By Kyle Young
In an attempt to generate additional revenue for the federal government, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien announced Monday that he is seriously considering abolishing the province of Prince Edward Island to use the island as a nuclear waste storage facility.
A report issued earlier this month by Finance Minister Paul Martin clearly outlines the potential income from such an operation. The idea behind the plan is to take in politically inconvenient radioactive waste from other nations and store it in Canada for a fee.
The entire report is rumoured to have been put together in response to the western provinces’ refusal to share profits from the global energy crisis. Analysts believe that the nuclear waste site is the only way Ottawa can gain from the energy crisis without direct opposition from the West.
Within the report, the issue of locating the site is given key priority. Although several sites in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon were considered, the report deemed the anticipated backlash from lobby groups, conservationists, and ecologists extremely undesirable. It concluded that a location such as P.E.I. would be less controversial, as the only species displaced would be the human inhabitants.
P.E.I. Premier Pat Binns objected strongly to the plan.
"Such a course of action would cost Canada one of its greatest cultural treasures," said Binns, "as well as the greatest potatoes on earth."
When asked for a response to this comment, Chrétien was elusive.
"I never liked that Anne of Green Gables anyway," he said, barely stopping to acknowledge the question.
Binns is expected to seek aid from other provinces in the weeks ahead. Near the top of his list is Alberta Premier Ralph Klein.
"It’s really the obvious choice. If P.E.I. is removed, all the maps, atlases, globes, and textbooks in all the schools will have to be replaced," said Binns. "This would mean that he [Klein] would have to grant additional funding to education, which my advisors inform me is unlikely to occur under any circumstances."
Binns will finish his tour of the provinces in a month, after which he is expected to turn to Ottawa in a last ditch effort to appeal to the Cabinet Ministers. However, many experts agree that few of the Ministers would be receptive to such an appeal in light of the fact that many of them could not remember where or what P.E.I. is when questioned. When reminded, most saw it as merely another economically depressed maritime province to which federal transfer payments are made.