Count Grande Prairie – Mackenzie MP Chris Warkentin as one of those unhappy with the federal government’s purchase of the Trans Mountain Pipeline. He calls the move a “devastating blow” to energy investment in Canada.
“Obviously today was an admission by the Trudeau government that there was no way that this pipeline was going to be built, that really there was a desire by Kinder Morgan to divest of its Canadian assets.”
Warkentin believes the government has created uncertainty for pipeline projects in the country, pointing to the previous cancellation of the Energy East pipeline and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s rejection of Northern Gateway. He says they put all of their eggs in one basket, and have had to use tax dollars back up that choice.
“Now that the government is preparing to purchase this pipeline and take over the opportunity to build a new pipeline alongside it, the worry is that all of the court challenges that had been won thus far by Kinder Morgan will be re-litigated.”
The Conservative MP also argues that, historically, government investments in the oil and gas industry have not been profitable. He points to the creation of Petro-Canada in the 1970s, the subsequent National Energy Program, and the Hibernia oilfield as examples.
“Every time that the government has taken over these projects, we’ve found that they have lost money; they always have been subsidized by taxpayers and those subsidies continue until such time as the federal government gets out of the business.”
Responding to his remarks Tuesday, Alberta Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd disagreed with Warkentin’s take on the sale, saying both the federal government and the provincial one have done their due diligence looking at the costs and risks.
“I think we’re comfortable that the federal government is buying this pipeline at fair market value. They expect to sell it down the road once it’s built, and I do know there’s lots of people who are interested in being investors.”
Warkentin says he thinks there is still room in the Canadian marketplace for pipeline projects, and hopes the government will look for ways to bring investment back.