16 February 2017

Alternative Facts: Prairie Dipper edition #nlpoli #cdnpoli

Erin Weir is the New Democrat member of parliament for Regina - Lewvan.

In the House of Commons on Monday,  Weir used alternative facts - i.e. stuff that is utterly false - in a speech on the European free trade implementation bill:
There was the AbitibiBowater case where that company shut down its last pulp and paper mill in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The provincial government reclaimed water rights that it had given to AbitibiBowater to operate the mills, but then the company challenged Canada under NAFTA for the loss of its water rights, which it was no longer even using for the purpose they were intended. Well, the previous Conservative government paid AbitibiBowater $130 million to withdraw that NAFTA chapter 11 claim.
Not true.

The provincial Conservatives expropriated assets belonging to three companies, not just AbitibiBowater.

They did so in order to take control of hydro-electric resources that the Conservatives wanted to give to the provincial energy corporation.  The three companies intended to continue with the projects, all of which had power purchase agreements with Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.

At the time of the expropriation, the Conservatives lied about the real reason for the expropriation. That's the version Weir recited with an extra fabrication about water resources and a refusal by the companies to "were no longer even using for the purpose they were intended."

Premier Kathy Dunderdale - natural resources minister in 2008 - told the truth about the episode in 2012 when she confirmed in the House of Assembly that the expropriation was solely a grab for the hydro plants.

The provincial government cooked up a convoluted scheme that ultimately saw taxpayers left to provide the multinational corporation with a range of subsidies, including responsibility for the environmental mess left by the century of papermaking.

Not only did Weir tell the House of Commons a complete pile of nonsense but he left out the most egregious part of the entire mess.  All three parties in the House - including the NDP - supported the idiotic scheme that included subsidies to the private sector.