12 June 2009

One of these things…

is not like the others.
  1. Hydro-electric generating plants belonging to three private sector companies.
  2. Former employees of a defunct paper making operation in central Newfoundland.
  3. Fish plant workers.
  4. Fish plant operators and fish harvesters.

1.   Hydro-electric generating plants get seized and turned over to the government’s own energy company free of charge, regardless of the NAFTA implications, in one fell swoop and through a bill rammed through the legislature in a day.  The bill also gave government the power to set any compensation, quashed an outstanding lawsuit and decreed that no legal action could result from the expropriation.

2.  Former employees of the defunct paper plant get a shrug initially but then get $35 million.

When the cash is announced, government claims it was their intention all along to pony up.  Odd, then, that people who questioned government publicly on its intentions were savagely attacked.

Odder too that the provincial government called for the federal government to cough up the dough.  There was even one of those eerie coincidence things with the union involved.

3.  Fish plant workers in the province  - upwards of 10,000 people or more staring at no work and no income - are told they’ll get something if necessary, but it is going to take months to figure out what the whole thing will look like, if it becomes necessary.  Think make work and then employment insurance and you’ll probably be pretty much on the mark.

4.  Fish plant operators and fish harvesters  - looking at financial ruin in some cases  - are basically told to sod off given that any cash to them would be a subsidy and well, “international trade agreements”  - like NAFTA - would be affected.

Williams said the province can't get involved in price negotiations, because it could result in trade retaliation from the United States…