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Monday 28 February 2022


Guest Post by Ron Penney

I’ve been following with increasing dismay what has been happening over the past number of years as the Federal Government has, through the guise of environmental protection, eroded the authority of the Offshore Petroleum Board created under the Atlantic Accord to jointly manage the oil and gas industry in the province. 

I was a member of the negotiating team which led to the Atlantic Accord, chaired by the late Cyril Abery, then Deputy Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs, reporting to Bill Marshall, the Minister responsible for the offshore negotiations, who in turn reported to the Planning and Priorities Committee of Cabinet, chaired by Premier Brian Peckford. 

These were a very difficult set of negotiations, particularly with the Liberal government of Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, and initially led by the Minister of Natural Resources, Mark Lalonde, who was succeeded by Jean Chretien. Those negotiations were unsuccessful because they refused to meet our two demands: that we would should be given the same right to collect royalties as if the resource was on land, and that it be managed by an independent board composed of equal representation from both governments. 

Monday 14 February 2022


The new Hydro President, Jennifer Williams, is either threading very softly with a Furey Government afraid of taking decisions or has already succumbed to Nalcor’s long established culture of deception.

Because Ms. Williams is still new, we can only hope that her comments to CBC last week are matters of misspeak rather than signs of an evolving attitude. There is good reason to be concerned.

CEO Williams suggested to CBC that it is common for new utility infrastructure to experience “growing pains”.

The comment left the impression that those “growing pains” include the major problems currently plaguing the Muskrat Falls project, which are limiting production to around a third of capacity. After spending nearly $15 billion and years behind schedule, growing pains should constitute only the minor problems identified in a punch list audit during commissioning.