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

30 May 2018

"Our government's position is clear: it must be built, and it will be built".

As part of the deal, Finance Minister Bill Morneau says that Kinder Morgan will go ahead with its original plan to twin the pipeline this summer while the sale is finalized, which likely won't happen until August.

Ottawa is also invested in the aviation industry, with a current $372 million loan to Bombardier for its Global executive jet and the C-Series commercial aircraft. Morneau said those would be covered on a "user pay" basis but he did not specify how much that tab could run to.

Next, taxpayers are on the hook for the cost of twinning the project - an estimated $7.4 billion and climbing.

Ottawa will buy the pipeline and all of Kinder Morgan's core assets for $4.5-billion, including pumping stations and rights of way along the route between Edmonton and Vancouver, as well as the marine terminal in Burnaby, British Columbia.

The deal needs to be approved by Kinder Morgan shareholders.

This despite Obama's hypocritical veto of the Keystone XL pipeline to move Alberta's oil to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

"We've always reckoned that the Trans Mountain expansion was logical in terms of, if you build the pipeline, the volumes will flow through it". "Nothing's changed with the obstacles or the problems with this project except that we're now not dealing with a Texas corporation". Existing statutes stipulate one level of government can not interfere with the work of another - a situation one official called a "conversation changer" that might convince Horgan to back down.

Morneau stressed repeatedly the pipeline is commercially viable and profitable.

Wall now serves as a special advisor for Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, which represented Kinder Morgan in its initial National Energy Board application to expand Trans Mountain.

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During the call, the federal government said Trudeau "reiterated" the federal government's jurisdiction over interprovincial pipelines, and noted that the Government of Canada "is confident that, with this agreement, it is upholding the trust Canadians have placed in the government".

But ask yourself this question: If this pipeline is such a great business opportunity, why is Kinder Morgan selling it?

Kean said the Canadian government would help search for an alternative buyer. And let's not forget 2009, when the federal and Ontario governments spent more than $13 billion to bail out North American auto makers.

Horgan said his concerns remain rooted in what he calls the limited scientific knowledge of how diluted bitumen behaves in water, as well as perceived gaps in prevention efforts and response plans in the event of a spill.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr were adamant about the national importance of completing the expansion, including its role in creating jobs and being a tonic to the health of Alberta's oil industry.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley was applauded by her staff and caucus after a news conference Tuesday on the federal government's purchase of the Trans Mountain Pipeline.

Notley added: "This is the most certainty this project has ever had". "That certainty is absolutely critical".

The Alberta government also has pledged a contingency fund of up to about $1.5 billion to provide emergency funds to the project if unforeseen circumstances arise.

Environment groups, meanwhile, accused the federal Liberals of abandoning their environmental promises.

Clayton Thomas-Muller, a campaigner with 350.org, argued that Trudeau's move demonstrates that he "still hasn't learned two simple lessons: you can't be a climate leader and build massive fossil fuel projects and you can't ignore Indigenous rights and preach reconciliation". And the Opposition Conservatives were livid at the prospect of nationalizing a private-sector asset.

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