Opposition Leader Roger Grimes is looking for government to provide further
information about the talks between government and Abitibi Consolidated to
ensure continued operations in Grand Falls-Windsor and Stephenville.
"Government offered $1 million to Abitibi Consolidated last fall in a secret
deal that was supposed to offset energy costs for a period of 60 days," said
Grimes. "The money was contingent upon the company providing a plan to
government to maintain current operations in both mills in this province.
"Abitibi Consolidated has completed itís review of their operations in
this province and it is now time for the Minister of Natural Resources to
make public any plans to transfer public money to this company. The Minister
has already entered into one series of secret talks with the company that
resulted in the province committing $1 million and it is only fair for the
Minister to disclose any further meetings.
"I have a number of questions about this process that the Minister hasnít
provided to the public since this secret deal first came to light. The
Minister should disclose whether or not the money has actually been
transferred to the company, if negotiations are still ongoing, what
commitments the company is willing to make and anything else concerning the
operations of the two mills in this province.
"Any new deal with the company should be debated publicly, contain strict
guidelines and must ensure the long-term presence of Abitibi Consolidated in
this province. It is essential that the company is also held to previous
negotiations, such as Bill 27 passed in 2002 which guarantees production
levels in Grand Falls-Windsor."