The deal that presently carries Newfoundland power across Quebec with almost all the profit accruing to Hydro-Quebec, remains a powerful humiliation to Newfoundlanders, who although responsible for their own stupidity, hold Quebec responsible for refusing to re-negotiate the one-sided deal.
The Quebec position, that a deal's a deal, is thoroughly defensible, but insures that Newfoundland won't do another deal with the province as long as the current Churchill Falls accord remains in place.
The Quebec government remains peeved that its promise not to screw Newfoundland again, on a new deal for the Lower Churchill, is falling on deaf ears. For Newfoundland, it's a case of- Once bitten, twice shy.
By the way, one could only imagine what would be if the shoe was on the other foot.
For Quebec to complain now, that the decision to bypass Quebec is somehow unexpected and unfair smacks of self-delusion.
And so, Quebec politicians are howling that Ottawa has chosen the Newfoundland side unfairly and are pedalling the notion that it's the crime of the century and that once again Quebec is being disfavoured.
First the facts;
Ottawa has promised to guarantee the loan related to the project. There is NO DIRECT FINANCING.
To listen to Bernard Drainville a bigwig in the PQ, the entire project is being financed in part by federal tax dollars, an outrageous claim that goes beyond merely colouring the truth.
Mr. Drainville made a four-minute YouTube video in which he explains the deal telling by one whopper after another.
In 1927, the permanent border was adjusted in Newfoundland's favour, but nobody seemed to care, it was an uninhabitable wasteland.
In fact the Newfoundlanders tried to sell Labrador off to Quebec twice, the first time during the boundary dispute for a paltry 9 million dollars and later on in the Depression for 110 million. Both offers were rejected. Read an interesting article on the subject.
But the truth never seems to get in the way of a good story and Mr. Drainville goes on to tell us that the Newfoundlanders don't want to use the Quebec route because they're not ready to pay their fair share, a bald-faced lie.
Newfoundland tried to get access to the Quebec power grid following the open access rules that govern the fair use of transmission lines to bring power to market. But Quebec put a spanner in the works, claiming that the grid couldn't handle the power, holding out for a deal that would screw Newfoundland again, demanding that the power be sold to Hydro-Quebec at a cut rate fee rather than being wheeled through Quebec for a service fee. LINK
Mr. Drainville's idea of a fair price is likely the price that Quebec now pays for Churchill power;
"The provincial government (Newfoundland) has claimed that Quebec reaped 95 per cent of net revenues from Churchill Falls - $19 billion of a total $20 billion - up to the end of 2006." LinkRead Danny Williams speech to the Canadian Club of Ottawa of Ottawa last year, in which he destroys any pretension of fairness on the part of the government of Quebec in regards to cooperation. LINK
Mr. Drainville next tells us that the Newfoundland government asked Ottawa to finance a part of the project and that this represents an unfair treatment of Quebec because Quebec paid for its own electrical development.
Cleverly, he intimates that Ottawa is financing the project, when clearly it is not!
Building on his pack of lies, he then tells the biggest lie of all.
"And so we find ourselves in a situation where Quebeckers will finance 25% of a project that will compete with our state company (Hydro-Quebec.)"
In a few short sentences Mr. Drainville has changed a simple loan guarantee into a financing scheme where Quebec is paying 25% of the whole Newfoundland project!
He then sanctimoniously tells us that Quebec never asked for money to develop its own hydro-electricity and so Newfoundland shouldn't be allowed to get money either.
Mr. Drainville would actually have us believe that Quebec somehow pays its own way, conveniently forgetting the billions that pour into the province each year from Ottawa.
By the way, even his statement that Quebec pays 25% of the federal taxes is false, another exaggeration. Quebec has less than 23% of the Canadian population and since Quebeckers make less money than Canadians, the amount they pay in taxes must be somewhere between 20%-22%.
But let's not let the facts get in the way of a good story.
Of course Gilles Duceppe, Pauline and even the Premier are up in arms.
The real hurt in all this is the sombre realization that Newfoundland is actually doing what it said it would and after 40 years of being mocked, it is ready to leave Quebec out of the equation.
Believe it or not, Quebec really believed that in the end, the overland route through Quebec would be chosen because of expediency.
Using the land-sea route will cost Newfoundland a bundle, a lot more than the Quebec route, but the project remains viable and that's all that counts.
So all that's left to Quebec is to make the best of a bad situation and that's to bash Ottawa over the deal, manufacturing dissent through dishonesty.
And as I've reminded readers this past year.......
Payback's a bitch!
Read: Quebec versus Newfoundland- Whiners Square Off!
Read: Danny Williams Bashes Quebec