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

Friday, February 12, 2010

Put up or shut up 2010

A year ago today, this corner threw out a challenge both to certain delusional people in Quebec who believe that Quebec has some kind of claim to Labrador north of the 52nd parallel and south of the watershed line, and to certain delusional people in Newfoundland who believe the aforemendtioned deluded twits in Quebec:

Put up or shut up.

In the face of an affront to Quebec’s imagined territorial claim, exactly nothing happened – just as it always does.

However, an imaginary, utterly hypothetical hydro-electric transmission line is one thing.

An actual, honest-to-goodness physical incursion is quite another.

And guess what? We finally have one to bring the idiotic “border dispute” out of the realm of the hypothetical and into the practical.

In December, Phase III of the Trans-Labrador Highway was officially opened, although finishing touches remain to be done. This map shows the route followed by the TLH from Happy Valley-Goose Bay (upper left corner) to Paradise Junction, where it joins the coastal Labrador segment (upper right corner). The astronomical portions of the Labrador boundary are visible at bottom (the 52nd parallel and the Blanc Sablon meridian line) with land on the Quebec side of the border shown blank. Map scale is approximately four pixels to the kilometre.

For a variety of reasons, the very southernmost of the potential Phase III routings ended up being selected for construction — not least of which, the fact that this route is the one which touches least on the Eagle River watershed. However, in order to avoid the Eagle River basin, which is on the Labrador side of the drainage divide, the highway, of necessity, has to cross into a neighbouring watershed.

In this case, that means the St. Augustine, one of the five major rivers which rise in Labrador but flow south to the North Shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The Labrador portion of the St. Augustine and its tributaries are traced on this map in orange.

At least at this map scale, it would appear that the TLH also crosses, if only for a very short distance, the watershed of the Mecatina (blue) near its crest with the Eagle. It may also touch ever so lightly on the uppermost portion of the St. Paul drainage basin (yellow) near its triple point with the Paradise and Eagle Rivers which flow northeast into Sandwich Bay. (The other two major rivers and basins, the Natashquan and Romaine, lie well south and west of the Trans-Labrador Highway.)

In other words, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador has built a highway — an honest-to-goodness physical, tangible thingamajig — on what is, according to the conspiracy theorists and nationalist wingnuts, land which Quebec either claims or already has rights to.

Watch now for Quebec do even more of what it always does: exactly nothing.

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