BCUC ruling a wake-up

Dear sir,

As a citizen of Kitimat I would like to take this opportunity to thank mayor Wozney, Trafford Hall, the city councillors, Richard McLaren and all other parties who were intervenors at the BC Utility Commission hearing on the agreement between Alcan and BC Hydro.

I was actually very surprised the agreement was not rubber-stamped.

I dread to think what might have happened if the opposition had been elected at our last municipal election. That group would have sat idle while Alcan and BC Hydro cooked up their sweetheart deal with the blessing of our provincial government.

This ruling should be a wake up call to everyone, especially to premier Gordon Campbell and his team of merry men.

They are here to represent the people of BC and to look after our interest. They should be telling Alcan that, yes, they want Alcan to modernize this smelter, but they have to get more than just an announcement, they much get a written agreement that a new smelter will be built.

Alcan spends millions of dollars on advertising to tell the whole province what a great and caring company thy are. Well, talk is cheap.

If this company is sincere that they are actually going to modernize the Kitimat smelter, then putting that into a written agreement should not be a concern to them.

Alcan’s true colours are starting to show now with the most recent comments from Alcan Primary Metal’s new president and CEO Michel Jacques. He says that without this deal, the new smelter is not economically viable.

I say that is complete hogwash. If Alcan were to build a new smelter, it would be a win-win situation for them and their shareholders.

First, they would be producing more aluminum - which is in high demand - than ever before.

Second, they would be doing this with 500 fewer employees. That is 500 fewer paycheques they would be putting out every two weeks.

And third, they would be running this new promised smelter with less power than they have ever used and therefore would be left with an abundance of power to sell at a very good profit.

It is plain to see that it would be a windfall for the company, so I have to question what the real motive is. If there is no commitment or agreement to build a smelter under a win-win-win situation, then I wonder ‘what are they up to?’

If Alcan were given a lucrative power agreement, why would they even build a new smelter here? It would only be an incentive to continue to sell more power and to take the profits and expand in Quebec and other parts of the world.

Myself and others don’t trust or believe Alcan has any intention of putting a new smelter here. Some people will say we are pessimistic. I believe we are realistic.

I hope that we are wrong, not only for my own sake as an employee of Alcan, but also for the future of Kitimat as a community.

I challenge Alcan to prove us wrong, to sit down with our mayor and government and put in writing what you are saying you are going to do.

TV ads, announcements, promises and talk don’t feed the families of Kitimat and Terrace.

So, enough of your bullying and scare tactics. Start behaving like a professional company.

What you say is what you should do - I challenge you to put it in writing.

A concerned citizen,

John Bouzane.

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