Province's Abitibi appeal rejected

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Jones disappointed but not surprised by Quebec ruling

The Quebec Court of Appeal has rejected Newfoundland and Labrador's attempt to appeal an earlier decision to become a secured creditor of AbitibiBowater.

The province wanted to become a creditor to ensure the company pays for the environmental cleanup of sites it once owned in the province.

The Quebec Court of Appeal has rejected Newfoundland and Labrador's attempt to appeal an earlier decision to become a secured creditor of AbitibiBowater.

The province wanted to become a creditor to ensure the company pays for the environmental cleanup of sites it once owned in the province.

On Tuesday, Justice Jacques Chamberland dismissed the province's leave to appeal a ruling by Justice Clement Gascon released last month.

Chamberland stated in his decision that overturning the original ruling would give this province an "unfair advantage over the company's other creditors."

He also said appeal proceedings would "unduly hinder" AbitibiBowater's efforts to restructure and come out of creditor protection by September.

The province is studying the ruling and was not prepared to comment on Tuesday.

But Liberal Leader Yvonne Jones was voicing her concerns.

"We're very disappointed with the ruling simply because this can only result in a high bill for the taxpayers of the province," she told The Telegram. "But we're not necessarily surprised by the ruling."

Jones said the original ruling against the province suggested it didn't have a case, and now the people of the province could have to pay as much as $750 million to clean up the mess left behind by Abitibi.

"The government never got an opportunity here to present a case and get turned down," she said. "They've been told they don't have a case to present. They've been told that twice now."

Jones said the province is almost out of options but could ask for leave to be considered an unsecured creditor of the company.

"However, it's my understanding (the province) will have to go through that process with the same judge the premier ridiculed and raked over the coals in the House of Assembly (earlier this month)," she said.

But Jones said even if it does get on the creditors list, the province will be so far down, there won't be much money left.

She also said the province bungled the expropriation of Abitibi from day one.

"You've got to lay the blame where it belongs and that's squarely at the desk of the premier of this province," she said.

NDP Leader Lorraine Michael e-mailed The Telegram a statement after the news broke late Tuesday afternoon.

"This new ruling seems like another blow to the province. The government said it understood that there were going to be legal challenges if they expropriated Abitibi Bowater and we are now finding out how great those might be," she said.

dbartlett@thetelegram.com

Organizations: AbitibiBowater, The Telegram

Geographic location: Abitibi, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Jack
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Off to the Supreme Court of Canada.

  • Stop the Racket
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Eugene the words Williams Governmant and trust should probably not be used in the same sentence. By the wy dont expect any answers from government either. Remember its all the fault of BIG BAD QUEBEC. Thats what Danny keeps telling us and we all know Danny NEVER LIES. He is OPEN HONEST AND TRANSPARENT about everything. Does anyone still remember that election promise way back when we elected him first/ Better yet does anyobe know what happened to that promise of openess honesty and transparency? I sure as hell dont.

  • Eugene
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    I suspect that the expropriation of AbitibiBowater will become known as Danny's big mistake? The lawsuits and the cleanup will undoubtedly continue long past his term as premier. This is a very costly mistake with the potentially costs approaching $1 billion dollars. Why $1 billion:

    1.Some government members admit the cleanup could be several hundred million.
    2.AbitibiBowater has filed a law suit for a minimum $500 million plus legal costs. Hopefully the company will not get the full 500 million but there is unquestionably lost of assets and income which will cost the NL taxpayers a lot.
    3.The legal cost during the first year after expropriation exceeded $8 million. By the time this lawsuit is settled the total legal cost alone could exceed the benefits paid, by government to assist the displaced workers.
    4.Now we learn the NL government accidentally expropriated houses and other land in the town of Grand Falls. The cost of fixing this part of the mistake is not yet known.

    No one is providing answers to questions such as Can government develop these assets and create employment? or Will any company now trust Premier Williams NL government enough to invest in these assets?.

  • John Smith
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    When you look at the mess we are currently cleaning up in Buchans, and the mess that is left in Stephenville after five years, does any rational person out there really think that AB would have ever cleaned up the mess at it's GFW mill? I mean really? They were a functioning, profitable company, and they wouldn't step up to the plate, so now that they are bottom up, does anyone think that the first order of business would be for them to come to NL to spend hundreds of millions??? At least now we have the hydro, and the timber rights, which could pay for some of the clean up that we would be on the hook for anyway.It is AB that is the crook here not us, it is AB who came in and took whatever they could, drove the business into the ground and left a huge mess. I just heard a big AB mill in quebec shut it's doors this AM, let's see how long it takes for them to clean up the mess there, I wouldn't hold my breath if I was them.

  • don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Here's to you Bones. Apparently anyone who tells it like it is or speaks truth to power is considered to be dangerous to the status quo and must be branded as a hater or a traitor. Are you trying to intimidate or undermine me? Good luck with that! Only people who are afraid of the truth resort to labeling others as traitors. You can continue to be a Dictator Danny lemming if you want to and follow him off the economic and political cliff that he is leading us off of. I won't be following after you!

  • Graham
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    William Daniels ask Bones that question. I feel quite sure he will have an answer for you. Hes the resident expert on everything Danny Williams.

  • William Daniels
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    We are now a HAD Province thanks to Dannys mistakes. We are at peak oil production and we are running a deficit. All these lawyers in government, how can this happen?

  • Bones
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Graham: No need to ask, peak production is based on resources that have already been found, isn't it? That means Hebron will smooth out the curve a little and nobody, not even someone as well educated as yourself can predict what we WILL find. William needs to ask himself WHAT the deficit money was spent on and WHY we are running a deficit in the face of a global recession. FACT is, our future looks so bright, scaling back during the recession wasn't necessary. Therefor, la deficit! LOL It's not rocket science and you don't need to be an expert to understand. I can see being ignorant of these facts clouding the issue, however, much like Williams Daniels likes to do.


    Williams: Knowing the significant profit that hydro asset generates and knowing it would be gone forever, was taking our resources from Abitibi Bowater before they sold them to the highest bidder a bad idea to you? Simple yes or no will do.

  • Bones
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    Racket: Fact is, lots of profit going to come from that forever. You know how much NL has made from that so far? 10 years will see that resource pay off a 1 billion dollar judgment against us and there's lots of decades in forever, lol. Like another poster says, letting them off the hook for cleanup is akin to shooting someone in the face and getting away with it because you no longer own the gun, lol. They've got lots of land here that they've shot in the face. The gun is gone, but the damage remains. They are most certainly responsible, the pollution wouldn't be there without them. I'll agree that components of expropriation didn't go according to plan, but the components that DID go according to plan, will pay off in spades. Those components can and will shrug off the stones Quebec is lobbing at us. only 31 years left and we'll have some nice stones of our own to lob back! I just hope I live long enough to see it, lol. 31 years will put me quite close to the average life expectancy......for now, lol.

    don: It's good to see you FINALLY state in a sentence that you support and agree with Quebec. I believe your first line sums your position nicely, while at the same time, provides a little insight as to why your comments are written from the perspective they are. It explains the ignorance that's present and it also explains why hatred is your preferred modus operandi. You are hereby promoted from hater to traitor, lol. See you at the riots! LOL

  • I C Clearly
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    I can't decide which is worse - the fact that the Williams government screwed the expropriation up so badly or the added insult that their actions has put us, the taxpayers, on the hook for the cost of the clean up and legal fees fighting a lost cause. first the severance, then the clean up, next will be fully compensating Abitibi for their losses - plus legal fees to boot. Talk about a massive give-away.

  • don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    The Quebec Courts have it right. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador case has no merit. The Premier acted in haste and he can repent at his leisure. The tax payer will pay the $1 Billion cost of Danny's Debacle. Abitibi was the victim of a vindictive, abusive and unfair Government. Abitibi must be paid for the full value of its assets. The message which the Premier has sent to the capitalist world is: Come to Newfoundland and Labrador, invest your money, create employment and pay taxes into the Government coffers but don't anger us or we will expropriate everything you have built. Sounds like a real enticing message to send to the business and investment world!

  • Jack
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    Off to the Supreme Court of Canada.

  • Stop the Racket
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    Eugene the words Williams Governmant and trust should probably not be used in the same sentence. By the wy dont expect any answers from government either. Remember its all the fault of BIG BAD QUEBEC. Thats what Danny keeps telling us and we all know Danny NEVER LIES. He is OPEN HONEST AND TRANSPARENT about everything. Does anyone still remember that election promise way back when we elected him first/ Better yet does anyobe know what happened to that promise of openess honesty and transparency? I sure as hell dont.

  • Eugene
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    I suspect that the expropriation of AbitibiBowater will become known as Danny's big mistake? The lawsuits and the cleanup will undoubtedly continue long past his term as premier. This is a very costly mistake with the potentially costs approaching $1 billion dollars. Why $1 billion:

    1.Some government members admit the cleanup could be several hundred million.
    2.AbitibiBowater has filed a law suit for a minimum $500 million plus legal costs. Hopefully the company will not get the full 500 million but there is unquestionably lost of assets and income which will cost the NL taxpayers a lot.
    3.The legal cost during the first year after expropriation exceeded $8 million. By the time this lawsuit is settled the total legal cost alone could exceed the benefits paid, by government to assist the displaced workers.
    4.Now we learn the NL government accidentally expropriated houses and other land in the town of Grand Falls. The cost of fixing this part of the mistake is not yet known.

    No one is providing answers to questions such as Can government develop these assets and create employment? or Will any company now trust Premier Williams NL government enough to invest in these assets?.

  • John Smith
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    When you look at the mess we are currently cleaning up in Buchans, and the mess that is left in Stephenville after five years, does any rational person out there really think that AB would have ever cleaned up the mess at it's GFW mill? I mean really? They were a functioning, profitable company, and they wouldn't step up to the plate, so now that they are bottom up, does anyone think that the first order of business would be for them to come to NL to spend hundreds of millions??? At least now we have the hydro, and the timber rights, which could pay for some of the clean up that we would be on the hook for anyway.It is AB that is the crook here not us, it is AB who came in and took whatever they could, drove the business into the ground and left a huge mess. I just heard a big AB mill in quebec shut it's doors this AM, let's see how long it takes for them to clean up the mess there, I wouldn't hold my breath if I was them.

  • don
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    Here's to you Bones. Apparently anyone who tells it like it is or speaks truth to power is considered to be dangerous to the status quo and must be branded as a hater or a traitor. Are you trying to intimidate or undermine me? Good luck with that! Only people who are afraid of the truth resort to labeling others as traitors. You can continue to be a Dictator Danny lemming if you want to and follow him off the economic and political cliff that he is leading us off of. I won't be following after you!

  • Graham
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    William Daniels ask Bones that question. I feel quite sure he will have an answer for you. Hes the resident expert on everything Danny Williams.

  • William Daniels
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    We are now a HAD Province thanks to Dannys mistakes. We are at peak oil production and we are running a deficit. All these lawyers in government, how can this happen?

  • Bones
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    Graham: No need to ask, peak production is based on resources that have already been found, isn't it? That means Hebron will smooth out the curve a little and nobody, not even someone as well educated as yourself can predict what we WILL find. William needs to ask himself WHAT the deficit money was spent on and WHY we are running a deficit in the face of a global recession. FACT is, our future looks so bright, scaling back during the recession wasn't necessary. Therefor, la deficit! LOL It's not rocket science and you don't need to be an expert to understand. I can see being ignorant of these facts clouding the issue, however, much like Williams Daniels likes to do.


    Williams: Knowing the significant profit that hydro asset generates and knowing it would be gone forever, was taking our resources from Abitibi Bowater before they sold them to the highest bidder a bad idea to you? Simple yes or no will do.

  • Bones
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    Racket: Fact is, lots of profit going to come from that forever. You know how much NL has made from that so far? 10 years will see that resource pay off a 1 billion dollar judgment against us and there's lots of decades in forever, lol. Like another poster says, letting them off the hook for cleanup is akin to shooting someone in the face and getting away with it because you no longer own the gun, lol. They've got lots of land here that they've shot in the face. The gun is gone, but the damage remains. They are most certainly responsible, the pollution wouldn't be there without them. I'll agree that components of expropriation didn't go according to plan, but the components that DID go according to plan, will pay off in spades. Those components can and will shrug off the stones Quebec is lobbing at us. only 31 years left and we'll have some nice stones of our own to lob back! I just hope I live long enough to see it, lol. 31 years will put me quite close to the average life expectancy......for now, lol.

    don: It's good to see you FINALLY state in a sentence that you support and agree with Quebec. I believe your first line sums your position nicely, while at the same time, provides a little insight as to why your comments are written from the perspective they are. It explains the ignorance that's present and it also explains why hatred is your preferred modus operandi. You are hereby promoted from hater to traitor, lol. See you at the riots! LOL

  • I C Clearly
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    I can't decide which is worse - the fact that the Williams government screwed the expropriation up so badly or the added insult that their actions has put us, the taxpayers, on the hook for the cost of the clean up and legal fees fighting a lost cause. first the severance, then the clean up, next will be fully compensating Abitibi for their losses - plus legal fees to boot. Talk about a massive give-away.

  • don
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    The Quebec Courts have it right. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador case has no merit. The Premier acted in haste and he can repent at his leisure. The tax payer will pay the $1 Billion cost of Danny's Debacle. Abitibi was the victim of a vindictive, abusive and unfair Government. Abitibi must be paid for the full value of its assets. The message which the Premier has sent to the capitalist world is: Come to Newfoundland and Labrador, invest your money, create employment and pay taxes into the Government coffers but don't anger us or we will expropriate everything you have built. Sounds like a real enticing message to send to the business and investment world!