Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Quebec's Line in the Sand

We used to play this game when I was but a Tom Cod. Pretty simple really, you draw a big circle in the sand, then divide it evenly among each player. The object of the game is to gradually take over the whole world by beating your opponents in successive leg races.

Now some of the Sleevens amongst us would wait until someone was off running and then redraw their territorial line to steal a little piece for themselves; being careful of course to scuff out the original line with your shoe. Lucky that the real world doesn't operate like that isn't it? Otherwise a province like say... Quebec, which has a lot of political clout would be redefining the lines of a lesser power - like say... Labrador. Ya lucky it isn't really like that. I mean there is a set of rules we follow as a civilized "nation" and that is that.

But then I read the Globe and Mail this morning: "Resources Rift Pits Nfld. against Quebec". What's this?! Blah Blah... "The natural-resources fight pits Danny WIlliams's province against Quebec's plans to build the Romaine river hydroelectric project". Whoa - hold on - let's stop right there. Danny Williams's province?! The Globe and Mail refers to Newfoundland and Labrador as Danny Williams's province?! I guess Quebec is not the only Canadian entity that needs to refer to a proper map. Danny Williams's province in fact had a name before Danny Williams was premier and will have the same name long after.

I have to shake my head and shrug - too much to say too little time:

Does it need reminding that Newfoundland and Labrador is proposing to run a line from Labrador to the Island to by-pass the racket we have with Quebec over the Upper Churchill?

Do we need to remind our federal government that Newfoundland and Labrador has been trying for years to foster co-operation between provinces that will allow the Lower Churchill development to proceed?

Do we need to restate the fact that the Privy Council decision of 1927 defines the Labrador border. A judgment made over twenty years before Newfoundland and Labrador entered into confederation. A judgment that Quebec's own analysis has declared to be indisputable. A boundary that is further defined in the constitution upon Newfoundland and Labrador's confederation with Canada?

Do we need to remind the dominion that anytime we have attempted to work a hydro plan for Labrador or reevaluate the existing atrocity of the Upper Churchill contract that the federal government has cowered in the corner saying it does not want to enter into a dispute between provinces?

Now Ottawa is participating in the joint Quebec Ottawa environmental assessment panel that by it's very nature is "giving tacit approval to Quebec's claim."

(pause for a breath)

Harper's eyes are on Ontario and West, with his eyes perpetually averted, what better time for Quebec to redraw that border.

Here's a thought. Given that the very constitution of Canada would have to be rewritten to allow Quebec's ownership of the Romaine watershed headwaters... given that we are rewriting it anyway - let's ripe it in two and start fresh. Let's revisit the Terms of Union.

Better still lets write our Terms of Severance.

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