John Hamm (left) with MLA Alfie MacLeod. Photo: Jennifer Henderson

Former Nova Scotia Premier John Hamm has left the boards of the Northern Pulp family of companies.

His departure was noticed today by Stacey Rudderham, who contacted the Halifax Examiner with the news. Rudderham has followed the Northern Pulp story closely for her blog “One Not So Bored Housewife,” and in a film she made about Boat Harbour in 2017.

Hamm, whose Progressive Conservatives governed the province from 1999 until 2006, joined the board of Northern Pulp in 2010, and was chair of the board of Northern Resources Nova Scotia Corporation, which was the umbrella company for eight related corporations on the Registry of Joint Stocks.

As recently as January 8, 2020, Hamm was listed as a director on five of the eight related companies.

Those are: Northern Resources Nova Scotia Corporation; Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corporation; Northern Pulp Nova Scotia; Northern Pulp NS GP ULC; 3243722 Nova Scotia Limited; and Northern Timber Nova Scotia Corporation (to which the NDP government of Darrell Dexter loaned $75 million for the purchase of 475,000 acres of land in the province, 420,000 of which the company still owns).

As of today, Hamm is not listed as a director or chair of any of them.

His membership on the boards has always been controversial, given that it was his government that in 2002 extended the pulp mill’s lease for the use of Boat Harbour for its effluent until 2030, something he told the Halifax Examiner he doesn’t regret. Northern Pulp’s manager, Bruce Chapman, has already said that the company will be expecting compensation for the loss of the use of Boat Harbour for its effluent because of the Boat Harbour Act.

Joan Baxter is an award-winning Nova Scotian journalist and author of seven books, including "The Mill: Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest." Website:; Twitter @joan_baxter

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  1. The optics of his appointment to these positions were problematic and definitely had poor optics. That said, his mass departure from these positions is the same.

    I also find it interesting changes of directors that appear to remove him as a director in each of those entities were all filed on January 27, 2020 just days before the Boat Harbour deadline. No mention of these changes were made proactively and they were made all at once a few days before the legal waste water discharge cut-off date.

    Something smells bad here and – yet again – the stench seems to be related to Northern Pulp. Surprising. Not so much.

  2. He will be 82 on April 8th. A good honest and decent man and a good premier. I supported him in his PC leadership campaign.