12 February 2010

Credit where credit is due

You either get credit because you deserve it or you don’t.


When it comes to the Atlantic Accord, it is unfortunate that the landmark agreement in the province’s history is suffering the fate of so many aspects of local history.  That’s right:  the Accord is becoming the stuff of myth on the one hand and general ignorance – for the most part – on the other.  Having its name appropriated for another, far less significant document is but one symptom of the problem.

Well, just to clear up any question about credit for negotiating the Accord, the best evidence is a photograph taken of the people directly responsible for that task.  That would be the provincial and federal negotiating teams along with the first ministers and energy ministers at the federal and provincial levels.

The woman seated in the front on the right is Pat Carney, then federal energy  minister and now a senator.

Accord team

Now that you’ve noticed Pat, notice who isn’t in the picture.

What is it about Tories and eating their own?

Meanwhile, notice that this issue isn’t new by any means.  It cropped up in 2007 as well, as a result of public chatter about other, related issues.

Update:  Here’s the print story on which CBC radio is basing it’s news piece on Friday. The print story gives much more detail.  you really need the two to get a balanced account. The story is by Barbara Yaffee who some will remember from her days – back then – reporting from this end of the country. 



Peter said...

Billy, two Brians and Pat. What a handsome-looking quartet.
Are you sure Crosbie hadn't just gone to the loo?

WJM said...

Former Senator Pat Carney, that is.

And Peter, unlike Harper, Crosbie could hold it in.

Ed Hollett said...

Peter: Crosbie's role in the 1985 negotiations seems to be - at best - grossly overblown.

If memory serves he barely mentions it in his own memoirs (1997).

Peter said...

U read Yaffe's article. Carney's disgust is well-founded.
The thing is, Crosbie was Mulroney's man in Newfoundland, and Crosbie had, I believe, more influence with a sitting prime minister than any other NL minister ever had. The fact that he took more credit than he deserved is not excusable, but it is predictable.

Ed Hollett said...

I have no doubt some people have assumed his role was greater or have included him simply by virtue of his overal stature within the party.

That's nothing new locally. People assume lots of things which become fact even though they are entirely fictional.

It may also be that they are confusing his part in 1990 and then 1992 with what happened earlier.

The major problem here is that none of this has ever been explored. As I recall Crosbie's own paper for the Blame Canada commission actually talks about the Liberal policy, not the Mulroney policy and the subsequent negotiations.

The issue could be settled if one could get at the origin of the original letter to Peckford from June 1984 (I should post a copy) which basically spelled out the Mulroney commitment. That's the really key part. The negotiations then followed with that as the essential framework.

But at last night's session and aside from what Bill Marshall said - the two speakers were pretty useless and boring if you wanted to know what actually happened and what it meant - the only thing that really stood out was marshall's comment about the need for a history of the thign to be written.

There is much that needs to be documented so that people will not continue to be fooled into believing that the benefits our province currently enjoys from the offshore are due to something done in 2005.

They all flow from something done in 1985. The people who did the work sdeserve the credit. What they accomplished needs to be understood by everyone.

Mark said...
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Mark said...
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WJM said...

That, and you seriously underestimate Mr. Pickersgill.

And, not coincidentally, the end of the Pickersgillian "favourite province" years, when every federal program in the book had its rules bent past breaking to funnel money into the new (and new-ish) province, is about when the moaning and groaning about Confederation started.

Oh - and it's also about when the provincial government started racking up the debt.

Mark said...

Sorry to leave you dangling WJM - I deleted the comment to fix typos.

Here it is, the repaired version:

"Crosbie had, I believe, more influence with a sitting prime minister than any other NL minister ever had."

That's a myth perpetrated by the media, largely because Crosbie was, unlike most of his predecessors and successors (a) a Tory and (b) from St. John's, just like most of the media that perpetrate that view are (a) Tory leaning and (b) from St. John's.

Ask anyone outside the overpass about Crosbie's influence and you'll probably get a muddles Winston Churchill quote or a shot at Sheila Copps as their only reference point.

Of course, if ripping up the railroad in exchange for a sack of magic beans counts as influence, then maybe I could come around to Peter's view.

Mark said...

...and of course, you seriously underestimate the influence of one Mr. Pickersgill.