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Quebec election map revives border dispute

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - A long-standing dispute over Labrador's border flared up again after an electoral map of Quebec depicted the province's territory overlapping into the Big Land.

Many news outlets, including The Canadian Press, posted online map data of Quebec provided by that province's elections agency that shows the riding of Duplessis spilling over the southern Labrador boundary.

Danny Williams, the former premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, said he was disappointed to see coverage of the Quebec election where part of Labrador's territory was shown to be part of Quebec.

Williams said it reminded him of instances where his officials would be at odds with their Quebec counterparts during meetings with New England governors and Eastern premiers.

"The Quebec crowd used to get up and put up a map, and the map would include Labrador, and we'd get up and we'd take it down," Williams said Tuesday.

Quebec has never recognized a 1927 British Privy Council ruling that says the southern border of Labrador lies at the 52nd parallel north of the equator. That boundary was reaffirmed by the terms of Confederation for Newfoundland in 1949.

A spokeswoman for Quebec's chief electoral officer said the map it publishes reflects information provided to them by the provincial government.

"The director general creates a map based on the criteria given to us by Natural Resources," said Genevieve Pelletier, a spokeswoman for Quebec's electoral office.

James Hiller, a retired history professor from Memorial University in St. John's, N.L., said he's not surprised that the dispute flared up, as it tends to resurface periodically.

"I think on the Quebec side, there's always been a feeling that this was not a fair decision," Hiller said of the 1927 ruling.

"It's as though to say, 'There's a boundary there, but we don't really emotionally accept it, but we legally accept it.'"

The Quebec electoral map as illustrated by news outlets sparked debate Monday evening on social media.

"Whoever made that map might want to consult an actual map of Quebec/Labrador border not the silly Quebec one," said a tweet from an account named Will Fowler.

Another Twitter account with the name Becka Walsh tweeted, "The most interesting thing I've seen from tonight on twitter is discussion of the Labrador border #qc2014 #whatyearisthis."

Liberal Labrador MP Yvonne Jones brushed the latest spat off as a non-issue.

"I really don't see the border as being an issue," said Jones from Ottawa.

"We know who we are. We know what territory belongs to the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and where the boundaries are with Quebec.

"Labrador belongs to the people of Labrador."

(The Canadian Press, VOCM)

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