Abitibi action applauded

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Move to retake resources welcomed by union, municipal leaders

Danny William's tough stance on AbitibiBowater got a warm reaction in Grand Falls-Windsor Wednesday.

Williams visited the mill town the day after his government passed legislation reclaiming land, water and timber rights and expropriating hydroelectric assets from the pulp and paper company.

He got a hero's welcome from union members, municipal leaders and residents at the meeting.

George MacDonald, president of Local 63 of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, was in the audience.

Premier Danny Williams speaks to union members, municipal leaders and residents in Grand Falls-Windsor Wednesday, the day after his government passed legislation reclaiming land, water and timber rights from AbitibiBowater. - Photo by David Newell/The Adv

Windsor - Danny William's tough stance on AbitibiBowater got a warm reaction in Grand Falls-Windsor Wednesday.

Williams visited the mill town the day after his government passed legislation reclaiming land, water and timber rights and expropriating hydroelectric assets from the pulp and paper company.

He got a hero's welcome from union members, municipal leaders and residents at the meeting.

George MacDonald, president of Local 63 of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, was in the audience.

MacDonald has been calling on the provincial government to ensure that AbitibiBowater not be allowed to retain its timber and power rights when it closes the Grand Falls-Windsor mill in March.

"This is one of the proudest days in Newfoundland and Labrador, a government that stood up," MacDonald said after Williams' speech.

"It's an unreal feeling. I thought that Santa Claus was going to come."

Williams reiterated why his government made the decision.

He noted the move to retake control of the resources received unanimous support in the House of Assembly.

"I've never seen all the MHAs come around and sign a piece of paper, but they felt it was an awful important piece of business," Williams said.

"It was a very emotional, proud moment for all of us."

Williams also referred to Tuesday's Globe and Mail, where news of the expropriation was one of the lead stories on the front page. The national paper has demonstrated a love-hate relationship with the province over the years, some columnists criticizing Newfoundland and Labrador on issues ranging from the seal hunt and Williams' battles with the prime minister to its former have-not status.

"The ultimate compliment was when The Globe and Mail decided to put us, on the paper mill, on the front page for the first time," he said. "They do it when we do something to stand up for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

"We took back over four million acres of land. That's over three times the size of Prince Edward Island."

The province is taking ownership of all hydroelectricity rights from the generating station at Star Lake, as well as timber rights to forests on Crown land.

AbitibiBowater will get to hang on to the mill itself. About all the company will be left with is the paper mill itself, but it will be given the means to operate the mill until the end of March. The company would be compensated for any physical assets taken over.

"There was a ... bargain and a commitment between the people and the company that started that mill," said Williams.

"Back in the beginning we passed the lands, the timber and the water to that corporation. The bargain was that they would carry on a milling and logging operation.

"At the end of the day, they broke that bargain. As a result of them breaking that bargain, we have a right to take back our trees, our water and our lands, and on Tuesday, we did just that."

Also Wednesday, AbitibiBowater spokesman Jean-Philippe Cote reiterated the company wanted to form a working group with the government to figure out how to deal with the timber, land and water rights following the mill closure.

"They never said no, they actually asked us would everything be on the table, and we said all the issues would be on the table indeed because we understand there are many elements at stake and we need to understand what's the mutual interest, and can we think of a global situation and if we need to exit the island, it needs to be done in an orderly manner so everyone can benefit from it quicker," he said.

"We wake up and there's a piece of legislation expropriating everything from the mill, so how surprising is that?"

Organizations: AbitibiBowater, Globe and Mail, Local 63 Energy and Paperworkers Union

Geographic location: Abitibi, Newfoundland and Labrador, Windsor Prince Edward Island Star Lake

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  • Reg
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Jack...Abitibi has not and was not planning on investing any more money into the mill to modernize it themselves and they did not approach the government to look for any funding either as far as I know. Modernizing the mill would have brought down the operating costs and therefore increased the possibility of the mill making a profit. Abitibi chose not to do that. For them to think that they could close the doors and sell the lease on the timber rights and the hydro without consideration is pure arrogance on their part

  • Timboy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Only the mainlanders can't see the brilliant move by Danny. Especially those mainland political experts always questioning anything Danny says because they are so uptight up-along - freaked out if someone gives dare I say an opinion woooo hooo imagine that mainlanders!

  • Jo-Anne
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    It is time for the toxic paper mills to go. Danny you did the right thing. Bowater Mill watched the Bay of Islands waters become a dead zone from the toxic chemicals in the water from the mill. A small child asked Martha Stewart what the best trip of her life was,you know since she has all that money.Well Martha looked to the ground and then to the sky and low and behold she said sea kayaking in Newfoundland. my story is times have changed instead of paper lets have craftsmen,furniture makers,ecco tourism,.....best is yet to come......................We love thee Newfoundland

  • Frank
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    He's fighting for what is ours

    He won't take crap from Abitibi.

    Absolutely, he had to stop any resources being taken away.

    But, most importantly, he has not got a plan to deal with the closure and the layoffs.

    Will they be as proud when the banks foreclose their mortgages?

    He has only done half of the job which is required.

    Playing on foolish pride is exactly what is expected of his government.

    Help these workers by creating an economic environment so new business can go there and put those people to work.

    Foolish pride will not pay the mortgage.

    The locals have missed the bigger picture here.

  • jack
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    Bravo politicians! Two mills down & one to go! At Stephenville, we proudly stood with the union to ensure the labor contract would survive & it did. Of course the mill is gone, but why quibble. In GF we had a replay. The politicians stood four square with the union & again they won. And again, the mill looks like it is gone. Both mills had specific problems, but the GF situation arose at a time when the forest industry is in far more trouble than it was in the depths of the 1929 depression. In the entire period since WWII, there have never been mill shuts on the present scale. It is sad to see a mill go that could have been saved by a little more realism on the part of the union and the Govt. But then we are a wealthy province & no doubt GF will prosper as never before as Govt converts it to an economy based on Govt jobs as it has done in Stephenville.

  • Reg
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    I have to applaud Danny Williams on what he has done here. It is about time that NL have someone stand up for her and refuse to be raped and pillaged. Judging by the comments on that Globe and Mail the rest of the country is a bit envious that our premier would stand up while some others lay down. It isn't like Abitibi didn't ever make money, but they did refuse to put money in. This decision led in part to the lack of profitability at the mill. To decide not to continue with the mill operations or to modernize it they forfeited their rights to the rest. The possibility of a canadian based company making a complaint against a Canadian province under an international free trade agreement seems just like a bad joke.

  • So Now
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    You have to wonder if the same people will be praising this decision in the new year once the true consequences of this action truly brings to us. Has anyone thought of the costs of this dictatorship or its actions on the people and business community now and in the future? Do we think that NAFTA agreements will not but put to the test? Not only will this cost us millions in legal fees, but also in damages caused by the Napoleonic Dictatorship which is Danny Williams.

    This man needs to be committed for a proper psychiatric evaluation. If even one of the elected members had the courage to stand up to this mad man, now would be the time to apply for a warrant of committal before he does more damage to the people and image of this province.

    Do your research and see just what happens to provinces and companies that messed with NAFTA in the past. This province is in no shape to fight it out on the global front as Danny Williams would like to think. He is a bit player in a far greater global mess. He is so filled with delusional thoughts that it seems to boarder on psychosis. If the average person walking down the street was to be seen or heard acting in this manner you would bet your last dollar that they would be placed in a padded room to prevent them from harming themselves or others.

    But here we sit by permitting Danny Williams to harm others each and every day.

    Sure he went and stole property that was not his. Anyone else that would even think of that would be faced with legal action. What makes him better? He may have had the right to APPLY to take back the resources, but without the proper hearings, he is nothing more then a common thief when it came to assets which were not nor are not his till payment is made.

    Good go Danny you just gave everyone the right to take what they want from whoever they want from here on out. Guess your house is now mine since I think you have failed to keep up your end of the deal to serve the people in a legal fashion. Get the moving van, no better still just leave the key in the mail box I want the furnishings as well as is MY right as you have stated. Remember, you have led by your own self serving example here, and shall not have anyone to blame for the problems that may be right around the corner.

    When are you going to provide employment for the people of the province? You seem to think this is your private playground, but remember what happens when people start to go hungry as they are starting to now. Soon they will be at your door step demanding a little more then a job or a raise.

  • Stan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    The Union guy MacDonald said:

    It's an unreal feeling. I thought that Santa Claus was going to come.

    How many jobs did Danny bring? Any solutions for the latest in a long line of plant closures? Any plan, Danny? Give any money to the unemployed?.

    Goose Egg Danny. Thanks man.

    Somebody stood up. That Union guy should be strung up for being so stunned.

  • Newfoundlander
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    1. to Timboy Ewing- I certainly hope you are not suggesting because someone lives for a time somewhere other than the ROCK that they lose their right or ability to express and opinion. ON the contrary, in my humble opinion a bit of time elsewhere can give some perspective on the things that are right and wrong with NL. If you have nothing better with which to attack an opinion than its source, then the debate has fallen low indeed. Perhaps you can explain why this move is so brilliant-- how it saves jobs or promotes the forestry industry in the province?

    2. To Will-- I agree that companies are primarily motivated by profit and will generally take the steps that best maximize profit. Thats why I have no problem with a government setting out strict rules to govern industries for the protection of people and resources.

    3. Honest queston here to people from the area. Was Abitibi a decent corporate citizen over the last 100 years or not? If they acted like shysters looking for every loophole or fast buck or whatnot I could understand more the urge to do the quickie expropriation thing. But if they made reasonable efforts to play fair with people and work mwith government and unions then this expropriation without notice is just a big smack in the face.

    4. a second question to those that in the unreserved WAY TO GO crowd. When dealing with big multinational type corporations is it ok/ acceptable to you for the government to do to them ANYTHING it can get away with legally. I am just wondering if there is such a negative sentiment toward big corporations that pretty much anything goes. Is there thought to be any valuse in tryinmg to provide a positive climate for investment??

  • Richard
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Why on earth would anyone in thier right mind invest any money in Newfoundland if everytime you turn around Danny Millions is stealing it from you. Danny, you have to learn something about property rights before you start calling yourself a leader.

  • Donny
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Praise Danny, praise Danny. I have some frankincense & myrrh. Where's the manger?

  • Newfoundlander
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    To Kerry

    Even if you wholeheartedly agree with the Premier's actions in expropriating, it doesn't preclude someone from bemoaning the loss of this industry and related jobs and wondering what government could have done to prevent it

  • Don't believe the Hype
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    I have to question how anyone could fault Premier Williams for what he has done, unless you are part owner of AbitibiBowater.

    For months now, people have been writing comments on how the only part of the business making money right now was the Hydro and how the company was looking to shed the mill and paper business and supply Hydro Electric Power. This would require a much smaller work force and mirrors some of what the compnay has done with its other operations. They hoped to shed the out dated, never renovated mill and keep making money off the resources when the province would not have the benefits of the jobs. Your premier stepped up and said that if they don't run the mill and provide the jobs, they get nothing, and took the resources back for the province.

    The simple fact is, AbitibiBowater, never put any money into the plant to make it more efficient. When they started losing money, their cure was to either make the Unionized employees take cuts, or they would close down. The Unions made the decision that if the company was not going to invest money in the mills, they were not going to take cuts. Some employees might come to regret that, but that was the stance taken. The company states fine, they are shutting down and all the jobs are gone. Now I ask you, what kind of leader would just stand there and let them keep the resources of the province, after throwing so many of its people out of work.

    Unfortunately, the truth is most of the other Premiers would have just smiled and nodded leaving the assests in the hands of the company while it people went unemployed. At least NL can now look to make money of the assets which may be used to help develop a new economy in the area and provide work for the people.

  • jason
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    To Eli from CBS...

    Fortis does enter into this, as does NALCOR (whatever that is).

    We need to make sure the assets ABH was trying to get away with (star lake, red indian, bishops falls, buchans etc) are put back to pre-1905 status FIRST, and then WE decide what happens to these pieces.

    The million hectares under 99yr non-renewable timber licences were set to run out in 2010 anyway. What we have to figure out is where the rest of the 'stuff' is gonna land.

    NALCOR is apparently set up like some norwegian nationalized companies, which are traded on the stock market just like ABH. FORTIS is obviously a private company also.

    So, what we need to be looking at is...if these companies get the resources, what's the difference in the long run, and who is at the helm of these companies? Get it?

  • Newfoundlander
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    AMAZING!!

    An industry in the toilet with a lot of good jobs lost and people are busy congratulating the premier for giving the finger at a big multinational. The very workers that will be unemployed are applauding the premier??

    I don't know what the premier could have done to prevebnt these job losses given the systemic changes in the paper industry BUT to turn it around and get almost unanimous great support??????

    Wow!! I always knew that a politician in Newfoundland could do real well by being seen to fight either the federal government or a big company. I just hadn't realized how strong that influence was. Here we are seeing the demise of a major longstanding industry and the government is getting applauded because they took back the underlying rights inn a big grandstanding move?

    WOW and double WOW. Whether you love what the Premier did or not, you have to admire his political abilities to walk away unscathed. Usually when jobs are lost, the politicians find themselves subject to a torrent of criticism (whether or not it is deserved). But Premier Williams has everyone saying how fabulous he is. WOW

  • Reg
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Randy...no one is applauding the loss of the thousand jobs...NO ONE. What they are applauding is the fact that any resource based industry with deals with the government regardless of how old they are must abide by them or you should not expect to maintain the rights to any of the natural resources you had the rights to under any agreement. They belong to the people of the province. I am sorry that you see that as a joke.

  • St Boy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Hay Will .. If you owned a company would you not want to make a profit. This company contributed millions to the economy of this provinceee for close to 100 years. Now that the business worldwide has turned sour, the unions have picked it clean and yes management made poor decisions it needs help. This company isn't perfect but historically it has treated its employees well. Leadership appears to have been missing at all levels here. I just think that good businesslike thinking is what was needed from everyone. These forest jobs could have been saved if as much effort went into the front end of the process instead of the back end. For the area MHA to say this is a great Christmas gift is sad. She had the oipportunity to demand that govt play a role in bridging the gap with the union/company instead she sat on the sidelines with Dunderdale and Danny. The end result will be that Abitibi will walk away with their millions through a court decision, govt will get the power plants and the smiling union folks will be out of work depending on your tax dollars to save them.

    So why is making a profit such a bad thing ? There's more to this story than you and I will ever know.

  • Eli
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Where does Fortis come into this picture. Are they not part owners of Abitibi's hydro?
    As for the unions lack of concessions, the same situation exists with the Big-3 Auto Companies. No concessions by the unions so there's No Deal. You have to wonder when this depression will hit home.

  • Reg
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    So Now What Danny Boy?...I don't understand your logic here. There was never any move here by the company to truly preserve those jobs or modernize the mill. Why do you believe the government should always hand out money? I would love to have seen those jobs preserved, but from what I have read and heard the proposals from the company were almost identical and resulted in concessions from the union and no further input into the company that could have helped to make the mill profitable. It is my humble opinion that the company had no intent of really finding a deal that the union members could have accepted. They felt that the company could shut the mill, sell the timber rights to god knows who and make money from their hydro while doing nothing for the province. When you deal with public resources you have to be somewhat accountable to the public. By having it the resources to the crown I hope we have sent a message. The message is this...NL is not for sale to the highest bidder anymore!!!

  • Carlson
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    All of the people complaining about losing the mill...did you ever stop to think that you should buy the PAPER copy of The Telegram instead of reading it online? When ICT closed in Carbonear 200-300 people lost their jobs. Sure they weren't 20 or 30 dollar an hour jobs, but those people became unemployed. Why didn't people suggest that government buy the call centre and keep it open. Get real people. The paper mill is a business and its owners don't see it as a viable option anymore. Businesses close all the time.

  • Kerry
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    To Newfoundlander In Calgary from Alberta;

    If you have followed any of the AbitibiBowater story over the last 4 years you would know that the Govt. of NL has tried on numerous occasions to save the jobs in this industry and with this company, however every offer was rejected by AbitibiBowater.

  • t
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    Maybe Williams wanted to get the assets out of their hands quickly in case they decided to sell it to someone else while they were discussing solutions with our government. Good move, Danny.

  • Joan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    I was always proud of my province and it's people, Today we shine. thank you Danny Williams ,You, are a great leader and with you at the helm we are not going to be walked on anymore. YOU GO DANNY.

  • St. Boy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    To Don't believe ... A few years ago I read in the local paper that the union, despite being paid 3 times their hourly rate, refused to make paper for a customer at Christmas. Instead another paper company made the paper and now that Abitibi customer is long gone. The company has no history in working with the union. This is where the Premier could have helped. The company did not ask this union for wage rollbacks, but needed help I understand in reorganizing the workforce. Yes there were layoffs but a half a loaf is better than none. This Premier has played politics with these workers . He has not taken a leadership position in trying to prevent the problem and is now riding on his white horse as the scaviour of our resourses. These resourses were going back to the province anyway.Abitibi appears surprised because they thought they could do business with an honourable govt. Instead they will now have to exit the hard way at our tax dollars expense thanks to the Premier's sloppy efforts at negotiation. The only winners here are the smiling MHA's who appeared to fool most of the voters here and who did nothing to save it in the first place and the paper mill in the Premier's district ( Corner Brook )who will now get the cheap wood. Makes me wonder. This company will be awarded a fair settlement for their assets... but unfortunately a court will have to decide. Danny thrives on this confrontational approach. History will judge his performance. Right now I'm not impressed..
    That's it for me. Merry Christmas everyone.

  • Kerry
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    I don't understand the negitive comments on this website attacking our Premier for not saving the jobs at the mill(s), over the last 4 yerar Abitibi has been threatening to close its doors and to eliminate all jobs within NL. Its already been done with one mill and was slated to be completed regardless by March 2009. Where is it wrong for our Premier to take back what resources belong to our Provience from a company who no longer plans to employ anyone from this provience. Abitibi planned only to take what it could and give nothing back in return. I applaude the Govt. of NL for standing up and taking back what rightfully belongs to this Provience before this multinational company could sell what they could to the highest bidder.

  • Graham
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    jack from nfld, the mills would still be here if the world demanded newspaper. It doesn't. Get the facts straight.

  • greg
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    All hail the great move. Now we must move on the Newspapers and censor those anti-NL red journalists.Then we can outlaw the unions starting with the anti-NL nurses, then move on to Nape and that American Union crowd kicking up in Labrador west. We must also move to make the Premier a King. The term Premier does not begin to describe the greatness and magnitude of our leader.Everbody call open-line and register your support, I know I will.

  • Randy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    What a joke this has become..I've never seen so many peaple stand around and pat each other on the back ,after loseing and industry employing over 1000 poor laid-off souls.Then you have the MHA,susan sulivan saying What an early christmas gift this has been . and then ya got Kathy Dudderdale sayin, we'll wait and see what the federal gov.will do to bail everyone out Unreal

  • St. Boy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    There is alot of foolish politics being played here. Abitibi wants out of Nf. there is NO money to be made in a paper business that does not have the support of the union or govt. Abitibi knew they would lose the water rights and timber. Its in the 1909 act. What they didn't know is that this govt has no idea how to negotiate ( ask the nurses). The Premier's ego and inability to act in a businesslike manner may cost us dearly. The smiling souls in GFW should be asking why this govt didn't take the mill as well thus keeping the 700-1000 plus jobs. Sounds and looks like a power grab for the hydro assets. Danny won't decide how much to pay Abitibi for their assets a court will. The MHA's are smiling because they don't know the difference. There has been NO leadership from all parties involved. Oh yes it all happened on the Premier's watch. Shame on you all

  • Will
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    St. Boy from GFW, Nf. writes: ...Sounds and looks like a power grab for the hydro assets... ...this govt didn't take the mill...


    If the gov't didn't take the mill, how could it be a power grab ? You contradict yourself. I submit to you the gov't weighed what is and isn't fair and knew it wouldn't be right to take the mill EVEN if they retool it for another operation employing people.

    Therefore, this wasn't a power grab, except for the fact hydro is involved. Maybe this is what you meant. It seems thought was the order of the day.

    Good move Danny, take it back before something insidious was done with it by uncaring companies who only want profit and care nothing for the province or it's people (it's not their fault though, it's their nature - and they'd do it in a heartbeat).

  • Mike
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    Thank God Danny has the smarts and the guts to do what most elected politicians fail to do. That is; represent the people to the best of their ability.

    No more freebies!

    Go Danny go.

  • Lloyd
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Timboy Ewing from NL writes: Only the mainlanders can't see the brilliant move by Danny. Especially those mainland political experts always questioning anything Danny says because they are so uptight up-along - freaked out if someone gives dare I say an opinion woooo hooo imagine that mainlanders!

    Timboy Ewing, I just have to say, one more time - who knows, maybe this is the time when it actually sinks in: Labrador, nearly three times the size of Newfoundland, IS the MAINLAND. Labradorians, who live in LABRADOR are therefore MAINLANDERS. Please. Don't take my word for it, get a map, a book, even ask someone if necessary, but LABRADORIANS are MAINLANDERS.

    I genuinely hope something good comes to the people of Central Newfoundland from all this....

  • Joe
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Great job Danny! Newfoundlanders are able to hold their heads high. No more being pushed around my the multinational companies and their tinhorn CEO's. Equals partners in any and all deals. First the showdown with the oil companies and now Abitibi-Bowater. A proud day for us all. Keep up the great work!

  • Lloyd
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Sorry, I have to make a return visit, I got caught up in responding to Timboy and Mainland definitions and recognition.

    I just saw on TV, municipal and other leader(s) talking about Abitibi and related parties should come back to the table and talk about jobs, solutions etc.
    I find that incredible, astounding... well, words just escape me. People, the train has left the station and the Premier has slammed the door on that one, I'd say.
    OK, fine, the province wants the return of timber and water rights (my personal belief is that Hydro power was the target here). Weren't they going to get the timber when Abitibi left?
    My sincere sympathies are with all those who will lose jobs, livelihoods and so on.
    I understand the doubtful pleasure of a need to lash back and to punish.
    I have a big question as to HOW, exactly, all this is going to benefit the economy of Central Newfoundland. Am I missing something here? No, I don't need to hear how it's the right and the proper thing to do, to take on multi-nationals in resource industries, that's an easy one. I want to know how is this going to put the bread and butter on the tables? Anyone?

  • guay
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    bravo mister prime minister, it is time those big multinational who don't care of people resident the province of newfounfland and anywhere else in the country loose the benefit of our ressources, i hope getting ride of abitibi bowater, it is only the beginning of reappopriate of all our ressources .

  • James
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    why didn't danny steal the mill?
    Because his government would have to maintain maintenace and real taxes?
    what has danny done to put the workers back to work?


    zero, zilch,nada, government jobs for everyone

    oil for 25 dollars a barrel and ottawa says NFLD WHO? The world of Business says NFLD WHO?

    have a nice DAZE folks

  • Reg
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    Jack...Abitibi has not and was not planning on investing any more money into the mill to modernize it themselves and they did not approach the government to look for any funding either as far as I know. Modernizing the mill would have brought down the operating costs and therefore increased the possibility of the mill making a profit. Abitibi chose not to do that. For them to think that they could close the doors and sell the lease on the timber rights and the hydro without consideration is pure arrogance on their part

  • Timboy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    Only the mainlanders can't see the brilliant move by Danny. Especially those mainland political experts always questioning anything Danny says because they are so uptight up-along - freaked out if someone gives dare I say an opinion woooo hooo imagine that mainlanders!

  • Jo-Anne
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    It is time for the toxic paper mills to go. Danny you did the right thing. Bowater Mill watched the Bay of Islands waters become a dead zone from the toxic chemicals in the water from the mill. A small child asked Martha Stewart what the best trip of her life was,you know since she has all that money.Well Martha looked to the ground and then to the sky and low and behold she said sea kayaking in Newfoundland. my story is times have changed instead of paper lets have craftsmen,furniture makers,ecco tourism,.....best is yet to come......................We love thee Newfoundland

  • Frank
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    He's fighting for what is ours

    He won't take crap from Abitibi.

    Absolutely, he had to stop any resources being taken away.

    But, most importantly, he has not got a plan to deal with the closure and the layoffs.

    Will they be as proud when the banks foreclose their mortgages?

    He has only done half of the job which is required.

    Playing on foolish pride is exactly what is expected of his government.

    Help these workers by creating an economic environment so new business can go there and put those people to work.

    Foolish pride will not pay the mortgage.

    The locals have missed the bigger picture here.

  • jack
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    Bravo politicians! Two mills down & one to go! At Stephenville, we proudly stood with the union to ensure the labor contract would survive & it did. Of course the mill is gone, but why quibble. In GF we had a replay. The politicians stood four square with the union & again they won. And again, the mill looks like it is gone. Both mills had specific problems, but the GF situation arose at a time when the forest industry is in far more trouble than it was in the depths of the 1929 depression. In the entire period since WWII, there have never been mill shuts on the present scale. It is sad to see a mill go that could have been saved by a little more realism on the part of the union and the Govt. But then we are a wealthy province & no doubt GF will prosper as never before as Govt converts it to an economy based on Govt jobs as it has done in Stephenville.

  • Reg
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    I have to applaud Danny Williams on what he has done here. It is about time that NL have someone stand up for her and refuse to be raped and pillaged. Judging by the comments on that Globe and Mail the rest of the country is a bit envious that our premier would stand up while some others lay down. It isn't like Abitibi didn't ever make money, but they did refuse to put money in. This decision led in part to the lack of profitability at the mill. To decide not to continue with the mill operations or to modernize it they forfeited their rights to the rest. The possibility of a canadian based company making a complaint against a Canadian province under an international free trade agreement seems just like a bad joke.

  • So Now
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    You have to wonder if the same people will be praising this decision in the new year once the true consequences of this action truly brings to us. Has anyone thought of the costs of this dictatorship or its actions on the people and business community now and in the future? Do we think that NAFTA agreements will not but put to the test? Not only will this cost us millions in legal fees, but also in damages caused by the Napoleonic Dictatorship which is Danny Williams.

    This man needs to be committed for a proper psychiatric evaluation. If even one of the elected members had the courage to stand up to this mad man, now would be the time to apply for a warrant of committal before he does more damage to the people and image of this province.

    Do your research and see just what happens to provinces and companies that messed with NAFTA in the past. This province is in no shape to fight it out on the global front as Danny Williams would like to think. He is a bit player in a far greater global mess. He is so filled with delusional thoughts that it seems to boarder on psychosis. If the average person walking down the street was to be seen or heard acting in this manner you would bet your last dollar that they would be placed in a padded room to prevent them from harming themselves or others.

    But here we sit by permitting Danny Williams to harm others each and every day.

    Sure he went and stole property that was not his. Anyone else that would even think of that would be faced with legal action. What makes him better? He may have had the right to APPLY to take back the resources, but without the proper hearings, he is nothing more then a common thief when it came to assets which were not nor are not his till payment is made.

    Good go Danny you just gave everyone the right to take what they want from whoever they want from here on out. Guess your house is now mine since I think you have failed to keep up your end of the deal to serve the people in a legal fashion. Get the moving van, no better still just leave the key in the mail box I want the furnishings as well as is MY right as you have stated. Remember, you have led by your own self serving example here, and shall not have anyone to blame for the problems that may be right around the corner.

    When are you going to provide employment for the people of the province? You seem to think this is your private playground, but remember what happens when people start to go hungry as they are starting to now. Soon they will be at your door step demanding a little more then a job or a raise.

  • Stan
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    The Union guy MacDonald said:

    It's an unreal feeling. I thought that Santa Claus was going to come.

    How many jobs did Danny bring? Any solutions for the latest in a long line of plant closures? Any plan, Danny? Give any money to the unemployed?.

    Goose Egg Danny. Thanks man.

    Somebody stood up. That Union guy should be strung up for being so stunned.

  • Newfoundlander
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    1. to Timboy Ewing- I certainly hope you are not suggesting because someone lives for a time somewhere other than the ROCK that they lose their right or ability to express and opinion. ON the contrary, in my humble opinion a bit of time elsewhere can give some perspective on the things that are right and wrong with NL. If you have nothing better with which to attack an opinion than its source, then the debate has fallen low indeed. Perhaps you can explain why this move is so brilliant-- how it saves jobs or promotes the forestry industry in the province?

    2. To Will-- I agree that companies are primarily motivated by profit and will generally take the steps that best maximize profit. Thats why I have no problem with a government setting out strict rules to govern industries for the protection of people and resources.

    3. Honest queston here to people from the area. Was Abitibi a decent corporate citizen over the last 100 years or not? If they acted like shysters looking for every loophole or fast buck or whatnot I could understand more the urge to do the quickie expropriation thing. But if they made reasonable efforts to play fair with people and work mwith government and unions then this expropriation without notice is just a big smack in the face.

    4. a second question to those that in the unreserved WAY TO GO crowd. When dealing with big multinational type corporations is it ok/ acceptable to you for the government to do to them ANYTHING it can get away with legally. I am just wondering if there is such a negative sentiment toward big corporations that pretty much anything goes. Is there thought to be any valuse in tryinmg to provide a positive climate for investment??

  • Donny
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    Praise Danny, praise Danny. I have some frankincense & myrrh. Where's the manger?

  • Richard
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    Why on earth would anyone in thier right mind invest any money in Newfoundland if everytime you turn around Danny Millions is stealing it from you. Danny, you have to learn something about property rights before you start calling yourself a leader.

  • Newfoundlander
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    To Kerry

    Even if you wholeheartedly agree with the Premier's actions in expropriating, it doesn't preclude someone from bemoaning the loss of this industry and related jobs and wondering what government could have done to prevent it

  • Don't believe the Hype
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    I have to question how anyone could fault Premier Williams for what he has done, unless you are part owner of AbitibiBowater.

    For months now, people have been writing comments on how the only part of the business making money right now was the Hydro and how the company was looking to shed the mill and paper business and supply Hydro Electric Power. This would require a much smaller work force and mirrors some of what the compnay has done with its other operations. They hoped to shed the out dated, never renovated mill and keep making money off the resources when the province would not have the benefits of the jobs. Your premier stepped up and said that if they don't run the mill and provide the jobs, they get nothing, and took the resources back for the province.

    The simple fact is, AbitibiBowater, never put any money into the plant to make it more efficient. When they started losing money, their cure was to either make the Unionized employees take cuts, or they would close down. The Unions made the decision that if the company was not going to invest money in the mills, they were not going to take cuts. Some employees might come to regret that, but that was the stance taken. The company states fine, they are shutting down and all the jobs are gone. Now I ask you, what kind of leader would just stand there and let them keep the resources of the province, after throwing so many of its people out of work.

    Unfortunately, the truth is most of the other Premiers would have just smiled and nodded leaving the assests in the hands of the company while it people went unemployed. At least NL can now look to make money of the assets which may be used to help develop a new economy in the area and provide work for the people.

  • jason
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    To Eli from CBS...

    Fortis does enter into this, as does NALCOR (whatever that is).

    We need to make sure the assets ABH was trying to get away with (star lake, red indian, bishops falls, buchans etc) are put back to pre-1905 status FIRST, and then WE decide what happens to these pieces.

    The million hectares under 99yr non-renewable timber licences were set to run out in 2010 anyway. What we have to figure out is where the rest of the 'stuff' is gonna land.

    NALCOR is apparently set up like some norwegian nationalized companies, which are traded on the stock market just like ABH. FORTIS is obviously a private company also.

    So, what we need to be looking at is...if these companies get the resources, what's the difference in the long run, and who is at the helm of these companies? Get it?

  • Newfoundlander
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    AMAZING!!

    An industry in the toilet with a lot of good jobs lost and people are busy congratulating the premier for giving the finger at a big multinational. The very workers that will be unemployed are applauding the premier??

    I don't know what the premier could have done to prevebnt these job losses given the systemic changes in the paper industry BUT to turn it around and get almost unanimous great support??????

    Wow!! I always knew that a politician in Newfoundland could do real well by being seen to fight either the federal government or a big company. I just hadn't realized how strong that influence was. Here we are seeing the demise of a major longstanding industry and the government is getting applauded because they took back the underlying rights inn a big grandstanding move?

    WOW and double WOW. Whether you love what the Premier did or not, you have to admire his political abilities to walk away unscathed. Usually when jobs are lost, the politicians find themselves subject to a torrent of criticism (whether or not it is deserved). But Premier Williams has everyone saying how fabulous he is. WOW

  • Reg
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    Randy...no one is applauding the loss of the thousand jobs...NO ONE. What they are applauding is the fact that any resource based industry with deals with the government regardless of how old they are must abide by them or you should not expect to maintain the rights to any of the natural resources you had the rights to under any agreement. They belong to the people of the province. I am sorry that you see that as a joke.

  • St Boy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    Hay Will .. If you owned a company would you not want to make a profit. This company contributed millions to the economy of this provinceee for close to 100 years. Now that the business worldwide has turned sour, the unions have picked it clean and yes management made poor decisions it needs help. This company isn't perfect but historically it has treated its employees well. Leadership appears to have been missing at all levels here. I just think that good businesslike thinking is what was needed from everyone. These forest jobs could have been saved if as much effort went into the front end of the process instead of the back end. For the area MHA to say this is a great Christmas gift is sad. She had the oipportunity to demand that govt play a role in bridging the gap with the union/company instead she sat on the sidelines with Dunderdale and Danny. The end result will be that Abitibi will walk away with their millions through a court decision, govt will get the power plants and the smiling union folks will be out of work depending on your tax dollars to save them.

    So why is making a profit such a bad thing ? There's more to this story than you and I will ever know.

  • Eli
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    Where does Fortis come into this picture. Are they not part owners of Abitibi's hydro?
    As for the unions lack of concessions, the same situation exists with the Big-3 Auto Companies. No concessions by the unions so there's No Deal. You have to wonder when this depression will hit home.

  • Reg
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    So Now What Danny Boy?...I don't understand your logic here. There was never any move here by the company to truly preserve those jobs or modernize the mill. Why do you believe the government should always hand out money? I would love to have seen those jobs preserved, but from what I have read and heard the proposals from the company were almost identical and resulted in concessions from the union and no further input into the company that could have helped to make the mill profitable. It is my humble opinion that the company had no intent of really finding a deal that the union members could have accepted. They felt that the company could shut the mill, sell the timber rights to god knows who and make money from their hydro while doing nothing for the province. When you deal with public resources you have to be somewhat accountable to the public. By having it the resources to the crown I hope we have sent a message. The message is this...NL is not for sale to the highest bidder anymore!!!

  • Carlson
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    All of the people complaining about losing the mill...did you ever stop to think that you should buy the PAPER copy of The Telegram instead of reading it online? When ICT closed in Carbonear 200-300 people lost their jobs. Sure they weren't 20 or 30 dollar an hour jobs, but those people became unemployed. Why didn't people suggest that government buy the call centre and keep it open. Get real people. The paper mill is a business and its owners don't see it as a viable option anymore. Businesses close all the time.

  • Kerry
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    To Newfoundlander In Calgary from Alberta;

    If you have followed any of the AbitibiBowater story over the last 4 years you would know that the Govt. of NL has tried on numerous occasions to save the jobs in this industry and with this company, however every offer was rejected by AbitibiBowater.

  • t
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    Maybe Williams wanted to get the assets out of their hands quickly in case they decided to sell it to someone else while they were discussing solutions with our government. Good move, Danny.

  • Joan
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    I was always proud of my province and it's people, Today we shine. thank you Danny Williams ,You, are a great leader and with you at the helm we are not going to be walked on anymore. YOU GO DANNY.

  • St. Boy
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    To Don't believe ... A few years ago I read in the local paper that the union, despite being paid 3 times their hourly rate, refused to make paper for a customer at Christmas. Instead another paper company made the paper and now that Abitibi customer is long gone. The company has no history in working with the union. This is where the Premier could have helped. The company did not ask this union for wage rollbacks, but needed help I understand in reorganizing the workforce. Yes there were layoffs but a half a loaf is better than none. This Premier has played politics with these workers . He has not taken a leadership position in trying to prevent the problem and is now riding on his white horse as the scaviour of our resourses. These resourses were going back to the province anyway.Abitibi appears surprised because they thought they could do business with an honourable govt. Instead they will now have to exit the hard way at our tax dollars expense thanks to the Premier's sloppy efforts at negotiation. The only winners here are the smiling MHA's who appeared to fool most of the voters here and who did nothing to save it in the first place and the paper mill in the Premier's district ( Corner Brook )who will now get the cheap wood. Makes me wonder. This company will be awarded a fair settlement for their assets... but unfortunately a court will have to decide. Danny thrives on this confrontational approach. History will judge his performance. Right now I'm not impressed..
    That's it for me. Merry Christmas everyone.

  • Kerry
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    I don't understand the negitive comments on this website attacking our Premier for not saving the jobs at the mill(s), over the last 4 yerar Abitibi has been threatening to close its doors and to eliminate all jobs within NL. Its already been done with one mill and was slated to be completed regardless by March 2009. Where is it wrong for our Premier to take back what resources belong to our Provience from a company who no longer plans to employ anyone from this provience. Abitibi planned only to take what it could and give nothing back in return. I applaude the Govt. of NL for standing up and taking back what rightfully belongs to this Provience before this multinational company could sell what they could to the highest bidder.

  • Graham
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    jack from nfld, the mills would still be here if the world demanded newspaper. It doesn't. Get the facts straight.

  • greg
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    All hail the great move. Now we must move on the Newspapers and censor those anti-NL red journalists.Then we can outlaw the unions starting with the anti-NL nurses, then move on to Nape and that American Union crowd kicking up in Labrador west. We must also move to make the Premier a King. The term Premier does not begin to describe the greatness and magnitude of our leader.Everbody call open-line and register your support, I know I will.

  • Randy
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    What a joke this has become..I've never seen so many peaple stand around and pat each other on the back ,after loseing and industry employing over 1000 poor laid-off souls.Then you have the MHA,susan sulivan saying What an early christmas gift this has been . and then ya got Kathy Dudderdale sayin, we'll wait and see what the federal gov.will do to bail everyone out Unreal

  • St. Boy
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    There is alot of foolish politics being played here. Abitibi wants out of Nf. there is NO money to be made in a paper business that does not have the support of the union or govt. Abitibi knew they would lose the water rights and timber. Its in the 1909 act. What they didn't know is that this govt has no idea how to negotiate ( ask the nurses). The Premier's ego and inability to act in a businesslike manner may cost us dearly. The smiling souls in GFW should be asking why this govt didn't take the mill as well thus keeping the 700-1000 plus jobs. Sounds and looks like a power grab for the hydro assets. Danny won't decide how much to pay Abitibi for their assets a court will. The MHA's are smiling because they don't know the difference. There has been NO leadership from all parties involved. Oh yes it all happened on the Premier's watch. Shame on you all

  • Will
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    St. Boy from GFW, Nf. writes: ...Sounds and looks like a power grab for the hydro assets... ...this govt didn't take the mill...


    If the gov't didn't take the mill, how could it be a power grab ? You contradict yourself. I submit to you the gov't weighed what is and isn't fair and knew it wouldn't be right to take the mill EVEN if they retool it for another operation employing people.

    Therefore, this wasn't a power grab, except for the fact hydro is involved. Maybe this is what you meant. It seems thought was the order of the day.

    Good move Danny, take it back before something insidious was done with it by uncaring companies who only want profit and care nothing for the province or it's people (it's not their fault though, it's their nature - and they'd do it in a heartbeat).

  • Mike
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    Thank God Danny has the smarts and the guts to do what most elected politicians fail to do. That is; represent the people to the best of their ability.

    No more freebies!

    Go Danny go.

  • Lloyd
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    Timboy Ewing from NL writes: Only the mainlanders can't see the brilliant move by Danny. Especially those mainland political experts always questioning anything Danny says because they are so uptight up-along - freaked out if someone gives dare I say an opinion woooo hooo imagine that mainlanders!

    Timboy Ewing, I just have to say, one more time - who knows, maybe this is the time when it actually sinks in: Labrador, nearly three times the size of Newfoundland, IS the MAINLAND. Labradorians, who live in LABRADOR are therefore MAINLANDERS. Please. Don't take my word for it, get a map, a book, even ask someone if necessary, but LABRADORIANS are MAINLANDERS.

    I genuinely hope something good comes to the people of Central Newfoundland from all this....

  • Joe
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    Great job Danny! Newfoundlanders are able to hold their heads high. No more being pushed around my the multinational companies and their tinhorn CEO's. Equals partners in any and all deals. First the showdown with the oil companies and now Abitibi-Bowater. A proud day for us all. Keep up the great work!

  • Lloyd
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    Sorry, I have to make a return visit, I got caught up in responding to Timboy and Mainland definitions and recognition.

    I just saw on TV, municipal and other leader(s) talking about Abitibi and related parties should come back to the table and talk about jobs, solutions etc.
    I find that incredible, astounding... well, words just escape me. People, the train has left the station and the Premier has slammed the door on that one, I'd say.
    OK, fine, the province wants the return of timber and water rights (my personal belief is that Hydro power was the target here). Weren't they going to get the timber when Abitibi left?
    My sincere sympathies are with all those who will lose jobs, livelihoods and so on.
    I understand the doubtful pleasure of a need to lash back and to punish.
    I have a big question as to HOW, exactly, all this is going to benefit the economy of Central Newfoundland. Am I missing something here? No, I don't need to hear how it's the right and the proper thing to do, to take on multi-nationals in resource industries, that's an easy one. I want to know how is this going to put the bread and butter on the tables? Anyone?

  • guay
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    bravo mister prime minister, it is time those big multinational who don't care of people resident the province of newfounfland and anywhere else in the country loose the benefit of our ressources, i hope getting ride of abitibi bowater, it is only the beginning of reappopriate of all our ressources .

  • James
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    why didn't danny steal the mill?
    Because his government would have to maintain maintenace and real taxes?
    what has danny done to put the workers back to work?


    zero, zilch,nada, government jobs for everyone

    oil for 25 dollars a barrel and ottawa says NFLD WHO? The world of Business says NFLD WHO?

    have a nice DAZE folks