Oil Company Profits Soar

With the sudden over-night jump in gas prices, the New Democratic Party of Canada is growing more concerned over how hardworking Canadians will continue to afford fuel for their vehicles.

And that's why NDP MP Brian Masse (Windsor West) asked the government today, to choose Canadians and protect the price of gas, instead of protecting oil and gas companies.

Masse is challenging the government to bring forward for parliamentary debate, the motion he introduced in the House of Commons asking for the creation of an independent regulatory agency to monitor the price of oil and gas.

"The big oil and gas companies are releasing their first-quarter financial reports and it is shocking to see their profits continue to grow while average Canadians are being cheated at the pumps," said Masse. "Why are Canadians being forced to contribute to these companies' wealth? The government should be working on protecting prices, not protecting gas companies' profits."

According to news reports last week, Petro-Canada, the country's fourth largest oil producer and refiner, reported strong first-quarter financial results. Their earnings rose from $486 million last year to $580 million this year. Oil and gas extraction companies' profits exceeded $31 billion for the first time ever in 2006, up 2.3% over 2005 levels.

"The Conservatives and Liberals are not protecting Canadians - rather, they are letting the big oil companies get richer," said Transportation Critic, Peter Julian (Burnaby-New Westminster). "When in opposition, the Conservatives called on the federal government to cut taxes on gasoline, yet now that they are in government, they've flip-flopped and have refused to implement their own suggestions."

In Vancouver, gas prices shot up to $1.27 per litre - the highest rate in Canada. And in Montreal today, the price jumped up 10 cents, to reach $1.18 per litre. British Columbians have been the victims of continual spikes in price as refiners typically bump up their margins in the early spring, gearing up for the summer driving months.

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