$130 million NAFTA payout sets troubling precedent

March 22, 2011

By Scott Sinclair
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Why should a provincial government be punished for doing the right thing?

That’s a question the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador – and all Canadians – should be asking themselves in the aftermath of last summer’s decision by the Harper government to pay AbitibiBowater $130 million to settle a NAFTA lawsuit.

Recently, the Commons Standing Committee on International Trade held hearings into the NAFTA settlement. Property rights advocates loudly complained that Ottawa shouldn’t have to foot the bill for the “irresponsible actions” of the Danny Williams government.

Yet the Newfoundland and Labrador government’s actions in this matter were lawful, constitutional and commendable. The same can’t be said for the conduct of the federal government.

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