'Steady as she goes' for Nalcor

Rob Antle
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Company will wait for formal response after Quebec rejection

Quebec's deputy premier may have flatly rejected a request for renegotiations on the Upper Churchill power contract, but the president of Newfoundland and Labrador's energy corporation says the situation has not changed.

"For me, it's steady as she goes," Nalcor Energy president Ed Martin said Wednesday. "The (Upper Churchill) contract is between CF(L)Co and Hydro-Quebec."

Ed Martin

Quebec's deputy premier may have flatly rejected a request for renegotiations on the Upper Churchill power contract, but the president of Newfoundland and Labrador's energy corporation says the situation has not changed.

"For me, it's steady as she goes," Nalcor Energy president Ed Martin said Wednesday. "The (Upper Churchill) contract is between CF(L)Co and Hydro-Quebec."

On Monday, Martin announced that CF(L)Co had asked Hydro-Quebec to reopen the contract, citing legal opinions that "good faith" provisions of the Quebec Civil Code could apply to the deal.

Nalcor owns roughly two-thirds of CF(L)Co, which operates the Upper Churchill power plant. Hydro-Quebec owns the rest.

On Tuesday, Nathalie Normandeau - Quebec's deputy premier and natural resources minister - said there was "nothing new" in the request.

"This isn't the first time that Newfoundland has tried to challenge the agreement that was signed on Churchill Falls," Normandeau told reporters in Quebec City.

"The Supreme Court ruled in 1988 in favour of Quebec. So, for us, there is nothing new, and I'm not going to comment any further."

But Martin said Wednesday he has yet to receive any kind of response from Hydro-Quebec.

And until he does, the status quo remains in effect.

"I really don't need to do anything else now, until I hear from Hydro-Quebec," Martin said. "I know exactly what's in my mind, and I know I have to hear from them before we figure out what the next steps are."

While Martin has yet to hear from Hydro-Quebec president Thierry Vandal, the Montreal Gazette did.

"It's more of the same," Vandal told the Montreal newspaper of CF(L)Co's request to reopen talks.

"It's one for the lawyers."

Vandal told the Gazette he isn't budging from the view that "this is a valid contract and we expect it to be respected."

Meanwhile, Martin has declined to say whether CF(L)Co will pursue legal action if Hydro-Quebec refuses to reopen talks.

He has asked the company to respond to him by Jan. 15.

Earlier this week, Martin said changes to Quebec law in 1994 impose obligations for "good faith" in all legal relationships, including contracts.

That law change applies to the 1969 Churchill deal, he indicated - not retroactively, but for the remainder of the contract.

Newfoundland and Labrador officials contend the province nets only $63 million a year from the lopsided arrangement, while Quebec receives an estimated $1.7 billion annually.

Previous efforts to rework the deal have all failed. Those efforts include two Supreme Court of Canada challenges.

rantle@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Hydro-Quebec, Supreme Court of Canada, Montreal Gazette Churchill

Geographic location: Quebec City, Newfoundland and Labrador, Montreal

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  • NALCOR CF(L)Co
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Mr. Martin - The EVIL, DASTARDLY, UNGODLY, UNCONSCIONABLE and in my opinion CORRUPT Upper Churchill Contract has to be renogotiated.

    Why, I wonder, has Ottawa NEVER appointed a Supreme Court Judge from the province of Newfoundland and Labrador? Might it have something to do with the Upper Churchill Contrat?

    We have been a province of Canada, in name only, for nearly 61 years AND for the sake of FREE USE of our natural resource base which was utilized to the NTH Degree by Ottawa to provide economies for other parts of Canada. As in the case of our once Great Renewable Fish Resource - The World, since that resource has been decimated by Ottawa through its meting out of 'fish quotas' as the enabler to conduct International Trade for Central Canada?

    THE UPPER CHURCHILL HYDROELECTRIC CONTRACT HAS TO BE MADE FAIRER.

  • Ed
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    It seems Nalcor at present doesn't have any other viable objective where it can make waves to justify its existence and expenditures. This is an exercise in futility. Mr.Martin appears overconfident and I suspect that, given a little time, we may have a different opinion of his ambitious endeavours. I wish Nalcor success but am not holding my breath.

  • StayatHomeMom
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    Truth Teller - I am not Mrs. Martin.
    I have more things to do than stay online all day long and slag people's reputations under the cover of a false name. Have a great day! :) And I mean that honestly!

  • Truth
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    More like unless you hear from Hydro Quebec. Not everyone says jump when Danny says how high.

    Why would they want to revisit this contract? Good luck pursuing this, though. You will need it.

  • StayatHomeMom
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Mr. Martin is being paid the money he is because he is the best. He would probably be getting paid more if he stayed in the oil and gas sector (i.e. operators of fields in NL).
    Also, Mr. Williams is doing the best he can.
    I can not believe there is a Newfoundlander and Labradorian alive who does not want us to try and right the wrong of the Upper Churchill contract. I don't mind if they grasp at straws. Bring it on.

  • b
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Truth teller, stop the racket and the anti-williams blogosphere posse (they know who they are) will grasp at anything to kick williams in the nads. That is what partisans do.

    I don't agree with everything that Williams says or does, however there is a time to oppose and a time to unite, especially when the common good of all from this province is concerned, and partisans simply don't get that concept.

  • Taxpayer ll
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    I'm so glad that we have Truth Teller on here to tell us the truth. Where would we be without someone bashing Mr. Williams? What do you hope to gain by doing this? Do you hope to enlighten us with your wisdom? Do you see what the rest of us cannot? I see a man standing up for the people of his province, doing the best he can to guide us through one of the worst recessions in history, to shout out to the world about how we have been unjustly treated in this fereration. Yet we have those who for some reason, spite, jealousy, etc. wish to knock him down at every opportunity. I just read several posts on the CBC site from the three atlantic provinces wishing that Mr. Williams was their Premier. We are indeed lucky that we have such an individual at the helm...just imagine if we had Yvonne driving the ship!

  • Randy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    How is Mr. Martin one of Danny's buddies? Get a life Randy and Truth Teller. Get your facts straight. Ed is a self made man from the oil sector. Getting much less money at his present job. Idiots. Some real fools in this province. Probably the same ones on welfare Wente referred to.

  • Eli
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    Taxpayer II. What does all that have to do with openness and accountability?

  • RL
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    I would say they might have better luck suing the Estate of Joey Smallwood rather than getting Hydro Quebec to renegotiate. Why would they? Whats in it for them?

    Yeah the Upper Churchill deal stinks, and always has. Can we move on to something we CAN accomplish?

  • D-Man
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    It seems to me that the Premier and Ed Martin are on a bit of a letter writing campaign these days. Lets see if the pen is mightier than the sword or in Dannys case the tongue or is it the sword, heads do roll at the Confederation building you know.

    Here is a sneak peak at tomorrows edition of The Telegram:

    Premier Writes Strong Worded Letter to Santa:

    In what can no doubt be a retraction of the olive branch extended during the 2008 Christmas Season, when the Premier ended his long standing ABS campaign (Anyone But Santa), Danny Williams has released a copy a the letter he sent to the Jolly OlGuy yesterday. The letter urges Mr. Clause not to forget him again this year and stop being a traitor to Newfoundland & Labrador. The letter goes on to state that the Williams administration will not tolerate oil being less than $100/barrel again this year, and urges Santa to use his influence to quote make this happen. It goes on to demand that Mr. Clause not deliver any gifts to the board of directors of Hydro Quebec, or their children or their childrens children, sighting Quebec law and several passages from the book of Revelation. It then goes on to threaten that all Christmas Lights will be removed from the Confederation building if things dont change

    Check out tomorrows Telegram for more on this breaking Story

  • Truth
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    It's not bashing Williams.And if my criticisms and such are bashing , then what does Williams himself do when he treats others as mercilessly? He put himself out there as a public officeholder. I judge him by his behavior and actions. I am sure he is a great fellow. I have heard so. But there are many things in the last six years that I have seen that I do not like as a voter of this province, as a citizen of a democracy. And that also has nothing to do with my own partisan leanings.

    Yvonne Jones is doing her best as Opposition Leader with the limited resources she has (cut by this Williams government, I might add). And for this Premier to call her a betrayer and traitor, in effect, because she is asking questions of him in the people's House (which is her job), then that speaks exactly to the behavior of his that I so abhor, and rightfully can. I also have the right to express that publicly, however unpopular that may be. And clearly regarding the Upper Churchill, a situation NO ONE would dispute is abhorrent for us, and has been for four decades now, he's got the people wound in an emotional dizzy yet again, as demagogues do and anyone who dare ask any questions about where he is going with this is apparently a traitor to the province. It is this rhetoric, used by the Premier himself, that absolutely disgusts me. We should scrutinize everything, and just because someone is personally so smart, savvy, popular, wealthy, does not necessarily make them always right, nor should we automatically give up our political agency because of this.

    Danny Williams stands up for us, but more than anything else, he stands up for himself and his insatiable need, it seems, for total control of everything. He suffers no fools gladly whatsoever.

    Cheers, Taxpayer. And I saw your apology to me in the other story. Thank you for it.

  • Andrew
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Taxpayer, Just imagine if we had Truth teller or Nasty Nate for that fact driving the ship! The titantic would have nothing on that.

  • Randy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Hey isahorn from st john's or what ever you call yourself.How much does Martin really make,with bonuses and quirks.Danny won't tell you because Danny had this corp.shrowded in secercy from day 1,so you wouldn't know.As for idiot ,you seem to take the cake.Maybe some day you'll get off mommy puter long enough to think on your own,,and not bow down to some lieing politician or maybe mommy works for him?//

  • Bones II
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    This contract is illegal under Quebec's own civil law. Hydro Quebec is breaking the law of their own province by upholding terms of this contract and refusing negotiation to make it legal. If you disagree, please explain how it conforms to the Quebec law being cited. It is not retroactive to 1969, makes sense. It is unfair and lopsided, well documented. It will become even more lopsided and unfair in 2016, also documented. The law of Quebec states this is illegal. The only solution is renegotiation, or court....again.



    This contract needs to be made legal.

  • Truth
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    StayatHomeMom, are you Mrs. Martin?

  • John
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Surprise! Surprise!

  • Saucy Face
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    Truth Teller: As the official leader of the opposition, your comments here in the paper are just as pointless as the comments you make in the House of Assembly. Now wonder your Liberal Party is in the sad state that it's in LOL

  • Nasty
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    Send up the Newfie Army. A contract is a contract unless we outlaw them in this province. Then what? All you union boosters would be without one as well. Lets start with them first before we try taking on the big dogs. Danny will be eaten alive on this, and it will be great fun to watch.

    I am all for the day the turn over happens, but face facts. You do not get it both ways people. Either you agree to a contract or you do not. We took this, and lets forget about the losses since we can not turn back time, but be sure we learn to never repeat the same mistakes in future dealings.

    How much more do you want to pay for Power in this province to pay for this lost cause? Think about that next time your rates go up.

  • Randy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    I guess it is steady as she goes ,Mr Martin,.At a quarter Mill a year in salary,collected from the tax-payer to you,i would say the same.The 2 biggest leachs of our money theses days seems to be Nalcor and this invisable representative of Danny we have in Ottawa

  • Truth
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    RandySaHorn, I am sure you are one of Martin's sons.

  • Frank Blackwell
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    I can't believe the nasty things being said about those who make an attempt to improve a deal for their people. To sling arrows as they hide in the bushes is the height of cowardice. Of course the Quebec gov't and Hydro Quebec are going to say no, no one is going to hand over millions of dollars they feel is rightfully theirs. Will it go to court, who knows, but you can't win if you don't play. Vanna, pick me a letter.

  • Brett
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    I don't see why asking how the change in law applies and what the argument is is against the interests of NL. Now if some of that information needs not be leaked to QC-Hydro then sure, but I don't see how that argument really applies.

    That would be a simple statement, that he cannot tell you on advise of the provincial lawyers. Or even give a list of rulings based on the law put in place by quebec that show how upper churchill would apply.

  • St.
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    As a born Newfoundlander with strong roots there still, it seems to me Danny W. could learn a thing or two from the late W.Churchill. A man who came with cap in hand to his allies and pleaded for their goodwill and sense of decency for arms and men to aid his cause.
    Mr.Williams could have endeared himself to many who have great warmth and affection for Newfoundland, instead of the middle finger of defiance. It is safe to say he has very few, if any allies in Ottawa or Quebec these days. It is still not too late for genuine dialogue and perhaps some 'Horse Trading' rather than yet another threat of litigation. So, how can you make a deal Mr.Williams ? What would it take to win some friends ?
    Cheers,

  • Truth
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    Randy, those who are most loyal get rewarded the handsomest. Yes, and what does Ambassador Dr. FitzGerald do for his ridiculous salary??? Anyone hear from him lately?? He, another massive Danny Williams disciple.

    Danny Williams promised to be more transparent and accountable and to curb the Liberal excesses and patronage. Instead, he did the opposite, appointing old friends, loyalists, and even a family member (one that I know of) to cushy jobs in his government.

    Transparent all right.

  • NALCOR CF(L)Co
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    Mr. Martin - The EVIL, DASTARDLY, UNGODLY, UNCONSCIONABLE and in my opinion CORRUPT Upper Churchill Contract has to be renogotiated.

    Why, I wonder, has Ottawa NEVER appointed a Supreme Court Judge from the province of Newfoundland and Labrador? Might it have something to do with the Upper Churchill Contrat?

    We have been a province of Canada, in name only, for nearly 61 years AND for the sake of FREE USE of our natural resource base which was utilized to the NTH Degree by Ottawa to provide economies for other parts of Canada. As in the case of our once Great Renewable Fish Resource - The World, since that resource has been decimated by Ottawa through its meting out of 'fish quotas' as the enabler to conduct International Trade for Central Canada?

    THE UPPER CHURCHILL HYDROELECTRIC CONTRACT HAS TO BE MADE FAIRER.

  • Ed
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    It seems Nalcor at present doesn't have any other viable objective where it can make waves to justify its existence and expenditures. This is an exercise in futility. Mr.Martin appears overconfident and I suspect that, given a little time, we may have a different opinion of his ambitious endeavours. I wish Nalcor success but am not holding my breath.

  • StayatHomeMom
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    Truth Teller - I am not Mrs. Martin.
    I have more things to do than stay online all day long and slag people's reputations under the cover of a false name. Have a great day! :) And I mean that honestly!

  • Truth
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    More like unless you hear from Hydro Quebec. Not everyone says jump when Danny says how high.

    Why would they want to revisit this contract? Good luck pursuing this, though. You will need it.

  • StayatHomeMom
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    Mr. Martin is being paid the money he is because he is the best. He would probably be getting paid more if he stayed in the oil and gas sector (i.e. operators of fields in NL).
    Also, Mr. Williams is doing the best he can.
    I can not believe there is a Newfoundlander and Labradorian alive who does not want us to try and right the wrong of the Upper Churchill contract. I don't mind if they grasp at straws. Bring it on.

  • b
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    Truth teller, stop the racket and the anti-williams blogosphere posse (they know who they are) will grasp at anything to kick williams in the nads. That is what partisans do.

    I don't agree with everything that Williams says or does, however there is a time to oppose and a time to unite, especially when the common good of all from this province is concerned, and partisans simply don't get that concept.

  • Taxpayer ll
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    I'm so glad that we have Truth Teller on here to tell us the truth. Where would we be without someone bashing Mr. Williams? What do you hope to gain by doing this? Do you hope to enlighten us with your wisdom? Do you see what the rest of us cannot? I see a man standing up for the people of his province, doing the best he can to guide us through one of the worst recessions in history, to shout out to the world about how we have been unjustly treated in this fereration. Yet we have those who for some reason, spite, jealousy, etc. wish to knock him down at every opportunity. I just read several posts on the CBC site from the three atlantic provinces wishing that Mr. Williams was their Premier. We are indeed lucky that we have such an individual at the helm...just imagine if we had Yvonne driving the ship!

  • Randy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    How is Mr. Martin one of Danny's buddies? Get a life Randy and Truth Teller. Get your facts straight. Ed is a self made man from the oil sector. Getting much less money at his present job. Idiots. Some real fools in this province. Probably the same ones on welfare Wente referred to.

  • Eli
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    Taxpayer II. What does all that have to do with openness and accountability?

  • RL
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    I would say they might have better luck suing the Estate of Joey Smallwood rather than getting Hydro Quebec to renegotiate. Why would they? Whats in it for them?

    Yeah the Upper Churchill deal stinks, and always has. Can we move on to something we CAN accomplish?

  • D-Man
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    It seems to me that the Premier and Ed Martin are on a bit of a letter writing campaign these days. Lets see if the pen is mightier than the sword or in Dannys case the tongue or is it the sword, heads do roll at the Confederation building you know.

    Here is a sneak peak at tomorrows edition of The Telegram:

    Premier Writes Strong Worded Letter to Santa:

    In what can no doubt be a retraction of the olive branch extended during the 2008 Christmas Season, when the Premier ended his long standing ABS campaign (Anyone But Santa), Danny Williams has released a copy a the letter he sent to the Jolly OlGuy yesterday. The letter urges Mr. Clause not to forget him again this year and stop being a traitor to Newfoundland & Labrador. The letter goes on to state that the Williams administration will not tolerate oil being less than $100/barrel again this year, and urges Santa to use his influence to quote make this happen. It goes on to demand that Mr. Clause not deliver any gifts to the board of directors of Hydro Quebec, or their children or their childrens children, sighting Quebec law and several passages from the book of Revelation. It then goes on to threaten that all Christmas Lights will be removed from the Confederation building if things dont change

    Check out tomorrows Telegram for more on this breaking Story

  • Truth
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    It's not bashing Williams.And if my criticisms and such are bashing , then what does Williams himself do when he treats others as mercilessly? He put himself out there as a public officeholder. I judge him by his behavior and actions. I am sure he is a great fellow. I have heard so. But there are many things in the last six years that I have seen that I do not like as a voter of this province, as a citizen of a democracy. And that also has nothing to do with my own partisan leanings.

    Yvonne Jones is doing her best as Opposition Leader with the limited resources she has (cut by this Williams government, I might add). And for this Premier to call her a betrayer and traitor, in effect, because she is asking questions of him in the people's House (which is her job), then that speaks exactly to the behavior of his that I so abhor, and rightfully can. I also have the right to express that publicly, however unpopular that may be. And clearly regarding the Upper Churchill, a situation NO ONE would dispute is abhorrent for us, and has been for four decades now, he's got the people wound in an emotional dizzy yet again, as demagogues do and anyone who dare ask any questions about where he is going with this is apparently a traitor to the province. It is this rhetoric, used by the Premier himself, that absolutely disgusts me. We should scrutinize everything, and just because someone is personally so smart, savvy, popular, wealthy, does not necessarily make them always right, nor should we automatically give up our political agency because of this.

    Danny Williams stands up for us, but more than anything else, he stands up for himself and his insatiable need, it seems, for total control of everything. He suffers no fools gladly whatsoever.

    Cheers, Taxpayer. And I saw your apology to me in the other story. Thank you for it.

  • Andrew
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    Taxpayer, Just imagine if we had Truth teller or Nasty Nate for that fact driving the ship! The titantic would have nothing on that.

  • Randy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    Hey isahorn from st john's or what ever you call yourself.How much does Martin really make,with bonuses and quirks.Danny won't tell you because Danny had this corp.shrowded in secercy from day 1,so you wouldn't know.As for idiot ,you seem to take the cake.Maybe some day you'll get off mommy puter long enough to think on your own,,and not bow down to some lieing politician or maybe mommy works for him?//

  • Bones II
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    This contract is illegal under Quebec's own civil law. Hydro Quebec is breaking the law of their own province by upholding terms of this contract and refusing negotiation to make it legal. If you disagree, please explain how it conforms to the Quebec law being cited. It is not retroactive to 1969, makes sense. It is unfair and lopsided, well documented. It will become even more lopsided and unfair in 2016, also documented. The law of Quebec states this is illegal. The only solution is renegotiation, or court....again.



    This contract needs to be made legal.

  • Truth
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    StayatHomeMom, are you Mrs. Martin?

  • John
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    Surprise! Surprise!

  • Saucy Face
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    Truth Teller: As the official leader of the opposition, your comments here in the paper are just as pointless as the comments you make in the House of Assembly. Now wonder your Liberal Party is in the sad state that it's in LOL

  • Randy
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    I guess it is steady as she goes ,Mr Martin,.At a quarter Mill a year in salary,collected from the tax-payer to you,i would say the same.The 2 biggest leachs of our money theses days seems to be Nalcor and this invisable representative of Danny we have in Ottawa

  • Nasty
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    Send up the Newfie Army. A contract is a contract unless we outlaw them in this province. Then what? All you union boosters would be without one as well. Lets start with them first before we try taking on the big dogs. Danny will be eaten alive on this, and it will be great fun to watch.

    I am all for the day the turn over happens, but face facts. You do not get it both ways people. Either you agree to a contract or you do not. We took this, and lets forget about the losses since we can not turn back time, but be sure we learn to never repeat the same mistakes in future dealings.

    How much more do you want to pay for Power in this province to pay for this lost cause? Think about that next time your rates go up.

  • Truth
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    RandySaHorn, I am sure you are one of Martin's sons.

  • Frank Blackwell
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    I can't believe the nasty things being said about those who make an attempt to improve a deal for their people. To sling arrows as they hide in the bushes is the height of cowardice. Of course the Quebec gov't and Hydro Quebec are going to say no, no one is going to hand over millions of dollars they feel is rightfully theirs. Will it go to court, who knows, but you can't win if you don't play. Vanna, pick me a letter.

  • Brett
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    I don't see why asking how the change in law applies and what the argument is is against the interests of NL. Now if some of that information needs not be leaked to QC-Hydro then sure, but I don't see how that argument really applies.

    That would be a simple statement, that he cannot tell you on advise of the provincial lawyers. Or even give a list of rulings based on the law put in place by quebec that show how upper churchill would apply.

  • St.
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    As a born Newfoundlander with strong roots there still, it seems to me Danny W. could learn a thing or two from the late W.Churchill. A man who came with cap in hand to his allies and pleaded for their goodwill and sense of decency for arms and men to aid his cause.
    Mr.Williams could have endeared himself to many who have great warmth and affection for Newfoundland, instead of the middle finger of defiance. It is safe to say he has very few, if any allies in Ottawa or Quebec these days. It is still not too late for genuine dialogue and perhaps some 'Horse Trading' rather than yet another threat of litigation. So, how can you make a deal Mr.Williams ? What would it take to win some friends ?
    Cheers,

  • Truth
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    Randy, those who are most loyal get rewarded the handsomest. Yes, and what does Ambassador Dr. FitzGerald do for his ridiculous salary??? Anyone hear from him lately?? He, another massive Danny Williams disciple.

    Danny Williams promised to be more transparent and accountable and to curb the Liberal excesses and patronage. Instead, he did the opposite, appointing old friends, loyalists, and even a family member (one that I know of) to cushy jobs in his government.

    Transparent all right.