20 November 2009

Danny Williams, Hydro Quebec and the Lower Churchill

For the record – via labradore – with full audio of natural resources minister Kathy Dunderdale's September 4 comments to randy Simms of VOCM Open Line to follow:

Y’know, the Premier has gone to Quebec, and gone to Premier Charest, and, y’know, we’ve had NALCO(R) 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.

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.

That’s right folks. 

Danny Williams tried unsuccessfully and in secret for five years to sell a chunk of the Lower Churchill to Hydro Quebec with no redress on the Churchill Falls contract. Oddly enough that put Williams efforts at selling the Lower Churchill – without compensation for Churchill falls right back to around the time he said no deal was possible without compensation.

As CTV reported in April 2005:

Williams reiterated Monday that any deal with Quebec will have to include some kind of redress to the province for the unfair split of profits from the Upper Churchill.

But he offered no specifics on what redress could entail.

Update: In December 2002, Williams told a crowd gathered to protest a deal on the Lower Churchill that

“Our position here tonight … is that there should be no deal on the Lower Churchill until there’s redress on the Upper Churchill.”

That was reported in the Telegram on December 4, 2002 in a story titled “Tories rally – election style”.