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Page 54 - On the Trail of Elizabeth May

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1990/1/1 (154 reads)

are supposed to be in Saskatchewan tomorrow with a permit for the Rafferty-Alameda dams in exchange for Grasslands National Park." I said, "What!" Now this went back to a whole history of know? ing a lot about these dams. I'd done the re? search to equip myself to advise the Minister when the time came, that this was the biggest ??boondoggle, porkbarrel, stupid project to de? stroy an environment that I had come across in years. And I had told Tom from time to time, "You know, that Rafferty-Alameda thing is in? credible. It's really a problem." I'll have to give you a little of the back? ground on the dams, I guess. It's an interna? tional river--the Souris River. Flows from Saskatchewan down into North Dakota and dou? bles back up into Manitoba. So because it's an inter-provincial and international river, the federal Minister of Environment had to grant a permit. Meanwhile, Grasslands National Park is also in Saskatchewan. We'd been trying to complete ne? gotiations on that for months. And Tom and I'd discussed the fact for some time that Saskatch? ewan had taken the position that they weren't going to finish Grasslands till we gave them the permits on Rafferty-Alameda. And Tom had equally taken the position that he was not about to give them permits for Rafferty-Alameda Jacques-Cartier Motel kitchenette units available / telephones in all rooms P. O, Box 555, Sydney, N. S. B1P 6H4 (902) 539-4375 or 539-4378 or 539-4379 SYDNEY - GLACE BAY HIGHWAY FRANCAIS 2 Kilometres de I'Aeroport ENGLISH Joe*s Warehouse The Food Emporium Cape Breton's Largest and Finest Restaurant Specializing in Aged Prime Cuts of Roast Beef and Steaks and One of the Most Unique Salad Bars in the Maritimes ICABARETJ Live Entertainment Nightly! 424 Charlotte street 539-6686 539-0408 RESTAURANT LOUNGE n BANQUET FACILITIES AVAILABLE C 54 in exchange for Grasslands. We'd deal with them separately; they weren't going to get linked. But what I didn't realize had happened was that the Deputy Prime Minister's Office had decided that they wanted to get Saskatchewan to translate their statutes into French. Okay? Now, I know. This is so absurd. It's unbeliev? able. It's how people should know, sometimes, government works. I'd never seen anything like this in the time I'd worked for MacMillan. So what happened was, Saskatchewan wouldn't translate their statutes into French unless the federal government both paid for the cost of translating the statutes into French and got them the permits for Rafferty-Alameda. At which point somebody at the Deputy Prime Min? ister's Office started dealing with the Minis? ter's Chief of Staff. Whatever motives he had. which I won't speculate on here. But they def? initely made the decision that I wasn't going to know about it. So in the course of this deal, it was going to be Saskatchewan would translate its statutes into French if MacMillan would give the per? mits for Rafferty-Alameda. MacMillan would give the permits for Rafferty-Alameda as long as we finished up Grasslands. So it ended up being this crazy three-way trade. Of which I was not a part. And so, when this woman said to me, "Look, your bureaucrats are supposed to be there tomorrow," I said, "This is a mistake. My Minister doesn't know about this." She said, "He does know about it. He's approved it. Don't give me that.... And we need those permits by tomorrow morning at 11 o'clock Ottawa time." I said, "What is the big rush? Eleven o'clock Ottawa time." To make a long story short, the next day there was an emergency meeting. And I called Tom that night and put it to him that I'd tripped onto this deal, and I wasn't happy about it. And I haven't really ever told media the con- SYDCO FUELS Serving Homes and Businesses throughout Cape Breton Furnace Oil Stove Oil Diesel Fuel Gasoline Lubricants 24-Hour Emergency Service Distributor of Petrocan 3 BURNER 38 Lewis Drive, Sydney River 539-6444
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