The Gallant government is pointing to an Irving Oil newspaper ad from 2005 addressed to Saint Johners on the benefits of the LNG tax deal signed by Opposition leader Blaine Higgs as evidence he was supportive of the deal.
This capped the property tax for Canaport LNG at $500,000 a year until 2030 and the Liberals tabled legislation to repeal the tax break in October of 2016.
Earlier this month, premier Brian Gallant said that they had evidence about Higgs’ support of this tax concession.
“For [Higgs] to now stand up in the Legislature and reply from the speech from the throne and try to say that he had absolutely nothing to do with this sweetheart deal is simply, it’s not factual, and that’s what we’re trying to bring to light here,” says MLA Victor Boudreau.
“Blaine Higgs is now trying to talk on the other side of this topic…there was a full-page ad done in the form of a letter, if you will, highlighting the benefits of this deal. There are four people that signed the bottom of this letter and one of them is Blaine Higgs.”
“Back in the day he was trying to take credit for this deal and now is trying to say he had nothing to do with it,” says Boudreau.
Higgs says his role was to negotiate with Spanish company Repsol to locate the LNG plant in Saint John and Higgs was a member of the board of directors of Canaport LNG at the time. The ad identifies Higgs as having worked with Irving Oil for 28 years and responsible for Logistics and Distribution, including their terminals and product storage.
The Liberals introduced a motion in the Legislature — which they had to tweak slightly to remove Higgs’ name and change to just the official Opposition and re-introduce on Friday — in an effort to try and get specific questions answered.