Thursday, December 18, 2008

Danny Boy Nationalizes AbitibiBowater

Newfoundland seizes assets of AbitibiBowater
Bravo Danny Williams, now one more step to take to really be a socialist, put the AbitibiBowater Inc., mill and hydro plant under worker/community control. Of course the usual media whiners are comparing Danny to Hugo Chavez, however when capital abandons its community responsibilities then the state has the right to take over the real capital (production facilities) in order to insure they are not sold off or removed. Danny Williams has nationalized not only the money losing side of the operation but the profitable hydro plant, that is what really hurts Abitibibowater. However lets understand that the Newfoundland's nationalization of the AbitibiBowater Inc., facilities does not mean they will actually end up under public ownership of the community and workers. In fact the state could sell them off to the highest bidder. The union and community needs to publicly lobby for worker control and public ownership.

Revisiting his campaign theme of "no more giveaways," Mr. Williams wished the company well, but said it will leave the province with the same resource rights it had on arrival: none.
"The legislature in Newfoundland and Labrador is paramount in this jurisdiction and we stand by that," he told the CBC.
"If Abitibi wants to launch any legal challenge, then that's up to them; we have no control over that. I'm sure, though, they will get legal opinions that indicate that our legislature has full authority to do what it's done."
The legislation gives the provincial cabinet the authority to set compensation for the company's physical assets. Mr. Williams said his government will try to hammer out a deal with AbitibiBowater, but will set its own figure if an agreement cannot be reached.
He also said that the "honourable thing" would have been for the company to have handed over its assets "free of charge."
Robert Leckey, an expert in constitutional law at McGill University in Montreal, noted that provinces have broad authority to expropriate.
"It sounds perfectly permissible to me," he said. "The legislature has the power to state in the legislation that it can offer no compensation."

That being said cudo's to Danny Boy for doing the right thing.

There is no indication that the government's plan will save any of the jobs that will be lost in Grand Falls-Windsor since AbitibiBowater announced earlier this month it was closing the mill after workers rejected concessions.
Mr. Williams said he is looking for a new owner, but acknowledged the lumber industry is currently enduring tough times.
Gary Healey, the national representative representing unionized workers at the mill, applauded the government's move.
"It certainly sends a message to any corporation that wants to operate in Newfoundland that they must behave and act in a responsible way and develop the resources for the people who actually live in the province," Mr. Healey said.
"The days of acting like carpet-baggers are over."

Now lets do that to other industries demanding bail outs. Like Chrysler, which is threatening to shut down productive plants in Ontario, as well as in the U.S. and Mexico. Over to you Dalton McGuinty.

Danny Millions State Capitalist
Chrysler Black Mail

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Larry Gambone said...

In the US we get a group of workers occupying a factory. In NFLD we have a govt nationalizing a corporate gangster. Even 3 months ago, few would have thought this possible. Williams needs to be supported in his battle with corporatism, not quite in the same way as workers occupying a plant, but support nonetheless. For not only is NFLD up against Abitibi, it will also be confronting NAFTA. Now that the car business is down the tubes, this incident should help us spark discussion to scrap NAFTA and encourage further nationalizations - but worker/community control needs to be on the agenda, as you mention.

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