Trans Mountain court action continues, John Horgan says


The federal Liberal government announced Tuesday that it will spend $4.5 billion to buy Trans Mountain and all of Kinder Morgan Canada's core assets.

Horgan says the federal government's decision to take over the pipeline from Kinder Morgan doesn't change his government's position and it will proceed with its reference case to the B.C. Court of Appeal.

Pressed about why the federal government's $4.5-billion price tag was so much lower than Kinder Morgan's stated $7.4-billion project value, Morneau said Ottawa was purchasing all the relevant assets - but he studiously avoided saying whether construction would increase costs.

"So our message today is simple: 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", he said.

Morneau said in return, the company will move forward with its plan to twin the pipeline this summer, while the sale is finalized, which is expected to happen in August.

The pipeline connects oil sands facilities near Edmonton, Alberta, to tanks in Burnaby, near Vancouver on Canada's west coast.

A new Crown corporation will be created to manage the project.

"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".

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But the federal government, citing past court decisions, including some from the Supreme Court of Canada, contends that it holds sole authority over pipelines between provinces. "So the additional investments will be dealt with in that way", Morneau said.

"CEPA is deeply concerned that the government needed to purchase the project for it to be built and to assert federal jurisdiction", Bloomer said.

In April, Kinder Morgan threatened to walk away from the project on May 31 if the federal government could not neutralize opposition from the B.C. government. They have also asked the court to reopen its evidentiary record, more than six months after hearings concluded, to consider new evidence uncovered by a National Observer investigation that revealed public servants were instructed to find a way to approve the project before the government had concluded consultations with First Nations. "This project has more certainty than ever before". "There is more work to do, but we will not stop until the job is done".

"Our Canadian employees and contractors have worked very hard to advance the project to this critical stage, and they will now resume work in executing this important Canadian project", Kean said in a release.

The purchase marks a stunning development for Trudeau's government - effectively nationalizing the country's highest-profile infrastructure project until an operator can be found.

Ottawa is pressing ahead, firmly of the opinion there is no doubt about its jurisdiction.

Alberta's economy continues to do well, but growth will be weaker this year according to a report released by the Conference Board of Canada Tuesday.

"Despite tens of thousands of people opposing it, he just used taxpayer money to bailout a project that communities don't want, that would break his own climate commitments, and that Indigenous peoples are fighting from the frontlines to the courtrooms", Thomas-Muller added. A lack of capacity in pipelines or in rail cars to ship oil produced in Alberta is also hurting Canada's energy sector.