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LETTER: Once more unto the breach

In a 7-1 decision handed down on Nov. 2, the Supreme Court of Canada decided against reopening the Churchill Falls power contract.

The contract between Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corp. Ltd. (CFLCO) and Hydro- Quebec is a symptom of a century-old boundary dispute.

The reference to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council of the British Empire agreed to in 1920 and determined by 1927 was between Canada and Newfoundland.

The mutually acceptable question placed before the Judicial Committee, acting as arbiters, was as follows: “What is the location and definition of the boundary as between Canada and Newfoundland on the Labrador Peninsula, under the Statutes, orders -in-council and Proclamations?”

Please notice there is absolutely no mention of Quebec, although La Belle Province was very interested in the arbitration’s outcome. Were the arbiters’ decision in Canada’s favour, the Labrador Peninsula would not have become Canada’s third territory but part of the soil of Quebec.

Notice, too, there is without any doubt not a mention of a Canadian province called Newfoundland in the reference.

Since the rumblings of Maurice Duplessis in 1948 prior to Newfoundland’s joining the Canadian Confederation, the feud between Joe Smallwood and Jean Lesage in the 1960s, and the Quebec nation’s sense of historical grievances and being hemmed in all sides by Les Autres (les maudit Anglais) on an English-speaking continent, there has risen another boundary dispute.

The solution to our Gordian knot?

Bring the existing boundary dispute to arbitration.

Tom Careen


Related story:

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier disappointed, unsurprised by Churchill power deal ruling

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