February 24, 1983
Scotia Agreement on Oil Substitution and Conservation". Under this agreement the federal Government provided $9.2 million for the reduction of Nova Scotia's dependence on imported oil. A number of projects have already been supported under this fund. Funds for it are administered by a federal-provincial management committee.
The next significant date is June 4, 1979 when Mr. Gillespie resigned as a Minister in the Government of Canada.
In October, 1980 Mr. Gillespie initiates co-operation in a joint coal liquefaction venture among the following: Cape Breton Development Corp; Gulf Canada Products Co.; Nova, an Alberta Corporation; Nova Scotia Resources Ltd; and Petro-Canada.
On December 6, 1980 Mr. Gillespie writes to Marshall Cohen, then Deputy Minister of Energy, informing Mr. Cohen of the formation of the consortium and requesting guidance as to the form of application that should be used to obtain financial assistance in such a project.
On December 6, 1980, in his "Dear Mr. Cohen" letter-or "Dear Mickey" letter more correctly-Mr. Gillespie asks for help from Mr. Cohen, his former Deputy Minister. He informs Cohen that he has become chairman of the executive board of the consortium. Mr. Gillespie, writing to his former Deputy Minister, concludes with these words:
-we need your assistance and support, and we need your guidance on how we should formalize our relationship with you.
On December 16, 1980 a letter is sent from Mr. Cohen to Mr. Gillespie advising that a proposal should be submitted to the Management Committee for the Oil Substitution Agreement.
On January 7, 1981, still within the two-year period, a letter from Mr. Gillespie is sent to Mr. P. J. Read, federal cochairman of the Oil Substitution Agreement, requesting a grant of $1 million for purposes of a feasibility study on coal liquefaction.
About a week later, on January 13, 1981, Dr. Read replies to Mr. Gillespie that the Oil Substitution Management Committee was prepared to enter into negotiations leading to a contribution from the fund of up to $1 million. In March of the same year, at the official level, consideration was given to whether the Gillespie project fitted into the Oil Substitution Agreement. There was some concern expressed that the two did not quite mesh. It was decided that it was not clear whether coal liquefaction was covered by the Oil Substitution Agreement. Therefore, an agreement subsidiary to the Oil Substitution Agreement was found to be advisable as between Canada, Nova Scotia and the consortium. Changes were made to accommodate Mr. Gillespie.
On April 4, 1981, Mr. Gillespie appears at Port Hawkes-bury with the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada (Mr. Mac-Eachen) and Premier Buchanan to announce the formation of the consortium. Gillespie, at this point in his life, is clearly a very happy man.
Now I would like to turn to the involvement of a man who at this point in his life has his career at stake. I do not do this lightly. The present Minister of Finance (Mr. Lalonde) in my view has been a man all along who has gone into politics to do what he thought ought to be done, not to get personal gain, either in terms of finances or in terms of other personal benefits. I say that and I mean it. The present Minister of Finance is a man with whom I have disagreed profoundly in debate, but he is a man whose capacity to work and to act in what he regarded in the past as the best interests of the country I have never doubted at all. It is for this kind of reason that the argument I will now make is not one that pleases me to make.
On January 15, 1981 a copy of a memorandum respecting the Scotia Coal Synfuels Project is addressed to the Minister of Finance, signed by the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister on behalf of the Deputy Minister. In the memo addressed to him, the Minister of Finance is explicitly informed of Mr. Gillespie's involvement in the project. This memo reads as follows:
There were a number of meetings between Mr. Gillespie and his associates and departmental officials during the past few weeks to help frame the technical and time dimensions of this project.
Mr. Gillespie's participation is made abundantly clear back in January, 1981. It is clear that the present Minister of Finance saw the memo, since it sought his guidance on one issue and was followed up by a handwritten note from a woman, named Maureen to Energy, Mines and Resources, to a person named Mike, which read as follows:
Could you please call John Walsh directly . .. or me ... with Minister's comments.
The "Minister" is the present Minister of Finance. As of this date there can be no doubt whatsoever that the Minister of Finance knew about the project and about Mr. Gillespie's involvement in it.
On April 3, 1981 the present Minister of Finance, the then Minister of Energy, signs a Treasury Board submission. It is sent, not that day but on April 13, and then is very quickly withdrawn. Attached to this Treasury Board submission is an annex to a schedule, and it is a document which specifically notes that Alastair Gillespie and Associates is a party to the consortium.
On September 3, 1981 the Minister of Finance, then the Minister of Energy, signed a Treasury Board submission seeking approval of the tripartite agreement involving the Government of Canada, the Government of Nova Scotia and the consortium headed by Mr. Gillespie. This was approved on September 14, 1981 by the Treasury Board.
It is interesting to raise at this time the question as to whom was present at that Treasury Board meeting, and which Ministers were involved in the decision at that time.
On September 25, 1981 signatures to the agreement were attached. The agreement was deemed to be effective retroactively as of June 30, 1981.
February 24, 1983