Vancouver Consumers Gouged at Pumps as Profits Increase

OTTAWA - The NDP is growing concerned over the rising price of gas across Canada especially in Vancouver, with companies such as Petro-Canada reporting a billion dollar profit, said NDP Deputy Leader Libby Davies (Vancouver East).

"This morning, gas prices in Vancouver hit $1.35," said Davies. "That is a great financial burden for the people of BC. Meanwhile, we see Petro-Canada reporting a $1.1 billion dollar, first-quarter profit. Where is the fairness for BC families?"

Petro-Canada reported a first-quarter profit of $1.1 billion, up from $590 million a year ago. During the quarter, the Calgary-based company produced 427,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, up from 405,000 in the same quarter last year.

"It is unfair for working and middle-class families to be gouged at the pumps while big oil companies continue to reap record profits," said Davies. "The record prices we’re seeing are a significant pay cut for families. An independent watchdog needs to be set up to monitor prices and help protect against future gouging."

Davies said ordinary Canadians find themselves trying to cope with uncontrolled rising gas prices because the Liberals and Conservatives have refused to act when gas prices spiked in the past. On April 20, 2005, federal legislation was put forth by NDP MP Brian Masse (Windsor West) to create a petroleum monitoring agency. It was put to a vote but the motion was defeated with Conservatives and Liberals voting against, and NDP MPs and Bloc members voting for the motion.

"The Conservatives and Liberals always support the big corporations, whether they are the banks, polluters, or in this case, the oil companies. It’s time to put fairness back into the consumer’s pocketbooks. Oil companies and energy producers should have to justify and defend cost increases," said Davies.

"With the Victoria Day long weekend approaching and summer right around the corner, it is unfair for Canadians to be gouged and cheated while the oil and gas companies get richer."

This Press Release was posted on April 29, 2008