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31 May 2018, 07:30 | Dale Webster
Canadian Government to Buy Contested Oil Sands Pipeline
The future of the deal is uncertain after the federal government on Tuesday announced its intent to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline from Kinder Morgan for $4.5-billion to take over and complete the expansion for an unknown additional cost.
"To investors considering Canada as a place to build big, important, transformative projects like the Trans Mountain expansion, we want you to know that you have a partner in Ottawa", Morneau said.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau has proposed sacrificing Canadian taxpayers to bail out an uneconomic USA pipeline owned by former Enron executives.
But opposition in British Columbia threaten to further delay the project, which was approved by the federal government in 2016. "We won't stop until the job is done!" The MP acknowledged the court cases launched by the First Nations remain an "outstanding issue" for the project, but added the federal government feels it has met constitutional requirements for consultation.
The pipeline's expansion faced a tenuous future as lawsuits mounted from British Columbia and indigenous people.
Ottawa could also deploy the police and troops to maintain a barrier between protesters and construction workers.
On their way into the meeting, few members of cabinet had anything to say about the controversial energy project, other than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who stated: "We're going to get that pipeline built". It does not intend to own the project for long.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who spoke with Horgan Tuesday, reiterated his government's opinion that it has jurisdiction over interprovincial pipelines.
"This indemnification would allow Kinder Morgan to finish what they started - what they received federal and B.C. provincial approval to do".
Rueben George, spokesman for the Tsleil-Waututh's Sacred Trust Initiative which is opposing the pipeline, called the decision a bad risk for Canadian taxpayers.
The Canadian government said on Tuesday that it would buy a pipeline that has been the focus of widespread protests by environmentalists and some Indigenous groups, putting the government squarely on the side of the country's oil industry. Also, the 26 lenders that Kinder Morgan negotiated with agreed to exempt the pipeline company from penalties on loans if the project was delayed or obstructed because of political problems.
However, Kevin Birn, an oilsands analyst with IHS Markit, said it's not actually without precedent for the government to participate in projects like this - like the Hibernia oil platform, Line 9 and various heavy-water treatment projects. "Our nation must take a hard look at itself; the regulatory regime in Canada is broken".
Green Party leader and MLA for Saanich-Gulf Islands Elizabeth May said Kinder Morgan was "laughing all the way to the bank".
Kean did not say why he made a decision to sell rather than absorb the risk of further delays.
Barbara Guard lives on Sumas Mountain near Kinder Morgan's tank farm. "I think that is what has happened here".
"We're not seeking to make a profit, we're seeking to make sure the project gets done".
Trans Mountain stirred an unusual public fight between neighboring provinces.
The planned expansion of Trans Mountain would almost triple the capacity, running from Alberta's oilsands to the Pacific province of British Columbia, which is opposed to the project.
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