N.L. premier says ex-PM Chretien pitched nuclear waste storage plan in Labrador

2021-04-01 21:51:00

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. —
Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey says he rejected an concept final summer season from former prime minister Jean Chretien to retailer worldwide nuclear waste in Labrador.

Furey mentioned in an announcement Thursday Chretien talked about the plan throughout a cellphone name final summer season when Furey was working for chief of the provincial Liberals to exchange former premier Dwight Ball.

“I made it clear it was not one thing I’d pursue,” Furey mentioned within the assertion. “That can completely not occur; not on my watch.”

Federal Pure Assets Minister Seamus O’Regan was equally emphatic: “Importing nuclear waste from different international locations to Labrador — the place I grew up — or another a part of Canada has by no means been on the desk, neither is it now,” he mentioned in a separate assertion on Thursday.

The politicians issued the statements in response to a Radio-Canada report relating to alleged secret negotiations between enterprise folks and legal professionals — together with Chretien — about storing worldwide nuclear waste deep in Labrador’s granite rock.

Dwight Ball’s former chief of employees, Greg Mercer, was listed in 2014 as a former lobbyist with Dentons regulation agency for Terra Vault. In line with the Radio-Canada story, Terra Vault is the corporate behind the nuclear storage challenge. Chretien is listed as a lawyer at Dentons. Mercer’s lobbyist standing with Terra Vault was terminated on Jan. 1, 2015, and he grew to become Ball’s chief of employees in the summertime of 2016.

In late 2017, whereas working for chief of the Progressive Conservatives, Ches Crosbie raised his personal issues about Terra Vault’s aspirations in Labrador and Mercer’s connections to the corporate.

In an emailed assertion Thursday, Ball mentioned Chretien introduced up the thought of storing nuclear waste in Labrador throughout a “transient” dialog. “My response to him was swift to say, because the premier, my authorities just isn’t enthusiastic about getting into into any discussions along with your purchasers on this concern,” Ball mentioned.

In line with the provincial registry of lobbyists, Terra Vault shares a Montreal tackle with Sydney Harbour Funding Companions, for which Chretien was a global adviser. In 2018, Nova Scotia RCMP investigated Chretien for allegations of illegally lobbying the province’s then-premier Stephen McNeil a few port proposal. The RCMP mentioned that they had discovered no wrongdoing.

The Nunatsiavut authorities, which represents Labrador’s Inuit, mentioned Thursday in an announcement it was not consulted concerning the discussions on nuclear waste storage.

Beneath the Labrador Inuit land claims settlement, “the provincial and federal governments have a authorized obligation to seek the advice of with the Nunatsiavut authorities,” the assertion mentioned, including that officers can be doing extra fact-finding on the problem earlier than saying something additional.

Todd Russell, president of Labrador’s NunatuKavut Group Council, mentioned he will even be in search of extra info. “I used to be frankly appalled to learn media protection this morning a few `secretive’ challenge that has plans to retailer nuclear waste in Labrador,” he mentioned in an announcement Thursday.

Lela Evans, who represents the Progressive Conservatives within the Torngat Mountains district, mentioned the secrecy across the discussions is upsetting. “The previous colonial days ΓǪ are presupposed to be gone,” she mentioned in an interview Thursday. “However it’s a typical theme, it retains elevating its head.”

Evans mentioned there’s a lengthy historical past of governments taking pure sources from Labradorians whereas placing them in danger, most not too long ago with Muskrat Falls, the huge hydroelectric challenge being constructed on the Churchill River, close to Completely happy Valley-Goose Bay. The Ball authorities admitted in 2019 that it had missed a deadline to finish work meant to reduce the impression of methylmercury air pollution on meals sources for downstream communities.

Jordan Brown, the NDP’s member of the legislature for Labrador West, mentioned he desires Furey to again up his statements with an outright ban on storing nuclear waste in Labrador. “Until I see that precise invoice on the desk, then it is nonetheless a thought for them,” Brown mentioned.

Evans stopped in need of calling for a ban. “What I actually need is for Labradorians to have their voice, and for them to talk on this concern,” she mentioned.

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed April 1, 2021.

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Supply by [earlynews24.com]