Friday, November 23, 2007

Peckford on equity

It's hard to remember a time when oil project equity was generally considered to be a good idea.  It used to be that when discussed at all, it was only discussed in terms of it being a bad idea.

Only in the most crypto-nationalist cabals or radical NDP workers-should-own-the-means-of-production economic circles was the notion taken seriously.

So if anybody was going to be in favour of it at the time or in hindsight, you would think it would be the recent father of the NL nationalist movement, A. Brian Peckford.

Consider this, the NL Heritage website (generally non-political though sympathetic to the nationalists) describes the Peckford regime this way:

He tapped into a resurgent provincial nationalism and successfully won several elections by arguing that he was going to fight  for a better deal within Confederation for Newfoundland and Labrador, and end the province's "inferiority complex".

But if you expected him to launch a drive  for equity, you would be mistaken.  As the Telegram writes today, Peckford says of equity:

"I was never in favour of it."

The province had considered equity in the late 1970s, studied it carefully and abandoned the notion in favour of less risky benefits - royalties, technology transfers, education and infrastructure.

With any offshore project, Peckford says the end-goal is money.

"The issue becomes how do you get that? You can get that through royalties just as easy as you can through equity.

"And the royalty situation means there's no downside in the sense that, (with an equity stake) if something goes wrong with the project, you've got to take your 10 per cent or five per cent hit."

Mark this day: OffalNews and former premier Peckford are on the same page.

As a side note on his personal relationship with Prime Ministers, he says:

"In my worst days with Mr. Trudeau, he was  always the prime minister and always Mr. Trudeau ... . When I was attacking the federal government, I was attacking the government.

"I always respected the office and the person, but I disagreed with them and I always said that."

How times have changed.

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