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Pipeline Crisis Could Spark Separation Talk

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by Graham Lane

Published in the Winnipeg Sun, April 13, 2018

Steve Kean, CEO of Kinder Morgan Canada, announced earlier this week that if the company wasn’t confident that its pipeline expansion would be able to proceed to completion by the end of this May, the company would walk away from the $1.1 billion it has already spent on the estimated $7.4 billion project. Kinder Morgan and its shareholders and investors are wary about proceeding because of the actions and inactions of Canada’s governments.

There is a war of words going between Canada’s two provincial NDP governments over the pipeline. If the project is blocked, it will reignite serious talk of separation from Canada by Alberta. Blocking a pipeline that has federal approvals would further damage Canada’s reputation as a reliable place to invest. So far, other than ‘talking’, while feebly supporting Alberta’s fight to get its oil to higher paying international markets, the Trudeau government embarrasses itself in front of the world and all reasonable-minded Canadians.

Canada is fortunate to have a huge storehouse of natural resources (oil, natural gas, forestry and minerals). They have made Canada and Canadians wealthy. We sell our abundant resources mostly and most conveniently to our neighbour. The downside is that our oil and gas are dependent on the American market. Due to a lack of pipeline capacity, our exported oil is discounted drastically compared to the world price, so much so that Canada loses over $15 billion annually.

Which is why we desperately need to expand the Kinder Morgan pipeline to Vancouver and start getting a better price for our oil.

The combatants in the ‘ring’ are two green-tinged socialist governments; the major bystander is a similar green-obsessed Liberal government, ironically led by the son of Pierre Trudeau. (Trudeau senior’s foolhardy and disastrous National Energy Plan single-handily fueled western alienation and separation talk.) Both the B.C. government, under Horgan, and the Alberta government, under Notley, consider the outcome of the battle critical to their political futures.

By opposing a federally-approved pipeline expansion, B.C.’s NDP government has sold its soul and its integrity to a few Green Party MLAs – even while hypocritically promoting a liquid natural gas project. By bowing down to the Green Party, the B.C. government is ruining its relationship with Alberta, a long time ally in past conflicts involving the federal government. As for Alberta’s NDP government, Notley knows that if she cannot get the pipeline built, after embracing Ottawa’s politically toxic climate change carbon tax project, she and her government will be ‘toast’ after Alberta’s upcoming provincial election.

As for Trudeau’s Liberal government, it is in a quandary of its own doing. It obsesses over its green agenda and reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous, fueling opposition to pipelines while forgetting that a strong economy is important for all Canadians, Indigenous included. But let’s be practical.  Wasting over $15 billion in lost revenue because climate extremists are blocking desperately needed pipeline capacity is a double edged sword. How will an already deficit-wracked Trudeau government fund generous promises made to both its green and Indigenous special interest lobbies?

Kinder Morgan did the right thing when they acted to protect their shareholders, Trudeau’s government must clear the way for the pipeline to be built. Or be booted out in 2019.


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