​Ottawa prepared to indemnify Trans Mountain against financial loss caused by political delays

Federal finance minister Bill Morneau. Image: Canadian Club of Toronto

OTTAWA — Finance Minister Bill Morneau says the federal Liberal government is willing to indemnify the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion against “any financial loss that derives from [B.C.] Premier Horgan’s attempts to delay or obstruct the project.”

He also says that if Kinder Morgan wants to abandon plans to build the expansion, there are plenty of other investors out there willing to take up the cause — and the indemnity would apply to them too.

Morneau addressed media this morning in Ottawa to give a “major update” on Trans Mountain negotiations, on the same day of Kinder Morgan Canada’s annual meeting in Calgary.

In early April the company halted all non-essential spending on its $$7.4-billion plan to double an existing pipeline between Edmonton and Burnaby, B.C., and gave Ottawa until the end of May to broker some calm amid permitting uncertainty in B.C. Horgan has staked his government's survival on opposing the pipeline.

Morneau says investors need certainty in order to back a project that the government has repeatedly insisted is in the national interest.

The finance minister had been engaged in intensive talks with Kinder Morgan officials up until Tuesday, but the two sides have yet to declare any common ground on the amount of federal money involved.

© 2018 The Canadian Press, with files from JWN