Opposition Leader Roger Grimes is questioning whether government has already
indicated to Fishery Products International (FPI) that they will get
approval to sell off part of their value added and marketing division
through an income trust.
Premier Williams indicated in a Ministerial
Statement on May 20th that government was considering bringing
this issue before a special sitting of the House of Assembly to be debated.
This was to be done if government received certain commitments and
concessions from the company.
"Yesterday, FPI held their shareholders meeting in Toronto, a meeting
that lasted approximately ten minutes," said Mr. Grimes. "It is not clear
whether the company had planned to discuss these so-called commitments or
concessions that government is looking to receive, but it does not appear to
have taken place. It is clear, however, that FPI has already put aside $4.5
million in costs associated with their planned income trust proposal.
"It is now imperative for the Premier and government to advise the people
of the province the status of discussions with FPI. There has not been any
indication what commitments or concessions government is looking to receive
from the company, and there is no indication as to whether government has
given its conditional support to this proposal. There are still many
questions that need to be answered before the House of Assembly opens to
have this important debate.
"It is also very important for the Premier to release the conflicting
legal opinions related to this income trust proposal. Government has already
stated that there is legal uncertainty as to whether the FPI proposal
contravenes the FPI Act. If the people of the province and the 48 Members of
the House of Assembly are to have an informed and constructive debate, it is
necessary to have these important documents made public.
"Allowing FPI to create an income trust and sell off part of its most
profitable marketing division could have major impacts on the fishery in
this province. In the spirit of openness and accountability, I hope the
Premier realizes the significance of this debate and will provide all of
this information in a timely fashion and before any decisions are made."