labradore

"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Set fire, and watch it burn

A very odd comment leads off the Friday the Thirteenth Tellytorial:


Leave it to Hydro-Quebec to try to pour oil on troubled waters – and then set that oil on fire.
The Tellytorialist continues:

Here’s what the utility said in its most recent release: “Hydro-Quebec confirms that the Romaine hydropower project will have no impact on the territory of Labrador since its area of influence is situated entirely within Quebec. Moreover, the hydrological regime of the river above Romaine-4 will be identical to present conditions in all respects.”

Well, that sounds plain enough - even if it is a point that might be the subject of debate between governments, and has been the subject of official concerns from the Newfoundland government.
Now, there’s a slight problem of multiple antecedents here — which of the multiple points is the “it” that is “a point that might be the subject of debate between governments”?

The location of the proposed La Romaine projects relative to the Labrador boundary?

Or the environmental impact on the other side of that boundary? (More on that in an upcoming post.)

However, if the Tellytorialist is suggesting that Hydro-Quebec’s assertion that “its area of influence is situated entirely within Quebec” is the “point that might be the subject of debate between governments”, then guess what – Hydro-Quebec is right.

The Tellytorialist is wrong.

The La Romaine project — all of the dams, reservoirs, transmission lines, and access roads — are entirely within Quebec’s boundaries as set down in 1927, including within (or south of) the 52nd parallel portion of the boundary. There is no “debate” to be had on that point; or, at least, no debate that can be had longer than pulling out and examining this map:


[Source]

See? Even after adjusting for the irredentism, the project is in Quebec. Not Labrador. Quebec. If anything, the careful eye will note that the intended design of La Romaine 4, whose reservoir will fall short of flooding anything north of 52, and the dogleg taken by the transmission line from La Romaine 4 in order to avoid crossing the Quebec-Labrador boundary, are yet more examples on a growing list of de facto (and in many cases de jure) acts by Quebec and its agents which recognize the Labrador boundary.

The Tellytorialist continues:

That begs this question, if the project has no effect on lands on the other side of the already-established border, why wave that red flag?
The red flag that is being waved here is waved by the same people who ordinarily wave the Pink, White and Green. You have a PWG-waving radio host claiming, as he did on Thursday evening, that “Quebec has taken ownership of it”, the it, supposedly, being the headwaters of the rivers that flow south out of Labrador across the 52nd parallel. This, in the absolute absence of any evidence whatsoever that Quebec has done anything, in respect of the La Romaine project or anything else, other than publish irredentist maps.

In fact, it’s the irredentist Newfoundland nationalists in this case who, when they insist that the Romaine project is somehow in Labrador, deny the 1927 decision and claim a boundary for their province which is not supported by inconvenient things like facts or law.

So no, Tellytorialist, the question that is raised (not “begged”) by this whole episode, is how such an avalanche of misinformation has been allowed to slide unchecked by the ink-stained press, in radio-land, and on the intertubes. (MUN PoliSci prof Michael Temelini, bless him, did an admiral job lobbing facts last week at CBC radio interviewers whose questions, and premises, at times bordered on the bizarre.)

The question is why the provincial government either went off half-cocked on the question, or deliberately clouded the facts. The question is also why it’s been left to Hydro-Quebec to put the real facts out there, and why, having then done so, they get pilloried for it.

It’s almost as if dealing in facts, instead of monging myths and misinformation, has become a Thoughtcrime.

And the real question in the end is: what purposes, and whose, are served by frothing up a constant diet of Two Hour Hates on a controversy that is founded, at best, on misunderstanding, and at worst on deliberate misinformation?

Why are the red-flag wavers and arsonists waving those flags and setting those fires? and why are the persuasive and authoritative figures who could, so very easily, put a stop all the nonsense, instead tacitly egging them on?

12 Comments:

At 11:45 AM, February 15, 2009 , Blogger Peter said...

Good heavens. This is the most misleading interpretation of an editorial I've seen yet.
You left out a key statement from Hydro Quebec, one that WAS included in the editorial, and directly preceded the question about raising a red flag.
Since you curiously decided to omit it, I'll add it here:
"The environmental impact statement shows that the project will have no impact on the territory of Labrador, even based on the 1927 Privy Council border, which is not considered final by the Quebec government."
Perhaps you're right, Wallace, that all influence is within the Quebec border. But the editorial justifiably asks, why raise that red flag about 1927?
If you were looking for another reason to rant about nationalists, in this case you unfairly used the Tely as a springboard.

Peter Jackson
Telegram

 
At 11:45 AM, February 15, 2009 , Blogger Edward G. Hollett said...

And let's not even mention that the "story" was carried in the same evil newspaper that doesn't normally carry stories important to the tinfoil hat brigade in the first place.

 
At 1:38 PM, February 15, 2009 , Blogger WJM said...

"The environmental impact statement shows that the project will have no impact on the territory of Labrador, even based on the 1927 Privy Council border, which is not considered final by the Quebec government."

Red flag?

A nonsensical, legally meaningless, bit of irredentist fantasy, and one which has been around for forty years, constitutes a red flag?

Wow.

Perhaps you're right, Wallace, that all influence is within the Quebec border.

What do you mean, "perhaps"?

LOOK. AT. THE. MAP.

But the editorial justifiably asks, why raise that red flag about 1927?

What red flag? The people who are encroaching on the border in this case are those idiots who think that the border has moved SOUTH to take in the Romaine projects.

 
At 2:12 PM, February 15, 2009 , Blogger Mark said...

Wow. I had never heard of irredentism. Let alone the adjective irredentist. Until now. It's like getting a double dose of Rex Murphy on a Sunday.

 
At 2:50 PM, February 15, 2009 , Blogger Peter said...

Again, to borrow from Billy Joel, "We didn't start the fire." Hydro Quebec did. They had no reason to question the 1927 border. But they did. Just for badness? I don't know. But it is a red flag.
You quoted the editorial out of context. Plain and simple.

Peter

 
At 3:03 PM, February 15, 2009 , Blogger WJM said...

Again, to borrow from Billy Joel, "We didn't start the fire." Hydro Quebec did. They had no reason to question the 1927 border. But they did. Just for badness? I don't know.

You would think, if this is such a red flag, that after forty years, someone in Newfoundland would know by now that the Quebec government and its agents have had a policy, albeit very inconsistently applied, to include the boilerplate about the supposed non-recognition of the boundary at as many opportunities as possible.

But it is a red flag.

Why? A red flag to whom?

You quoted the editorial out of context. Plain and simple.

No, I pointed out that the "red flag" is nonsense, and that the real "red flag" is the jingoistic nonsense that's being whipped up, for reasons which ought to be probed a little more deeply, in Newfoundland, plain and simple.

It's the sort of thing that journalists use to dig more deeply into, once upon a time.

 
At 4:39 PM, February 15, 2009 , Blogger Peter said...

You can twist everything around if you like. You can say there's no red flag or green flag or purple polka dot flag if you like.

But you quoted the d-mn editorial out of context, Wallace. That's a fact. Are you just too proud to admit it? Or are you unable to crawl out of your own spin-doctoring skin.

Unbelievable.

 
At 4:46 PM, February 15, 2009 , Blogger WJM said...

You can twist everything around if you like. You can say there's no red flag or green flag or purple polka dot flag if you like.

I might as well; no one has yet demonstrated to me what constitutes this "red flag", let alone you or the editorialist.

But you quoted the d-mn editorial out of context, Wallace.

No, I didn't...

That's a fact.

... and that's a fact. The "red flag" cited by the editorialist is immaterial to my point, which I will make now, again, in small words, for your benefit:

The real "red flag" is the trash talk that the New Found Land folks who wave the Pink White And Green get on with when they claim that Quebec claims part of Labrador, or that the one or more of the four dams now talked about are in or on Labrador soil.

Sorry I had to revert to the polysyllabic proper names "Labrador" and "Quebec" there, but every other word is a single syllable.

Are you just too proud to admit it? Or are you unable to crawl out of your own spin-doctoring skin.

"Spin-doctoring skin"?

Wow - you sound like a talking point. Hi, Agnes; how y'all doing?

 
At 4:47 PM, February 15, 2009 , Blogger WJM said...

Sorry - "about" is a two-syllable job, too. Subsitute "of".

 
At 6:04 PM, February 15, 2009 , Blogger Peter said...

The "red flag" is H-Q raising doubts about the 1927 border FOR ABSOLUTELY NO GOOD REASON. It's a red flag to a bull. The fact that it riles the nationalistas here is proof enough, even if it doesn't actually forbode anything. You talk about another "red flag," a flag that was not a part of the editorialist's point, but is obviously very dear to your heart.
My point is, you omitted the H-Q statement that preceded the red flag reference. Therefore, it was out of context.
By the way,I did not use small words because, though I question your objectivity on occasion, I will not reduce myself to questioning your intelligence.
Have a good day!
Over and out.
Peter

 
At 6:16 PM, February 15, 2009 , Blogger WJM said...

The "red flag" is H-Q raising doubts about the 1927 border FOR ABSOLUTELY NO GOOD REASON.

Big yawn: they've been doing this for decades. What else is new?

It's a red flag to a bull.

To what bull?

You talk about another "red flag," a flag that was not a part of the editorialist's point

Wow; did you come up with that realization yourself?

Yes, I talk about a red flag that was not part of the editorialist's point, because — are you sitting down? — the editorialist IS missing the point.

The "red flag" that's being waved here is being waved by the Newfoundland nationalists who are tore up about a non-issue, and who are entirely oblivious to inconvenient little things like facts (such as the Romaine project being entirely within Quebec.)

That's the real red flag, and yet there are those in public discourse who are letting the red flag wave on, instead of giving the flag-wavers the head-check they desperately need.

My point is, you omitted the H-Q statement that preceded the red flag reference. Therefore, it was out of context.

No, IT WAS IRRELEVANT. The "red flag" being waved by Hydro-Quebec is meaningless and IRRELEVANT: it's a cover for the REAL red flag — actually, its colours are more like pink (white and green) — that's being waved.

By the way,I did not use small words because, though I question your objectivity on occasion

I'll let you in on something, but don't tell anyone: I am neither objective, nor do I claim to be.

Over and out.

Bye!

 
At 9:04 PM, February 15, 2009 , Blogger Edward G. Hollett said...

Peter, the fact remains that the Romaine project as described does not affect anything north of the 1927 border.

This is plainly - maybe even painfully - obvious to anyone who can read plain English and understand a map.

It simply does not matter whether the project documents include some other line on the map that purpiorts to be a border.

With that as the base of the discussion, the fly in the editorial ointment here is this statement contained toward the end of the editorial:

"The only fly in the ointment is whether the federal government will actually defend its stand. Observers argue that by having officials sitting on the environmental panel reviewing the Romaine project, Ottawa is tacitly supporting Quebec's border claim."

This statement is simply nonsense.

There is no other word for it but "nonsense".

Presumably the observers to which reference is made are of the same variety as the blog the editorialist mentioned earlier in the editorial. Well, that position is founded equally on nonsense.

The federal government participation in the environmental assessment of the project is nothing more than the exercise of the federal responsibility for assessing these sort sof things.

The only way - and I will say again the ONLY way - the border can be changed is if the government of this province consents. The 1927 border is the border of this province as recognised in the Terms of Union, i.e. the Canadian constitution.

To suggest otherwise, as the editorial does, is either an example of basic ignorance of the simple facts of the matter or an attempt to give credence to nonsense.

Either way the editorial is wrong.

 

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