Windsor Energy lawsuit against N.B. government linked to election
Company president Khalid Amin claims more than $100M in damages for libel over Sussex seismic tests
The president of Calgary's Windsor Energy says the timing of his $105-million lawsuit against the New Brunswick government and former Natural Resources minister Bruce Northrup is "absolutely" political.
Khalid Amin filed his statement of claim in Fredericton on Friday, just weeks before the Sept. 22 provincial election.
He says he is well aware the Progressive Conservative Party's election campaign ads will ask voters to "say yes" to Premier David Alward's natural resource development plan.
"You know what, the people need to know prior to [the] election how incompetent this government is and how incompetent this minister has been," Amin told CBC News.
He is suing based on public statements Northrup made in 2011 saying Windsor violated the province's Oil and Natural Gas Act when it conducted seismic testing in the town of Sussex.
Amin claims Northrup was libellous when he issued a press release in November of that year, following an incident in which a Windsor subcontractor did seismic tests along Highway 1 inside Sussex town limits.
Northrup said Windsor did not have permission to do the tests and had violated the act.
The province then filed a complaint with the RCMP.
"Oh, it hurt us significantly," said Amin. "It made national news that not only did we violate the oil and gas act, according to the minister, but also that we possibly did something criminal and he forwarded it to the RCMP," he said.
In the statement of claim, Amin says his company was cleared by the RCMP and alleges Northrup's press release was false, misleading and defamatory.
Amin says the negative publicity drove potential investors away from his company.
"They read headlines like everybody else: 'Oh, they did something criminal. It got forwarded to the RCMP.' You can imagine what that does to a company," Amin told CBC News.
Amin alleges his inability to raise money led to the loss of the exploration licences.
He says he stands to lose more than a $100 million in profits, claiming that's just part of the potential oil and natural gas holdings an independent report says could be in the licence area.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
In an email Friday morning, Northrup said he just found out about the suit and had no comment at this time, but would have something to say later.