This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
J. J-Jt: BUD BIRD, O. C.
Statement to the Media RE: Bill 18 -1N~tu~~J:;~~s D~~i~~l\t'9~
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I am releasingthis statementand the enclosurein severalcapacities- as a founding investor and director in Enbridge Gas New Brunswick; as a continuing director, but no longer an investor in that company; as a former ConservativeMinister in New Brunswick, and Member of Parliament; as a long-standing and current memberof both provincial and federal Conservativeparties; as a
life-longprivateNew Brunswickbusinessman entrepreneur; asa proudandloyal citizen and and
of this province. The views which I wish to expressare my own, but I do feel confident they would reflect the opinions of most, if not all, New Brunswick investors who have been associated with Enbridge over the past decadeor more.
In his Stateof the Province Address last evening, Premier David Alward touchedon many promising directions for economic developmentin New Brunswick, and he repeatedlystressed encouragingwords for innovation, free enterpriseand entrepreneurship while assuringhis
recognition that government was not proficient as a business enterprise and should "get out of the way" as New Brunswick's.private business community pursue~ .cu~rent ec~nomic sta~ility and future growth and prosperIty. I applauded all of these ,gel}~r.alltle,s PremIer Alward s In
~ddre~s, and I hold him in ~igh'r~atd) as
IntentIons for New BrunswIck's future. -I'. " i .c., "'r; :' ,'"c : ;;~!;:~:,,~ "':&I:"" .', t:'4f~;"'i'.\~~.\
the best of
However, there was one glaring exception in his speechthat must be addressed, which he in proclaimed a senseof progressand achievementin "lowering natural gasdistribution costs" in our province. He was referring of course to the passage Bill 18 in December,an act to amend of the Gas Distribution Act, but which in reality is a devious breachof a legal franchise agreement with Enbridge, one that could lead to the confiscation of major assetvalues from Enbridge without compensation. What is even worse and indeedunthinkable, is that this legislation also decreesimpunity for the governmentagainst legal recoursefor the damagesand losseswhich result from its actions. In my view, Bill18 is likely the most oppressivelegislation in the history
of New Brunswick and, as opposed to creating economic development, it places our province's
reputation for trust and integrity in seriousjeopardy, inviting reputationaldamagethat will inhibit businessinvestment in New Brunswick for yearsto corne. The Premier and his Minister of Energy are fully aware of my feelings about this matter. These views are sharedby those of my businesscolleagueswho are familiar with the situation. As Bill 18 was being consideredin the Legislature, the enclosedletter was sent to every MLA individually and in the languageof their choice, composed jointly by myself and Denis Losier of Moncton who is the other provincial director of Enbridge Ga~N~w Brunswick. This letter spe.aks itself, and.is not ~or extreme useof
legIslatI ve power to Intervene 19;'\Yhi\.t::,~hould remaII} a contI~qIing9usIness process.
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Surprisingly, even though our letter was 'ra)'sedinCo~tte~b!f'tl1'f'Whole discussions,it has not received public attention. Also surprising and discouraging,neither MLAs on the government or opposition sidesappearedto consider it seriously. Consequently,Bill 18 was passedand the Minister of Energy merely commentedupon our letter by saying, "they're doing their job, they're directors of a company, they're trying to protect themselvesand their company,which is understandable". I have told him personally that I am deeply disappointedand offended by the mannerin which he has attemptedto trivialize and dismiss our seriousmessage. Those were our personalviews, expressedwith deep conviction as individuals and former MLAs ourselves,and not just as company directors of Enbridge. It is my strong view that Bill 18 should be rescinded,becauseotherwise it leavesa stain on New Brunswick's reputation that will not otherwisebe eradicated. The Premier is familiar with this view, reiteratedonce again to him personally last night. I urge him to immediately reconvenea
negotiating process brings of therightparties that all togethertheGovernment, Enbridge and
the natural gas consumersof New Brunswick - so that whatever improvementsand solutions are possible for New Brunswick's private natural gas distribution systemcan be identified, reconciled and implementedin a mannerthat will continue to bring energy savingsto New Brunswick businesses citizens wherever natural gas can be.." and madeavailable.
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J.W. Bud Bird Enclosure
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