If you're buying Trans Mountain, where's your backing for Energy East: Raitt

3:17pm


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Kinder Morgan had issued a May 31 ultimatum for clarification on the status of the project, which is now mired in legal challenges raised by B.C. Premier John Horgan and also facing Lower Mainland opposition with protests in Burnaby and Vancouver.

The federal government announced a plan Tuesday to spend $4.5 billion on buying the Trans Mountain pipeline and most of current owner Kinder Morgan Canada's other assets in order to ensure a plan to twin the pipeline is allowed to proceed.

'We will not stand down no matter who buys this ill-fated and exorbitantly priced pipeline'.

Pipeline proponents are jubilant, among them Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, who said in Edmonton there is now more certainty around the project than ever before.

Although Morneau said that private investors expressed interest in the pipeline, he could not explain why none of them were prepared to take the same risk with their shareholders than those adopted by the federal government with taxpayer resources, amid strong public opposition to the project. "This has been the case with every oil and coal transport proposal we've taken on".

The move is a calculated political risk for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has embraced the Paris environmental accord and the need for Canada to fight climate change.

"For Kinder Morgan, it was a good deal from what was looking like a real bad proposition but they played it really well and my sense is the feds overpaid on this", says Saul Klein, dean of the University of Victoria's Gustavson School of Business. The purchase includes the pipeline, pumping stations, and rights of way along the route.

Trudeau would not tip his hand Monday on the state of talks with Kinder Morgan, but reiterated his government's constant refrain that the project is absolutely going to be built. "This is an investment in Canada's future". While the government's takeover of the project has reassured its backers that it will be built, with construction starting in August, it also raises the stakes for Ottawa.

Multiple court cases are still pending against it, including the constitutional reference question from the B.C. government.

The pipeline has faced a number of legal and regulatory challenges from the BC government that has delayed construction of the project, which was approved by the federal government in 2016. "If anything, we're going to ramp up our demonstration and our movement", George says.

Morneau has already unveiled the third option: leaving original project architect Kinder Morgan to handle construction, but covering any cost overruns incurred as a result of political interference.

Morneau, the finance minister, called the deal to buy the pipeline a "a commercial agreement" and insisted that the Canadian government didn't intend to remain owner of the facility. The three groups, as well as Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion, have been regularly demonstrating in different ways at Trans Mountain's two Burnaby facilities over the last few months.

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