COMMENT: Brian Gallant withholds information from the public

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Information recent disclosed by the government under the Right to Information and Protection of Privacy Act demonstrates that Premier Brian Gallant and Minister of Energy and Mines Donald Arsenault disappointingly withheld important information from the public concerning the impact of the government’s shale gas moratorium.

 

On October 14, 2014, SWN Resources Canada sent a letter to the Department of Energy and Mines that noted, “The new government has publicly committed to instituting a moratorium that would effectively bring the industry to a full stop in the province.”  SWN Resources continues in its letter to say, “It is not clear to us what – if any – future the industry has in the province.”

 

SWN Resources was the only company with a New Brunswick exploration program scheduled for 2015.   The letter makes it clear that the Premier and the Minister knew as of October 2014 that the Liberal moratorium would put a “full stop” to all exploration in New Brunswick.

 

The doubt expressed by SWN Resources was repeated in its letter of December 16, 2014 to government, in which SWN Resources advised that, “The commitment to a moratorium has forced us to suspend our drilling plans and rededicate resources to projects in other jurisdictions”.

 

Despite having this information, Brian Gallant announced the government’s shale gas moratorium on December 18, 2014.  At the time, he said, If businesses want to continue exploring without doing hydraulic fracturing, that’s allowed”.  The SWN Resources letters show that Premier knew the exploration in question was not moving ahead, but he did not disclose this information to the public.  He instead gave the impression there was still a possibility that any exploration program may continue, even though he knew differently.

 

The Minister then continued this deception.  In March 2015, he stated, “SWN is not ready to run away from New Brunswick” – despite knowing they had already cancelled their program months previously.

 

It is time for the Premier and the Minister to admit the truth to New Brunswickers.  The Liberal government’s ill-conceived policies have driven a $9 billion company out of New Brunswick, sending with them jobs for New Brunswickers at home and valuable investment dollars.  The Liberal government refuses to accept responsibility for this disappointment, and have resorted to concealing the facts from the people of New Brunswick – but we deserve much better.

 

PC Party

 
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