05 February 2010

Taxpayers shafted

On February 2, Abitibi notified the provincial government that the company vacated the only properties the provincial government didn’t expropriate in December 2008.

As a result, the taxpayers of Newfoundland and Labrador are entirely responsible for cleaning up whatever environmental mess may be attached to the century old facility.

There is no word on how big the problems at the old paper mill are or how much it will cost taxpayers to clean it up.

The official government release on the development is a masterpiece of uncommunication from a department – natural resources – that has become legendary for its practice of the dark art of misinformation. 

There is even a complete contradiction in the claim at the front – namely that the provincial government is now responsible for the sit in every respect and a statement at the back that Abitibi is still liable.

This is the third financial shaft to be felt by taxpayers resulting from the 2008 expropriation.  The first is the yet-unresolved bill for the expropriation itself.  The second is the voluntary payment by the provincial government of money owed by the company.



Wm. Murphy said...

The second is the voluntary payment by the provincial government of money owed by the company.

As a taxpayer I don't feel shafted by that one. It was a good move by gov't

The other(s) are the classic .."can you bend over a lttle further sir...I'm not quite finished!"

Lonenewfwolf said...

forget about the immediate cash.

think about bill 27 which stated ABH had to go through a year long public engagement process to renew their 100 year leases (supposed to start last month).

also the renewal of the 999yr lease before all this took place...and who has the rights to these astounding agreements now.

i know it's all dependent on the courts at this point, but it sure would be nice to see a real discussion on the particulars of these agreements and the timelines underlying them.

in particular the legislation that this government enacted since 2003 and how each successive change impacted NALCOR and FORTIS.

Ed Hollett said...

Somewhere along the line I lost you there, Wolf. I think it was right at the word "Forget".

The expropriation bill stopped all of the talk about leases and lease processes.

It also stopped any court process, including one already underway from stuff that happened before 2003.

And Wm., it may have been a good political move. I am not sure about a good anything-else move.

I am generally not in favour of having government assume private sector liabilities of any kind. That seems to me to be protecting/subsidizing private business, not protecting the public interest.