No renegotiating Churchill Falls: Quebec
Quebec has rejected another request by Newfoundland and Labrador to reopen the Churchill Falls hydroelectric deal.
"This isn't the first time that Newfoundland has tried to challenge the agreement that was signed on Churchill Falls," Natural Resources Minister Nathalie Normandeau said in Quebec City on Tuesday.
"The Supreme Court ruled in 1988 in favour of Quebec. So, for us, there is nothing new and I'm not going to comment any further."
The head of Newfoundland and Labrador's energy corporation wrote to Hydro-Quebec on Monday, asking it to weigh "good faith" changes to the pricing terms of the contentious 1969 agreement.
Nalcor Energy president Ed Martin said an unforeseeable spike in the value of that power means Quebec is buying Labrador's energy for a small fraction of its real commercial worth. The contract doesn't expire until 2041.
Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams has bitterly complained the agreement amounts to dumping his province's hydroelectric power on Quebec's doorstep.
He told the legislature Monday that Hydro-Québec earned about $1.7 billion from the contract last year, compared with about $63 million collected by his province.
Overall, he said, the deal has so far reaped some $22 billion for Quebec but only about $1 billion for Newfoundland and Labrador.
Williams has also recently lashed out at Hydro-Québec for its tentative deal to acquire New Brunswick's power utility for $4.75 billion, saying it would hamper plans to develop the Lower Churchill hydroelectric project.
But both Martin and Williams denied the latest effort to reopen the Churchill Falls deal has anything to do with that.
Martin has asked Hydro-Québec to respond by Jan. 15.
He would not discuss whether the energy corporation would take the Quebec utility to court if it refuses to renegotiate, as it has repeatedly done in the past.