Da Legal Stuff...

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

NL Legislature Determined to Protect Public Interest

Today I’d like to offer the entire Newfoundland and Labrador legislature, both government and opposition members, my heart felt congratulations for their combined efforts this week.

By working together to quickly enact legislation intended to secure the people’s water and timber rights from Abitibi-Bowater, each of the Province’s elected members have shown that they can indeed work together in a non-partisan way for the betterment of the Province, when the situation calls for it.

Perhaps their federal counterparts in Ottawa would do well to learn from this fine example.

On Tuesday the Williams government presented the Abitibi expropriation bill to the opposition members, met with them to discuss its contents and all parties worked together to move the bill through 3 readings, the committee stage and royal ascent. All of this was accomplished in under 5 hours.

That process spoke volumes about the ability of all the parties to put aside their partisan differences and work together for the greater good of the people they represent and for that they deserve a pat on the back.

The bill, which will see the Province expropriate all water & timber rights as well as any power generating facilities held by Abitibi once that company closes its last remaining mill, is something that had to be introduced to ensure that the company could not simply walk away from the Province and continue to retain control of valuable provincial resources.

Unfortunately the logic and importance of the effort put out by the Newfoundland and Labrador legislature is something that appears to have been lost on some Central Canadian quasi-news agencies and corporate mouthpieces.

Apparently some of these highly paid shills think the Province should have simply allowed Abitibi-Bowater to close its mill operations, throw a thousand people out of work yet sell or even retain the valuable natural resources of the Province so nobody else could have access to them.

Globe and Mail journalist (and I use the term journalist very loosely) Konrad Yakabuski even decided that the time was right to break out the “Danny Chavez” rhetoric once again and to slam the province for ensuring that its resources are not sold off to the highest bidder so Abitibi could continue to profit from the Province even after it has closed its doors.

In his commentary Mr. Yakabuski, who comes across as being very upset that Abitibi will not be able to sell those assets to pay down debt, attacked the Williams government for “Bludgeoning” the company.

He went on to say that this legislation will, “sour any sensible business person with an eye to investing in the province…”.

The position taken by Mr. Yakabuski leads this writer to wonder where his pay cheque comes from or if he is truly that obtuse.

In a feeble attempt to justify his attack Mr. Yakabuski wrote in the Globe that while, “It is true Abitibi has been so stingy with new capital that the mill might have been doomed by its obsolescence. But the hydro assets are still valuable. Abitibi had been counting on them to ease its own financial difficulties.”

Go figure.

Personally I can only say that it’s about time the Globe took another shot at Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Ontario based paper hasn’t taken a good shot at Williams or the Province for weeks now and this fact alone had almost convinced me that the Premier had slipped into the same sort of complacent “giveaway” mentality that has plagued the Province’s leaders since entering Confederation.

I guess my worries were unfounded.

Now that Canada’s national rag is on the attack again (as long as “national” means Central Canada) I’m more convinced than ever that the provincial government (all parties) must be doing the right thing on this file.

Mr. Jakabusi’s editorial attack makes me wonder what the Globe’s reaction will be should the Ontario government decide to take similar steps with Abitibi. Already the legislature in that province is expressing deep concern about the company’s plans to sell off similar assets there and are meeting with mill workers to gather their input.

It would be interesting to see the Globe’s spin on something like that.

“Sour any sensible business person with an eye to investing…” indeed.

As one letter I received from a reader just this morning so eloquently pointed out:

“Someone should remind the Globe that when it comes to attracting business the Ontario elite have no room to talk."

"What was it Jim Flaherty said about Ontario, "It is the last place anyone would want to invest."

"Meanwhile Newfoundland and Labrador is now a "Have" province while Ontario is a "Have Not."

"Newfoundland and Labrador has a (1.3 billion dollar) surplus, Ontario is running a deficit."

"Newfoundland and Labrador has record car and home sales, Ontario's sales are in the toilet."

"Oil, gas and other companies are investing in new activity in Newfoundland and Labrador all the time including during this economic downturn."

"It seems to me that the folks at this Ontario based rag have very little right to tell Newfoundland and Labrador how to deal with corporate interests."

Well said, well said indeed.


Anonymous said...

Well Myles it looks like you might get your wish. We might just see how the Mop and Pail reacts to Ontario doing something similar in that province. Read on...

MP calls on McGuinty to prevent dam sale


Charlie Angus believes Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty should follow the moves made by Premier Danny Williams in Newfoundland and Labrador on Tuesday.

The NDP MP for Timmins- James Bay said Williams' plan to expropriate all of Abitibi- Bowater's hydroelectricity rights from its generating station at Star Lake, as well as timber rights to forests on Crown land, is

exactly what McGuinty needs to do for the mill in Iroquois Falls.

"This has been our position all along," Angus said. "We're trying to stop Abitibi from selling the assets so that if they do go under, the public interest isn't completely lost at that point."

McGuinty has mishandled the forestry crisis up till now, Angus said, and that's why it's important for Ontario's premier to step in and save the largest employer in Iroquois Falls from losing its most important asset: The dams.

While many mills in the North have closed due to high electricity costs, which were passed onto customers with higher-priced products, the mill in Iroquois Falls has had access to cheap hydroelectricity from the dams for more than 100 years. Its products have been priced lower due to the cheaper cost of doing business, which has allowed the company to thrive.

"There's a reason Danny Williams is in a have province and we're in a have-not province," Angus said.

He and MPP Gilles Bisson (NDP -- Timmins-James Bay) are worried if AbitibiBowater is able to sell the dams to a private company, it won't help anyone in Iroquois Falls and the mill won't survive.

"The Iroquois Falls mill is a money maker," Angus said. "It's in excellent condition and it's profitable because the infrastructure of the mill is actually the dams. The dams feed right into the mill itself.

"Once you separate that, then a third-party walks away with the prime assets which should belong to the people of Ontario."

Angus said McGuinty can prevent these issues by looking forward and "anticipating what's coming down the pipe."

Continued After Advertisement Below


"People are frustrated. We're talking about emergency measures for the bailout of the auto industry, losses of jobs all over the province (in all kinds of industries)," Angus said. "This is a situation that is completely preventable here in Northern Ontario."

It will be a scary situation if the province doesn't do anything to help Iroquois Falls purchase the dams, he said. Many will lose their jobs if AbitibiBowater is able to sell its dams and close the town's mill, which employs more than 500 people.

"I think if (McGuinty) sits back and allows this to happen when we have such a clear alternative, it will show the provincial Liberal government has completely failed the interests of Northern Ontario," Angus said.

A meeting will be held in Iroquois Falls at 2:30 p. m. today with politicians and representatives from unions and municipality, to try to determine the best course of action. The meeting will be held at the Access Transit Hall.

There will also be a protest at 11:30 a. m. today, held at the mill's gates.

Anonymous said...

News today:

Altius Signs Exploration and Royalty Agreement on Labrador Iron Ore Properties.

...companies operating in Newfoundland shrugged off the legislation, including Petro-Canada, which has stakes in the offshore oil projects Hibernia, Terra Nova and White Rose and a piece of the proposed $7-billion Hebron operation.

...Husky Energy Inc., majority owner and operator of White Rose, said the Abitibi situation has no impact on its business. It is expanding in the province, and in September committed to spend $130-million exploring and drilling off Labrador.

Yeah Globe and Mail, it really looks like this move by Williams will as you say, “Sour any sensible business person with an eye to investing..."

Get off the pot and stop shilling for central canada's corporate interests for once!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe Abitibi is claiming they were blind sided by this.

Williams said publicly weeks ago that he would do everything possible to make sure those resources were protected. Don't these people read the news?

What did Abitibi management thin, that the province would just let them walk away with those resources in their back pocket?

Now they say they will take legal action. I say go for it. If they lose then so be it. If the supreme court of Canada backs them in stealing our resources then it may be the catalyst needed to finally convince our people that the odds will be forever stacked against us in Canada and the time has come to cut our ties and stop being a Canadain colony.

Either way I'm good.

Anonymous said...

“Globe and Mail journalist (and I use the term journalist very loosely) Konrad Yakabuski even decided that the time was right to break out the “Danny Chavez” rhetoric once again and to slam the province for ensuring that its resources are not sold off to the highest bidder so Abitibi could continue to profit from the Province even after it has closed its doors.”

Myles, Myles, Myles. What are you doing buddy. Wasting your time, and talent on the scum of society. Do you not know a racist when you see one? This man is no better than Mrs. Wente. Why the Globe and Mail employs such derelicts is beyond me. Do you not know how many people have turned their backs on such newspapers because of these racists’ attacks?
My Nan always told me that we should pity people like this because they don’t have the love of God in their heart. I’m happy my beautiful grandmother has not lived to see the day, when Canadians refer to their own as this. And, the attacks. She was always the proud one in the family that spoke aloud when the conversion of Confederation came up on Sunday night get together. My poor ole Grandfather wasn’t so supporting. He always said that the Canadian wolf will do nothing for us but take our fishing grounds and leave the country with nothing. He always refused to say that we were a province now, and not a country.

As you might have noticed Myles I have been quiet on your blog for a few days, yup, if anybody knew your stats counter they would say a miracle has occurred. Actually, yesterday and today I have been in a very somber mood.


I was hoping at this time Myles you would allow me to say Thank-You to the Jones family from Baie Verte. I know the sacrifice which their family has given to us all, and I want them to say thank you to thier son ( on my behalf ) when they say thier prayers,please. That I do appreciate my freedom and the sacrifice that he has given to me.

If only people like Konrad Yakabuski knew how this province and her people have given to Canada, maybe he wouldn’t write such hate literature about us or our province. Ignorance is ignorance no matter where it comes from. He should go down to Baie Verte and see the reason why he has the right to write such literature.

I know that God will love you as much as we do Justin. God bless you my Son.


PS, I really don’t know if you want to release this Myles, seeing it's somewhat off topic. I just wanted to say Myles that your talents are better off serving the likes of this fine out-stabding Newfoundlander.I hope Canada see's how lucky she is too have such a brave fine outstanding young man as this.

Anonymous said...

Well Myles isn't it interesting that reading the comments on the Globe articles today about this 99.9% of the respondents from across Canada understood why this was done with two distinct exceptions. Two "shills", as you might say, who are well known in these parts. Wally Mclean (WJM) and Ed (Bond Papers) Hollett.

Are these two joined at the hip or what? Hollett even has the nerve to accuse someone of reading from talking points provided to him. talk about a pot and kettle situation. I doubt either of those two would have a thought between them if they weren't given a set of talking points to use by their party handlers.

Go figure LOL.

Here are their comments at the Globe as well as some responses from a real patriot, Ches Crosby.

Edward Hollett from St. John's, Canada writes:

When you could start talking about the realities of the situation rather than off a precis of the talking points tossed out yesterday.

At the same time, if this is the sort of advice you would offer other governments - like say the Harper government - Canadians can only hold their breath in anticipation of the spectacular round of nationalisations and appropriations that will be taking place come January all based on equally invented excuses.

Posted 17/12/08 at 4:21 PM EST

Ches Crosbie from Canada writes: Ed Hollett, calling Williams motivation for this legislation 'invented' or an excuse, for anything, is simply silly.

He did the right thing. Take the partisan blinders off for at least a moment and remember where you're from.
Posted 17/12/08 at 7:21 PM EST

Wallace McLean from Canada writes: If a contract is a contract, that means there'll be no more talk about "redress" on the so-called Upper Churchill before 2041, right, Tim?

Danny also has "disdain" for deadlines, and "disdain" for disdain, too... when it suits his purposes.
Posted 17/12/08 at 7:24 PM EST

Ches Crosbie from Canada writes: " Wallace McLean from Canada writes: If a contract is a contract, that means there'll be no more talk about "redress" on the so-called Upper Churchill before 2041, right, Tim?"

Your frightful loathing of the land you once lived in is quite astounding.

Ontario is better for having you.
Posted 17/12/08 at 7:26 PM EST

Anonymous said...

There's been a lot of talk since Tuesday about Abitibi taking court action or invoking NAFTA over this issue but take heart folks, either of those options would take years to find a resolution and by this time next year Abitibi may no longer even exist.

Even if Abitibi eventually won a court case the government can simply deduct any settlement from the cost of the environmental mess made by Abitibi.

If NAFTA is an issue then that's the federal governments battle with Abitibi and it's the feds that are on the hook for any settlement, not NL.

Besides, like I said, Abitibi may be on the way down.

Already today their stock is down about a third.

Today Moody's lowered their rating (nothing to do with the expropriation) and Abitibi is now 7levels below investment grade.

Now reports are coming out that other paper makers are smelling blood in the water and looking to push Abitibi under.

Check this news story out:

White Birch Paper broke ranks with other newsprint manufacturers this month by slashing prices to capture market share amid dwindling demand

Privately held White Birch is the second largest producer of newsprint in North America with 18%of total market share. The company is flouting attempts by industry leader AbitibiBowater to enforce price discipline by lowering its going contract rate. Abitibi wants to protect pricing in the face of persistent order declines from ailing newspaper publishers, said the sources.

The pricing war is hitting AbitibiBowater at a particularly inopportune moment. The company faces USD 919m of maturities over the next year, including a USD 347m Libor+ 800bps term loan due 30 March. Management needs to impress lenders with a bullish cash flow story if it hopes to refinance those obligations, said the buysiders.

Anonymous said...

Well Myles I thought that I was going to leave this debate alone. It really is too silly to talk about. According to the contract that Abitibi bought it has a legal leg to stand on up to the date of 1999. After that they were running on the good graces of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Having to take yet another contract from a company in Ontario, I have had the great pleasure of hearing yet again the total lack of knowledge that people in the great city of Toronto have, when it comes to their country. It’s kind of sad really that people in the province of Ontario have a total lack of knowledge (border line ignorance) of their country and their fellow citizens. I like to call it the Globe and Mail effect really. What people read in a national newspaper, they kind of take as gospel. But, what I find amazing here is what one of your readers pointed out. Mr. Holliet from the Bond Papers.

I really don’t go over to that Blog but I would love for your readers to go over and just see some of the Dogma that this man has written. Now I know Mr. Holliet and his fellow Liberal, Mr. Simon, write about Newfoundland and Labrador politics, but this is shameful. I can say this morning that I have more respect for someone from B.C. At least they could claim ignorance. Not this guy. And, his fellow hate Monger (you know him as WJM) I find incredible. The only thing these men are capable of doing is spreading falsehoods and hate. Personally I think that Edward should go shack up with Wallace in Ottawa seeing he has this romantic image of Canada. For the love of God man, know what you are.

The only interest I now have in this debate Myles is the role that Canada has to play. NAFTA will defiantly be looked at again with the new incoming administration in Washington. How will this act be looked upon by the new American Government? With the auto sector crumbling in Ontario and Newfoundland and Labradors new attuide of “ no more give aways, the next few months should give the globe and mail some new ammunition for the group of talented spin masters they employ. Better yet, how will Ottawa act on behalf of its most easterly province? If the government does not act on behalf of Newfoundland and Labrador, I think we will see a whole new chapter in our provinces history with mainland Canada. Can our relationship get any worse then what it already is?

I can hear the tacticians thinking and the spin masters writing. The upcoming fight seems to be turning into a major battle. Who will blink first? Does Danny have it in him for yet another battle for our Province? I would hope that all your readers Myles would take to the phone lines and call the Premiers office to send him our support. That’s the least we can do for a man that has given his life to make our home a far better place. This man definitely knows who he is.

Maybe a few Bloggers should take some lesions from Danny ( YUP, thats his name). It’s called character. And, from what they have shown me, they can defiantly learn something .

Ussr said...


OK, so the newest news out of the CBC is saying that the Federal Government will not help the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador with any court action taken by Abitibi Bowater. I’m shocked. Does anybody out there think that this may come between the great relationships that Newfoundland and Labrador has with the federal Government of Canada? I really hope it doesn’t. My God, can you imagine if we didn’t have the support of our federal government, what would we ever do or get done without them.

First let’s see. We wouldn’t have a fishery because they manage that for us so well. Then they helped us with that great deal on the Church Hill Falls contract with Quebec. OH, and let’s not forget the fact that they helped us out so much with that great deal we got on the Atlantic Accord. That’s my all time favorite.

Hey Harper even changed that for us all by himself.How great of a Prime Minister is that guys.


Then there is the great amount of money that we get from our “OUR OIL” .We showed them whose boss there didn’t us. Thank god that turned out so great for us.


“By the end of 2006, Hibernia had poured $1.2 billion into Newfoundland's coffers.

But the project has also generated $8.8 billion for the consortium of oil companies behind it and another $4.8 billion for the federal government, according to provincial figures.”

Yes Sir, it’s all there in black and white. Where in the name of God would poor ole Newfoundland and Labrador be without the excellent management skills and business skills provided to us lowly, yet humble bunch of Newfies from the great humble great centralist Governement Of Moscow. Thank God we have Canada to stand up for us.

All Newfoundland Patriots must fight the Evil Capitalist Dog that is Premeir Danny Williams. We must fight to keep the great Canadain Empire together.

Long Live Mother Russia, I mean Canada ,opps I mean Kanada,opps, I mean canadain .OH F&#$% it I'm so confused.were are we again and did I spell that write. :)

Patriot said...


I have to thank you so much for that rant Ussr. It's so sad that what you say is true but I have to admit I laughed my A$$ off when I read it.

Good stuff.

Anonymous said...

Patriot, how can Ottawa wiggle out of paying the cost of any court case because the province expropriated something which belongs to it?

Ottawa's signing of the NAFTA Agreement has put this province in a straight jacket.

We can't even bulk fresh water and send it off to a thirsty world, according to the Sierra Club of Canada since, if we do, by that very fact, we will open the doors wide for any place to come bulk our water and carry it off. We learned that when we contemplated shipping off water from the Gisborne Lake, which dumps millions of gallons daily into the Atlantic Ocean.

And now we hear that under NAFTA AbitibiBowaers might have rights to retain a territory that contain their Paper Mill in and around Grand Falls, a territory which is three times the size of Prince Edward Island and which holds generous Hydro Energy and Timber Rights which are contained on that property.

If Ottawa is not responsible here, who is? I am sure the province of Newfoundland and Labrador would never have given away such generous rights along with such a large properly which holds a license to print money.

Why would Ottawa sign the NAFTA Agreement which would encumber this provinces resources in a straight jacket?

Anonymous said...

We, of our time, have played our part in the perseverance, and we have pledged ourselves to the dead generations who have preserved intact for us this glorious heritage, that we, too, will strive to be faithful to the end, and pass on this tradition unblemished.

Eamon de Valera

Anonymous said...

Patriot - I wish to express a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year to everyone.

I hope the economic darkness which is presently encompassing the whole world will dissipate and in the new World economy everyone, on all 7 Continents of the World, will be served with an economy that all humankind are deserving of.

But to have that type of an economy for the World we will need to have people at the helm who are directing and restructuring the new world economy, who must have certain attributes present,those being honesty, integrity and a need to see all humankind served equally. Essentially the people we need will have to have a conscience!

The World Economy in the past was administered by people, who it appears were covetous and they would do anything to make a dollar which wasn't truly earned. I do hope that we have learned from the greed of the $50 Billion dollar hedge fund Manager, like Madoff, the greed of the Auto and Oil industries, and that integrity and honesty will be present in the hearts and minds of those who will be constructing and guiding the building of the new World economy.

Yes, the new system will surely need a lot of frills left out of it and it will need to be spread more thinly around the world, since all humankind need to make a decent living to look after their families.

The World needs kinder, gentler, caring and honest people.

In other words Patriot: Do unto others what you would have others do unto you. That mantra is a religion in itself and if we were to repeat it on a daily basis, this beautiful scenic world would turn into a wonderful economic Eden for mankind.

I think the crime that is destroying today's world has its roots in poverty, which is brought on by the corruptors of big governments and big industry.

To bring home my point I was listening to a person talking on CBC radio overnight last week from the lawless country of Somalia, where, at present, pirates are roaming the seas around that country rampantly. They are seizing Oil Tankers filled with Oil and ships carrying all other types of goods. He said the reason it is happening is because the country is so poor and nobody is looking after their needs. War Lords rue the day there. Thee is no government established there. They need a government established, not dictators. It needs to be fixed and it should be a topic in the forming of the New World Economy.

Patriot I hope I won't bore you, but I want to tell you of the place where I grew up, I remember it as a place much like Eden. One thing that comes first to my mind is the first person in my community to have bagged a moose would then immediately carve up that moose carcass and take a piece around to everyone else in the community who hadn't gotten a Moose. And the next person, who was successful, would do the same. Sometimes it would be my father, he would carve up his moose and he would let us children run the errand for him. We all love that little joyous task. I can still feel the joy that came from it.

If someone built a house in my community, everyone assisted with the labour when they had spare time, and so on.

By the way my community was a Bowaters community at the time, and everyone in my community work in some capacity or another with the Bowaters Company. It was a great life with many memories of pulp wood floating down the river and booms put around the pulp in the Bay, the drum barkers barking the pulp of the wood, and the foreign ships anchored in the Bay waiting to take the wood off to foreign lands.

The AND Company formerly and then Bowaters after were a part of my community for 40 years.

I will never forget my community and the nice feelings I have about it.

I hope we can return to days like that again where family has someone working an earning a living, of course, also with the community spirit.

I must say to be fair that community still has some of the sharing, but it does not have an economy present, the men and women have to travel far and wide to find employment.

Patriot said...

Thank-you Anon 9:47, your description of your home town reminds me so much of my own it's amazing.

As you mentioned, there are still those towns out there, in fact I live in a place where just those sorts of selfless acts you describe still happen on a regular basis.

Merry Christmas to you and to everyone. May all your wishes come true this new year. May we all live in a bright new future where everyone is treated fairly and where we all have a voice in our future.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.