Where else would such a catastrophe be permitted to transpire, except among a sleepy
public temporarily overfed by small dollops of federal largesse and borrowed money?

If
Ukraine was depending on the kind of leadership Premier Furey inspires, Putin
would have been served his borscht ten days ago.

The
CBC story contained another warning worth noting. It said “While Ottawa can
approve or reject the project, Radio-Canada is reporting a third option is
being considered: using Bay du Nord as a negotiating tool to shape the future
of the offshore industry.” It continues: “In exchange for an approval,
Radio-Canada reports, Ottawa could demand the province limit its production in
the future or put an end to oil exploration after Bay du Nord.”

Now
Mister, can you just imagine if the Flemish Pass was closer in proximity to the
St. Lawrence River that Quebec would permit Ontario and B.C. to decide their
economic future?

Do
you think that Premier  Francois Legault would sit passively, as Andrew Furey is doing, waiting for the Feds to decide, only to be told to silently wait for another 40 days?

Forget
Chernobyl. Think Bruce or Darlington.

You
may not always like Quebec’s tactics, but Quebecers don’t stupidly sacrifice long-term,
fundamental provincial interests in the service of momentary, self-serving,
vindictive and ill-considered Federal political objectives.

Not
NL. We’re stupid enough to think that’s how you get ahead. 

A
little reminder of how the Feds play this game….

On Monday, April 1st, 2019 Premier Dwight
Ball announced, in his own words, “an agreement
that ensures Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are the principal beneficiaries
of their offshore resources, strengthens how those resources are developed
through joint management, and will also achieve electricity rate mitigation.”

Ah,
yes, “rate mitigation”, that sale of self-reliance for more debt that Furey and O’Regan signed onto a few days ago.

The funny part is, Ball didn’t need to do anything to make sure that we were “principal
beneficiaries”. That was secured in 1985.

Ball (and Davis) only succeeded in squandering what was won by deferring to the Guilbeaut’s of
Canada who deride and take advantage of pushovers like those two and Andrew Furey.

Premier
Furey is picking up where Ball and Davis left off.

He
wants a NL that is dependent and deferential; he wants to smile, do photo ops
and let Canada take care of us. It is not in him to remind his public that we
have a duty to take care of ourselves, to make decisions in OUR interest.

Meanwhile, the NL public is silent, NOIA is silent, the Unions are silent. Let’s not threaten the next Federal cheque, eh b’ys!

Speaking
of leadership….

It
is truly heartwarming – even reassuring – to watch President Zelensky of Ukraine
in a time of enormous tragedy and human cost, helping keep Ukrainians stay inspired,
resilient, and determined
.

In
this province, after the offshore is shut down and the Liberal Party of Canada doesn’t need our few Parliamentary Seats, the public won’t be learning
how to make Molotov Cocktails, as Ukrainians are doing to preserve their independence.

We’ll
be too busy watching Premier Furey – and our two useless Federal Cabinet
Ministers – run for the hills.

———————–

THE GUTTING OF THE ATLANTIC ACCORD by Ron Penney

Des Sullivan
Des Sullivan
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada Uncle Gnarley is hosted by Des Sullivan, of St. John's. He is a businessman engaged over three decades in real estate management and development companies and in retail. He is currently a Director of Dorset Investments Limited and Donovan Holdings Limited. During his early career he served as Executive Assistant to Premier's Frank D. Moores (1975-1979) and Brian Peckford (1979-1985). He also served as a Part-Time Board Member on the Canada-Newfoundland Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB). Uncle Gnarley appears on the masthead representing serious and unambiguous positions on NL politics and public policy. Uncle Gnarley is a fiscal conservative possessing distinctly liberal values and a non-partisan persusasion. Those values and opinions underlie this writer's views on NL's politics, economy and society. Uncle Gnarley publishes Monday mornings and more often when events warrant.

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