Following my recent Facebook post of a quote from Premier King saying interlocking corporations within the same family are “one corporation” and subject to the Lands Protection Act’s limit of 3000 acres of arable land, I received a number of requests for the “source” of that quotation, so I’m providing a link to the video clip.
I really don’t envy Premier King. He has some historically-difficult decisions to make in coming days. Islanders will need to show strong support to make it a little easier for him to make the right decisions on a number of critical issues.
I’m certain Denny truly wants to see PEI return to what was originally intended with the Lands Protection Act, but standing up to the Irvings and forcing them (and probably others) to divest land holdings will not be an easy thing for him to do. But his day of reckoning is fast approaching, and land isn’t the only issue demanding a courageous response from him.
For example, what’s King going to do about the whistleblower lawsuit? Is he going to fight those three women in court or settle? By my reckoning, the PEI government has already failed to meet the deadline for filing a defense.
And what’s Premier King going to do about the e-gaming lawsuit? Stewart McKelvey lawyers are still representing the PEI government on the case, yet it is now known that the lead lawyer – Jonathan Coady – failed to comply with Supreme Court rules to disclose all relevant documents: thousands of key e-gaming documents (some of which are currently being acquired through Access to Information requests) have been withheld.
It is also now known that Coady misled the court (and plaintiffs) by failing to disclose that many other key e-gaming documents once in the possession of the PEI government are now “missing” (e.g., Brad Mix’s emails from 2010-12).
Premier King has been attending lots of events and public functions during old home week – when news about the Irving purchase of Brendel land broke – and he has been doing a good job of representing PEI during the busiest part of our tourist season.
But Old home week is over now, so a public statement from the Premier responding to this land issue would seem prudent.
This issue isn’t going away, so nothing is to be gained by delaying a response; it only increases suspicion that the passion, sincerity and ethical integrity evident in the statement given during the election campaign may have since evaporated.