God bless Hansard. Here’s what Decivin' Steven was saying about the Atlantic Accord and election promises less than three years ago...(h/t tony) 38th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION
EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 022
Thursday, November 4, 2004
Hon. Stephen Harper (Leader of the Opposition, CPC) moved:
That this House deplore the attitude of the Prime Minister of Canada at and following the First Ministers' Conference of October 26, 2004, and that it call on the federal government to immediately implement its pledges of June 5 and 27, 2004, to allow the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia to keep 100% of their provincial offshore oil and gas revenues.
He said: Mr. Speaker,I will be splitting my time with our deputy leader from Central Nova.
On June 5 of this year the Prime Minister arrived in
This is a commitment that was made by me in my capacity as leader of the Canadian Alliance when I first arrived here and has its origins in the intentions of the Atlantic accord signed by former Prime Minister Mulroney in the mid-1980s. These are longstanding commitments, our commitment to 100% of non-renewable resource royalties. It was our commitment during the election, before the election, and it remains our commitment today.
For the Prime Minister, this was something that he had opposed for 11 years and for most of his political career. But suddenly in the midst of an election campaign on June 5, he met with
"I believe that
Premier Williams specified in a letter dated June 10 that:
'The proposal my government made to you and your Minister of Natural Resources provides for 100% of direct provincial revenues generated by the petroleum resources in the Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Area, to accrue to the government of Newfoundland and Labrador and be sheltered from the clawback provisions of the equalization formula--'
The Prime Minister said he agreed with the Premier's proposal and he gave his word as Prime Minister of Canada. Premier Williams was asked at the press conference announcing the deal how he could be sure the Prime Minister would keep his word after the election. He replied that as a man of honour, that the solemn word of the Prime Minister was sufficient. Premier Williams said: “It's by word of mouth, and I'm taking him at his word, and that's good enough for me”.
Unfortunately, the solemn word of this Prime Minister turned out to be not good enough. The Prime Minister ignored letters from Premier Williams on June 10, August 5 and August 24 urging him to confirm his promise. Suddenly, the Prime Minister and his Minister of Natural Resources fell silent.
Finally, on October 24, two days before the first ministers' conference, the Minister of Finance finally replied offering:
--additional annual payments that will ensure the province effectively retains 100 per cent of its offshore revenues--
Then the minister added two big exceptions limiting the offer:
--for an eight-year period covering 2004-05 through 2011-12, subject to the provision that no such additional payments result in the fiscal capacity of the province exceeding that of the province of Ontario in any given year.
The eight year time limit and the
Hon. Stephen Harper (Calgary Southwest, CPC): Everyone in
The Liberal attitude is as typical as it is senseless. There is no point pulling back non-renewable resource revenues from a have not province. This is an opportunity and it is a one time opportunity. It is a short term opportunity to allow these provinces to kick-start their economic development, to get out of have not status, to grow this short run opportunity into long run growth and revenue that will be paid back to Ottawa over and over again and that will benefit the people of those regions of Canada for a very long time.
This is what happened in the case of my
Of course the Liberals expended endless effort to limit the growth of
The Prime Minister, before he was here, was president of a company that largely depended on offshore activity. Does he not understand that energy resources are finite, temporary and a short term opportunity? The provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia should be allowed, indeed should be encouraged, to improve the living conditions of their citizens and to use this to attract new long term businesses to replace the temporary opportunities provided by the offshore resources.
Instead, when the
Whether we live in
What is at stake is the future of Atlantic Canada, an unprecedented and historic opportunity for those provinces to get out of the have not status that has bedevilled them for decades. What is at issue is very simple. It is the honour of the Prime Minister, and all he has to do is keep his word.
38th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION