The federal government’s $4.5 billion takeover of the Trans Mountain pipeline is evoking mixed feelings all over the country.
A recent poll by Forum Research found that 52 percent of respondents disapprove of the public takeover. But the biggest takeaway from the poll was a sharp decline in public support for the pipeline in general. The sudden drop occurred as soon as the federal government made its May 29th announcement. Ottawa hoped Canadians would feel reassured if the pathway to completion was made clear. The feds also wanted to reassure investors that Canada is once again a good place to do business.
Unfortunately, the federal government has failed in both cases. Most people wonder why taxpayers are now on the hook for the pipeline’s purchase and completion when just a week prior, a private company was footing the whole bill. And investors are scratching their heads wondering if this will indeed be the last major pipeline built in Canada.
There are lots of places to lay the blame, but ultimately it comes down to a piece of paper signed on May 30, 2017. I am talking about the Confidence and Supply Agreement signed between the BC NDP and the BC Green Party following the last election that specifically outlines how the two parties would “employ every tool available to the new government to stop the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline.”
In the year since the agreement was signed, you can now drive a truck through all the joint commitments. For example, the Greens wanted to drive the last nail in the coffin of Site C. But Premier Horgan relented and reluctantly approved the project despite stiff opposition within his own caucus.
Green leader Andrew Weaver then wanted to kill any prospect for LNG and even threatened to bring down the government on more than one occasion. But the NDP is now openly and enthusiastically embracing LNG despite the protest of a Green Party that cries wolf at the drop of a hat. So that left Kinder Morgan as one of the last remaining targets that the NDP and the Greens can agree on.
The unprecedented action taken by the federal government is a direct result of the tenuous marriage agreement between two political parties that are more concerned with mutual survival than the good of the country.
Member of the Legislative Assembly
Peace River North