Opinion Column

MP Report: The taxpayer's pipeline

 Blaine Calkins/MP for Red Deer-Lacombe

It is widely known that in a free-market society, the government should not interfere in the private sector. I guess someone forgot to mention this to the Liberals.

On May 29th the Liberal Government announced their intention to purchase the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline and its expansion project for the hefty price tag of 4.5 billion dollars. That’s right Canada; you are now the proud owners of a 65 year old pipeline, and a $7.4 billion project that the private sector deems too risky to continue to pursue.

While the Liberal Government claims that building the pipeline is in the best interest of Canada and have reaffirmed their commitment to building the pipeline, I cannot understand why the Prime Minister would simply not give Kinder Morgan the assurances they were asking for.

Kinder Morgan has never asked for a dime of taxpayer dollars for this project. All they have ever asked for is a clear path to build the project.

And now, the Canadian taxpayer is assuming responsibility for the pipeline with no assurances that the new pipeline expansion will actually be built or what the final price tag will be! (We all know governments can’t build things as efficiently as the private sector) Canadians were not consulted on this issue and frankly this is an 11th hour decision made by Justin Trudeau to make up for his failure to properly manage the energy portfolio.

As a Member of Parliament from the Province of Alberta, of course I want the pipeline to be built. It makes sense for Alberta and it makes sense for Canada that our energy reaches tidewater. But it does not make sense for the taxpayers of this country to be paying for the pipeline and assuming the risk.

The Government will tell you that they have purchased an “asset”. But as of yesterday this “asset” was being protested, as of yesterday the Government of British Columbia was in court to oppose this “asset” and as of yesterday there were Liberal MPs from British Columbia who opposed this “asset”. Today, nothing has changed; there are still protestors, court proceedings and MPs who oppose this project. The only thing that has changed is that we now have an additional $4.5 Billion in debt, and are on the hook to build a pipeline that Kinder Morgen said was $7.4 Billion in cost.

Kinder Morgan was prepared to spend $7B in Canada to build a pipeline, now we have paid them $4.5B to walk away from Canada, possibly build pipelines outside of Canada to compete with Canada. This simply makes no sense.

Trudeau has fumbled the energy file so bad, he’s 3rd and 55 on his own goal line, and this is his Hail Mary pass from the taxpayer cheque book.

Please contact my Constituency office if you have any questions or concerns on any federally related matters, postage free, at: 201-5025 Parkwood Road, Blackfalds, AB T0M 0J0; tel: 587-621-0020; toll free: 1-800-665-0865 or visit my web site: www.blainecalkinsmp.ca or on twitter at www.twitter.com/blainecalkinsmp 

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