Following the news Tuesday morning that the Canadian government has purchased the controversial Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline for a whopping $4.5 billion, Castanet hit the streets to find out how Okanagan residents feel about it.
Kinder Morgan investors must still approve the sale, which is scheduled to close in August, but the deal will allow construction to resume immediately, the minister added. The company's share price, which had been sliding, moved upward after Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced Ottawa's plan to buy the pipeline for $4.5 billion.
The finance minister said he plans to re-privatize the pipeline company as soon as possible.
"We're going to see more of this until we get to a point where we have stable government that recognizes jurisdiction and also that recognizes that projects that have passed through the stages that they need to pass through the stages of approval should be built", he said.
The pipeline connects oil sands facilities near Edmonton, Alberta, to tanks in Burnaby, near Vancouver on Canada's west coast.
"When we are faced with an exceptional situation that puts jobs at risk, that puts our worldwide reputation on the line, our government is prepared to take action", Morneau told reporters. The crown will use the expertise and management of the employees acquired from Kinder Morgan to get the pipeline built.
The Trans Mountain expansion is projected to lead to a tanker traffic balloon from about 60 to more than 400 vessels annually as the pipeline flow increases from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels per day.
The Alberta government responded with a short-lived ban on the import of B.C. wines, and the passing of Bill 12, legislation that would allow the Alberta government to "turn off the taps" for oil imports to B.C.
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. "It polarized us. That is not who we are", Carr told the news conference.
Until now, Trudeau's government has used a soft tone to try to convince British Columbia to abandon its opposition to the pipeline, hoping not to alienate voters in the province before next year's general election. Ottawa is deluding itself if it thinks there will be any stronger commercial interest in the project down the road than there is now. But over the past 30 years, the Canadian government has launched a major privatization effort, selling Air Canada, Canadian National Railway and Petro-Canada. If Alberta simply upgraded what it sent through the Trans Mountain pipeline into oil, the existing pipeline's capacity, as well as that of all other pipelines that service the oil sands, could be boosted by a third. He said that shareholders would receive a "fair price" for the assets.