Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Backlash brewing over Ridley privatization plans

Dan Veniez apparently has not had much success with his recent media campaign to sell the merits of the privatization of Ridley Terminals, at least as far as a large number of Northern officials are concerned.

The Chairman of Ridley has been a rather busy writer over the last two weeks, composing informational pieces for major Canadian newspapers such as the National Post, The Globe and Mail and the Vancouver Sun, each one a carefully designed recital of his thoughts on the privatization issue and how in his opinion that is the best solution for the future of the Terminal. (see past Podunk items here, here and here)

It would seem that while it may be selling well in the boardrooms where the major papers are read, out in what Mr. Veniez used to refer to as the "Heartland" the sales pitch isn't doing so well.

The Northern Development Initiative Trust, a Prince George based economic development corporation has issued a rather strenuous defence of the status quo when it comes to the privatization issue, prefering to see Ridley Terminals remain in public hands as part of a wider strategy of Northern Development.

The rebuttal to Mr. Veniez's recent editorial offerings was posted to the Initiative Trust's website and features the names of close to fifty Mayors of Northern Communities and Directors of Regional Districts from 100 Mile House through to the Queen Charlotte Islands, all it would seem in agreement that public ownership is best.

In their declaration, the NDIT contributors praise Conservative MP Jay Hill for his leadership on the issue and suggest that he and other federal and provincial politicians are taking the right path in the quest to keep Ridley public.

They even go so far as to suggest that the future of Ridley Terminals will be best served if it is "enveloped" by the Port of Prince Rupert, a scenario that Mr. Veniez did not find workable in one of his recent tracts provided to the National media.

The growing support against the privatization agenda of Mr. Veniez, could be the makings of a major showdown between the Chairman and those that don't find his vision for the future to be in the best interests of the employees, the customers and Northern communities.

We imagine that Mr. Veniez will be quick to counter their assumptions with more of his thoughts on the issue, no doubt to be delivered through his media contacts at the major newspapers.

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