Thursday, December 18, 2008

Danny's Repatriating the Trees Strikes a Cord with Canadians

The Globe and Mail, or at least writer Konrad Yakabuski, is back to calling NL's premier, Danny Chavez, but judging from the comments, Canadian readers mainly supported Williams for Newfoundland & Labrador's move to repatriate timber rights from AbitibiBowater.

From the Globe - "Just when you thought the Danny Chavez gibes were getting tired, the Rock's irrepressible strongman strikes - no, more like bludgeons - once again... At least Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's nationalization-happy President, has the decency to call himself a socialist. Mr. Williams just acts like one."

Here's the story from The Telegram, Dec. 17th, 2008:
In an unprecedented move, the provincial government announced Tuesday it will strip AbitibiBowater of all its rights and assets in this province, with the exception of the century-old newsprint mill in Grand Falls-Windsor.

The legislation was passed within hours of it being introduced into the House of Assembly.

In essence, the province will cancel all the company's timber, land and water rights, including the 1905 charter that allowed the Anglo-Newfoundland Development Co. to establish a mill in the town, without any compensation to AbitibiBowater.

Control of an estimated 1.67 million hectares of timber rights on Crown land will revert back to the province.

There were 200 comments on the piece, with the majority supporting Williams' taking back control over forest resources. A few samples:
Andy Guenette from Asheville, NC, United States writes: I've never been a fan of Danny Williams, but in this case, I support his government's decision. Bilateral agreements need to be respected by both parties.

Auroran Bear from Montreal, Canada writes: I applaud the move. Now get those assets working in the interest of the people of Newfoundland.

And enough of the Danny Chavez stuff G&M. When the G&M allows open comment on every story that's free of moderation, maybe then you can wave your banner.


Patrick Shaw from Markham, Canada writes: Some have wondered where the idea of Corporate Social Responsibility may head in a tough economy. Danny has answered loud and clear. The Premier has shown that Newfoundland won’t tolerate a wavering of the intent or the commitment. This is a great example of a company being held accountable to the public owners of the resource. Shareholders get their say everyday; now the real owners have spoken.

Green Canada from edmonton, Canada writes: This story is at least raising a key point of contention that needs addressing. Whether governments sole role should be to facilitate business or whether it should work in the public's interest? some say the first and second are tied others don't think so. It seems to me that over the last few decades the governments of Canada have become "corporatist" in nature insofar as they view their governing role as facilitating the work of their clients, the corporations. This is worrying on many fronts, not the least of which is the privatization of profits while all debts are unloaded on society (see recent bail outs). Anyway...way to go Danny.

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