Applauding expropriation

Staff ~ Advertiser
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Dear Editor:

The subject of expropriation and environmental clean up of the AbitibiBowater properties in Grand Falls-Windsor has filled news headlines of late. I write this letter, as a private concerned citizen, to provide commentary on some of the opinions that have been expressed in relation to government's role in the clean up. Also, to express my desire that our future needs will be met for the long-term survival of the central region of this great province.

Everyone expressed support upon the initial announcement of expropriation of assets from AbitibiBowater. The idea that AbitibiBowater would benefit from our natural resources without operating in our province was unacceptable to most, and action to prevent this was widely welcomed.

Letters to the editor -

Dear Editor:

The subject of expropriation and environmental clean up of the AbitibiBowater properties in Grand Falls-Windsor has filled news headlines of late. I write this letter, as a private concerned citizen, to provide commentary on some of the opinions that have been expressed in relation to government's role in the clean up. Also, to express my desire that our future needs will be met for the long-term survival of the central region of this great province.

Everyone expressed support upon the initial announcement of expropriation of assets from AbitibiBowater. The idea that AbitibiBowater would benefit from our natural resources without operating in our province was unacceptable to most, and action to prevent this was widely welcomed.

Current outrage at the notion that the government may be involved in environmental clean up is somewhat puzzling. Based on the ongoing court proceedings, it appears unlikely that AbitibiBowater would have prioritized environmental remediation had expropriation not occurred. The result of this would likely be environmental issues that are left unexplored and unattended to for years. Arguably, had this occurred, many would be calling on government to intervene to ensure environmental issues were assessed and communities were not at risk.

The expropriation of the AbitibiBowater assets in central Newfoundland by the Province was a move that I believe was necessary and appropriate in order to safeguard our forestry industry. The fact that we inherited the environmental problems associated with the mill itself is just a small liability when you look at the bigger picture. Was it a mistake? I don't think so! When you consider that with the potential declaration of bankruptcy of AbitibiBowater, in all probability the province would have ended up with the environmental liability anyway. We cannot let this take our focus off our goal, which is to make this area a place that will continue to be prosperous. Right now we have control of all the fibre resources, the hydro resources and all other associated resources, which is imperative to ensure our long term viability.

I would encourage readers to consider the larger picture on this issue.

Expropriation ensured that a company no longer employing Newfoundlanders and Labradorians could not continue to control and benefit from our resources. Furthermore, it also ensured that environmental issues will not be ignored during years of court proceedings. This approach is likely to the benefit of communities throughout our region.

I applaud the government in taking this bold step and I believe that history will bear this out.

Cyril Langdon

Norris Arm

Organizations: AbitibiBowater, Dear Editor

Geographic location: Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland, Norris Arm

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Recent comments

  • Heather
    June 28, 2010 - 14:49

    Mr. Langdon,

    Thanks for your letter and you are exactly right. I have to comment on the desperate attempt by the opposition to try to make the situation with Abitibi between them and the government. To some degree I would call it laughable as they try to make a political football out of an issue that all parties supported and the people of the province supported and continue to support today.

    The day Abitibi announced they were going to hightail it out of here after making billions on the back of our resources we knew Newfoundland and Labrador would have a long battle trying to get this irresponsible company to do the right thing.. the right thing when it comes to severance for workers, pensions, remediation or the NL resources they own. Just like in Buchans a commitment by Abitibi to clean up was never honoured and we have to do it these are issues our province will have to deal with regardless but thank god for Premier Williams that well have the revenue associated with the expropriated resources, into perpetuity, to help address it.

    I would say to Ms. Jones comparing Sprung to the Abitibi expropriation is like comparing herself to our Premier there is no comparison!

  • Paul
    June 28, 2010 - 14:49

    Mr. Langdon is right on the money. No matter which way things went, we, the taxpayers of this province would be on the hook. Abitibi made substantial profits from our province and reinvested very little back. I have no illusions that the Quebec Government (in Abitibi's back pocket) will ever allow anything to threaten Abitibi's operations in that province. In spite of what Yvonne Jones thinks, Danny Williams was right in expropriation. Abitibi's gone and good riddance. Let's look to the future and build something better!

  • Gary
    June 28, 2010 - 14:49

    Thank you Cyril for your view on this matter. I myself, like a lot of other people seem to have a one track mind. My first thought when I heard the expropriation turned out to be a political blunder and what the potentiall financial fallout would cost us immediately gave me heartburn. But with your view on the potential benefit from the expropriation gives me as well as the one track minds something to think about. Thanks again for your view and getting us to think outside the fibre.

  • Heather
    June 22, 2010 - 16:05

    Mr. Langdon,

    Thanks for your letter and you are exactly right. I have to comment on the desperate attempt by the opposition to try to make the situation with Abitibi between them and the government. To some degree I would call it laughable as they try to make a political football out of an issue that all parties supported and the people of the province supported and continue to support today.

    The day Abitibi announced they were going to hightail it out of here after making billions on the back of our resources we knew Newfoundland and Labrador would have a long battle trying to get this irresponsible company to do the right thing.. the right thing when it comes to severance for workers, pensions, remediation or the NL resources they own. Just like in Buchans a commitment by Abitibi to clean up was never honoured and we have to do it these are issues our province will have to deal with regardless but thank god for Premier Williams that well have the revenue associated with the expropriated resources, into perpetuity, to help address it.

    I would say to Ms. Jones comparing Sprung to the Abitibi expropriation is like comparing herself to our Premier there is no comparison!

  • Paul
    June 22, 2010 - 16:04

    Mr. Langdon is right on the money. No matter which way things went, we, the taxpayers of this province would be on the hook. Abitibi made substantial profits from our province and reinvested very little back. I have no illusions that the Quebec Government (in Abitibi's back pocket) will ever allow anything to threaten Abitibi's operations in that province. In spite of what Yvonne Jones thinks, Danny Williams was right in expropriation. Abitibi's gone and good riddance. Let's look to the future and build something better!

  • Gary
    June 22, 2010 - 16:04

    Thank you Cyril for your view on this matter. I myself, like a lot of other people seem to have a one track mind. My first thought when I heard the expropriation turned out to be a political blunder and what the potentiall financial fallout would cost us immediately gave me heartburn. But with your view on the potential benefit from the expropriation gives me as well as the one track minds something to think about. Thanks again for your view and getting us to think outside the fibre.