Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Stockwell Day Joins Company Planning to Build B.C. Bitumen Refinery

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Stockwell Day Joins Company Planning to Build B.C. Bitumen Refinery

Article excerpt

Stockwell Day joins bitumen refinery proposal

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CALGARY - Stockwell Day has joined the leadership team of a Vancouver company that's planning to build a $10-billion oilsands refinery on the West Coast.

The former politician, who has held high-profile cabinet posts in the federal and Alberta governments, has been hired as a special adviser at Pacific Future Energy Corp. and will sit on its board of directors. He'll also head an arms length advisory council that's expected to be formed over the next few months.

"I've been very gratified that I've been involved in a number of projects since leaving politics, but this has to be right up there in terms of something that's exciting for me," Day said in an interview from Vancouver.

He said the proposed refinery, which bills itself as the world's greenest, could be a "legacy project for Canada."

Oilsands producers have been keen to access lucrative Asian markets, but stiff opposition to proposals such as Enbridge Inc.'s (TSX:ENB) Northern Gateway pipeline has put a damper on those ambitions. One of the biggest environmental concerns has been the prospect of bitumen-laden tankers navigating coastal waters.

The Pacific Future proposal -- along with others being floated by B.C. newspaper magnate David Black and aboriginal businessman Calvin Helin -- would mean refined products, rather than heavy oil, would be shipped on tankers to Asia, making a potential spill less damaging.

Day's political experience spans the two provinces with the most at stake when it comes to West Coast energy exports. After his time in Alberta's Progressive Conservative government, Day was the MP for the British Columbia riding of Okanagan-Coquihalla, first for the now-defunct Canadian Alliance and then for the Conservatives.

He also has insight into the thinking of potential buyers of Canadian resources on the other side of the Pacific, having served as the federal trade minister and minister for the Asia-Pacific gateway.

The Pacific Future proposal would mean "high-tech, long-term jobs" for Canada, said Day, who left government in 2011.

"We're talking about refining product here rather than shipping what really is raw product to other countries and seeing the jobs produced there. …

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