Skeena-Bulkley Valley incumbent NDP MP Nathan Cullen says an NDP government would pursue lower gas prices.

Gas prices, refinery issue emerges

Adding refining capacity to increase fuel supplies might bring down the price of gas, says incumbent NDP MP Nathan Cullen

  • Sep. 6, 2015 11:00 a.m.

Adding refining capacity to increase fuel supplies might bring down the price of gas, says a Skeena – Bulkley Valley federal election candidate, but where or if a refinery might be built remains an open question.

The issue arose last week with NDP candidate Nathan Cullen promising that an NDP government would aggressively pursue lower pump prices, fining gas companies found to be overcharging.

But he also said high prices are often blamed on the global market conditions, wondering why that’s so because Canada has the third largest supply of oil in the world yet imports the product.

One of the clear solutions to shielding ourselves from that overseas volatility is to be refining more of that resource, and creating more jobs, right here in Canada,” said Cullen in a statement.

But speaking later Cullen would not broaden that statement out to supporting either one of two proposals for a refinery on the north coast.

I think first you need a real [environmental] assessment process and I would argue that doesn’t exist,” said Cullen.

You would need to address [aboriginal] rights and title and get local communities onside and public support.”

Cullen said the NDP has consistently opposed moves by the federal Conservative government to weaken the way environmental reviews are conducted and federal agencies charged with overseeing industrial activity.

In any event, Cullen continued, neither the Kitimat Clean project proposed for Kitimat nor the Pacific Future Energy project proposed for near Prince Rupert are anywhere close to beginning an environmental review.

Both would also require a pipeline to carry crude from Alberta to the coast, a concept Cullen vigorously opposes when it comes to the Northern Gateway proposal sought by Enbridge.

That involves pumping Alberta crude to a planned export terminal at Kitimat to Asian refineries.

Liberal candidate Brad Layton said he’d support construction in one or the other of the two locations “if it could be done in a responsible, safe and environmentally sound way.”

I would most definitely like to see us refine more of our raw resources here in Canada including crude oil. This would boost jobs and contribute to a healthy economy,” he said.

But, Layton added, he hasn’t seen any environmental assessments connected to the projects nor any details.

Gauging his own take on the possibility of increased fuel supply, the Liberal candidate did “caution people that with the way our current gas prices are determined I suspect this will not impact our prices in any significant way.”

The Christian Heritage Party’s Don Spratt also supported the construction of a new refinery while emphasizing the need for environmental safeguards.

We should wean ourselves off foreign oil, have a domestic free market pricing system, like other oil producing countries. That should lower prices at the pump, while we sell our surplus oil and gas at world market prices,” said Spratt.

He was more leery of the NDP’s ability to manage prices.

Even if they could somehow force lower prices at the pump, they would eventually raise the price up in higher gas taxes,” said Spratt of an NDP government.

Cullen’s position on gas pricing included a promise that a NDP government would create a gas ombudsman position.

Information provided by his campaign indicated the position’s job description and responsibilities would be similar, but not exactly the same, as those called for in a private member’s bill introduced in 2012 by a now-former NDP MP.

In that bill, the ombudsman would take in complaints about the business practices of oil and gas suppliers and, if warranted, investigate those complaints.

If the complaint is, to use the bill’s wording, “well-founded,” the ombudsman would send recommendations for action to the oil or gas suppliers.

And if the ombudsman is not satisfied with the response by the supplier, a report is then sent to the federal industry minister.

The private member’s bill was, however, silent as to what the minister could or would then do.

Cullen also said a NDP government would follow through on Conservative legislation which called for the fining of those whose gas pumps aren’t calibrated and so pump out less than what is indicated on the meter.

The legislation came into force in 2014 but no fines have yet been issued.

Conservative candidate Tyler Nesbitt had not responded to a request for comment by press time. The site www.gasbuddy.com compares gas prices.

Just Posted

‘It affects everybody:’ Trudeau’s brownface photos worry Wet’suwet’en chief

Skeena-Bulkley Valley Liberal candidate declines to comment on prime minister’s indiscretion

City of Terrace holds 39th annual Terry Fox Run

Almost $2K was raised towards cancer research

Former college trailers see new life with Kinsmen Club of Terrace

Eight trailers will be used to revive the organization’s youth camp at Lakelse Lake

Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture visits Nass Valley

Nisga’a Nation has great potential for Indigenous tourism, says Minister Lisa Beare

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

Horvat paces Canucks to 6-1 pre-season win over Oilers

Vancouver improves to 3-1 in NHL exhibition action

Legislature gifts, clothing, travel need better control, B.C. auditor says

Audit follows suspensions of managers by Speaker Darryl Plecas

‘Unacceptable’: What politicians have to say about Trudeau in blackface

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi: ‘When I saw that picture last night, certainly it was a sucker-punch’

‘He’s trying to kill me’: Victoria police commandeer boats to reach screaming woman

No charges laid and civilians to be awarded honours after incident on Gorge Waterway

VIDEO: B.C. man accused of assaulting sex worker loses temper in interrogation

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

John Horgan promises action after fatal mid-Island bus crash

Premier cites students, local Indigneous community as reason to repair the road

Teens charged in stabbing death of B.C. man in strip mall parking lot

Two youths, aged 15 and 16, charged in Aug. 16 killing of South Surrey’s Paul Prestbakmo

Forestry watchdog warned B.C. government about Bamfield Road in 2008

Ombusman’s specific concerns re-surface in wake of bus crash that killed two students

Most Read