Da Legal Stuff...

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Williams Sets Record Straight at the National Post

As soon as the news hit the wires that the federal government had settled a NAFTA challenge from Abitib-Bowater over the expropriation of the assets in Newfoundland and Labrador pundits for the so called "national papers" coudn't wait to take another shot at NL and Danny Williams (or as they often refer to him, Danny Chavez, Village Idiot, or some other less than flattering term).

Today Premier Williams decided to set the record straight at the National Post. Here is what he had to say:

Danny Williams, Special to the National Post · Friday, Aug. 27, 2010

I am disappointed, yet not surprised, by the nasty attacks on me in the National Post ( "From Newfoundland, another tantrum," editorial; and "The Cuckoo of Corner Brook," by Peter Foster; both of Aug. 26). I certainly can take the criticism. Where I draw the line is at mean-spirited insinuations and inaccuracies about our province and its people.

In regard to the recent financial settlement between the Canadian government and Abitibi Inc., which resolved the company's NAFTA complaint, let me point out that Abitibi operated in our province for 100 years. After reaping untold millions in profits and also providing substantial employment for our hard working people, the company closed two mills, threw hundreds out of work, and walked away without even paying the severance these people were owed.

There is no doubt that the pulp-and-paper industry is facing difficult times globally. However, Abitibi broke its covenant with our government under the original terms of its operations in the province. We could not simply allow it to desert the workers while keeping rights to our timber, hydro and lands; valuable natural assets that were entrusted to this company based on certain terms and conditions. Our expropriation of those natural resources was the right thing to do for our people.

Additionally, I am compelled to respond to the following inaccuracies:

- From Peter Foster's Financial Post column: "[Williams] appeared to pull off a coup when the owners of Hebron-Ben Nevis offshore prospect ... returned [with] an agreement that included provincial participation and a 'super royalty' that kicked in if prices remained high...When oil price hit $147 a barrel in 2008, Williams looked like a hero. The oil price is now less than half of that."

Fact: Our super royalty kicks in when prices exceed $50 a barrel. Still seems pretty lucrative to me, despite Mr. Foster's further assertion that this was a "wealth destroying" game I had played.

- From the National Post's editorial: "The Premier's demands for super royalties from oil companies caused them to scale back development of the Hibernia South and Hebron offshore fields, which, in turn, caused the federal taxpayers to indirectly subsidize Newfoundland's budget for lost revenues."

Fact: What kind of logic does one use to say the federal government compensated us for projects that didn't even yet exist? Secondly, the paper fails to admit that because of our government's strong stance and ultimate success in these negotiations, both of these projects are proceeding as originally planned. These two projects alone will generate billions of dollars of revenue for Canada and all Canadians.

- From Peter Foster's Financial Post column of: "[Williams'] attempts to force oil companies to do expensive but unspecified R&Din the province led to a further request for NAFTA arbitration."

Fact: The referenced action was in fact taken by the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (CNLOPB). This is a joint federal/provincial board that operates at arm's length. The action was not taken by me or our government, but it certainly had our support.

- From the National Post's editorial, referring to the EU seal ban: "Ottawa had to play hardball with the EU to keep the meat, skins and byproducts flowing."

Fact: Despite best efforts, the EU ban actually proceeded -- though court action by the Inuit people of Canada has temporarily paused the ban, which we hope will result in a rethinking of the issue by the EU. In any case, I think all Canadians would be proud that our government defends our interests against other countries.

I will never apologize for fighting to protect our natural resources and for getting fair benefits for the people who own them, even if that means taking on big corporations.

Let me close by saying this: Upon completion of Newfoundland and Labrador's current oil and mineral projects, the result in net revenues after expenses will be in excess of $225-billion for Canada. Criticize when you must, but it is time for the Post to start recognizing the contribution made by our province to this country. I am heartened that ordinary Canadians are much more inclusive and generous of spirit, and acknowledge the contribution not just of Newfoundland and Labrador to the Canadian Federation, but indeed of all people, provinces and territories.

- Danny Williams is Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador.


Anonymous said...

Sadly, Danny merely wasted his time by writing that letter. Have you read the comments made by the Post's readers? Not too supportive...

The simple fact of the matter is that they hate us. Always have, always will. And they make no effort to hide it because the minute we voice our objections to being forced to settle for less, their true feelings come boiling to the surface. Sure, some will say "Newfies are great people", but that approval is subject to change any time we "step out of line".

All I know is that as a child, I was a proud Canadian. But as I grew and learned more about how this country operates and the bigoted attitudes that run rampant amongst its citizens, I am now disgusted by any and all things Canadian. This isn't the country I was taught about as a boy... It's a bigoted, elitist, socialist cesspool and I'm ashamed to be a part of it.

God damn our ancestors for allowing the union of NL and Canuckistan to ever take place. We could've overcome our lack of prosperity without selling our souls.

Anonymous said...

They will fight and hate anybody that doesn't serve the central majority of Quebec or Ontario

And, since newfoundland and labrador is starting too look out for itself,and it's own people. And , God knows we can't have that, well then it must be anti Canadain, anti Confederation and the lowest of the low in all regards.And , it has to be right because upper Canada says so.

So much for Canadain values. And these are the same people that hate Americans so much, wonder why.Because it doesn't serve there agenda