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The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Live from the Orchestra Pit #nlpoli

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians got a vivid example on Thursday of the Orchestra Pit Theory of Political reporting.

For those who don’t know the story, the Orchestra Pit theory goes like this:  two politicians are on the stage.  One announces a cure for cancer.  The other falls into the orchestra pit.  The media will cover the guy in the pit.

We’ll the guy in the pit on Thursday was Brad Cabana.

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The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Incendiary End Game in Corner Brook #nlpoli

As a rule, when a cabinet minister speaks publicly about a private sector company’s significant financial problems, things are not good.

Natural resources minister Jerome Kennedy told the world on Friday and Saturday that Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Limited had a heavy bank debt and an unfunded pension liability of about $80 million.  Kennedy said the mill that hasn’t made money since at least 2006.

Things are so bad that Kennedy  that he expected Joe Kruger was coming for a meeting to tell the provincial government he was closing the west coast paper mill.

So why was Kennedy

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The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Precipice Looms #nlpoli

Not surprisingly, Kruger issued an ultimatum on Tuesday to workers at its Corner Brook mill. CBC quoted the message from the company to the union in an online story:

"The first step to go forward will be to obtain a firm committment [sic] from employees by achieving a satisfactory agreement that will allow CBPPL to be competitive in the market," said the Kruger statement.

"Given the critical situation of the mill, this collective agreement will have to be reached by June 15 so that we can quickly move on to the next crucial step, which will be to submit the

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Kruger Nexus #nlpoli

As an astute reader pointed out in a n e-mail Tuesday morning, the Hebron-Muskrat Falls connection is not really as important these days as the the connection between the future of the Kruger mill at Corner Brook and the plan to develop the Lower Churchill.

Manitoba Hydro International noted that connection in their review of part of the Muskrat Falls project for the public utilities board. In instance, a relatively modest change in the project cost coupled with the closure of the Corner Brook mill, erased the Muskrat Falls advantage:

Also, should the existing pulp and paper mill cease operations,

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The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The paper-mill-sized elephant in the room… #nlpoli

From the CBC online story about the meeting between a raft of grim-looking provincial politicians and Joe Kruger: Dunderdale said she expected there would be a second vote on the pension restructuring plan.Once those issues are resolved, she said, the government is committed to stepping in to ensure that the mill is sustainable.

So while the pols are laying on the tough talk in a fairly obvious effort to sway the mulligan vote, what the rest of us should wonder is how much public money the politicians plan to pour into the mill to keep it running. -srbp-

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Death watch in Corner Brook for province’s last paper mill #nlpoli

Kruger, the owners of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, are reassessing the viability of the mill in the west coast city on Friday after unions at the mill rejected a company proposal to restructure the company’s pension plans.

In a statement issued Friday, natural resources minister Jerome Kennedy said:

We are facing a grave situation, one which could potentially lead to the closure of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Limited. Kruger is now reassessing the viability of its operations in Corner Brook. This obviously could have very serious ramifications for the employees and the entire Corner Brook area.

. . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Death watch in Corner Brook for province’s last paper mill #nlpoli