Former premier Brian Peckford, one of the architects of the original Atlantic Accord, is slamming the review deal signed by Premier Dwight Ball on Monday.
In a statement, he wrote:
“Reading the Agreement a number of things stand out as being deficient:
- Section 3(a) This provides for a term of 37 years up to 2056. This is very long. This smacks of Upper Churchill terms all over again.
- Section 3(d) The payments ‘ are fixed and shall not change.’ Why would a Government sign such a long erm deal without providing for a a chance to re-open the agreement . For example, why not a clause that if the Federal Government realizes more revenue than now projected in this deal, Newfoundland will realize that increase or at least a sharing of it. And also an clause that the deal could be reopened every five years but our revenue in this deal is a floor amount that cannot b reduced.
- Revenue payments of $67 million a year are meagre when compared to the $943 million in royalties the province received last year ( and over $20 billion cumulatively) as a result of provisions in the original Accord.
- Section 6(a) references the 2005 Equalization Offset Act review to be now completed. I assume that that means that there is no opportunity for the Province to enhance its position regarding existing equalization rules. One would have thought that the province would try and enhance our present position re:equalization or at least a commitment that this would be further discussed with the other Provinces with a specific timeline and agenda.
- Section 6(c) references a two year period to discuss joint management matters . There is nothing here that indicates that the Province will get any changes favourable to it. One would think that the province would try and build on the joint management provisions already in place. For example, a clause re-enforcing and elaborating on the Principal Beneficiary clause in the existing Accord. Additionally, it would have been more appropriate to have negotiated those changes now.
Overall, then , what we have is another long term fixed ‘contract ‘ with no opportunity to benefit from positive future changes as it relates revenue , a closed door on equalization enhancements , and no improvements to joint management .
If this is claimed as a victory, then what terms would we use to describe the original Accord?”