OTTAWA - Federal and provincial New Democrat MPs and MLAs called on the Liberal Government to hold public hearings into the sale of Terasen Gas and to suspend Investment Canada's approval of the sale until the United States accepts the NAFTA ruling on softwood in Canada's favour and returns the $5 billion impounded by the Bush Administration to Canadian producers.
"This is a fire sale of Canada and a kick in the teeth of British Columbians" said Peter Julian MP Burnaby New-Westminster, NDP critic for Trade and Natural Resources. "The liberal government failed to respond to our calls for a broader review back when the decision was still being made by Investment Canada. With more than 11,000 takeovers approved without a single rejection, there is a very strong case against Investment Canada and the Liberal government's ability to defend the public interest".
Last week, Industry Canada announced its approval for the $6.9 billion sale of Terasen Gas to Kinder Morgan, whose environmental record is under review in the U.S. Earlier, the B.C. Utilities Commission (B.C.U.C.) had approved the sale without public hearings.
"The Campbell government has abrogated its role in the Terasen sale to Texas-based Kinder Morgan and let down the people of BC," Corky Evans, the BC Opposition Critic for Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources said. "This is the third largest public utility in the country, and the sale tells the world that British Columbia is open to plunder."
With the U.S. being increasingly reliant on Canada's natural resources, and the Bush administration refusal to meet its binding obligations under NAFTA, the NDP caucus is gravely concerned that the liberal government is selling off Canada's sovereignty and reducing its leverage.
"When an important decision like this is up for discussion, when the Americans and Canadians struggle to find a solution to the softwood lumber dispute, it seems only logical to link the two issues," said Surrey-Newton MLA Harry Bains. "The Americans refuse to move on softwood, and it is my assertion, along with many other Canadians, that the sale of Terasen Gas Inc. should be halted until the softwood dispute has been settled. It will send the Americans a clear message that our resources are not for plunder, and that the American government should negotiate in good-faith."