View From Labour, December 19, 2008

Merry Christmas from Newfoundland! All of Canada has been given an early Christmas gift by the Government of Newfoundland. AbitibiBowater thought they could act in Newfoundland just like they did in B.C.—Remember Gold River? When the Company announced the permanent closure of a paper mill the Newfoundland government responded by taking back cutting rights to timber and hydro assets. Both were granted by the crown.
As Corporations such as AbitiBowater come into existence through acquisitions, divestures and mergers the end result is a corporation (large or small) that no longer feels any social responsibility for their actions. They forget that is was the people of the Province or Country that gave them the land, cutting rights and hydro rights etc to get started. They forget the promises of jobs etc. they made to get those gifts. In the interim AbitiBowater and its predecessors made $Billions by having cheap power and $billions more selling power to the Newfoundland grid at an exorbitant profit. Now the same Corporation that closed Gold River thought they could do it again. Worked in British Columbia didn’t it? Well it doesn’t seem like it’ll work in Newfoundland. While the major press calls him “Danny Chavez,” the people of Newfoundland have a premier that will stand up for them against Big Oil, the Federal Government and now the Forest Industry. Too bad B.C. doesn’t have any one to stand up for us. We have an election coming up in May---talk to your candidates and see what they will do in a similar situation. Both mining and forestry companies in B.C. have been able to keep and/or sell rights granted conditionally while decimating jobs and communities. This has happened under the Socreds, NDP and the Present Liberal Government. It’s obvious what Campbell’s position is---what about the others?
Next week we get a white Christmas. Remember those who are in need and especially those recently out of work. They aren’t so easy to see. Families are suffering and are looking for hope. Some will have no heat in their house. While you are enjoying your Christmas remember those who may not have it so good and maybe we can all help a little.
Our Wish is for you all to keep warm and enjoy the love of family this season. Keep Christ in Christmas.