Kelvin Parsons, Opposition Natural Resources Critic and MHA for the District
of Burgeo-Lapoile, continues to press government for the release of details
related to the failed Hebron/Ben Nevis negotiations.
"We have been asking for ten days to receive the details of the failed
negotiations with the Hebron/Ben Nevis partners," said Mr. Parsons. "Last
week, the Premier said he would consider releasing details, but he has since
backtracked. Since negotiations failed, there have been no concrete details
released in print for people to examine, however, each day we find out
something new as being a stumbling block to the negotiations, or a new
policy being contemplated by government that was never discussed before. It
is time for the premier to stop hiding this information and be up front with
"There are so many statements being made by the premier and his Minister
of Natural Resources that it is difficult to decipher fact from rhetoric.
Last night on Here and Now, Mark Mcleod of Chevron stated that their company
has not been in contact with the premier and nothing has changed regarding
this current negotiation impasse. This contradicts what the premier stated
in this House of Assembly on Monday. Were there new discussions or not?
"Last week, the premier was talking tough and said that he would be
looking at legislation that would force Exxon/Mobil to develop the project
or lose their investment. However, he now knows that any legislative change
would require support from the federal government. He has softened his
stance and said this is not a high priority going into his discussion with
the prime minister this afternoon.
"In addition, a North American Free Trade Agreement law specialist is
quoted in todayís Globe and Mail as saying that any attempt by government to
introduce fallow field legislation would be a slam-dunk case for Exxon/Mobil
under Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement. He says this
could cost the province billions of dollars in legal and compensation costs.
We have no idea what work government is doing on this legislation, or even
if they have sought legal advice. We canít even find out if this legislation
would be retroactive or applied to new projects on a go forward basis.
"It is time for this government to stop hiding and release the
information related to the failed Hebron/Ben Nevis negotiations. While in
Opposition, the premier promised he would release information related to
project negotiations in an open and transparent manner. This has not
happened. This project is too important for the people of this province not
to have a full and open debate."