Energy talks still on with P.E.I. and N.S., Quebec insists

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Calling off a multibillion-dollar energy deal with New Brunswick doesn't put a damper on the Quebec government's ambitions to expand power exports to markets in Eastern Canada and the United States, says Natural Resources Minister Nathalie Normandeau.

Wednesday, the two provinces announced they were pulling out of a $3.2-billion agreement to sell most assets of NB Power to Hydro-Quebec, insisting they couldn't agree on who would foot the bill for future refurbishment of some facilities, notably the Mactaquac hydro dam.

Quebec -

Calling off a multibillion-dollar energy deal with New Brunswick doesn't put a damper on the Quebec government's ambitions to expand power exports to markets in Eastern Canada and the United States, says Natural Resources Minister Nathalie Normandeau.

Wednesday, the two provinces announced they were pulling out of a $3.2-billion agreement to sell most assets of NB Power to Hydro-Quebec, insisting they couldn't agree on who would foot the bill for future refurbishment of some facilities, notably the Mactaquac hydro dam.

Normandeau said Thursday despite the collapse of the deal, Hydro-Quebec is still involved in energy discussions with Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.

"It does not change anything to our negotiations with other provinces," Normandeau said.

"(The N.B. deal) was an opportunity, and now we have to look at other opportunities," she added.

Normandeau also recalled the province is pushing for a new transmission line - that may soon be approved by U.S. regulators - from Quebec into New Hampshire, linking Hydro-Quebec to all New England states.

Sasha Irving, a spokeswoman for Nova Scotia's privately-owned power utility, Emera, said the company will not comment on discussions until it is ready to make an announcement.

Meanwhile, in Quebec City Thursday, the Opposition Parti Quebecois lashed out at Premier Jean Charest for concealing the "real reasons" that led to the failure of the deal hailed as historic by Quebec last fall.

PQ Leader Pauline Marois said Quebec-bashing in New Brunswick is one factor that derailed the negotiations and Charest chose to stand down instead of fighting back.

"He'd rather give the impression that there is a great big unity, that this was flying high in Canada and that there is no problem toward Quebec," Marois told reporters.

Anti-Quebec sentiment

Marois recalled New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham said in January that opposition to the deal was especially strong in rural parts of the province where anti-Quebec feelings linger.

Graham apologized the next day and stressed there is only a small minority of New Brunswickers that bear a grudge against Quebec.

But Marois insisted Quebec-bashing is still alive in that province and elsewhere in Canada, pointing to harsh comments made by Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams who strongly opposed the Quebec-New Brunswick deal.

"The bottom line is that federalists didn't want to strike a deal with Quebec," she said.

Organizations: Hydro-Quebec, NB Power, Opposition Parti Quebecois

Geographic location: Quebec City, New Brunswick, Eastern Canada United States Nova Scotia Prince Edward Island New Hampshire New England Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Graham
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Quebec-bashing is alive and well all across Canada, and for good reason. They've brung it upon themselves through years self-centerism. I sure am glad they didn't get this deal. Quebec wanted to completely rip off NB. It was a deal with the devil - a few years of mediocre savings in exchange for a lifetime of servitude, and Normandeau called that an opportunity. It was akin to robbing the victim of a traffic accident while he was unconscious. Normandeau goes on to say that they now have to go on looking for another opportunity. Quebec vultures.

  • NANCY
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Quebec is a CANCER.

  • Penney
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Sounds like Emera is getting ready to make an announcement.

  • Martin
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    I agree with her completely. I do not trust Quebec and I never will. They have a bad track record with this province and wonders why everyone is anti-Quebec. Please do us all a favor and seperate.

  • John Doe
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    Listen lady, no one wants to deal with Quebec. All the pain that the province of Quebec has inflicted on the rest of the country will someday come back to bite them in the a$$. I hope I'm alive to see it. Voila!

  • Graham
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    Quebec-bashing is alive and well all across Canada, and for good reason. They've brung it upon themselves through years self-centerism. I sure am glad they didn't get this deal. Quebec wanted to completely rip off NB. It was a deal with the devil - a few years of mediocre savings in exchange for a lifetime of servitude, and Normandeau called that an opportunity. It was akin to robbing the victim of a traffic accident while he was unconscious. Normandeau goes on to say that they now have to go on looking for another opportunity. Quebec vultures.

  • NANCY
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    Quebec is a CANCER.

  • Penney
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    Sounds like Emera is getting ready to make an announcement.

  • Martin
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    I agree with her completely. I do not trust Quebec and I never will. They have a bad track record with this province and wonders why everyone is anti-Quebec. Please do us all a favor and seperate.

  • John Doe
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    Listen lady, no one wants to deal with Quebec. All the pain that the province of Quebec has inflicted on the rest of the country will someday come back to bite them in the a$$. I hope I'm alive to see it. Voila!