06 January 2012

Williams’ old political promises: Labrador #nlpoli

Now that Danny Williams is a special advisor to a company with a nice little iron ore project in western labrador, maybe we should look at Danny Williams’ political promises about resource development.

Maybe we can get some idea of what advice he might give his new client.

In 2003, Williams promised that he would stop the give-aways of our resources.  Specifically, Williams promised that he would:

“Ensure nonrenewable [sic]resource developments benefit future as well as present generations by controlling the pace of development, promoting value-added product manufacturing, and spending royalties in ways that have long-term benefits across generations.”

That sounds like a good idea. Surely, he still believes in those commitments.

In 2003, Williams had some pretty firm ideas about what needed to happen:

“Developing a healthy and competitive mineral sector is a solid strategy for ensuring the Province's future prosperity. From the mining and processing of ore through to product manufacturing and assembly, the mineral sector can make a vital contribution to economic growth and employment in both urban and rural regions of the Province.

  • A Progressive Conservative government will work with the industry to remove barriers to value-added activities, and to make the industry the most high-tech, productive and socially responsible in Canada.
  • Our goal is to increase the activities associated with the processing of minerals in the Province and related business activities in the service and supply industries, such as construction, energy, engineering and environmental services, research and development, equipment parts and supplies, and financial and legal services.

A strong mineral industry for the Province will be built on progressive legislation that will:

  • Require that ore concentrate be processed to a finished metal product in the Province where it is feasible to do so.
  • Secure preferences for local companies in supplying goods and services to the industry, first choice of jobs for residents of the Province, and training when there are skill shortages.
  • Link royalties and taxes to market prices and the extent of value-added activity undertaken in the Province.
  • Provide for a detailed geological database compiled from geological surveys and mapping programs that identifies new mineral exploration targets, and makes geoscience information easily available to everyone.
  • Support development of the Province's mining sector through tax incentives for prospectors and exploration companies.
  • Ensure lands are returned to a natural state after completion of exploration and mining and quarry activities.

he certainly believed those things in 2007.  When the popular Premier sought re-election, Williams committed that he would

  • continue to discharge our responsibilities to ensure mineral exploration, mining and mineral processing operations in our province return full and fair benefits to Newfoundland and Labrador
  • work to attract secondary and tertiary mineral-based processing and manufacturing operations to Newfoundland and Labrador communities

… [and]

  • work with Labradorians to achieve increased benefits from resource developments associated with mining operations in Labrador West and at Voisey's Bay and hydroelectricity development on the Lower Churchill River.

Guess that means Danny won’t be advising the company to ship unprocessed iron ore out of the province.

Get ready people of Labrador.

If Danny delivers on his old political promises, you will not be able to stand the prosperity.

Of course, now that he isn’t a politician any more there’s no guarantee he will still push for the same ideas he used to talk about.

Maybe someone should ask Williams about give aways and getting the most for the people of the province from their resources.

- srbp -