23 October 2010

Will Danny expropriate?

Talks between Vale and its Voisey’s Bay union broke down again on Saturday.

This is after Premier Danny Williams tried to be “the voice of reason” on Friday.

Will Danny expropriate? 

Well, he’s undoubtedly desperate to find a foreign demon to distract attention coming into an election year. It wouldn’t be too hard for Williams to cast Vale as another foreign multi-national attempting to use local resources without properly compensating the resource owners. He could even posture as a great defender of unions.

The mine has a huge market value and – unlike Grand Falls-Windsor – the provincial government would have an easy time unloading the mill or operating it profitably as a Crown corporation.  Heck, revenue from the mine could pay for the Lower Churchill.

And, also unlike the old AbitibiBowater properties, there are no stinking environmental messes to expropriate by accident.  There may be environmental problems but nothing that should hold up the expropriation or even cause the province’s New Democrats to lose a wink of sleep.

Much would depend on whether or not Vale had a legal angle under NAFTA.  If the company can’t find a way to sue, then stripping the company of its mine and the smelter project at Long Harbour is a pretty simple affair for a government with such a commanding presence in the House.

- srbp -

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