That’s the only word that comes to mind when we think about the federal Liberals buying the entire Trans Mountain pipeline project.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged to sink $4.5 billion into the current pipeline and the proposed pipeline expansion – if it successfully gets past all of the court challenges from the B.C. government and others.
That’s a big “if” to gamble on.
The other big “if” surrounds the $4.5-billion figure that is being used. Most experts estimate the project would likely cost more like $7.4 billion – or more, depending on how long it takes. The feds said on Tuesday that they will be looking for a new buyer to eventually take over the project, but what if that new buyer doesn’t materialize? After all, watching one company walk away from it isn’t exactly a catchy sales pitch. What if oil prices take another dive and it’s not worth it for another company?
Once again, that’s a massive gamble of taxpayers’ dollars, especially for a project that a large number of Canadians is against, depending on which poll you choose to believe. And even the ones who support the project have said in repeated polls that that support is dependent on it being a private project. It was different when Canada forked over billions of dollars in 2009 in the auto bailout because the vast majority of Canadians supported helping auto workers victimized by the failing U.S. economy.
But this? Kinder Morgan is an American company that just got bailed out by our government – all because it was frustrated by Canadians expressing their right to protest and challenge the project in the courts. And for B.C. taxpayers, it must sting even more because most of the long-term jobs involved in the pipeline will be found in Alberta.
Federal Minister of Finance Bill Morneau didn’t do the Liberals any favours during his press conference Tuesday. He basically refused to put a final price tag on what this will cost taxpayers. That means it will cost a lot more than the $4.5-billion figure.
Just imagine all of the good that could be done for the environment by spending $4.5 billion on programs that will reduce climate change, instead of increase it.