Meetings between Kinder Morgan and feds leave no paper trail

Jenny Uechi
Kinder Morgan and Joe Oliver

No records, no agenda, no minutes, no briefing notes. That's what Vancouver-based economist and former ICBC CEO Robyn Allan learned from a Freedom of Information (FOI) request on senior-level meetings between the federal government and Texas-based oil giant Kinder Morgan. 

"It's not just bad administration," said Allan. "It's a betrayal of public trust." 

Three of the meetings involved then-Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver. 

Allan filed FOI requests on records relating to 20 meetings between Kinder Morgan and the federal government in 2013 and 2014 in May, and received her first response in October. 

She said she was was stunned to find a three-word response for 15 of these senior-level meetings: "No records exist." 

Allan followed up twice with federal FOI staff, to clarify that the records weren't simply being withheld.

Natural Resources spokesperson Alain Caccione said the federal government handed over a package with "all records that correspond to recent meetings with Kinder Morgan." But while the document had communications for five junior-level meetings, which contained the information Allan expected to find, the majority of the meetings had no records. 

Under FOI regulations, the federal government does not have to release records relating to lobbyist meetings. But Allan says the problem runs deeper.