From: Common Front for Social Justice NB, Grassroots NB, CUPE New Brunswick, Leap4Wards, Solidarity Fredericton

2 March 2021 – for immediate release

 

FREDERICTON – Labour and Social Justice organizations are reacting to the news that Irving Oil is withdrawing its application to the New Brunswick Energy Utilities Board to increase wholesale margin prices for gasoline and heating fuel by up to 75%. Representing workers and low-income people in New Brunswick, these groups are glad that New Brunswickers will not have to shoulder these massive increases, but caution that government must do more to regulate the energy system.

Quotes:

“This is a win for all New Brunswickers. With the inappropriate backing of a sitting minister, Irving Oil threatened to hold our province hostage by cutting oil supply if they didn’t get their way.”

–Angus Fletcher, Organizer for Solidarity Fredericton

 

“With this withdrawal, the ball is in the government’s court – they can take steps to ensure the regulatory system is robust and that energy is provided as a public good or continue to fail New Brunswickers by not standing up to the Irvings.”

– Abram Lutes, Provincial Coordinator for the Common Front

 

“Irving Oil’s withdrawal shows that they do not want to play fair. They want to hide crucial information from the public. It also shows the important role of labour and social movements in taking on big business when they try to force their way.”

–Brien Watson, CUPE New Brunswick President

 

“We’ve seen how Irving Oil has received tax exemptions leaving everyone else to pick up the tab. It has been unfairly skewed for far too long. This is a big victory for New Brunswickers.”

–Lynaya Astephen, Chair of Leap4Wards

 

“After studying Irving Oil’s unethical business practices and seeing them up close, I am concerned about how the Irving monopoly in our province tried to exert its power over our government and regulators. This process shows regulatory bodies like the EUB serve an important function in protecting the public interest. The government has the opportunity now to show New Brunswickers their commitment to democracy by affirming the importance of the EUB and honouring democratic institutions as a foundation of our society’s values. The law must serve everyone, not just one company’s interests.”

–Hafsah Mohammed, Organizer for GrassrootsNB

 

Quick facts

  • Irving Oil applied for wholesale margin increases to the provincial energy regulator, the Energy and Utilities Board, in January. If granted, the application would have raised the wholesale costs of home heating by up to 75% costing consumers up to $60 million more per year.
  • Natural Resources Minister Mike Holland sent a letter to the EUB on Jan. 6, one day after Irving Oil made an application, urging the Board to fast-track the application.
  • 39,600 households in New Brunswick rely primarily on heating oil as their primary energy source, according to the National Energy Use Database.
  • According to Statistics Canada, New Brunswick has the lowest median household income in Canada.
  • The Irving Family are the wealthiest family in the province and the 7th wealthiest in the country. According to the CCPA, Canadian billionaires increased their collective wealth by $37 billion last year.
  • The application was withdrawn on March 1st, 2021.

Related information

 

Media contact:

Abram Lutes

Provincial Coordinator, Common Front NB

fcjsnb@nbnet.nb.ca

506-855-897

 

Simon Oulette

Communications Representative, CUPE Maritimes
souellette@cupe.ca
506-229-6038