ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – As senators debate the fate of Ottawa’s bill on resource project assessments, Newfoundland and Labrador’s premier says he’ll do whatever it takes to ensure his province remains globally competitive.
Premier Dwight Ball said today that he would be prepared to use an arbitration clause in the Atlantic Accord if he thinks Ottawa isn’t respecting the deal’s joint management principle around offshore oil and gas resources. He made the comment in a speech to an oil and gas conference in St. John’s, in which he repeated his government’s wish that Bill C-69 not slow down the environmental assessment process. Ball said having a business environment that’s attractive to global companies is important for the province and the country. He reiterated his vision of the province becoming a global leader in the offshore industry, saying its petroleum products are cleaner than those from other sources.
The Atlantic Accord is a federal-provincial agreement on offshore resource revenues. It was reviewed in April with a deal that will direct funds from Ottawa’s share in the Hibernia oilfield to the province.
After his speech, the premier told reporters he would rather avoid invoking the accord’s arbitration clause but would take any action necessary to protect his province’s jurisdiction over resource management.