ADRIAN WHITE: Referendum decision of Maine poetic justice for Quebec


Few Atlantic Canadians likely paid attention on November 3 when the state of Maine voted in a statewide referendum to block construction of a 950 power transmission line. million dollars from Hydro-Québec via their state to the state of Massachusetts.

The 230-kilometer line was to supply 1,200 megawatts of electricity from Hydro-Quebec to thirsty Massachusetts. About 60 percent of Maine residents voted against building the transmission line.

The referendum halted construction of the project until two-thirds of the Maine legislature supported the project.

Adrian White – Cape Breton Post

Dear vote

The election campaign was expensive, supporters of the project, including Central Main Power Utility, poured tens of millions of dollars to oppose the referendum. On the other side were the owners of some existing New England power plants, including natural gas generators and the owner of New Hampshire’s Seabrook nuclear power plant, all of whom spent nearly $ 20 million on s ” oppose the Hydro-Quebec line.

For Hydro-Quebec, which has also spent millions of dollars trying to keep the project alive, it turns down a lucrative opportunity to sell billions of dollars of its surplus hydropower into the New England market. The company had previously attempted to build the transmission line across New Hampshire but had failed to secure the necessary permits.


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Lots of opposition

The environmental community supported by the Sierra Club was also on the side opposed to the project. There have been discussions about whether hydroelectricity can be considered clean given that the rotting vegetation at the bottom of reservoirs emits methane and the displacement of indigenous communities caused by the construction of dams in Quebec. Perhaps the unfair supply contract between Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador regarding the pricing of electricity at Churchill Falls did not help developers either.

The routing of a high-voltage overhead transmission line through sensitive forest in western Maine, and the resulting possibility for wildfires, as well as the visual plague, were also major drivers of the opposition from environmentalists.

Remember Energy East

The reason I draw readers’ attention to this recent development is to highlight how roles can turn against a province so quickly.

In 2015, Quebec strongly opposed the construction of the Energy East pipeline that would bring oil from Western Canada to Saint John, New Brunswick, thus providing complete energy security to the entire region. country.

Instead, the Pharisaic government of Quebec felt it was their duty to declare the Energy East pipeline “not socially acceptable” and blocked its construction to the detriment of future energy security in Atlantic Canada. Instead, our region is forced to continue importing foreign oil from unstable countries like Saudi Arabia to serve the Irving refinery in Saint John.

While blocking Hydro-Quebec’s plan to build transmission lines in Maine is not good for Canada as a whole, it is a bit of poetic justice for Atlantic Canadians, it is to say the least. I can also imagine a smile on the faces of energy workers in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Karma returns to haunt Quebec.

A province that had no problem harming the western energy industry (an industry that accounts for 10 percent of Canada’s GDP) for its own profit. A province that shuns the west and yet expects $ 13 billion in federal equalization entitlements each year. A province that simply expects money to flow to Quebec from other regions of Canada and not the other way around. A province that every political party needs to win a majority government. Will a politician ever stand up to Quebec on behalf of Canada?

Take advantage of our strengths

On the world stage at the COP26 environmental conference in Scotland, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the arrival of new environmental restrictions on the energy industry in Western Canada.

Instead of squeezing our energy industry into oblivion, Canada should build on our strengths. We are ranked first among the major holders of oil reserves in terms of environmental protection efforts, social standards and inclusion, and transparent governance.

The demand for oil and gas is increasing all over the world.

We should develop our energy industry, move oil from countries that violate human rights and the environment, while continuing to reduce emissions. This is how we pay for our transition to the green economy, not by raising our taxes.

Adrian White is CEO of NNF Inc, Business Consultants. He resides in Baddeck and Sydney.


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