One of the most important documents in the history of Newfoundland and Labrador will be the focus of a free public forum this month, marking its quarter-of-a-century anniversary.
The 1985 Atlantic Accord has been credited by many for helping lead the province to a historical level of prosperity. The provincial debt has been significantly reduced and the province is poised to become the hub of oil and gas exploration in Eastern Canada and the Arctic.
Memorial University’s Harris Centre is hosting a presentation titled The Atlantic Accord: A New-Found Vision? on the 25th anniversary of the signing of the document on Thursday, Feb. 11, at 7:30 p.m. in the S. J. Carew (Engineering) Building on the St. John’s campus.
“We’ll look at questions such as how did we get here and how did this momentous document finally come to pass after decades of fruitless attempts at negotiation,” said Mike Clair, associate director (public policy) of the Harris Centre. “Part of the forum will look at how our situation compares to Australia’s, where the federal government also negotiated offshore exploration rights with its member states.
“We want to explore how this province should now allocate revenues, among debt reduction, government programs and infrastructure. And most importantly, does our new-found prosperity change our self-confidence in shaping our own future?”
Dr. Wade Locke, professor of economics from Memorial, and Dr. Richard Cullen, a visiting professor from the Faculty of Law at the University of Hong Kong, will each present their findings.
Dr. Locke specializes in the Newfoundland and Labrador economy, resource economics, public policy and cost-benefit analysis. As an academic, he has provided his professional services to all three levels of government, to foreign governments and to local, regional, national and international businesses.
Dr. Cullen specializes in federalism and the rule of law and has completed comparative analysis of offshore oil exploration in Canada, Australia and the United States. He will provide historical, comparative and legal perspectives of the accord, and look at the lessons learned from this federal-provincial negotiating process.
The forum is open to the public, who will have an opportunity to engage the presenters in a moderated discussion session.
Admission is free, and a reception will follow the event.
The event will be webcast live at www.mun.ca/harriscentre and viewers will be able to submit questions or comments by e-mail during the webcast.
Metered parking is available in Lot 16 and in the underground parking garage beneath the Earth Sciences Building.
Should the university be closed because of weather, the event will be postponed to the following evening, but held in the Inco Innovation Centre Lecture Theatre.