Premiers Stand United On Offshore Revenues

first_imgPremiers John Hamm and Danny Williams have reaffirmed theircommitment to stand united on the Atlantic Accord and say theyare looking forward to an upcoming meeting with Prime MinisterPaul Martin to resolve differences between the federal governmentand the two provinces over offshore revenues. “Now is the time for the prime minister to step up and give firmdirection on this important file,” Premier Hamm said today, Nov.8, after a meeting in St. John’s with Premier Williams. “I am,therefore, delighted that this morning the prime minister hasagreed to sit down with myself and Premier Williams.” “This morning, Premier Hamm and I placed a call to Prime MinisterMartin and requested a meeting so that we can resolve thedifferences that are blocking the implementation of theagreements that he made with each of us in June,” said PremierWilliams. “It is absolutely imperative that Prime Minister Martin resolvethis serious domestic issue before he turns his attention to hisinternational mission in mid-November. While his internationalduties and obligations are very important, he has aresponsibility to fix what is broken at home, and I call on himto do that as soon as possible so that our provinces can finallystart to benefit from our offshore resources in a meaningfulway.” In June, the prime minister made a commitment to both provincesthat they would be able to retain 100 per cent of net directprovincial revenues from their offshore resources through theirrespective offshore accords. Moreover, the June 2004 commitmentdid not contain a cap or a time limit. This agreement is outsidethe equalization program and does not impact the total amount ofmoney available to other equalization-receiving provinces.Neither province would “double-dip” into the equalizationprogram. Once each province’s own-source revenues surpass thefive-province equalization benchmark, that province will cease toreceive equalization payments. The federal government has not lived up to that agreement. Underrecent proposals by the federal government, the provinces ofNewfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia would stand to losebillions of dollars. Both premiers confirmed that this is clearlynot acceptable. “This is not just a question of two provinces dealing with theirrespective offshore resources. This is an opportunity for theprime minister to show leadership, to demonstrate vision, toengage in nation building,” added Premier Hamm. “This is PaulMartin’s chance to make the right decisions today that willunleash more have provinces upon the Canada of tomorrow. I amlooking forward to this meeting so that together with the primeminister and the federal government, we can build a brighter,more prosperous future for our respective provinces.” “This is a matter of pride,” added Premier Williams. “We insiston being treated as equal partners in Confederation with thefreedom to use our non-renewable natural resources so that we canachieve long-term stability within our respective jurisdictionsfor the benefit of our people and, ultimately, for the benefit ofCanada. I want to express my sincere appreciation to Premier Hammfor the unprecedented co-operation between our governments onthis file. We stand together united on principle, that anagreement is an agreement and 100 per cent is 100 per cent.”last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *