Campbells reveal Alcan holdings

Both Premier Gordon Campbell and his wife, Nancy, own shares in mining giant Alcan Inc., according to the premier’s annual disclosure statement filed with the office of the legislature clerk on December 1, 2006.

The statement does not reveal the number of Alcan shares they hold. MLAs are required to file notice of any changes in their share holdings within 30 days. As of January 22, no additional disclosure statements from Campbell had been filed with the clerk’s office.

Both Campbells also own shares in several dozen other companies, as well as bonds, income trusts, mutual funds, money-market investments, and cash. Above the share listings, the statement says: “all trading discretionary by Canaccord Assets.”

Gordon Campbell heavily praised an agreement between Alcan and Crown corporation BC Hydro when it was announced last August.

“Alcan has been a valued partner in the growth of our province for over 50 years and will continue to build on that legacy with this major investment in Kitimat,” Campbell said in an August 14, 2006, statement. “I want to thank Alcan for its continued commitment to B.C. and for working with its partners to make this investment possible for the benefit of the entire Northwest.”

The contract involved Alcan promising a $2-billion upgrade to its Kitimat aluminum smelter, along with selling power to BC Hydro for $71 per megawatt-hour. That figure amounts to the average price that Hydro is paying for last year’s new generating projects. However, Alcan is able to produce that power for just $10 per MWh, according to Hydro spokeswoman Elisha Moreno.

On December 29, 2006, the B.C. Utilities Commission rejected the Alcan–BC Hydro agreement, claiming that it was “not in the public interest” and “wholly unenforceable”. The commission had not revealed detailed reasons for its decision by the Straight ’s deadline.

This week, both Alcan and Hydro filed notices of intent to appeal the commission’s order. Moreno told the Straight that Hydro had yet to decide whether or not to actually appeal, pending release of the commission’s reasons.

This week, NDP energy critic John Horgan told the Straight that the Alcan-Hydro agreement was a “government-brokered deal”.

Mike Morton, the premier’s press secretary, told the Straight that public officials and servants can hold whatever stocks they want. “It’s disclosed, so everything’s done according to Hoyle,” Morton said.

On January 22, Alcan shares closed at $56.21 on the Toronto Stock Exchange, down from a 12-month high of $64.99 last May.