December 18, 2018

Conservatives Attack Trudeau For Spending $4.5 Billion On Trans Mountain

31 May 2018, 03:44 | Edward Lowe

3:17pm Image Credit CFJC Today


Image Credit CFJC Today

While Morneau said Ottawa doesn't want to be the proprietor of the pipeline, he said the government's first priority is ensuring the Trans Mountain expansion is finished, whether the project is under the private sector or in public hands.

"We believe that federal ownership could further galvanize opposition to the project from special interest groups while complicating the federal government's ability to provide protection over project construction in (British Columbia's) Lower Mainland", analysts Justin Bouchard, Kristopher Zack and Chris MacCulloch wrote in the note.

It could look at buying Western Canada natural gas plants now being marketed by Enbridge Inc. with the cash its getting from the sale, he said, while noting Kinder Morgan has also suggested it may distribute cash to shareholders.

In 2007, Kinder Morgan reported to the National Energy Board that it valued the Trans Mountain pipeline system at $550 million.

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In a conference call with reporters, B.C. Premier John Horgan said Ottawa can't blame B.C. for its decision to buy the pipeline, and the federal finance minister will have to answer to taxpayers "about how he's disposing of their hard-fought tax dollars".

Export Development Canada will finance the purchase, which includes the pipeline, pumping stations and rights of way along the route between Edmonton and Vancouver, as well as the marine terminal in Burnaby, B.C., where oil is loaded onto tankers for export.

Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner MP Glen Motz weighed into the debate over the federal governments plans to buy out the Kinder Morgan pipeline project. It is expected to close in August 2018, with Kinder Morgan retaining control of the pipeline and its assets until then.

The federal government can in theory step in and disallow any provincial laws that British Columbia might use to block the pipeline, but this provision in the Canadian constitution has not been used since the 1940s.

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Ottawa will take over the expansion and the existing pipeline and assets in a deal that will see Kinder Morgan immediately begin construction. "They're willing to get involved", said Ball. "At a critical moment in history, the government is indeed doing "whatever it takes" to undermine our transition to a safe, clean, renewable energy future". The much more ambitious Energy East project was abandoned by TransCanada Corp. amid outcry in Quebec - and no government move to save it. The cost? $4.5 billion in taxpayers money.

The issue has divided two Canadian provinces, pitting Alberta's government against leaders in British Columbia. The overwhelming majority of Canada's oil exports are sold to American refiners at a discount to global benchmarks, reducing fuel prices for American consumers and income for Canadian producers. Citing investor uncertainty, it also said it would give up on the expansion plan if British Columbia did not stop its attempts to block it by this Thursday. It's actually better for Kinder Morgan than it is for Canada.

Canada approved the project in November 2016, following an expanded environmental review process that included additional consultations with Indigenous communities and assessing the amount of additional emissions likely to result from additional production.

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