How much information will public get about $90 million loan?
NDP Forestry and Agrifoods critic Christopher Mitchelmore (MHA, The Straits-White Bay North) says that as government gets closer to announcing the $90 million it is lending Kruger Inc., he hopes the announcement will include the terms of the loan as promised by the premier in the House of Assembly last spring.
At that time, NDP Leader Lorraine Michael was asking what sort of collateral the government would be asking of Kruger in exchange for the $90 million allocated in the budget for a loan. The premier did not answer that question directly, but did say that when the deal was reached, “we will have a news conference, we will have briefings for the Opposition parties, Mr. Speaker, and we will celebrate the terms of this agreement.”
Mitchelmore wants to know whether the terms of the loan and the security offered will be made public. “Will the people of the province be provided details on this loan, including its terms and what Kruger is offering as collateral? Is it a forgiveable loan? Will Kruger be obligated to fast track its repayment to its workers’ pension plan?” he asked today.
Kruger was supposed to have submitted a plan showing its forecast for long-term sustainability, and Mitchelmore adds he is hopeful that was completed as well.
“Corner Brook Pulp and Paper is a vital part of the province’s forest industry. The workers have made concessions and done everything else they can to insure the continued operation of the plant,” he said. “We must ensure that all their hard work is supported by a government that has done all due diligence in lending money to their employer.”
The $90 million loan first came to public awareness as a line item in Budget 2013. After repeated questioning from Michael during the estimates process, government admitted the money was earmarked for Kruger.