Kelvin Parsons, Opposition Natural Resources Critic and MHA for the District
of Burgeo-Lapoile, says Premier Williams is trying to deflect attention away
from his government’s inaction on the Voisey’s Bay file for his own
political reasons. Parsons says it is apparent that the Premier is using the
project in a misleading way in an attempt to win votes in the upcoming
Placentia-St. Mary’s by-election, a vote that is expected to be called as
early as today.
"Premier Williams stated in the media last week that he
couldn’t tell the people of Placentia that Voisey’s Bay Nickel Company
Limited (VBNC) had chosen an alternate site because of a confidentiality
clause in the Voisey’s Bay agreement," said Mr. Parsons. "If the Premier
read this clause more carefully, instead of looking for an excuse to help
his political chances in the upcoming by-election, he would notice that this
clause only deals with issues of a financial or scientific nature. Advising
the people of the area that government couldn’t discuss this matter is
nothing more than smoke and mirrors and the words of a Premier who is
desperate to win a seat in the House of Assembly.
"The Premier is also trying to leave the impression that there are holes
in the agreement and the processing facility might not even be built in the
province. Once again, this is nothing more than political rhetoric from an
individual who would like nothing more than to see this project fail. The
Premier knows that the company must build a processing facility in this
province. There is no way the company can avoid this commitment, unless this
provincial government is unwilling to enforce the provisions and remedies
contained within the agreement.
"The Premier also knows that they have the right to request additional
information from the company and have it independently analysed to test its
validity. If there is disagreement with the company, government has the
right to go to arbitration or mediation to find a solution. So far, all we
have heard is a Premier and Minister lashing out in an attempt to protect
their own hides and their own inaction on this file.
"I suggest the Premier start doing some work and enforcing the powers
contained in this agreement, instead of playing politics with the project to
win a seat in the upcoming by-election. If the Premier spent half his time
trying to get economic development projects in this province, instead of
living off Liberal initiatives such as Voisey’s Bay and White Rose, there
would be much more opportunity in areas such as Placentia-St. Mary’s."