MAC: Mines and Communities

Why is government not enforcing Voisey's Bay agreement?

Published by MAC on 2004-02-13

Why is government not enforcing Voisey's Bay agreement?

News Release - Office of the Official Opposition

February 13th, 2004

Opposition Leader Roger Grimes is in disbelief after hearing recent statements made by Placentia-St. Mary’s MHA Fabian Manning. Mr. Manning is attempting to blame the former government for decisions, or lack thereof, that his government is making with regards to the Voisey’s Bay project.

Grimes was responding to a situation developing in the Placentia area which may see a $7 Million steel fabrication contract between split between a Newfoundland and Labrador firm and a Nova Scotia firm. According to Manning, this decision could cost the Argentia area a steel fabrication plant and the associated 30 to 40 jobs.

"If Minister Byrne and Premier Williams were committed to receiving the full benefits agreed to in the Voisey’s Bay Development Agreement, they would realize that there are several sections in the Industrial Employment Benefits Agreement that would ensure this work would not go elsewhere," said Mr. Grimes. "It is obvious that this government is not committed to achieving the significant benefits that should accrue to the people of the province. Is this government concerned now, after reviewing the agreement as a government, that the Voisey’s Bay agreement is good for the province and that it will make them look like fools for voting against it? If this is the case, they should absolutely be ashamed of themselves."

"This government while in Opposition continuously criticized our government for not delivering enough benefits. Now that they have the opportunity to do something about this situation, they are being coy, hypocritical and passive on enforcing benefits agreements. It is an absolute disgrace that this government claims to be heading in a direction to create new opportunities and benefits for this province, while they cannot keep their own caucus happy with their decisions.

"If Mr. Manning wishes to criticize, I suggest he criticize his own government. I direct him to Articles 4.3.2 and 6.1.1 of the Industrial Benefits Agreement before he meets with Minister Byrne again. Maybe then he will be prepared to make a case for his constituents, instead of listening to the defeatist attitude of the Mines and Energy Minister."

Media Contact:
Darrell Mercer
Director of Communications
Office of the Official Opposition
709-729-6151 or 709-687-0477

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