Federal and provincial NDP members are criticizing the B.C. and Federal Liberal Parties for not holding public forums on the sale of Terasen Gas to Texas-based Kinder Morgan Inc. prior to approving the deal.
In addition, the NDP said approval of the deal should have been dependent of a satisfactory conclusion to the ongoing softwood lumber dispute between Canada and the U.S.
The sale of Canadian utilities to foreign companies is regulated in B.C. by the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) and federally by the Investment Canada Act.
NDP Cariboo North MLA Bob Simpson said the problem stretches back much further than the buyout offer by Kinder Morgan.
“From my perspective the proper process should have been the government holding a public consultation process prior to changing the legislation – the previous legislation prevented foreign ownership of Terasen,” Simpson said. “If the government had allowed public input at that point, then the whole issue would not have happened.”
Simpson said in the current energy market, oil and gas reserves in northern B.C. and Alberta are likely to become major assets to the province and to Canada.
“At a time when energy prices are set, ready to climb… I think it’s foolhardy to give up control of any part of your supply chain. But that is what we did,” Simpson said.
Simpson said these “desperate times” in the softwood lumber industry call for unusual measures.
A spokesperson for Kinder Morgan could not be reached as of press time, but in a written statement issued Nov. 16, Kinder said he anticipates seeing the deal complete by Nov. 30.
Kinder also committed to keeping the Terasen portion of the business based in Vancouver and add two Canadians to the company’s board of directors.
The company agreed to pursue a $1.4 billion investment in creating a oil pipeline from the Alberta oil sands to a port in B.C., creating “hundreds of new jobs in British Columbia and Alberta,” Kinder said.