​‘This is not a great day for Canada’s reputation’: Reactions to feds buying Trans Mountain pipeline

Image: Kinder Morgan Canada

Reactions from leaders of all industries and organizations to the federal government's announcement today (May 29) that it is buying Kinder Morgan Canada Limited's (TSX:KML) Trans Mountain pipeline have been strong. What are they saying?

John Horgan, premier of British Columbia

"Today's events do not change the risks of a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic, or the catastrophic effect a diluted bitumen spill would cause to British Columbia's economy and environment. Tens of thousands of B.C. jobs depend on pristine coastal and inland waters.

"Our environment generates millions in economic activity, from tourism to film and fisheries. It does not matter who owns the pipeline. What matters is defending our coast - and our lands, rivers and streams - from the impact of a dilbit spill. Our government is determined to defend British Columbia's interests within the rule of law and in the courts. We will continue our reference case to determine our rights within our provincial jurisdiction."

Laura Jones, executive vice-president and chief strategic officer, Canadian Federation of Independent Business

“The B.C. government has a lot to answer for in putting Canada in this situation.”

Greg D’Avignon, president and CEO, Business Council of British Columbia

“This whole exercise has shone a light on what companies have known for years: Canada is too costly, too complex and takes too long to come to a decision and get things done. The system has broken down to the point where taxpayer dollars are required to complete major infrastructure projects that support our collective prosperity when there have been willing private sector, tax-paying investors. This is no way to operate in a globally competitive world and expect to maintain our quality of life.”

Iain Black, president and CEO, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade

“Although we are pleased this project of national significance is forging ahead, government intervention should not have been necessary for a project that was already federally approved. This is not a great day for Canada’s reputation on the international investment front. While we are going to save the vital pipeline and the thousands of jobs that come with it, today’s decision highlights how much damage has been done to our international reputation. The job ahead of us now is to rebuild Confidence in Canada.”

Rachel Notley, premier of Alberta – via Twitter

“The deal announced today puts people to work building the pipeline right away and it will help us build up the things that matter to working families, such as our schools and our hospitals. We won’t stop until the job is done.”

Will George, Tsleil-Waututh member and spokesperson for the Coast Salish Watch House

“This is the moment in history where Justin Trudeau has revealed that he never cared about Indigenous rights or reconciliation. The cost that they did not calculate in their $4.5 billion purchase is that Indigenous frontlines will stop this pipeline.”

Cenovus Energy CEO Alex Pourbaix

"We appreciate that the federal government is taking a leadership role to get construction on this important national infrastructure project quickly restarted.

"While today’s decision by the federal government to purchase the existing Trans Mountain pipeline and the assets of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project is a departure from the normal process for pipeline development in Canada, it is not without precedent. This project has been deemed to be in the national interest and getting it built is critical for the Canadian economy. Furthermore, the federal government has emphasized that they do not plan to be long-term owners and are committed to seeking another buyer for the pipeline."

Gil McGowan, president, Alberta Federation of Labour – via Twitter

“To all those complaining about the cost of today’s big pipeline purchase: Trans Mountain is profitable business. The line is a valuable asset. Oil companies are paying tolls every day to ship down the existing pipe. This is an INVESTMENT that will generate returns, not a subsidy.”

Val Litwin, president and CEO, BC Chamber of Commerce

“It’s long-overdue good news that Canada will get its resources to tidewater and stop selling to a single customer – but the fact that our federal government had to step in proves there’s still deep uncertainty around investing in Canada. Our nation must take a hard look at itself; the regulatory regime in Canada is broken.”

Tzeporah Berman, adjuct professor, environmental studies, York University – via Twitter

“This decision will haunt Trudeau government. This of us who knocked on doors for him will not forget that he took billions of dollars from Canadian families to buy out an oil pipeline that violates indigenous rights & our commitments in climate change.”

Chris Bloomer, CEO, Canadian Energy Pipeline Association

“CEPA is deeply concerned that the government needed to purchase the project for it to be built and to assert federal jurisdiction. The project has always been in the national interest. CEPA is concerned about the implications of the government’s financial intervention for future transmission pipeline projects. We do not believe that this outcome will instill investor confidence in Canada."

Tim McMillan, CEO, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers

“We are pleased the pipeline will be built. It has full regulatory, legislative, financial and political backing of the highest level of government, and will ultimately be returned to the private sector where it belongs.

“Building the Trans Mountain expansion is the first step to making Canada competitive for investment in the global energy market. It will begin to reduce our reliance on one customer and enable Canadians to get a fairer price for their natural resources.”

Tom Whalen, CEO of the Petroleum Services Association of Canada, in a statement that PSAC is " deeply concerned that in light of opposition, and in order for the project to move forward, government intervention was required."

“Now, Canadians must ask themselves if we have succumbed to mob rule in our country over common sense and the rule of law.”

— Business in Vancouver with files from JWN

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