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Water under the bridge Add to ...

Rhéal Séguin's otherwise excellent article contains a bit of misinformation (Power Play Pits Quebec Against Newfoundland - Feb. 11). The statement that Quebec has always considered the headwaters part of its territory is not correct. The article fails to note that, on at least two occasions, the Quebec government has officially recognized Newfoundland and Labrador's ownership of the headwaters.

In 1964, Quebec premier Jean Lesage insisted, unsuccessfully, that adjustments in the Labrador border be part of a package deal to develop Churchill Falls. To gain control over the watershed areas of the five interprovincial rivers, including the Romaine, he offered an approximate reciprocity in the exchange of lands of 17,600 kilometres. Quebec would gain watershed control and Newfoundland and Labrador would gain territory in the Ungava Peninsula.

In 1976, Quebec's natural resources minister, Jean Cournoyer, unsuccessfully suggested a change in the Labrador border in return for Quebec making available 800 megawatts of power. He later suggested a sale of the massive watershed areas to Quebec with sovereignty remaining with Newfoundland and Labrador.

If Quebec always considered the headwaters to be part of Quebec, then surely the government would never have offered a territory swap or to buy the area in question. Governments do not trade or buy that which they already own.

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