Williams walks out of first ministers meeting
Premier Danny Williams has walked out of the first ministers meeting in Ottawa to protest the federal government's offer on the Atlantic Accord.
Williams was hoping to get a new deal on offshore oil revenue by Tuesday.
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But he says Prime Minister Paul Martin is reneging on his election promise of a better deal.
"Now what Paul Martin has done he's actually turned his back on the people of Newfoundland and Labrador when they need him most. Today should be a day of joy and jubilation in our province. Unfortunately it is a day of sadness," Williams said.
Martin says he still wants to work things out with Williams. He denies breaking any promises and says the province has been offered an unusually rich deal.
Williams' departure came as Martin and the premiers were preparing to start negotiations on federal equalization payments.
It cast a pall over the meeting, where the premiers had hoped to present a common front in their pleas for more equalization cash.
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Williams said he thought Ottawa had agreed to a deal allowing Newfoundland and Labrador to keep all its oil revenues.
Ottawa is offering an eight-year deal that would give the province 100 per cent of offshore oil revenues.
But it would include a cap to keep Newfoundland and Labrador from surpassing the per capita tax revenue of Ontario.
Williams says that cap would cost the provincial government billions of dollars in lost revenue over the life of the Hibernia, Terra Nova and White Rose Oil fields.
Meanwhile, the provincial opposition parties want an emergency session of the House of Assembly so they can lend their support to Premier Williams.
Liberal leader Roger Grimes says his party and the New Democrats are prepared to support a resolution endorsing Williams' rejection of Ottawa's proposal.
Grimes said the Opposition would like to "get back to a circumstance where we all have confidence that what was promised during the election is actually going to be delivered," Grimes says.
NDP Leader Jack Harris says Williams is doing the right thing, and that the federal offer appears to be a bad one.
"I think we are faced with almost virtually unanimous opposition in this province to the position taken by the prime minister," Harris says.