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

On his way into an extraordinary 7.30 a.m. cabinet meeting Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said once again that the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will get built.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau has proposed sacrificing Canadian taxpayers to bail out an uneconomic US pipeline owned by former Enron executives.

But British Columbia's social democratic government recently joined environmental activists' fight against the pipeline, provoking a trade row with Alberta and leading Kinder Morgan to temporarily halt its construction until the dispute was resolved.

The government does not intend to be the long-term owner of the pipeline, however, and has already begun speaking with interested parties about transferring ownership later on.

Kean spent a significant amount of time on the conference call highlighting the company's other assets in Canada, which include its oil storage tanks and crude-oil-by-rail facilities in Edmonton, its Vancouver Wharves Terminal for exporting mineral concentrates from the West Coast, and its Cochin pipeline, which sends light oil to the oilsands so it can be blended with bitumen to flow through pipelines.

Notley said the pipeline will be under federal jurisdiction, which will limit how British Columbia laws can be applied to the project.

"If the province of British Columbia tries to get an injunction to stop the federal government from going ahead with the pipeline, it is highly unlikely it will get very far in a Canadian court", Austin added. Currently, he said yesterday, Canada is losing US$11.56 billion (C$15 billion) annually because of the pipeline constraint. The Tory leader asked for a guarantee that the costs of the Liberal plan will not balloon beyond $4.5 billion.

Moscrop said the Trans Mountain pipeline issue reminds him of the 2005 Gomery inquiry into the earlier Liberal sponsorship scandal, because it is an issue with the potential to keep haunting Trudeau's government. The purchase will be financed by Export Development Canada.

The Alberta government has agreed to cover any unexpected costs that arise during construction.

But even if the Keystone XL pipeline is built, Canada is still selling 99% of its oil to refineries in the USA and that narrow market means they now get far less per barrel than they would if they had access to an alternative market. "The government responded and that's their business".

"As of today, this is the most certainty that this project has ever had", she said.

Canada's oil sector has been stung in the past year as foreign energy companies retreated amid concerns about the environmental toll, high production costs and a risky regulatory regime.

"Canada stands to sacrifice its global reputation, irreplaceable iconic species like the Southern resident Killer Whales, and its commitments to meet its Paris Climate targets and to reconcile with Indigenous people - all while putting enormous risk on Canadian taxpayers".

"For Indigenous groups, we'll make sure that existing profit-sharing or other agreements established with Kinder Morgan remain in effect". After it completes the project, Canada plans to sell the pipeline. It is also confident it will prevail in a Federal Court of Appeal challenge by some Indigenous communities over its approval of the pipeline, a ruling on which is due any day.

Veteran B.C. NDP MP Nathan Cullen suggested Ottawa was prioritizing a pipeline over safe drinking water for Indigenous children on reserves.

His Liberals face a hard balancing act in trying to champion climate action while supporting growth in Canada's oil sector.

  • Eleanor Harrison