Nfld. & Labrador

Quebec mayor wants N.L. oil dispute resolved

A Quebec mayor is calling on the federal government to step in to resolve an oil dispute in an area of the Gulf of St. Lawrence called Old Harry.

Calls on federal government to step in and find a solution.

A mayor on Quebec’s Magdalen Islands is calling on the federal government to step in to resolve an oil dispute in an area of the Gulf of St. Lawrence called Old Harry.

Joël Arseneau believes the federal government, Quebec and the four Atlantic provinces should meet to talk about the issue.

"I think we've got to share the responsibility of developing this industry in the gulf of St Lawrence," he said Thursday. "If we're all going to bare the risks, if any, and we have to share the profits as well. So I think it needs to be looked at from a regional point of view and the federal government certainly has a role."

The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board has given a company permission to explore for oil and gas between Newfoundland and the Magdalen Islands in the Old Harry area.

Quebec also lays claim to part of that seabed.

Its politicians are calling for a halt to oil industry activity in the Gulf of St. Lawrence until environmental impact studies are completed.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper was asked about Gulf oil development while visiting St. John’s Thursday.

"The seismic work being undertaken [in the Old Harry area] is a decision being made independently by an independent agency, the Canada-Newfoundland Resources Board," he said.

"The Quebec government has expressed interest in having a similar arrangement in its offshore resources and the government of Canada is very much interested in having discussions with Quebec to establish that kind of arrangement."

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