MP HILL asks Transport Minister to cancel sale of Ridley Terminals

OTTAWA ? Jay Hill, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Prince George-Peace River, asked the federal government today to confirm it will cancel a deal to sell Ridley Terminals at the Port of Prince Rupert to Ontario-based Fortune Minerals amid increasing concerns it will impede growth and investment in northeastern British Columbia.

During Question Period in the House of Commons, Hill asked Transport Minister Jean Lapierre the following question:

?The Transport Minister?s dithering and mismanagement of Ridley Terminals at the Port of Prince Rupert is threatening millions of dollars in future investment in northeast British Columbia. For months I have expressed my concern to the minister regarding just how essential Ridley Terminals is to the long-term viability of coal mining in my riding and to the communities and people this industry supports. Even the cabinet now has belatedly requested that the minister review all options regarding the government?s intended fire sale of Ridley Terminals.

Will the minister now confirm that he has canceled the sale of this terminal??

In his response, the Minister of Transport hinted his indecision was partly due to the province of British Columbia?s interest in Ridley Terminals. However, following Question Period, Hill said the BC provincial government indicated in a letter to the Minister in September that it was not interested in purchasing Ridley Terminals.

Meanwhile, a number of long-term contracts that the board of Ridley Terminals entered into in good faith are now hanging in the balance because the federal government may cancel those projects pending the sale.

?Millions upon millions of dollars in investments are idling in neutral while this federal Liberal government continues its dithering over what to do with Ridley Terminals,? said Hill. ?A clause in the original request for proposals issued by the Department of Transport clearly indicates that the Minister is legally entitled to cancel the deal with Fortune Minerals for any reason and at any time without incurring any liability.

Hill concluded, ?Even the status quo is a better option than the uncertainty the Minister has created. He must act now to protect the future of Ridley Terminals by canceling this fire sale!?