Morneau says government willing to compensate Kinder Morgan against political delays

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[Lie and divide, fish for votes while ignoring the environment, while protecting the interests of a foreign corporation. Finance minister's update comes the same day Kinder Morgan shareholders plan to meet. And, just now: Bill Morneau: If Kinder Morgan Walks, Ottawa Will Support Other Investors To Get Trans Mountain Pipeline Built. *RON*]

CBC News, 16 May 2018

Finance Minister Bill Morneau on Wednesday gave an update on his negotiations with Kinder Morgan over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

Finance Minister Bill Morneau says the Canadian government is willing to compensate Kinder Morgan against any financial loss due to British Columbia's attempts to obstruct the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

"The indemnification would allow Kinder Morgan to finish what they started, what they received federal and B.C. approval to do," he said Wednesday morning.

"As a government, we need to ensure that the rule of law is respected and that investors have the certainty needed to complete the Trans Mountain expansion project because it's in the national interest to do so."

Morneau held a news conference in Ottawa to lay out the broad strokes about what his government is willing to do to help the project go ahead. It was the first detailed update on the government's efforts to save the controversial pipeline expansion since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked his economic lieutenant to work with Kinder Morgan to find a path forward.

Morneau said that if Kinder Morgan bails on the project, the government would reimburse any other investor that would like to take the project on against financial loss as long as the support is "sound and fair and beneficial for Canadians."

Morneau wouldn't say if there was a cap on how much the government was willing to indemnify the pipeline's backer.

"This is an exceptional situation," he told reporters.

'A lot to lose'

Wednesday's news conference was announced late Tuesday night as Morneau consulted with senior officials in the Alberta government. Morneau also spoke with Kinder Morgan CEO Steve Kean by phone to tell him what he was would be saying.

The timing of the Morneau update is important for another reason: With Kinder Morgan shareholders meeting Wednesday in Calgary, it's an opportunity for him to put public pressure on the company.

A senior Alberta government official told CBC News late Tuesday that "Kinder Morgan is not making this easy."

The official, who spoke to CBC News on condition of anonymity, said there is "a lot to lose right now."
Morneau blames Horgan for Trans Mountain delay

Finance Minister Bill Morneau places the blame for the delay of the Trans Mountain expansion directly on the shoulders of BC Premier John Horgan and says the federal government is willing to provide indemnity to ensure the project goes ahead.

Kinder Morgan has threatened to abandon the project if a clear path forward isn't reached by May 31. The company's statement came after a months-long standoff between the British Columbia and Alberta governments, with B.C. working to block the pipeline for environmental reasons over Alberta's objections.

The expansion would add a second pipeline along an existing pipeline route to carry diluted bitumen from Alberta to the B.C. coast for export on tankers.
Shots at Horgan

Morneau placed the bulk of the blame for the delay at the feet of British Columbia Premier John Horgan calling his opposition "politically motivated."

"Premier Horgan's stated intentions are to do whatever it takes to stop the project, which is unconstitutional in its very purpose. These are challenges that frankly put the livelihood of thousands of Canadians and their families at risk."

Morneau's update comes as the May 31 deadline draws closer — and less than 24 hours after the prime minister gave an evasive answer on the state of talks during a visit to Calgary on Tuesday.

"We continue to work very, very hard, both visibly and behind the scenes," Trudeau said to reporters.

"When we have something to announce, you guys will be the first to know."