Open letter to: Premier Darrell Dexter NDP; Stephen McNeil – Liberal Leader; Jamie Baillie – PC Leader; John Percy – Green Party Leader; Hon. Peter MacKay MP Central Nova
The other day as people drove into the town of Pictou they were greeted by what looked like a fog straight out of Stephen King’s imagination, that is, until they hit the smell. This was no fog. This plume can be seen daily hanging somewhere over Pictou County.
For years people have expressed concern over what we are exposed to from the emissions from Northern Pulp. Since 2009 the taxpayers of Nova Scotia have given this company over $90 million to keep them viable and to upgrade aging equipment. This is in addition to the $28.1 million the federal government provided to improve odour emissions from the mill – a total of $118 million in just over three years.
In recent months we have watched many businesses fall victim to the current economic conditions plaguing industries. Some of these businesses were no doubt meant to pass on, but I wonder if they had been given a second chance maybe they would still be operating and employing local people today.
What is it about this particular business, now owned by Asia Pulp and Paper, based out of Singapore, that makes it more worthy of financial aid than the businesses not offered financial support? Unlike NP, some of the other troubled businesses I refer to are locally owned and operated and would likely only require one relatively small repayable loan rather than ongoing financial bailouts.
Surely, as the forward thinkers you are, you too have given some thought to this particular business and the province’s role in its long-term viability. And, as a very concerned citizen, I would like to know each of your perspectives.
• To justify the lofty amounts of financial aid already contributed to NP, what accountability measures have been implemented to ensure the funds are directed to the intended purpose of the funding?
• As many are aware, NP was allowed to operate without a scrubber on their power boiler which, according to their own records, caused them to exceed permit levels for over six years before being addressed, only after the report became public.
• What current environmental compliance and enforcement measures are being undertaken to protect nearby residents, mill employees and our essential environmental resources from toxic emissions?
• What is the current state of the ‘Timelines for terms and conditions of Northern Pulp Industrial Approval Action’ which outlined over 50 items of concern?
• What steps have been taken to prevent subsequent negligence from reoccurring?
• What are your respective party’s plans for the long-term future of this mill? If pulp and paper is a ‘sunset industry’ as some suggest,
• How much more money does your party plan to invest in Northern Pulp?
• How long does your party envision such financial support will be required?
• What conditions and encumbrances do you envision will be required in exchange for financial support?
• What is your back-up plan to ensure sustainable employment opportunities for Nova Scotians?
Thank you all for your time and I look forward to your response.