Canada govt steps in to buy controversial pipeline

by Ben Pena May 31, 2018, 17:17
Canada govt steps in to buy controversial pipeline

The overwhelming majority of Canada's oil exports are sold to American refiners at a discount to worldwide benchmarks, reducing fuel prices for American consumers and income for Canadian producers.

Mark Bigland-Pritchard said the amount of bitumen produced from existing projects already exceeds the goals of the Paris Climate Accord.

The ensuing uncertainty, paired with vociferous opposition from environmental groups and some Indigenous communities in B.C., prompted Kinder Morgan to halt investment until the federal government could inject some certainty into the project.

Amid the feuding, the pipeline has become a barometer for foreign investments in Canada, with some warning of a spillover into other sectors of the economy.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the decision was exceptional and that the rule of law needs to be seen as a business advantage to investing in Canada.

"This is a declaration of war against indigenous people because they're not recognizing our own sovereignty", says Kanahus Manuel, a Secwepemc midwife and mother of four. "[But] it's also highly risky because now the government bears the risk". Alberta and British Columbia have also been at odds over the potential environmental risks of the project.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Energy East is "old news" and the Conservatives are just embarrassed that they couldn't get pipelines built when they were in government.

Canada only has two options for selling that oil.

Soon after the announcement, a rally was planned for Vancouver to express the pipeline opponents' opposition. But British Columbia has refused to yield.

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Green Party MP Elizabeth May, representing Saanich-Gulf Islands, and Victoria NDP MP Murray Rankin both panned the federal move.

Premier John Horgan says he will continue the fight to protect British Columbia's coast from the consequences of an oil spill regardless of who owns the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Trudeau is gambling billions of Canadian taxpayer dollars on an oil project that will never be built - a project that Kinder Morgan itself has indicated is "untenable" and that faces more than a dozen lawsuits, crumbling economics, and a growing resistance movement that is spreading around the world.

While Wilson admitted he doesn't know how accurate the cost estimates for the project are, he believes Canada ultimately will make money off it. "There's still 10,000 people who will get arrested if need be".

Rempel says that Trudeau should have taken a better look at how to enforce federal jurisdiction rather than write a cheque.

For those opposed to the pipeline twinning, including Indigenous leaders and environmentalists, the bailout probably came as a "big surprise, if not a shock", he said.

Prof. David Tindall, an expert on climate change politics at UBC, said Horgan has gained support in B.C. for his calm and focused approach to the pipeline debate. The Export Development Bank of Canada will finance the plan and create a Crown corporation to run and manage the pipeline during Canada's ownership period.

"Today's agreement will help advance Canada as an energy leader, as a place where good projects get built", Carr said. "We've already heard from a number of global investors that they're quite pleased this project now has certainty that it's moving forward, and I'm confident we're going to see some new investments and dollars flowing into the province".

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