Saturday, March 26, 2011

PMO PO Danny Williams

Slightly overwhelmed by all the election coverage yesterday was news that Danny Williams was not going to attend the crowning of the new leader of his provincial PC party, his replacement. Party brass all were shocked and dismayed.

Shocked that Williams won't attend tribute: premier

While some have suggested it was because of this;

Former aide to Danny Williams backs away from oil board

I think this had more to do with it

Tories, Quebec ink oil exploration deal

The Conservatives are getting rid of a long-standing irritant with the Quebec government just days before an expected election call, signing a deal that opens the door to oil exploration in the St. Lawrence and fuels hopes for economic development in poor parts of the province.

The agreement to be unveiled on Thursday in Gatineau, Que., will lead to exploration for billions of barrels of oil and natural gas in the Old Harry field in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which straddles Quebec’s boundary with Newfoundland.

A 1967 Supreme Court of Canada ruling upheld the federal government’s ownership of offshore resources.

A joint secretariat will be set up to oversee federal-provincial responsibilities regarding the management of the offshore resources and an independent tribunal will mediate potential conflicts, including an overseas boundary dispute between Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador. Millions of dollars in royalties are at stake.

The Old Harry site straddles a boundary defined in 1964 by Quebec and the four Atlantic provinces. The boundary places most of the Old Harry oil and gas reserves on Quebec’s side of the line. Newfoundland and Labrador is challenging the boundary, and the announcement gives the province an equal say over the makeup of the tribunal.

Another interesting point about this deal was that it was done in private, days before the election call, and it resulted in this....

Federal Tories buy the silence of the Quebec Liberals

And it was hard to believe Christian Paradis, who is Prime Minister Harper's Quebec political lieutenant as well as natural-resources minister, when he said Thursday's agreement on the Old Harry offshore oil and gas deposits had nothing to do with the federal election.

It was easier to believe Quebec's natural-resources minister, Nathalie Normandeau, who said that "never have the planets been so well aligned" for what looked like the hasty settlement of a 12-year-old difference between Ottawa and Quebec.

And the agreement on Old Harry is only one sign of an apparent political arrangement between the federal Conservatives and the Quebec Liberals.

The arrangement was apparently made between Harper and Premier Charest in a private meeting last week, when the prime minister came to the provincial capital to announce an airport expansion.

In the deal, the Quebec Liberals would refrain from criticizing the Conservatives, the party most likely to form the next government, possibly a majority government, until the federal election is over.In return, the Conservative government would sign agreements giving Quebec more money.

On Wednesday, Charest defended the Harper government against criticism from the sovereignist parties in Ottawa and Quebec City over the absence of a harmonization settlement in the federal budget.

And he said that in this federal campaign, h...e will not publish an open letter asking the parties to state their positions on issues of particular concern to his government, as he had in the past. Charest said "the idea of a letter is a bit passé," even though his intervention in the 2008 campaign to criticize the Conservatives for culture spending cuts had proven effective

No comments: