Truckers take action after feeling betrayed
FREDERICTON, N.B. — Fourteen individual coal truck drivers and the New Brunswick Coal Truckers Association are suing NB Coal Ltd. due to eliminated runs.
The suit was sparked because Minto-area coal is no longer being hauled to the Belledune power plant.
A statement of claim filed with the Court of Queen’s Bench says the truckers were told by president of NB Coal, Andy Cormier, that Minto coal would continue to be trucked to Belledune until 2004.
It further alleges that in February 1999, when Premier Bernard Lord was the provincial opposition leader, he promised that a Progressive Conservative government led by him would continue to mine coal in the Minto area through NB Coal for as long, “as there is coal in the ground.”
Liberal leader Bernard Richard asked Lord in the legislature if he had made that statement to the truckers but Lord denies it. He did say the government’s position on coal is simple — mining it has to be economically viable for it to continue.
The truckers say that after the June 7, 1999, election, Lord was bound to respect the pledge he allegedly made. Adding they relied on Lord’s pledge that NB Coal would continue to mine the Minto area. The truckers also say they had banked their equipment purchases, repairs and financial planning on that pledge and have incurred damages because of the broken promise.
The truckers explain NB Coal has established a pattern of paying compensation for loss of opportunity to earn and income. Court documents cite specific instances of compensation to former coal haulers, and the truckers say they are entitled to be paid for loss of opportunity to earn an income and damages.
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