Nfld. & Labrador

Dwight Ball wants Trudeau to review Atlantic Accord

The premier wants to negotiate more funding from the federal government.

N.L. premier pens letter to prime minister

The premier wants to get back to the Atlantic Accord negotiating table with the federal government much earlier than next years March 2019 deadline.

Premier Dwight Ball wants to sit down with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to review the Atlantic Accord to try to extract more money for the province.

At the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industries Association (NOIA) annual general meeting on Tuesday, Ball said he's written the prime minister asking for a sit-down meeting as soon as possible.

When a renegotiated Atlantic Accord was signed in 2005, it called for a review to be conducted before the end of March 2019, but Ball wants that process to start now.

One of the big questions he has is whether the province is still the principal beneficiary of its offshore, a key thrust of the agreement.

Danny Williams was premier the last time the Atlantic Accord was negotiated. (CBC Archives)

He also wants to discuss the province's fiscal situation in relation to other provinces.

"I believe there's more benefits that we can get from that as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians," said Ball.

"The accord should be the enabler that allows that to happen."

In the letter to Trudeau, which was provided to CBC News, Ball asks for a timely review in light of the financial challenges facing the province, and to discuss the province's "misnomer" as a "have" province under the current equalization process.

The last time the Atlantic Accord was reviewed there was a prolonged fight with Ottawa, with then premier Danny Williams removing the Canadian flag from the front of Confederation Building.

It ended with a cheque from the feds to the tune of $2 billion.

Oil industry has own hopes

NOIA, meanwhile, has its own wish list.

CEO Charlene Johnson has questions about the federal government's new environmental assessment process announced last week.

The National Energy Board will be replaced by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada. It will review all major natural resource projects.

The Hibernia oil platform drills for oil off Newfoundland's east coast. (CBC)

NOIA, meanwhile, wants more control of the environmental review process back in the hands of the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board.

With files from Peter Cowan