Peckford on tour with new book

Former Newfoundland premier tells his side of the story of a turbulent time

Brian Peckford (left) chats with Coun. Dave Willie at a recent event.

BRENDA GOUGH

News contributor

A provincial politician who clashed with Ottawa to turn the fortunes around in Atlantic Canada is on a new mission and now Brian Peckford is determined to set the record straight on how the agreement came about in November 1981 to Patriate Canada’s Constitution.

Peckford calls Qualicum Beach home these days but the former Newfoundland and Labrador premier was back in his old political stomping ground this week where he launched a book called Some Day the Sun Will Shine and Have Not Will Be No More.

Released by Flanker Press the book is a political memoir that aims to change the story of how the deal that brought about the Constitution actually went down.

Back in the day, Peckford was a brash but popular premier of a hard-luck province and it was a turbulent time.

He was determined that Newfoundlanders would benefit from what was still just the promise of offshore oil wealth.

He fought with Ottawa over the Labrador power deal with Quebec and it was Peckford’s administration that battled for and achieved the Atlantic Accord, a new groundbreaking arrangement with the federal government which has become the template for all exploration and development of offshore oil and gas resources in Canada.

Stirring up Newfoundlanders’ sense of grievance and of nationalism the former premier threw himself into the constitutional talks that began in early 1981.

He was a central agitator among the “gang of eight” provinces resisting the centralizing federals.

Now 69 years old, Peckford wants to correct what he calls the misrepresentations of the events of Nov. 4-5, 1981.

According to the history books, the story of the deal has three players; Jean Chrétien and attorneys-general Roy McMurtry of Ontario and Roy Romanow of Saskatchewan sketching out the deal on scraps of paper in a kitchen at Ottawa’s Chateau Laurier.

Peckford argues that the kitchen cabinet story is largely myth and was nothing more than an exchange of information between Chrétien and the provincial ministers about a substantive deal that was already taking shape.

He states historical accounts of the deal have overlooked the true breakthrough event: an informal gathering of premiers on the evening of Nov. 4, 1981, in a suite at the Chateau Laurier, where he claims a Newfoundland-led proposal became the heart of the eventual constitutional accord.

“We made a written proposal the night of Nov. 4 and it ended up being the forerunner to the patriation agreement.”

He recalled that a written proposal from Newfoundland was presented to B.C., Saskatchewan and Alberta on the evening of Nov. 4, and later that night to include Nova Scotia and P.E.I., with Manitoba being informed later.

Peckford has been busy this week doing book signings in several locations in Newfoundland.

 

He has also booked a space at the Parliamentary Press Gallery in Ottawa on September 19, for a press conference addressing the section of the book that deals with the Canadian constitution.

 

 

Just Posted

Parksville’s Arrowsmith Lodge and Cokely Manor celebrate 50 years

Week of ‘60s-themed activities starts on April 26

UPDATE: Missing kayakers located safe and sound in Welcome Bay

Pair were reported missing April 22, in vicinity of Lasqueti Island

Review: The Magic of ‘Almost, Maine’

ECHO Players production runs through May 5 at the Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach

Coombs farm auction returns April 28

CFI hosts 41st annual auction

What’s age got to do with it? B.C. couple with 45-year gap talks happy marriage

An Armstrong couple that has 45-year age gap began turning heads after being featured on show Extreme Love.

B.C. men challenge constitutionality of Canada’s secret no-fly list

Parvkar Singh Dulai says he received a “denial of boarding” notification under the no-fly program last May 17

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Pug life: B.C. town boasts waggish list of dog names

Freedom-of-information request lists most ‘pupular’ dog names registered in White Rock

VIDEO: Duncan-Nanaimo’s Funkanometry bow out of ‘World of Dance’ with ‘After Hours’ routine

Judges praised them as entertainers, and urged them to work a bit more on their dancing

VIDEO: Fish farming company launches $30-million vessel to treat salmon for sea lice in B.C. waters

Freshwater treatment an improvement but fish farms should be removed from sea, says conservationist

Singh says childhood abuse steeled him for scrutiny and stress of politics

He recounts the assaults for the first time in his book Love & Courage

Despite five extra weeks’ parental leave in Canada, dads still face stigma: survey

One reason people said dads don’t need leave is because they can just bond with their kids at weekend

Most Read