Failure of Leadership: The Trans Mountain Pipeline

June 11, 2018

The Trans Mountain pipeline has undoubtedly become another disastrous file for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. After months of dithering on the project, Canadian taxpayers are now on the hook to pay $4.5 billion to buy the pipeline from Kinder Morgan. The Prime Minister and the current Liberal government will also take over the expansion and core assets; however, they can’t tell Canadians the final cost. Adding insult to injury, Canadians are also now hearing reports that two Kinder Morgan executives received $3 million in bonuses for securing the bailout with this Liberal government. Canadians are justifiably concerned about the lack of leadership demonstrated by the current Prime Minister on the Trans Mountain pipeline and just how much his fumbling is going to cost them at the end of the day.

The purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline wasn’t necessary. Kinder Morgan never asked for one dollar of taxpayer money. All the company wanted was certainty. The Prime Minister is now forcing Canadian taxpayers to pay for his failure. The Prime Minister has consistently demonstrated failed leadership on other pipeline projects resulting in a negative impact on Canada’s economy. He vetoed the approved Northern Gateway pipeline and killed the Energy East pipeline with last minute rule changes and a regulatory standard that doesn’t apply to any other sector of the Canadian economy. His decisions to impose an oil tanker ban, a job-killing carbon tax and new regulations that penalize Canadian oil exports have damaged investor confidence and forced companies to reconsider future projects. This is bad not only for Canada’s economy, but also for Canadian jobs.

What’s worse about the purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline is that the Prime Minister is nationalizing a pipeline and he can’t tell Canadians how much this will cost them. He would have Canadians believe that the only way to build the Trans Mountain pipeline is to use billions of taxpayer dollars. It’s not. Four pipelines were built under the previous government without spending one cent of taxpayers’ money. Canadians are also learning that in Kinder Morgan’s 2017 annual report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, it valued the Trans Mountain pipeline at $2.5 billion; however, the Prime Minister has paid $4.5 billion for it. This raises more questions about why the Prime Minister saw it fit to pay $2 billion more than the pipeline was worth, which allows Kinder Morgan to invest and create jobs outside of Canada. This doesn’t make sense and the Prime Minister is unable to provide any reasonable answers.

Canadians have been waiting for over a year-and-a-half to see a concrete plan to make sure that the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is built. Instead, Justin Trudeau has offered one delay after another, and he’s failed to champion this project in British Columbia. We, the Official Opposition, the Conservative Party of Canada, understand that by setting the conditions for success, low taxes, and less redundant regulations, projects like Trans Mountain can be built without a burden to the Canadian taxpayer. We will continue to stand up for Canada’s resource sector and most importantly, the men and women whose livelihoods depend on it. They can count on Canada’s Conservatives to give them a voice against a Prime Minister determined to phase out their jobs.

The purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline is another example of failed leadership on the part of the current Prime Minister except this time, it’s an incredibly expensive example and Canadian taxpayers from coast to coast to coast are on the hook for it. It could’ve been avoided and it wasn’t. Canadians deserve better from their government.