Published: Wed, May 30, 2018
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

Do you think Canada should pay for the Kinder Morgan pipeline?

Do you think Canada should pay for the Kinder Morgan pipeline?

Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd.'s shares lurched higher, then fell, after the federal government announced early Tuesday it would buy its Trans Mountain pipeline assets for $4.5 billion.

The Government of Canada has reached a deal with Kinder Morgan to buy the highly contested Trans Mountain Pipeline.

"We believe this is the best way to protect thousands of well-paying jobs and the safest and most effective way to get our resources to world markets", Morneau told a news conference in Ottawa after the meeting, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr at his side. "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".

"So our message today is simple: when we are faced with an exceptional situation that puts jobs at risk, that puts our global reputation on the line, our government is prepared to take action", he said.

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, where oil is loaded onto tankers for export.

But he added in a statement that the association is "deeply concerned" that the government felt it had to purchase the project "to assert federal jurisdiction" and allow it to be built.

In those heady days, it made some economic sense to build a pipeline devoted to developing Alberta's high-cost oil sands for export.

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"It does not change the course that the government of British Columbia has been on since we were sworn in in July of 2017", Horgan said. "It will help us build up the things that matter to working families, such as our schools and our hospitals".

The Canadian pipeline industry welcomes news Tuesday that the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline is more likely to be built, but expressed grave misgivings over the federal government's decision to buy both the expansion and the existing line in order to achieve that goal.

Horgan told reporters in Victoria the federal government's takeover of the project changes the legal situation, but his contentious legal action isn't aimed at any specific project.

Morneau said the federal government does not plan to be a long-term owner and is in negotiations with interested investors, including Indigenous communities, pension funds and the Alberta government, which will provide funding for any unexpected costs that arise during construction.

Morneau said more spending would be needed to complete the expansion, but gave no precise financial details, and stressed he felt the project should be returned to the private sector. But it's awful news for Canadian taxpayers who will ultimately have to bear the cost. If taxpayer dollars are going to be used to support Alberta's flagging oil sands industry (and the province has paid enough in equalization payments to deserve getting something back in return), why not use it in a way that brings them and other Canadians the greatest net benefits? "We've agreed to a fair price for our shareholders and found a way forward for this national interest project".

The pipeline has become a flash point for a wider debate in Canada over the environmental impact of tapping Alberta's oil sands, which critics view as a particularly polluting energy source.

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