Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday April 11, 2018
Kinder’s Pipeline Pause Puts Pressure on Trudeau to Act, Somehow
Justin Trudeau has a lot riding on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. But the Canadian prime minister has few viable options to save it.
Kinder Morgan Inc. halted most work on the project Sunday, ramping up pressure on the federal government to somehow deter provincial opposition and protests from environmentalists before a May 31 deadline. Trudeau’s energy strategy is at stake, along with overall business confidence and the price of Canadian oil landlocked in neighboring Alberta.
His problem is that opposition from British Columbia has been mostly talk, leaving Trudeau essentially in a war of words that’s been enough for the Houston-based company to warn the uncertainty has become too great. Trudeau’s team backs the pipeline and flatly promises it will be built, though with the project already approved its options are few beyond trying to cajole the Pacific coast province.
“The consequence of their indirection has created a problem of certainty for the proponent. That problem is real,” Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said Monday in an interview at his Ottawa office. “We will look at every option available to the government of Canada — financial, regulatory, legal.”
Shares of Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. fell 13 percent Monday, the biggest decline since its initial public offering last May.
While cross-border pipelines are under federal jurisdiction, provinces have asserted themselves in recent years, muddying the outlook and allowing new challenges to pop up. In this case, British Columbia’s New Democratic Party government — whose razor-thin command of the provincial legislature relies on support of Green Party lawmakers — has dug in its heels. (Source: Bloomberg)
Published in the Western Star, Corner Brook, Newfoundland