Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insists his government is going to get the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion built, but still has nothing to say about how, even as Kinder Morgan's deadline clock ticks ever closer to the end.
The ensuing uncertainty, paired with vociferous opposition from environmental groups and some Indigenous communities in B.C., prompted Kinder Morgan to halt investment until the federal government could inject some certainty into the project.
"It must be built and it will be built", Finance Minister Bill Morneau.
"British Columbia isn't a part of the deal and while a government buy (out) makes it more likely that the project will go through, it still doesn't guarantee there won't be more protests", he said in an interview.
The deal will see Canada become the owner of the pipeline and all of Kinder Morgan Canada's core assets, and in return Kinder Morgan will continue construction on the twinning of the pipeline this summer. The move will be a key test of Trudeau's bid to balance the environment and the economy by backing the $7.4 billion pipeline expansion while pushing a national carbon price to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
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Indigenous leaders and environmentalists have pledged to do whatever necessary to thwart the pipeline including chaining themselves to construction equipment. However, at present, there is only one pipeline from the tar sands region to the port in Vancouver and that pipeline was built in 1953.
The Trans Mountain extension would connect Alberta to British Columbia and triple Kinder Morgan's capacity.
The federal government has been in talks with the Texas-based energy infrastructure company for weeks over the future of its controversial Trans Mountain expansion.
"This is a good day for Kinder Morgan shareholders", said Paul Bloom, president of Bloom Investment Counsel Inc.in Toronto, which owns about 300,000 shares of Kinder Morgan Canada. The federal cabinet approved the purchase on Tuesday. Trudeau is gambling billions of Canadian taxpayer dollars on an oil project that will never be built - a project that Kinder Morgan itself has indicated is "untenable" and that faces more than a dozen lawsuits, crumbling economics, and a growing resistance movement that is spreading around the world. The 980-kilometer (600-mile) expansion is seen by the oil industry as a crucial link to Asian markets, allowing producers to diversify away from the US, which takes the vast majority of Canadian oil exports.