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No energy projects planned with Quebec: N.L. minister

Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady speaks to reporters Wednesday outside the House of Assembly.
Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady speaks to reporters Wednesday outside the House of Assembly. - James McLeod

Quebec media report suggests feds ready to support new transmission lines

Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady says there have been bilateral talks with the Quebec government about mining in the Labrador Trough, but not yet serious talks about any new energy transmission lines, or change in the movement of power through the provinces.

On Wednesday, the French-language outlet La Presse reported federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr is supportive of new power lines between Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. It said Carr also welcomed the improving relationship between the Government of Quebec and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The report, published online, is titled (in translation): “Ottawa ready to finance Quebec-Atlantic transmission line.”

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La Presse on new transmission in Atlantic Canada

It mentions the conclusion of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement between the federal government and the provinces, meant to remove barriers to internal trade. Previous administrations here and the current Liberal government have supported that idea, specifically as it relates to electricity.

This province has been vocal in the past about being frustrated in trying to wheel power through Quebec to power markets beyond, feeling trapped by geography. Right now, Nalcor Energy is shipping some power through Quebec for sale.

There is also limited space on the existing transmission system in Atlantic Canada to consider.

And for any new power development, or in seeking available markets in future, transmission must be taken into account.

So what does the provincial minister think of the federal government apparently offering support for improved availability of transmission, perhaps an East-West corridor for power, reaching across Canada?

“I think transmission is core to this country and I think that’s what you’re seeing, is the federal government saying that it is,” Coady said.

She said she believes the free flow of electricity and even construction of new transmission infrastructure should not be ruled out ahead of previously agreed-to bilateral talks with Quebec about power transmission.

“We’re going to get to that with Quebec in the very near future,” she said.

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