Five Things: the next steps for getting the Trans Mountain project done

Quebecers gathered to protest the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline in Montreal on Sunday

Canada purchases Trans Mountain pipeline project for $4.5B

The federal Liberal government is spending $4.5 billion to buy Trans Mountain and all of Kinder Morgan Canada's core assets, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said Tuesday as he unveiled the government's long-awaited, big-budget strategy to save the plan to expand the oilsands pipeline.

Kinder Morgan has threatened to back out of the expansion project by May 31 if Ottawa, B.C. and Alberta can't come to an agreement.

"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", Morneau told reporters.

"This is a betrayal by a government who ran on a hopeful vision for a better future", he said.

Morneau says 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. "Every year they have to spend more on maintenance to keep it running", added Allan.

The deal was approved by cabinet on Tuesday morning and is now subject to approval by Kinder Morgan stockholders.

But if one isn't found by July 22, Kinder Morgan's stake in the pipeline would be bought out by the Canadian government, which would proceed with the expansion, whose cost has been estimated at about $5.7 billion.

Huge protest rally against federal buyout of Kinder Morgan in Vancouver today
That claim is contested by the government of British Columbia and increasingly militant environmental and Indigenous protestors. The transaction on which the federal government and Kinder Morgan agreed upon on Tuesday is expected to close in August 2018.

"I have always been supportive of getting a pipeline to saltwater", she said.

An application for the pipeline was first made in 2013 by Texas-based Kinder Morgan to the National Energy Board.

Kamloops' two MLAs blame Premier John Horgan for what they called "a sad, sad day for this country".

The Alberta government will provide funding for any unexpected costs that arise during construction.

The twinning of the 1,150-kilometre-long Trans Mountain pipeline between Strathcona County, near Edmonton, and Burnaby, B.C., will almost triple its capacity to an estimated 890,000 barrels a day and increase traffic off B.C.'s coast from approximately five tankers to 34 tankers a month.

Kinder Morgan had set a Thursday deadline to gain certainty over the project or abandon it altogether. "The need for federal tax payers to purchase this project have exposed fundamental flaws in the regulatory systems at all levels of government".

The $4.5-billion purchase price does not cover the construction costs of building the new pipeline, however; Morneau refused to say what that cost may be.

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The federal government can in theory step in and disallow any provincial laws that British Columbia might use to block the pipeline, but this provision in the Canadian constitution has not been used since the 1940s.

What all this shows is the abject failure of Trudeau's and Notley's superficial and absurd belief that imposing a national carbon price on Canadians would give them the "social licence" to build the Trans Mountain pipeline, with the blessings of B.C.'s anti-oil government, Indigenous objectors and radical environmentalists.

"We are pleased to have worked with the federal government to ensure construction resumes, certainty is increased and Albertans and all Canadians enjoy the many benefits of having the project go forward", Notley said in a statement.

"It seems completely insane", May said.

The Trans Mountain project is created to increase capacity of the 65-year-old pipeline from Edmonton, Alberta, to Burnaby, B.C., from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels per day. Currently, he said yesterday, Canada is losing US$11.56 billion (C$15 billion) annually because of the pipeline constraint. A lack of capacity in pipelines or in rail cars to ship oil produced in Alberta is also hurting Canada's energy sector.

Greenpeace Canada's Mike Hudema tweeted "Good-bye climate and Indigenous rights commitments Canada and hello Massive losses".

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