It’s been five years since Bill Rowe was in Ottawa, but now he is back promoting his memoir, which he describes as a “warts-and-all portrayal” of those involved in the Atlantic Accord negotiations between Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams and Paul Martin in 2004.
Danny Williams: The War with Ottawa divulges the details of those meetings.
Hired as Williams’ representative in Ottawa, Rowe worked with MPs to get the prime minister to keep his promise of allowing Newfoundland to retain 100 per cent of its offshore oil revenues without clawbacks on their equalization payments.
“There was tremendous sympathy… for Newfoundland’s position,” said Rowe. A deal was reached in 2005 but not without drama.
Rowe wrote that Martin hammered his fists on the table and walked out of the office after 10 hours of negotiations. “That was the kind of histrionics that were going on, sort of Oscar-winning performances that were being performed,” said Rowe.
Rowe thinks everyone wants to know what happened behind closed doors, especially about the “big, fragile egos bouncing off each other in a hilarious, and sometimes, demeaning way.”
“Canada thrives as the best country in the world…because of the terrible inherent tensions that exist between the provinces and the federal government that keeps everybody on their toes.”