Conférence de presse du 16 décembre 1983

… inutile de dire que j’aimerais mieux que toutes vos questions s’adressent à notre éminent visiteur parceque c’est une occasion historique quand même, la première visite officielle d’un gouverneur de l’Etat de New York au Québec et je dois vous dire que depuis environ deux heures que nous sommes ensemble avec des collègues de monsieur Cuomo et les miens – nous avons l’impression, je pense que c’est reflété dans le communiqué, que c’est quand même une – non seulement une étape importante que cette visite mais aussi une perspective extrêmement prometteuse.
[All I have to say is that we are both pleased and honored, there is no other word, by this historic premiere because this is the first time that the Governor of the State of New York makes an official visit to Ouébec_ I think, to us, and from the couple of hours that we have had together with Governor Cuomo and his colleages and our team, to us it is not just a first time but, I think a very promising first time and it seems to promise that it will be the first of many. But I would like Governor Cuomo to go on from there.
M. Cuomo We have been very pleased by the visit, we were delighted
at the invitation. I said earlier, more than once today, that it seemed to be the most fundamental, kind of common sense, that with all that New York and Québec have in common, with all the opportunities we have for mutual benefit if we were to come together, what we have done today should have been done a long time ago. There are issues like the hydro-power question, the availability of hydro-power here in Canada that we can use in New York State and that we are frankly eager to use – the question of acid- rain which imperils your environment and ours simultaneously,where we can profit from mutual study the question of trade, the question of the rapid rail line, and so many ways
in which we can Interrelate. I am pleased to have been able to come to meet Premier Lévesque and to arrange to have an ongoing relationship. Indeed, I was delighted that the Premier has agreed to come to Albany some time next year. We will work out the arrangements, we are looking forward to showing him the hospitality of our capital city and,in the meahtime, we will work out a series
of bilateral relationships on a whole variety of subjects and I believe that this will be the beginning of a long and mutually beneficial relationship dnd that pleases me greatly.]

[M. Lévesque]
Je pense que si vous avez des questions, [if you have any questions, it’s up to you.

Question: Tell me …
M. Cuomo
You have to ask them in french…

Question: Tell me, did you reach any kind of agreements to creat on any – or make any… hydro-power?

M. Lévesque
Well I think that on practically all issues that were raised, there is a basic agreement and that’is a very promising perspective as far as – for instance questions of power exchanges or let’s say basically sales of power from Québec to the State of New York, as you know,we have gone a long way already, basically on the surplus power question but there is and there have been talks initiated and they are progressing I think in the right way about eventual firm power supply that will go to the State of New York. I won’t go into chapter and verse but there seems to be a good perspective there too.

Question: Premier Lévesque, do you foresee any circumstances where the federal government in Ottawa could overide or intervene between a contract with New York State and the Government of Quebec?

M. Lévesque
Well I don’ t see it in any way – it’s always theoretically possible but it would require – if you look at precedents, and I think there’s quite a few already – there would have to be some sort of, I don’t know, cosmic urgency somewhere which I don’t see in the foreseeable future to bring about that kind of result.

Question: But didn’t the international energy board say in October, during a hearing that in fact they could not prove that this is all surplus… New York?

M. Lévesque
Look, the one thing that I remember was tied to the hassle between Québec and Newfoundland about the price in the contract- you know, the ongoing contract about Churchill Falls power. But I don’t think it has anything to do with – but there is a decision coming up about – but it can’t affect, you know it won’t affect the basic set-up.

Question: I would like to know, M. Cuomo, how urgent – do you have any time table on it, some kind of contract for firm energy or are we still at a very very initial stage here?
M. Cuomo
Well, we are beyond the initial stage because we have constructed a relationship that becomes effective in terms of delivery power, Septembre 1984. So we are far beyond an initial stage. We need firm energy – it was agreed today or at least understood by the Canadian … people from Quebec and us that we want to go as early as we can to an agreement on firm energy. We did not say how much or when but I’m satisfied with that much progress – you have to understand that from our point of view, we have a timing problem that results from the fact that we need to build certain transmission lines in New York State in order to use that firm energy most productively – I think I was interested in establishing general perimeters and getting clearer agreement on the general perimeters and we certainly have that, the very notion that it serves both our governments to be relating and interrelating regularly, that has now been nailed down. The fact that we are interested in the energy, more than we are receiving, that has been nailed down. We will not take an unlimited supply because Quebec will not give it and because we would not receive it if Quebec would give it because at one point, we have to be concerned
about our own dependency as well. I think that altogether, the progress while not written down in foot notes and minutia , was very satisfactory and more than that.

Question: I hate to dwell on trichonology but could we say that this is a…

M. Cuomo
That’s what they say in New York…

Question: …but could we say that this is a declaration of intent or have you got that far?

M. Cuomo
You could if you were a lawyer, I guess. It is a mutual assertion of desire. I am quoting Premier Lévesque, he will be quoting me when he comes to Albany.
M. Lévesque
And since we are together, there won’t be any denial anywhere – I got my lesson in Italy…

Question: What is the importance for New York of having a firm power contract rather than…

M. Cuomo
It is an additional benefit – the hydro-power is less expensive than the power we generate. Our whole State say that we’ll profit from that
because the basis – one of the predicates of the first agreement – and I assume that when … does the negociating that it is to be found in all the agreements – is that our whole state profits from it. We distribute the benefit of the low

cost in the whole state. So if we can get as much hydro-power as we can get at
low cost dependable from a neighbour that is American as we are Americans, they are Americans, instead of fuel from the other part of the world – to the extent
that we can do that without making our dependency too strong because that is another vulnerability. You have raised questions about national government – one never knows what will happen so if we can keep it at an equal level of imprudent dependency. It is a few thoughts for us.

Question: Premier Lévesque, as you know, Hydro-Québec has been cutting drastically in spending programs for building hydro facilities and projects that next year. Just how much excess in unneeded hydro-power will be available for export to New York in the coming year? And how will that change?

M. Lévesque
As far as the present contracts are concerned, there should be no problem. As far as the surplus situation is concerned, I think it goes on and rather heavily until 1990 and you always have to remember that there is no reason why we should develop new facilities since we are in a surplus position and in a rather heavy surplus position over the next few years. But there is also about the equivalent of what we have already on line that can be developed over the rest of the century and the first years of the first decades of the 21st century – so it is not a question – you know, a lack of resources in that field – it is a question of just economic common sense. You don’t spend billions of dollars developing when you don’t need it.

Question: Is Governor Cuomo finding himself in competition with other states in the Northeast…

M. Lévesque
No, because our present capacity and any capacity that we have to think about as reserves available can take in whatever theforeseeable needs can be of New York without that excessive dependency that Governor Cuomo was mentioning along with the requirements of Nepol – you know, our New England neighbours and friends, we also have arrangements with them as you probably know.
…suite 6. There is no problem there.

Question: Premier, in terms of other trade relations with New York, Governor Cuomo has said he doesn’t want New York to buy subway lines from Quebec unless it was constructed in New York, how do you feel about that?

M. Lévesque
You want me to start passing judgement on Governor Cuomo’s normally held attitudes about that? Well why don’t you ask him?
No, the only thing I know is that there is a normal arrangement whenever there are contracts of that kind and I think it goes both ways, we do the same, as much as we can, but if you have a contract for anything that comes from outside, as much building as it is possible as much economic fallout as possible, should be part of the contract. In other words, building, assembling, parts, whatever it is, should be part of the deal. So that the customer who buys eventually gets his normal share of the fallout of whatever that contract is for. I think that applies there as it applies elsewhere.

Question: It just seems to me that this might have been an item that could get in the way of the Quebec-New York relationship. There is a standard trade war going on, if it must be assembled in New York then we don’t want it.
M. Cuomo
Well let me see if I can’t clarify this. I don’t think there is any trade war and what I said very clearly was in reference to the Bombardier contract. I thought it was a mistake for New York State to let, first the contract go to Kawasaki in Japan and then Bombardier in Canada when it had pension funds, 13 billion-dollars worth which it could have used to provide the capital that the Canadians provided Bombardier with at a subsidized rate. I said that is not intelligent competition. We could have done it cheaper using our own money and I said I don’t think that’s good business. It would be irrational to say that you ought never to deal with a neighbour unless the neighbour insists on building
everything in your country and we have never said that. Nor would I, because it is not a smart policy – I would guess – I don’t know when I will stand to be corrected – that the balance of trade now, is in Canada’s favor, as between us – probably markedly so – and has something to do with the dollar and where we are with the dollar and I think that a policy that says intelligently you should exploit your own advantages as much as possible, it is exactly what Québec does and all of Canada does and every county I know does. The lack of proportion in our universal trade situation comes from the fact that some governments are more aggressive at subsidizing their local industries like the Japanese and the Germans and some of us who don’t get that kind of government subsidy have found out that those are the disadvantages … but I never said nor would I that we won’t deal with Canada or Québec or anyone else unless they do all the building in our State, that has never been my policy nor will it be.
M. Lévesque
There is only one comment I would like to add. I hope to
God we never have a trade war as long as the situation stands more or less like it is because we are very fortunate to be – I confirm what the Governor said – in a surplus position as far as our exchanges are concerned. Thanks in great part to energy.

Question: Governor, was there, could you describe tô me the discussion you’ve had regarding acid rain?
M. Cuomo
We have a report, I guess that has been made public, simultaneously with this press conference – there is a joint report that shows the, product of a continuing interchange of information between Québec and our State, they are looking toward an agenda, they have not arrived at any specific mutual legislative policies or anything like that but Hank Williams and his counter-part from Québec tell us that it is going well and it is mutually productive and it is an illustration of this kind of good thing that can come out of this relationship. We have similar arrangements on transportation, licensing – you know about the rapid rail line. We had a good discussion about acid rain but we both suffer from it, both Quebec and New York State produce the problem, we both suffer from pollution
from outside of Quebec and New York State, so we have many overlapping interests
here – I talked a little bit about the necessity of what a riding independently
at national policy before you could construct any tripartite arrangement. And so I think the concentration needs to be on us, as you know we are trying to do, and let the Canadians do the same on their side, having achieved national policy I think we come back then to Québec and the Canadians and see what we can do to integrate them in our policy.

Question: Given the fact that the federal government and U.S…
M. CUDmo
…Well basically I think that, yes, and we can help one another. We for example have reduced our own emissions dioxide of 50% over 20 years. We have learned some things about how to do it. The Canadians, the Québec people have learned some things about how to do it and we will exchange that information and that can help us both.

Question: Monsieur Lévesque…pourparlers…contrat d’énergie…]

M. Lévesque] Bien écoutez, comme vous le savez, il y a des pourparlers
qui sont très avancés – je ne veux pas m’avancer au-delà des pourparlers eux mêmes mais il y a des pourparlers qui sont très avancés qui pourraient se conclure dans des délais assez brefs en ce qui concerne un contrat d’énergie « garanti » si vous voulez, de l’énergie « ferme » pour employer le jargon, avec les états de la Nouvelle-Angleterre et du côté de New-York qui est beaucoup plus important évidemment comme marché, on a fait le point aujourd’hui, rapidement, on est pas entré dans tous les détails , on est sur des conversations entre l’Hydro-Québec et le New York Power Authority qui sont au-delà des conversations qui commencent à ressembler à des pourparlers sérieux qui pourraient se conclure mais peut-être pas aussi rapidement c’est d’autant plus que c’est beaucoup plus important comme volume mais qui pourraient, je crois, non seulement qui pourraient mais qui semblent devoir conduire à des nouvelles ententes.


[M. Lévesque ] En ce moment il n’y a pas de chiffre , non, parceque je
ne veux pas mettre de chiffre – pour dire combien de mégawatt etc.., non, on
ne peut pas mettre de chiffre là- dessus mais c’est sar que si on y arrive quand on sait à quel point l’Etat de New-York est important comme consommateur, ça sera sûrement important.

[Question. Pardon?]

[M. Lévesque] Non, il n’y a pas été question d’argent, ça pas été terre-à-terre comme ça.

[Question:, Est ce qu’il a été question d’investir Oui.
Il a été question maintenant qu’en mars I9HC de non seulement acheter de l’énergie mais d’investir peut-être dans l’Hydro-Québec.]

[M. Lévesque `Non, d’ailleurs ça n’a jamais été – ça peut-être été évoqué
par des gens – je ne dis pas qu’ils parlaient à travers leurs châpeaux – mais qui, de toute façon disaient, bon bien on pourraient peut-être – n’oubliez pas une chose, c’est qu’au fond, l’Hydro-Québec quand elle investit elle se sert forcément de ses propres ressources puis va également sur les marchés y compris les marchés américains, comme c’est normal – New-York est un des plus grands marchés financiers du monde. Alors, en fait, c’est la capacité financière de l’Hydro tel qu’évaluée par les marchés qui sert aux investissements. Il n’y a jamais été sérieusement question qu’on aille chercher des partenaires pour l’investissement direct .

[Question; How much hydro-power is New York interested in buying in Québec?
Above and beyond.
M. Cuomo
It is difficult to say, obviously we have to know how much
is available. I would guess that- and this is, only a guess – you have to understand that there are many things in flux in New York State – there is a question about a huge – nuclear facility, known as Shorem that is even now in doubt and that is about 800 megawatts – and we have another nuclear plant – 9 mile 2 that is also in the works but only tentatively at this point – I guess upto 4 thousand is about a safe number and this … of the New York Power Authority, he would know that better than I do but I guess it is upto 4 thousand … It is two thousand more than we have now.

Question: And you would be willing to make up any loss capacity from from your energy network that might occur, for example, if Shorem…

M. Cuomo
I think the basic purpose is to replace more expensive and less reliable petroleum-created energy which we need to get from the OPEC nation some
of them not always friendly, many of the vulnerable, and all you need to do is look at the … and every once in a while some potentate on the other side says we are going to shut it – think of the catastrophe that would be … New York State unfortunately for a whole lot of reasons is more heavily petroleum-dependant than most –
so to the extent that we can get hydro-power and relieve ourselves from the petroleum dependency that’s a good, with or without Shorem being on line, that’s a good, with or without the replacement of nuclear – we have another – we have Fitzpatrick and other nuclear plants so it is not just a question of replacing nuclear – or dealing with Shorem. We made the deal in 1982 before anybody was talking really about Shorem at the State level. So, that is not the main purpose. It would conceivably become relevant at Shorem, but this arrangement from our point of view has virtue – even apart from Shorem.
Question: Premier Lévesque, The Governor has said that he’d like to purchase an additional two thousand megawatt perhaps, have you in fact given that?
M. Lévesque
Yes, that and more.
Question: Well then is it now question of this one now or price?
M. Lévesque
No, not at all.
Question: Well then why…
M. Lévesque
Oh my God, it’s a question that is so intricate – if you know anything about power contract negotiation – it is a question of evaluating so many factors including just for instance – it is all very well to get to the contract signing position but you have to take into account also for instance, environmental questions about the transmission lines and that sometimes takes – well in the world we live in right now and God knows it is important – the environment but sometimes it takes more time about how to get a line through than it takes to build a dam to bring the power down – or close to it. So it is so many factors and the price comes in as one factor, that is obvious but I think there is a good formula that has been developed which I think is economical for you in the states
and I think it is sufficiently profitable for us – that is a good deal on both sides.
M. Cuomo
The price has to be right because the Premier has to see to it that we stay strong enough to give him his balance of trade that he never had…

Question: How much respect and enthusiasm will degenerate from the rapid railway?

M. Cuomo
Speaking for myself, we had Mayor Drapeau with us in Albany in July, I think, when we announced the next phase which was the study phase – I liked the idea, we’re pleased by it, we were told that the study is going well
..suite 12, and I am looking forward to it being realized and I am very enthousiastic about it.

M. Levesque
As far as we are concerned, just beyond the fact that when Mayor Drapeau has something in his mind, well he pushes, but apart from that, a North-South modern link – you know – a lot of our life is North-South. I hope that with this nice winter we have, a lot of you will be on our slopes pretty soon and reciprocally when summer comes or even in winterwhen we feel we have had enough winter, you know, we are migrants towards the South. It is a sort of natural link. So having a good modern – you know « avant-garde » railway link would be, I think, a good thing for our big town, which is Montreal especially, and New York which is your big town and Albany and points between. Because I think we are finding out that there is a lack now, what we neglected – railway transportation, I think both of our countries have neglected it. When you come back from Europe you have a feeling that we made a mistake there and we should maybe make up for wasted time.

Question: …Premier Levesque’s government coming to power in 1976… separist government in Canada with the tentative effect and the result New York benefitted from industries fleeing from Québec into New York, do you think that was really the… and do you think that the result of this reproachement that New York will…

M. Cuomo
I would prefer you call it a « rapprochement » because « reproachment » sounds too much like reproaching… I am not aware that we really have gotten any industries from Québec, I may be wrong but I don’t know of any companies coming down. I must tell you I woul’n’t relish the idea that Québec had lost anybody but I would certainly be delighted toward the idea that we had gained somebody and I don’t know that it’s happened – I-really don’t. I think, out of this relationship can only come good things for both of us. We said inside that I think one of the things that we’ve done wrong over the years in New York and maybe, speaking only for my own State, it’s that we’ve been kind of introverted even as a state we’ve looked at our – we’ve been very chauvinistic, we’re only now beginning
…suite 13.

to talk about the family of New York State, trying to make the point that there are places beyond your. county, beyond your region – well that same lifting of the vision should have had us looking north to Québec and Canada generally, this mutuality that we have had such good experience with over the year in New York State, we should have been doing it with Québec a long time ago – it seems to me. So, but I don’t know thatwe have profited from any of the politics of Canada or Québec or that this has chased anybody down to us. Anybody is welcome from Québec and even as I was going to say – I don’t want to be ungracious but you don’t have to wait for the good weather to come South, we have good ski slopes too…
Yes, but they are overfilled… No, I’ll find room for you…

You know there is a lot of propaganda that blew up in 1976 in
the media and I think other agencies here and there – they didn’t like our political options but a lot of it was blown up out of all proportion – I will just give you one example, very simple, and you can check the quote, it came from
the Chairman of the Royal Bank of Canada – what more impressive source can you have – and when it was said that money was flowing out of Québec in millions and even billions of dollars to border towns, he had to put an end to that panic, even though he wasn’t exactly on our political side and he said, well as far as we know the money that is accumulated on the border – you know South of the border – is something like about one hour’s counter operation for us. A lot of it was loose talk. In fact, most of it.
M. Lévesque M. Cuomo M. Lévesque