“I am working for the interest of Quebeckers"
Parti Québécois Leader
The development of the Old Harry Oil prospect has become an issue in the bitter provincial election in Quebec.
Quebec has been waiting for a conclusion of environmental studies on oil exploration in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The government imposed a moratorium on oil and gas exploration and development on its portion of the Old Harry prospect until the end of this year. Newfoundland and Labrador have allowed exploratory work on it's part of the prospect. Billions of dollars in potential oil revenue is at stake.
The two provinces are trying to sort out their respective boundaries to determine how the spoils will be shared. In 2011, Ottawa struck a panel to examine the issues of the boundaries and environmental concerns. the provinces have agreed to a process to settle the boundary issue. If negotiations fail, the federal government, will appoint an arbitrator to settle the matter.
The militant leader of the Parti Québécois has declared that a government led by her will challenge that agreement. Pauline Marois says Quebec must "challenge Newfoundland" making Old Harry a prime target for a confrontation with the Ottawa & Newfoundland and Labrador.
Located in the Laurentian Channel, Old Harry is about 29 kilometres long and straddles the disputed Quebec-Newfoundland boundary.
Old Harry could contain billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas. According to Atlantic Business Magazine "Old Harry is described as “the largest known undrilled marine structure in Canada”, with twice the potential of the Hibernia field off Newfoundland (up to 2-billion barrels of recoverable oil), or and three times the potential of the Sable Island gas field off the coast of Nova Scotia."
While this province has received the rotten end of the stick in it's dealings with Quebec when it comes to political decisions, the courts and arbitration hearings, dealing with facts, have upheld our claims with relation to provincial boundaries.
The Labrador Boundaries Agreement of 1927 remains an open sore in Quebec. A 1971 Québec royal commission decided that Québec's case against the 1927 boundary was not worth pursuing but the separtists have never considered the issue settled. When Newfoundland joined Confederation in 1949, its boundary in Labrador was confirmed in the Terms of Union (now the NEWFOUNDLAND ACT), enshrined in the CONSTITUTION ACT, 1982.
The Newfoundland and Nova Scotia Boundary Arbitration of March 26, 2002, provided Newfoundland and Labrador with almost 70 per cent of the area that was in dispute between the two provinces.
I suppose, Quebec has a reason to fear a non political settlement.