It is indeed gratifying to get the tremendous readership to yesterday’s article on the Muskrat Falls Project. It tops all records for a twenty four hour period since I started this blog a little over a year ago.
I remember being on the stage in Springdale , Newfoundland talking about the Upper Churchill in 1972.
I remember trying to change that Upper Churchill Contract with both Premiers Rene Lecesque and Robert Bourassa. But to no avail. They always wanted to link it with the Lower Churchill , both the Gul island Project and our now unfortunate Muskrat. I would not link them . One bad deal was enough I thought.
My best shot at getting a change on the Upper was with Rene Levesque . I met with his new Minister Guy Joron . He seemed receptive. But Hydro Quebec soon put the Minister in his place. A little later Rene himself got involved . We met at Lake Champlain in Vermont. We were there for an Eastern Premiers , New England Governors Conference. The conference ended at 12 noon on this certain day. Rene invited me to spend the afternoon on the lake in a yacht he had rented. His female friend, yours truly and Rene.
He liked to swim . So did I. So we spent most of the afternoon jumping into the Lake from the boat and then climbing aboard on a small ladder. We frolicked like ten year olds.
Of course , Rene liked his scotch . I, not so much, but drank it anyway—-to be hospitable. Haven’t drank it since.
So , while his friend poured the drinks we indulged in some ideas relative to the Uper Churchill. We both got excited and a few hours later we bid adieu at the dock , he promising me a quick follow up .
It did not happen .
Hydro Quebec interference was all that ensued .
We did try again and some serious talks and documents were exchanged but in the end the terms proposed were unacceptable to us.
Frank Moores had tried when I was his Energy Minister and Levesque was Premier . I was not brought into the talks and out of the blue I learned one early evening that Levesque and group were in the Premier’s office and that a deal with in the offing.
I rushed to the eight floor and barged in to one of the offices , asked , I guess demanded , to see the Premier. Finally , I got to see him and he related to me that a broad agreement was near involving the lower Churchill but with only token movement on the Upper Contract .
I was furious and indicated I would not support the signing of anything until more discussion was held with full Cabinet and not presented as a fait accompli to Cabinet. I said I opposed any linkage and wanted meaningful change to the Upper contract first. I indicated I would go public and resign.
The Quebec delegation went home empty handed.