For five years, the provincial Conservatives secretly tried to interest Quebec in part ownership of the Lower Churchill, according to Premier Kathy Dunderdale.
In September 2009, she told Open Line host Randy Simms (audio at right) about the secret efforts made by then-Premier Danny Williams, Dunderdale and Nalcor boss Ed Martin to sell Hydro-Quebec an equity share.
Dunderdale said that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador was prepared to leave aside any question of redress on the Lower Churchill. The Conservatives previously committed that a deal on the Lower Churchill with Quebec would have to include redress for the disastrous 1969 contract between Brinco and Hydro-Quebec.
Dunderdale said that the provincial government wanted to get a good deal for itself but “we want you [Hydro-Quebec] to have a good return on your investment” too.
Hydro - Quebec was not interested, according to Dunderdale.
The provincial government did not publicly discuss its efforts to interest Hydro-Quebec in the Lower Churchill until Dunderdale’s surprising admission. They’ve said nothing about it since.
And no news media in Newfoundland and Labrador have reported on Dunderdale’s comments in the nearly three years since she made them.
Y’know, the Premier has gone to Quebec, and gone to Premier Charest, and, y’know, we’ve had NALCOR visit y’know Hydro-Quebec, I’ve been meeting with Ministers and so on.
And we say to them, okay, y’know, we’ll set the Upper Churchill to one side, but, y’know, let’s sit down and have a talk about this Lower Churchill piece. [Emphasis added]
Y’know, we know that we have to have a win-win situation here. Because we, as I’ve said earlier this week, we know that if you don’t have win-win you have win and poison pill. Because that’s what we’ve got with the Upper Churchill.
So we can have a win-win situation. We know that if you come in here as an equity player that you have to have a good return on your investment. And we want you to have a good return on your investment. But it also has to be a good deal for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Now we have been with that message back and forth [i.e. to Hydro-Quebec] for five years. No, sir. No, sir. There is no takeup on that proposal.