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Hydro-Québec to buy key NB Power assets


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You've expressed the lawyers' view quite adequately. I'm saying that to anyone who is NOT a lawyer the entire deal reeks terribly!

What's more, someday Quebec will not be able to extend the deal any longer. Or they will need Newfoundland's support on some other project.

If you know about the original deal, it is clear that Brinco could not get financing until the Quebec government signed on. As an aside, while Newfoundland compalins of its lot, the 1965 debt holders probably did worse. (Life is life.) BTW, René Lévesque (as Québec Minister of Natural Resources) offered a more equitable deal to Joey Smallwood in 1963-64.

But you have a point Wild Bill. Hydro-Quebec is now suffering the consequences of its reputation.

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A long time ago in a different life, before 1997, I was flying from Singapore into Hongkong and I said to my mainland Chinese seatmate: "The British are strange. They respect written documents." He replied: "The Chinese too." At the time, I thought his reply was meant to save face but I realized later that a sustainable society depends on reputation.

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If you know about the original deal, it is clear that Brinco could not get financing until the Quebec government signed on. As an aside, while Newfoundland compalins of its lot, the 1965 debt holders probably did worse. (Life is life.) BTW, René Lévesque (as Québec Minister of Natural Resources) offered a more equitable deal to Joey Smallwood in 1963-64.

But you have a point Wild Bill. Hydro-Quebec is now suffering the consequences of its reputation.

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A long time ago in a different life, before 1997, I was flying from Singapore into Hongkong and I said to my mainland Chinese seatmate: "The British are strange. They respect written documents." He replied: "The Chinese too." At the time, I thought his reply was meant to save face but I realized later that a sustainable society depends on reputation.

Exactly! We're not talking a simple business transaction here. It's political, and that means perception is everything!

I won't quarrel with you that Quebec perhaps deserved the lion's share for its contribution to the arrangement. However, when you look closely the deal is so incredibly biased financially in Quebec's favour that it could be described as the lion's share meaning Quebec gets everything but the toenails!

$1.4 million each day compared to $45,000 is a ratio of about 31:1! Talk about your capitalist robber barons! There is no possible way an impartial common man would consider this fair.

Especially when the deal was accomplished with so much federal pressure.

I was a salesman for most of my career. I learned very early on that you could try to gouge every new customer for everything he had or you could instead set up a business relationship good for both partners that would make each prosper for a long, long time. Quebec chose the first approach. It worked out well for Quebec but it came with an obvious price. As a customer Newfoundland has been soured now for generations.

Frankly, I don't see how Quebec could overcome such resentment to swing another deal with Newfoundland ever again. Certainly not with a premier like Danny Williams. He always comes across as so angry about past exploitations of his province that he seems unable to be dispassionate about any business negotiations or federal deals. This may also be a negative approach but unfortunately such bad histories seem to perpetuate themselves.

Edited by Wild Bill
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