Canada

Canada

REFERENDUM SLOWS WIND

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The referendum on the sovereignty of Quebec, to be held on October 30, is causing uncertainty in the province's wind power community, as well as in the rest of Canada. The territorial and political integrity of Canada as a country is jeopardised by the prospect of a large, central province like Quebec becoming a sovereign country, thereby splitting Canada into non-contiguous eastern and western provinces. This could begin the break up of Canada and its assimilation into the US, according to some commentators. The separatist Parti Quebecois (PQ) government in early 1995 launched a broad energy policy debate, but the politics of the referendum are overshadowing virtually all other decision making activities and issues in Quebec. One Quebec wind power developer says that "no decisions on energy policy or on new wind projects can possibly be reached until the atmosphere of uncertainty surrounding the referendum crisis is resolved." Grievances with the rest of Canada, including allegations of discrimination in energy policy and a desire for political and cultural self-determination, are at the heart of the PQ election and the referendum campaign. An earlier referendum held in 1980 was defeated during a previous PQ government.

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