Looks like Ottawa is hiding a dirty little secret.

T. Rex
Looks like Ottawa is hiding a dirty little secret.
Petro-Can lists Kyoto
Prospectus warns of future environmental legislation
By Neil Waugh -- For the Edmonton Sun


The Petro-Canada plot thickens.

Last week, federal Liberal Finance Minister Ralph Goodale announced that the government's 49 million remaining shares of Pierre Trudeau's extremely expensive and divisive experiment in state capitalism (or was it something else?) are on the block.

Yet not one red cent will actually end up in the oil company's coffers to drill wells, build tar-sands plants and create wealth for the shareholders. The entire $3 billion goes to the feds - a lot of it to be spent on environmental technology, according to Goodale's announcement.

Of course, Goodale's not just the guy with the shares. Along with his boss, Prime Minister Paul Martin, and Environment Minister Stephane Dion, Goodale is also someone who may or may not harbour a dirty little secret. One that could be disastrous to all those new Petro-Canada shareholders to whom a horde of brokerage houses want to sell the government stock on both sides of the border.

It's the Kyoto protocol implementation scheme.

In last spring's federal throne speech, the Liberals said their plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will be even tougher than the requirements laid out in the international treaty. This is Jean Chretien's legacy to the Alberta oilpatch.

Certainly Petro-Canada wasn't holding anything back with its preliminary prospectus filed with Canadian and American securities watchdogs, including the Alberta Securities Commission.

"Future changes in environmental legislation could occur and result in stricter standards and enforcement, larger fines and liability, and increased capital expenditures and operating costs, which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations," the 'risk factors' section of the Petro-Canada document gloomed.

Kyoto was specifically listed.

Sure, things are rosy now with international oil supply disruptions driving up the benchmark price to over $46 US a barrel yesterday. But what happens after the feds blow off their shares and then bring the Kyoto hammer down?

Certainly, that's what the ASC says it's supposed to be standing on guard against. Its website talks about Alberta securities laws that ensure "investors have timely, accurate information on which to base investment decisions."

Presumably, that means things like what the sneaky Liberals have up their sleeves for the energy industry after they cash out their shares in a hot market.

ASC capital markets director Ken Parker admits the Petro-Canada document only arrived last week and he hasn't had a chance to get a handle on whether the feds, as a powerful insider of the company, have made the necessary declarations in the prospectus.

But he does point to the back of the document that calls for "full, true and plain disclosure of all information and does not omit a material fact."

You mean like the secretive Kyoto implementation strategy - of which dribs and drabs have been alluded to along the way?

By filing the document with Canadian and American authorities, have Petro-Canada and the federal ministers already violated securities laws by withholding key and potentially damaging Kyoto information?

"I don't know if, in fact, the federal government does have a plan," Parker sighed. "But if they have a plan and they are trading based on information that's not generally available, then, yes, we might have an issue."

Nobody agrees more than federal Conservative finance critic Monte Solberg.

"The government is the one that's selling and the government knows what the plans are for implementation of the Kyoto accord which could have a material effect on Petro-Canada shares," Solberg spat. "To close the loop you really need securities regulators asking the question whether or not this is a conflict of interest. Just because it's government, they shouldn't escape that kind of scrutiny."

He called on the Alberta and Ontario securities bodies and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission to get to the bottom of what's going on here.

"If I was someone in the oilpatch reading this, I'd say they are admitting what they've denied all along," Solberg said about the Kyoto clause in the Petro-Canada prospectus. "There could be serious, serious implications from Kyoto down the road. This should send a chill through the heart of executives in the oilpatch."

In other words, the Full Monte.
What a change from BC to Alberta.

Since moving here, I've noticed that the Kyoto Protocol is not well liked AT ALL. I certainly won't be putting my "Go Kyoto" bumper sticker on my car anytime soon.
Reverend Blair
See, that's where we're different Jillyvn. When I was a kid we moved to Ottawa with a bumper sticker that said, "Let the Eastern bastards freeze in the dark." That summer we took that car all the way out to the East Coast on vacation.

I would not hesitate one little bit about putting a pro-Kyoto sticker on my car now, and I'd drive it proudly right into downtown Calgary. Hell, I'd even offer Ralph Klein a lift.
Looks like the Edmonton Sun needs a lesson in Capitalism and the markets...

"Ottawa is hiding a dirty little secret.
By Neil Waugh -- For the Edmonton Sun "

in part, he wrote:

"Yet not one red cent will actually end up in the oil company's coffers to drill wells, build tar-sands plants and create wealth for the shareholders."

Now, forgive me if I'm wrong, but if I, as a shareholder, sold my shares in PetroCanada, would the money go to PetroCanada???? No, it would go to ME. So, the federal gov't is selling their shares in PetroCanada, and the money is going where? To the federal gov't. Why is this a surprise? Even the right wing loonies in Alberta should be able to follow that logic.

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