Mr. Speaker, on October 21 in question period I reminded the House that during the election campaign the Prime Minister had promised to Newfoundland and Labrador that it could keep 100% of its provincial offshore resources. In question period I asked the Minister of Natural Resources, our minister in the federal cabinet, why the federal government was dragging its feet on this issue. The Minister of Finance answered saying that negotiations were ongoing and that he hoped to achieve a successful result.
Well, I gather the result today is a take it or leave it offer from the federal government, an offer that does not see the province get to keep 100% of offshore oil revenues, an offer that breaks the Prime Minister's election promise. We were offered an eight year $1.4 billion deal, or 100% up to $234 million of an annual cap, neither of which is 100%.
Given the current world price of oil at more than $50 a barrel, the province's minister of finance said we would leave billions on the table if we were to sign that deal. I am given to understand that Nova Scotia has also rejected that offer from the feds, saying it falls far short of what was promised.
Yes, what has been promised is an improvement on the current situation, wherein the lion's share of the offshore revenues is clawed back by Ottawa through corresponding reductions in the equalization payments, but it is not 100%. Make no mistake about it, 100% of the offshore oil revenues is exactly what the Prime Minister promised. There was no talk of a cap, no talk of time limits, no talk of fiscal capacity.
Keep in mind the Prime Minister promised this at a time in the election campaign when things were looking pretty bleak for the Liberal Party. He promised it at a time when even our province's seven seats looked very important to him. Well, he went on to win five of the seats.
Now is the time for the five Liberal members from Newfoundland and Labrador to take their lead from the provincial Liberal Party, which says it supports the government of Newfoundland and Labrador on this issue. This matter is bigger than party politics. This matter is about the federal government keeping its word to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. This is a matter on which all seven MPs from Newfoundland and Labrador should stand united in demanding that the Prime Minister keep his word.
To my colleague, the Minister of Natural Resources, I say this is the stuff over which principled people resign from cabinet. Never again in my lifetime do I expect to see the seven members from our province in such a position of clout. It would be a terrible shame if that clout were squandered by not using it at all.
Hibernia has been pumping oil for several years now and the lion's share of the revenues end up in Ottawa. This is not what the Atlantic accord promised. This is not what the Prime Minister promised. The Prime Minister promised that we would get to keep all of the oil revenues, not all of it for eight years, not all of it up to a certain cap, but all of it, 100%. There were no financial caps or time constraints on this promise and there should be no doubt as to our resolve to hold him to his word.
We need allies in that struggle. As I said earlier, my colleague from St. John's South—Mount Pearl and I are doing all we can to hold the Prime Minister to his promise. Now is not the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party. Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the province. I will be terribly disappointed if Liberal MPs do not join us in our quest for fairness for our province.
In summing up, why can we not, just once, stand united for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador? Why can we not, just once, stand on guard for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador?