NDP MLA Marg McCuaig-Boyd is praising the federal government’s decision to purchase Kinder Morgan’s stake in the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion.
“This deal puts people to work, building the pipeline right away, creating good jobs,” said McCuaig-Boyd during a teleconference with reporters on May 29. She also noted that the Alberta Government could invest up to $2 billion.
“That investment, I assure you, will only be payable once oil begins to flow through that pipeline. At this point, our investment would be converted to into equity, should we invest, ensuring value for any investment dollars that are Alberta tax dollars.”
On May 29, the federal government announced that it would spend $4.5 billion to purchase the Trans Mountain Pipeline and the company’s core assets.
“We believe that 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,” said federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau during a news conference in Ottawa that day.
The same day, Premier Rachel Notley praised the federal government for taking this action, adding that the work will continue.
“This is a major step forward for all Canadians,” Notley said on Twitter. “We have met the deadline. This project has more certainty than ever before. We won’t stop until this job is done!”
On April 8, Kinder Morgan announced that it would be pulling out of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion by the end of May, if the political and environmentalists’ opposition to the project didn’t cease.
In response, the Alberta Government passed Bill 12 in mid-May, giving it the authority to exercise how much oil, gasoline or natural gas could be allowed to flow to B.C.
John Horgan, the premier of B.C., has been adamant in his opposition to the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion and he has threatened to take legal action against the Alberta Government over Bill 12.
But for McCuaig-Boyd, not only did the co-operation between the two levels of government ensure that the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion would go ahead, it also signifies that Canadians across the country back it.
“Canadians have come together. People from across this nation have lent us their voices in support of the project which is, to be clear, in the national interest. Together, we’re building it,” she says.
What does this mean for northern Alberta? McCuaig-Boyd touts the employment potential of the new pipeline.
“By getting this pipeline going, we’re going to be able to provide a lot of work for … our young people. That’s going to bring value to all of our communities that we live in, because we know that when our energy industry is strong, we’re strong as a province and we’re strong as Canada.”
McCuaig-Boyd was asked if she has been talking to others in her constituency – Dunvegan-Central Peace-Notley – especially the petroleum industry, if they had concerns about the pipeline project being in jeopardy formerly.
“Concerns up north are similar to concerns, probably, across Canada. Are we going to get it done? Can we prove that, as Canadians, we can come together and get major projects done?”
McCuaig-Boyd also said that she has heard from people in the constituency that they support Premier Rachel Notley’s handling of the issue.
Another reporter asked McCuaig-Boyd to comment on the assertion that Kinder Morgan was divesting itself of the pipeline and that the government is “chasing away” investment.
“I would certainly disagree with that. (The federal and provincial governments) have been doing their due diligence on the costs and the risks. I can speak for our part. I think we’re comfortable that the federal government is buying this pipeline at fair market value. I can say that they expect to sell it down the road once it’s built. I do know there’s lots of people who are interested in being investors.”
McCuaig-Boyd also reiterated that no dollars are going to come from the Alberta Government until the oil starts flowing.
“At that point, if we do spend, it’s going to be converted to equity. We need to remember, this pipeline’s going to be a money maker. It is a source of revenue as well.”
Asked if Bill 12, the Preserving Canada’s Prosperity Act, would now be revoked with the federal government’s purchase of the pipeline expansion, McCuaig-Boyd commented that it will remain in place.
“Bill 12 speaks to getting the best value for Alberta’s resources, it’s about exporting. Certainly, at this time, I don’t foresee it being used. I think it will still be on the books, because this is not just about oil that flows to B.C. It could be for other directions. But at this point it’s looking pretty positive, so I don’t know that we’re going to need to worry about Bill 12 in the immediate future.”
MP Arnold Viersen responds with a rebuke
On May 29, Arnold Viersen, the Conservative MP for Peace River-Westlock, issued his own statement about the federal government’s decision to purchase the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion from Kinder Morgan.
He offered a rebuke of the announcement and here is the complete text of his statement:
“Today, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals announced their plan to use taxpayer dollars to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline from Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion.
“The Liberals will also take over the expansion project and core assets at a cost of $7.4 billion.
“The reality is that Kinder Morgan never asked for one dollar of taxpayer money, they only asked for certainty. Today’s Trans Mountain purchase does not end the uncertainty or the active obstruction of the BC government.
“Even more alarming is the $4.5 billion taxpayer dollars leaving Canada to create jobs in other countries. This didn’t need to happen. The lack of support by the Liberal Government for Canada’s natural resources energy sector has had a compounding effect.
“Since the Liberals were elected in 2015, the level of drilling dropped from 1,800 drills in Alberta to 400. Instead of championing pipeline projects, the Liberals have repeatedly blocked and undermined pipeline projects, leading to layoffs across our country, and risking thousands more jobs, billions of dollars in energy investment and government revenue.
“Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives believe that low taxes and the elimination of redundant regulations would allow projects like Trans Mountain to be built without a burden to the taxpayer.
“In fact, under the previous Conservative Government, four pipelines were built without spending one cent of taxpayers’ money.
“As the MP for Peace River – Westlock, I will continue to hold Justin Trudeau and his government to account and champion Canadian energy and oil workers.”
The pipeline is a losing, business proposition, because Kinder Morgan could not get financing from Wall Street. The $4.5 billion boondoggle bailout will be wasted taxpayers dollars.