In Hisself’s own words, in the House of Assembly, dutifully and accurately recorded by Hansard, the Old Man describes the nefarious forces that circle around him.
In response to this question about the Abitibi expropriation - “Are you planning to seek leave to appeal this court loss to the Supreme Court of Canada at this time?” – he begins:
Mr. Speaker, let’s do a little history lesson first of all, and what this is all about. This goes back to the late 1960s when we had the best project in the world that we wanted to develop but we could not do it on our own because we were a poor Province - because of what happened as a result of Confederation and everything else. We were the poor and the weak sisters of Canada. So, we basically entered into a partnership with Quebec in order to develop that particular project. For that, they acquired at least one-third of the company which developed that particular project.
Then, when it got down to the short strokes and we were months away from concluding it and we were out of money, the company was basically out of money, they squeezed us. That is when they squeezed us for another twenty-five years on a contract that already was a complete giveaway of a very valuable hydro resource. They squeezed us for another twenty-five years at a lower price -
So based on that history, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, particularly this Newfoundlander and Labradorian, and all these Newfoundlanders and Labradorians here and all the people in this Province, feel very, very strongly about the way Quebec has treated us. So if we have to fight them in the courts or fight them at the Régie, or if I personally got to get down and go toe to toe or roll around on the ground with them to fight them, we will do it.
And then after discussing Churchill Falls for all that time he answered the Abitibi question:
…we are now reviewing it.
But he couldn’t just state that simple answer to a simple question without further embellishment:
We are looking at asking for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. I think that, as a Province, we have to keep fighting Quebec because if we don’t they will take away everything we have.
In response to the second, simple question - What is the recourse for the Province to now be added to the list of unsecured creditors? – came a further rant:
Of course, what we are dealing with is obviously a very biased court.
When you look at the Quebec courts, you look at the decision that was given here. The opinion, of course, that we have from our solicitors on this is that the court dodged a central legal and policy issue. So we had constitutional and factual arguments and the Court of Appeal completely and totally avoided that. In addition, they completely ignored the same rationale which has been used by the Ontario Court of Appeal, B.C. Court of Appeal, the Alberta Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada. So, basically, these courts are doing whatever they can to try and stop us.
The same thing with Judge Gascon, we just saw the Régie ruling which came out of Quebec, which is one of the most horrendous, absurd rulings that I have ever seen. They ignored facts. They said that what Hydro-Quebec was doing was discretionary. They ignored the evidence - a complete abuse of process. So, throughout this process we will just keep hammering away.
Yes, folks, there was a duplicate key to the wardroom icebox where they kept the strawberry ice cream. The only thing missing was the ball bearings in his hand.
At that point, opposition leader Yvonne Jones asked exactly the same question over again (The Old Man didn’t come close to answering it the first time, after all). There followed another diatribe in which the Premier noted the holding company set up to deal with the two properties the provincial government didn’t expropriate:
Instead, Mr. Speaker - if I may have a moment -of what they have done in Botwood and Stephenville, put those assets in a shell company so that they could go bankrupt so that we get nothing.
Not exactly what happened, nor does the Premier explain why his lawyers consented to the arrangement, but that’s another issue.
At that point, the question of costs deflected off to justice minister Felix Collins.
A question about an English translation of the decision by the Quebec energy regulator brought Hisself to his feet once more to fulminate about Quebec:
Mr. Speaker, I said it last week, and I can say it again in all honesty today, I have not seen an English copy of the Régie decision. We are waiting on the Régie to provide us with an English copy.
It is really interesting, too, when you go on their Web site, pretty well everything that they have is always in English and French, but on this particular one we have not been provided an English copy. That tells me a lot about the Régie, the attitude of Quebec against Newfoundland and Labrador.
Basically, while the Premier’s parliamentary assistant is on a hunt for Commies, the Premier himself is fighting against the evil machinations of the seething nest of anti-Newfoundland conspiracy that is Quebec.
To conclude, some simple observations:
- The chart was not an exaggeration, as anyone can plainly see. The World the Old Man Lives In is populated by enemies everywhere, linked together by secret ties.
- This is not the way Danny Williams felt for the five years he tried - entirely out of the public eye, one might add - to interest Hydro Quebec in taking an ownership stake in the Lower Churchill, without any redress for the 1969 contract.
You could not make this stuff up if you tried.