Wednesday, November 7, 2012

An email chain that leads right to the gates of the Old Skeena Cel mill

The Globe and Mail has obtained some interesting reading for those following the long, drawn out, seemingly never ending saga of Skeena Cellulose, Sun Wave and all their associated participants...

In an article posted to the Globe's website today, Andy Hoffman of the Globe reviews an e-mail obtained by the Globe.

The e-mail and the associated article from Hoffman that surrounds it,  gives us a glimpse into some of the circumstances of the Sun Wave drama and provides perhaps, some idea as to what the Mayor and Council have been discussing in those many, many, many closed council sessions on the file since the long, winding process began oh so long ago.

As the Globe reveals, the e-mail dating back to November of 2011 (a copy of which was attached to the story in a link), was directed to former MLA Bill Belsey, who has become the local contact for the Sun Wave Group in the region.

In the correspondence, Pat Bell, the Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training for the province, outlines some details that he feels might be of interest to Mr. Belsey.

In effect it appears to offer up an assessment of the Sun Wave situation providing some "context"  on cross-Ministry involvement at that point, as well as some background on the Chinese businessman Ni Ritao.

Ni Ritao controls a number of companies including Sun Wave Forest Products, so it appears along the corporate chain of command, he would be Mr. Belsey's boss.

While we learn a little bit more on the file from all of these various conversations, e-mails, trips overseas, meetings in Canada and such, it's most interesting that not one of the revelations seems to involve pondering the fate of the community in question, or the hard pressed taxpayers that continue to subsidize the proceedings.

Clearly the time has long passed for the province to become much more than just an interested observer in all of this. Maybe Premier Clark might want to walk over to Mr. Bell's office (we imagine e-mail is going to be a dirty word with her for the next little while) and ask why this mess continues to exist some seven years after it all began.

Part of the Hoffman story traces some of the discussions at a "cross-Ministry" level dating back to November of 2011 when there was a potential for a "settlement framework", that was a full year ago and yet Sun Wave and Watson Island are still a clock ticking for the City of Prince Rupert.

In the past the sharing of e-mails with third parties has resulted in resignation from cabinet, Hello Harry Bloy, one wonders if something as visually damaging as this, might not result in the same result for Minister Bell.

Mr. Bell thinks not, in his opinion, the e-mail forwarded to Mr. Belsey and obtained by the Globe and Mail, wasn't the wrong thing to do, nor did it show any lack of judgment.

While the lawyers continue to work on the Sun Wave file and politicians and ex politicians exchange e-mails and search their apparently hazy memories, in order to see what they can remember, or who they met with for that matter, the City of Prince Rupert continues to bleed money towards the mothballed facility on Watson Island.

What's worrisome about all of this, is that while it appears that everyone is sharing information on the Sun Wave developments, no one it seems is inclined to share the details with the people that live here.

The folks who after all, are carrying the money pouch on the entire mess.

The Sun Wave situation is something that is screaming out for more than a little bit of transparency, but alas, seems to be an issue that seems destined to drag on further under its own cone of silence.

A final line in the Globe story offers little hope that there is a glimmer of sunlight on the horizon.

According to the Globe story Mr. Belsey said he would be meeting with Mr. Bell this week to discuss Sun Wave and the mill, Mr. Bell however, denied he had a meeting scheduled with Mr. Belsey.

And on and on it will go...

The Globe and Mail's fascinating review of how these kinds of things develop (normally not found in the pages of national newspaper ) can be found here.

The Globe and Mail has a pay wall on their site now, but offer ten free views per month, for Rupertites, this is one article well worth deducting from the freebie tally.


Other media outlets have begun to weigh in on the Globe and Mail's review, their findings below.

CBC-- B. C. cabinet minister under fire for release of email
CTV BC-- B. C. Jobs Minister chided for forwarding cabinet email

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