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May 8, 2018 6:31 pm
Updated: May 8, 2018 6:41 pm

B.C. finance minister defends public pension investments in Kinder Morgan

By Simon Little and Liza Yuzda CKNW
Global News Hour at 6: B.C. government pension fund invests in Kinder Morganx
WATCH: B.C. government pension fund invests in Kinder Morgan rovince’s public sector pensions investing in Kinder Morgan while the government fights the company’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

B.C. public sector pensions –including those of the public service, B.C. teachers and BC Hydro employees — are administered by a Crown corporation called the BC Investment (BCI) Corporation.

LISTEN: B.C. government pension fund investing in Kinder Morgan

It has 1.12 million Kinder Morgan shares, and has added some 21,000 in recent months. The investment is worth about $18 million of the $135.5 billion BCI manages.

In total, BCI is invested in some 30 oil and gas companies.

But Finance Minister Carole James says those investment decisions are made independently, and are outside of political control.

“They make the decisions around the investments,” James said.

“It’s a huge portfolio, we have a very good record when it comes to our pensions in British Columbia, we’re known for having very good clear standards, so the B.C. management pension folks make those decisions themselves.”

Pressed on whether the government could influence those decisions, considering it appoints three members of the body, James said her government maintains a hands-off approach.

“I don’t believe that people would want politicians making decisions about individual investments. We have professionals who do that, we have the BC Investment Corporation, they make the individual decisions, and they do the job on behalf of both employers and employees.”

READ MORE: B.C. business leaders heading to Edmonton to show province is ‘great place to do business’

But Kris Sims of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation called the investment a matter of hypocrisy.

“This shows that maybe oil and gas are the lifeblood of our economy, maybe oil gas and natural resources are the foundation of how we run here in North America… so much so that government employee pensions are indexed on them,” she told Simi Sara Show guest host Michael Smyth.

Sims said no one expects the NDP to be making individual investment decisions.

READ MORE: B.C. continues to be ‘divided’ on Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

But she said if the government’s own pension managers think investments in oil and gas are a good idea, it suggests the government’s position on Kinder Morgan doesn’t square with some of the fundamentals supporting the province’s economy.

“The point here is to tell these politicians to just look around and accept reality,” she said.

“It’s the same as saying they’re going to protest the existence of electricity

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14 minutes ago, Malcolm said:

$18 million of the $135.5 billion

Fart in a windstorm for comparison.

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10 minutes ago, Fido said:

Fart in a windstorm for comparison.

In total, BCI is invested in some 30 oil and gas companies.

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Imperial Oil joins the exodus out of Canada



Even in the face of rising global oil prices, Imperial Oil has announced it will put a hold on growth of its projects, partially because of expanding regulatory timelines in Canada. CEO Rich Kruger recently told shareholders that “I have lived and worked in a lot of places, and four-and-a-half years to get a project that has strong economics, pace-setting environmental performance, is inordinately long.”

But the Imperial announcement comes as no surprise. Statistics Canada estimates that capital investment in Canada’s oil and gas sector has declined by 44 per cent from 2014 to 2017.

And a report by ARC Financial Corporation notes that investment spending in the oil and gas sector has been reduced to “legacy spending,” with nominal capital expenditures for conventional oil producers as low as it was in the mid-1990s, while capital expenditures in the oilsands sector are driven by several late-stage projects expected to be completed by 2018.

Statistics Canada also has gloomy news about investment intentions for the coming year in the oil and gas sector, reporting that capital spending is expected to decline by 12 per cent in 2018, the fourth consecutive annual decline since 2014. The largest impact of that decline in spending is expected to be in Alberta, where it is also expected to decline by 12 per cent or $22.5 billion.

Coming soon after the Kinder Morgan threat of ending the Trans Mountain expansion project, Imperial’s announcement signals the continued flight of capital from what is increasingly seen as an unattractive country for investment. Any effort to restore investment might best begin in areas that deter such investment. According to the Fraser Institute’s Global Petroleum Survey, which shows that Alberta and British Columbia are the least attractive provinces for investment in oil and gas exploration and development in Canada, Alberta’s tax regime was seen as a deterrent by more than 50 per cent of survey respondents. (The chart below spotlights the Policy Perception Index or PPI score of each province.)

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Frankly, the fewer the number of oil & gas wells, pipelines, trains & transport trucks there are the better it'll be for life over the long term.

Low cost locally produced petroleum products could be used to serve Canadian interests exclusively and preserve our high quality lifestyles.

Let's think progressively, leave the Saudi's free to serve foreign markets at international prices.  

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Why Canada shouldn't refine the oil it exports

Last week, B.C. premier John Horgan proposed that Canada find a way to refine its oil in-house so as to combat the province's sky-high gas prices

Fri May 11,  2018 - National Post
by Tristin Hopper

While B.C. premier John Horgan isn’t known for his love of oil infrastructure, last week it was possible to see him calling for new refineries to ease his province’s sky-high gas prices.
“Let’s make more (refined gasoline) here, creating more jobs here and relieving the enormous pressure on the travelling public,” he said.
Horgan is capitalizating on one of the most beloved and persistent myths in Western Canada: The notion that we would be richer, smarter and more employed if we could simply find a way to refine all of our oil in-house.
Unfortunately, the theory is flawed in almost every way. Below, a primer on why Canada lets people buy our petroleum even if we haven’t turned it into gasoline first.

Canada already exports more refined products than it imports
In December 2017, Canada imported 1.4 million cubic metres of refined products while exporting 2.4 million cubic metres — meaning that Americans are burning way more of our gasoline than we’re burning of theirs. It may seem strange that Canada is simultaneously importing and exporting refined products, but keep in mind that we are essentially a one-dimensional country splayed along a 6,400 kilometre border with the United States; gas stations in Thunder Bay are generally going to have an easier time getting their fuel from Minnesota rather than Alberta. Either way, Canada’s relatively robust export market should make it clear that we have absolutely no problem refining our own oil when it is profitable to do so. As the points below will note, it’s the “profitable” part of the equation that’s the tricky part.

Even our existing refineries aren’t running at full capacity
Nobody has ever accused an oil company of not knowing how to make money. So it is generally safe to assume that if Canada could make more money by refining more of its own oil, someone would have thought to do that by now. Case in point: Even the refineries we already have aren’t running full tilt. In 2017 Canada’s refineries only ran at 84 per cent capacity, according to the National Energy Board. The story is a bit different in Alberta, where refinery utilization impressively topped 101.5 per cent in 2017 — but that still means eastern refineries are sitting on their hands up to one fifth of the time. There’s even some wiggle room in U.S. refineries, who worked at only 91 per cent capacity in 2017. It’s for this reason that Husky Energy CEO Rob Peabody said last month that North America is effectively maxed out on refineries. What’s more needed, he said, are new pipelines to connect Alberta’s oil with some of the continent’s more underused refineries. “If you can pipeline connect Alberta to North America, you don’t need a lot of new upgrading capacity built in North America – there is actually enough,” he added.

The people buying our oil generally aren’t interested in our gas and diesel
Last year, Canada exported $67 billion in oil. As with prior years, most of that exported oil ended up in the United States. Pretend that, tomorrow, Canada shut off all its oil exports and informed the Americans that if they wanted our petroleum, they’d have to start ponying up for some made-in-Canada gas, diesel and kerosene. The likely result is that U.S. oil importers would give us a blank look before immediately calling one of the hundreds of other places that could sell them crude oil instead. “They’re not going to idle all of their refining capacity to suit Canada’s needs, they’re going to do what’s best for them, which is to continue to run their refineries,” said Jason Parent with Kent Group, a leading Canadian oil industry analyst. One major problem is that Canada has a pretty hard time making gasoline cheaper than anyone else. The United States is the world’s most prolific refiner of oil — and most of its refineries are already paid off. China benefits from a one-two punch of lower labour costs and lax environmental standards. Against those odds, there are only so many ways in which a brand-new Canadian refinery could expect to make competitively priced diesel and gas. “Although the return is still below that of Asia, a new refinery could work in Alberta or British Columbia given the right circumstances, but not without some risk,” was the most optimistic forecast that a recent report by IHS Markit could muster.

Generally, it makes sense to refine close to market
A refinery is a bit like a brewery: You can put it anywhere. Alaska is famous for its beer, and yet the barley and hops to make it is almost exclusively imported from abroad. Similarly, Japan’s coast is littered with refineries despite the country not having a single domestic oil well. There are a couple reasons for this. First off, refined products expire: From the time it comes out of the refinery, a litre of gasoline can have as little as a few months before it goes stale. Secondly, every market decides to use its petroleum differently. For instance, about half of the transportation fuels burned in Europe are diesel, while in the U.S. it’s as low as three per cent. The advantage of selling crude oil is that it can be sold to anyone, anywhere and at anytime. Once it gets refined, however, it turns into a perishable product with a much narrower group of people willing to buy it. Think of oil like lentils. Canada is the world’s largest exporter of lentils, and most of those leave our borders in their rawest possible state as dried, split grains. Canada could try “value-adding” those grains by insisting that they be processed into Bavarian lentil soup before export — but that’s going to be a problem if an Indian freighter pulls up looking for dal ingredients.

It’s not really “raw” oil
It would be wrong to assume that Canada is simply stabbing a spigot into the ground, sucking up oil and then shipping it to the highest bidder. Canadian petroleum goes through an awful lot of job-creating steps before it gets squeezed into an oil tanker. In the oil sands there’s the not-insignificant process of separating bitumen from sand. There’s also primary and secondary upgrading, where the molasses-like bitumen from the oil sands is heated and distilled into a purer product that can move through pipelines without dilution — up to 39 per cent of Alberta’s oil gets this treatment. The gist is that there are already hundreds of well-paid Albertans in hard hats “adding value” to Canadian oil — but only where it makes financial sense to do so.

Western Canada has built precisely one refinery since the 1970s, and it’s kind of a boondoggle
It’s called the Sturgeon refinery. It’s in Alberta, it’s built by North West Refining and the entire project has been plagued by delays and unexpected costs that have more than doubled the initial cost estimate of $4 billion.
Most notably, it was able to open only with hefty government support. The former Progressive Conservative government of Alberta kicked in loan guarantees for construction, and promised to supply up to $20 billion in free bitumen over next 30 years. When it opened in March, 2017, Canada was in the midst of a fuel glut. “They are paying $9 billion to build that plant and its only processing 50,000 barrels a day of bitumen … it was not good investment by the crown,” John Auers, with the energy consultancy Turner Mason & Co., said at the time.

'No politician is claiming that we should build massive bakeries next to Saskatchewan’s wheat fields in order to stop our national shame of sending “raw flour” overseas to be made into bread by foreigners.'




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Kinder Morgan has signed agreements with 43 First Nations along proposed route

  • Calgary Herald
  • 16 May 2018
  • DON BRAID Don Braid’s column appears regularly in the Herald Twitter: @DonBraid Facebook: Don Braid Politics
getimage.aspx?regionKey=9%2bQ1B7PujbspZESerCQyLQ%3d%3dTHE CANADIAN PRESS Chief Judy Wilson, of the Neskonlith Indian Band of the Secwepemc Nation travelled to Kinder Morgan’s annual general meeting to express her opposition to the pipeline.

To read the coverage from B.C., you’d think the centre of the world is a protest camp in Burnaby.

Everything is certainly getting hotter and more ominous, like a thunderstorm waiting to break.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau didn’t have much of substance to say about this escalating crisis on Tuesday. As usual, he takes no sides, just urges people to feel good and get along.

His main point — absolutely correct — was that none of his critics would believe anything he said about a pipeline deal anyway. Only action will do it.

That has to come by May 31, Kinder Morgan’s deadline, unless the company chooses to extend its cut-off date for staying or leaving.

Meanwhile, the anger and division among B.C. First Nations grows along with the general unease. The many bands in the province seem as divided and diverse as Canada itself.

Here’s a striking case that shows how wrenching this dispute is for Indigenous leaders.

Chief Judy Wilson, of the Neskonlith Indian Band of the Secwepemc Nation, went to Houston recently to tell Kinder Morgan’s annual general meeting of her opposition.

The reporting that came out of that suggested that the nation itself, 500 kilometres in length, was against the pipeline.

But Kinder Morgan says all the Secwepemc bands whose land is crossed by the expansion have signed agreements with the company.

Judy Wilson’s band, although part of the nation, does not have a deal because the pipeline does not infringe on its lands.

Not that Wilson would agree under any circumstances. She says her opposition is based on First Nations rights, which Ottawa and provinces simply may not infringe.

The Secwepemc Nation’s territory stretches from Invermere to Williams Lake. Expecting its Indigenous inhabitants to agree is like dreaming that John Horgan and Rachel Notley will get along.

Kinder Morgan insists that far beyond Secwepemc territory, mutual benefit agreements worth $400 million have been struck with 43 bands along the whole route from Hardisty to the Lower Mainland.

Chief Fred Seymour expressed his agreement — somewhat warily — when one of the Secwepemc agreements was announced:

“The outcome that we reached in the Mutual Benefit Agreement involved a collaborative process, always keeping our Members’ interests at the forefront, resulting in training, employment and contract opportunities for Tk’emlups te Secwepemc members,” he said.

Seymour noted there were long-standing grievances with the original pipeline, which dates to 1953. The new deal made it possible to resolve those.

Michael LeBourdais, another Secwepemc Nation chief, said in a Globe and Mail article that negotiating a deal with Kinder Morgan actually allowed the band to re-establish firm jurisdiction.

“We negotiated a resolution we hoped would provide benefits to our children, grandchildren, elders and community.

“We provided multiple opportunities for community input during the negotiations. Our community voted unanimously in favour of the agreement at a community meeting.”

Some First Nations leaders who have signed deals get very annoyed when other Indigenous groups call them sellouts.

Simpcw First Nation Chief Nathan Matthew warns off all the critics.

“No other nation or organization (First Nation or environmental) has the authority to speak on Simpcw’s behalf,” he told the Clearwater Times.

A councillor, Don Matthew, warned of lost opportunities if the project dies.

“We have dedicated time and resources towards this project and there would be a negative impact if this project were to go away.”

Simpcw is also vast, embracing Wells Gray Provincial Park, Jasper National Park and reaching nearly to Grande Cache in Alberta.

Dealing with all this has been enormously complicated for Kinder Morgan.

Transit had to be negotiated with rights holders across 2,820 parcels of private and Crown land. Kinder Morgan says 95 per cent of those are nailed down, and there’s progress on the rest.

The task has been almost insanely complex. Today it all hangs by a thread.

But one fact does emerge: The popular image of united First Nations resistance is entirely mythical.

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If Kinder Morgan bails on Trans Mountain pipeline, other investors welcome: Morneau

‎Today, ‎May ‎16, ‎2018, ‏‎49 minutes ago
Finance Minister Bill Morneau says if Kinder Morgan wants to abandon plans to build the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, there are plenty of other investors out there willing to take up the cause.

If Kinder Morgan bails on Trans Mountain other investors welcome: Feds

‎Today, ‎May ‎16, ‎2018, ‏‎49 minutes ago
Finance Minister Bill Morneau says if Kinder Morgan wants to abandon plans to build the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, there are plenty of other investors out there willing to take up the cause.

Morneau: Trans Mountain ‘clearly’ falls under federal jurisdiction

‎Today, ‎May ‎16, ‎2018, ‏‎1 hour ago
Breaking with the position of the BC government, federal finance minister Bill Morneau told reporters in Ottawa Wednesday morning that in the government’s opinion, Trans Mountain “clearly” falls under federal jurisdiction.

Morneau outlines three steps being taken to promote Trans Mountain

‎Today, ‎May ‎16, ‎2018, ‏‎1 hour ago
Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau outlined on Wednesday the three steps the federal government would take to encourage further development of the Trans Mountain expansion project.

Morneau calls out Premier Horgan’s ‘deliberate attempts to frustrate’ Trans Mountain

‎Today, ‎May ‎16, ‎2018, ‏‎1 hour ago
Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau called out once again what he described as “deliberate attempts to frustrate” the Trans Mountain pipeline on the part of BC Premier John Horgan.

Bill Morneau to provide update on talks with Kinder Morgan over Trans Mountain pipeline project

‎Yesterday, ‎May ‎15, ‎2018, ‏‎10:12:17 PM
Finance Minister Bill Morneau will provide an update Wednesday on the status of his talks with Kinder Morgan to expedite the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion -- but he is not expected to announce a deal.

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Interesting POV


John Ivison: On Trans Mountain, Morneau has called Kinder Morgan’s bluff

‎Today, ‎May ‎16, ‎2018, ‏‎14 minutes ago | John Ivison

When it comes to spending public money, governments are generally more emptor than caveat.

So who can blame Kinder Morgan for trying to upsell Ottawa on the Trans Mountain pipeline? Simply put, Justin Trudeau needs it more than does Richard Kinder, who didn’t become the richest man in Houston by missing an opportunity to sell into a buyer’s market.

In a three-hour meeting in Texas last week, Steve Kean, Kinder Morgan’s CEO, is said to have played hardball with Canadian finance minister Bill Morneau.

The conclusion Morneau and his advisers reached is that Kinder Morgan is trying to back the federal government into a corner so they can sell Trans Mountain to Ottawa for a price well above its market value.

This explains Morneau’s announcement Wednesday morning that the federal government will backstop the project with a full indemnity from losses that are “politically motivated” — which means that if the pipeline’s operator loses money because B.C. Premier John Horgan’s actions create opposition to its construction, Ottawa will give them that money back. (It’s not clear what might happen with losses stemming from Indigenous protests. Are they “politically motivated?”)

Crucially, Morneau said that if Kinder Morgan still isn’t satisfied, the feds will make that indemnity transferable to others who might be willing to take on the project.

“We think plenty of investors would be interested in taking on this project, especially knowing that the federal government believes it is in the best interests of Canadians and is willing to provide indemnity to make sure it gets built,” he said.

The message was intended less for stakeholders like the B.C. government than for the vendor and potential buyers. It was Morneau calling Kinder Morgan’s bluff, letting other players know that the asset is for sale in an attempt to establish a floor price for the project — presumably one lower than the price Kinder Morgan is asking for from the government. Ottawa is thought to have already had discussions with pipeline company Enbridge about stepping in to build and operate the pipeline.

For Enbridge’s part, a spokesperson said the company is not in conversations about buying Trans Mountain, or taking it over as an operator.

Asked how he could be so certain there will be “plenty” of other investors, Morneau said his confidence comes from the project “providing economic advantage.”

People familiar with the operating projections say the project is sound, if built. However, Kinder Morgan suspended non-essential spending on the pipeline last month and said it would abandon the project if B.C. didn’t call off plans to impose new environmental regulations, setting a May 31 deadline for reaching an agreement that it felt would allow the project to move forward. The B.C. government, meanwhile, has asked the province’s Court of Appeal whether it has the legal authority to regulate the movement of diluted bitumen through the province.

Ottawa’s fear is that the company could wait until the 11th hour before announcing plans to mothball the project. In that event, the federal government would be left with just a couple of days to decide whether to buy the pipeline itself at whatever Kinder Morgan’s asking price might be. (The feds say Kinder Morgan’s valuation of the completed project at around $7.4 billion is notional.)

“Under no circumstances do we want to be the long-term owner,” said one source, although he conceded the federal government may have to stump up some money to get construction re-started.

Morneau said Wednesday “no conclusion” has been reached about the government taking an equity stake. “Any support that Canada provides to ensure this project proceeds must be sound, and fair, and beneficial to Canadians.”

Any exposure for taxpayers is a huge gamble for the Liberal government, which to this point has been successful in selling voters a message of balancing the environment and the economy — putting a price on carbon, while building pipelines. Losing taxpayers’ money on a private-sector pipeline would tip the balance of those competing interests. The merest mention of the word “nationalization” in conversation with senior Liberals was enough to have them reaching for their wooden stakes and garlic.

A Nanos Research poll earlier this month said more than two in three Canadian support Trans Mountain and are concerned about the negative impact on how Canada functions as a federation. But just as many are against the idea of spending taxpayer dollars to build it.

Yet, while there are understandable concerns over Ottawa dabbling in markets about which it knows little, the federal government has a strong case to make when it claims public funds are not necessarily at risk.

If the pipeline is built as planned — and the Liberals maintain it will be — then no indemnity payments will be made.

What’s more, the history of government investment in energy infrastructure projects in this country is long, and less checkered than might be imagined.

One of the most famous confrontations in Canadian parliamentary history — the 1956 pipeline debate — concerned the Liberal government’s proposal to build the longest pipeline in the world to move Alberta natural gas to eastern Canada, and provide a loan to finance part of its construction. Opposed by the Conservatives on the grounds it would supply the United States with cheap Canadian gas, the Liberals nonetheless passed the bill — a move that likely cost them their majority at the next election. But the pipeline was built and remains under Canadian control to this day.

Another crucial intervention saw Brian Mulroney’s Conservative government take a stake in the Hibernia oil platform in 1993. The project was close to collapse, threatening Newfoundland’s nascent offshore industry. Ottawa was already on the hook for $2.7 billion in grants and loan guarantees when the province’s senior minister in Ottawa, John Crosbie, persuaded Mulroney to take an 8.5-per-cent equity stake. Ottawa has since been paid back in full, and has received billions in dividends since the oil started to flow in 1997.

There are no signs this government is prepared to allow Trans Mountain to die on its watch. In Calgary on Tuesday Justin Trudeau repeated what has become his mantra — the Trans Mountain pipeline is in the national interest and it will get built. If that requires the federal government to take risks with public money and its own political fortunes, it appears prepared to do so.

The consequences of not doing so are becoming apparent. Rich Kruger, chief executive of Imperial Oil, told his shareholders late last month that capital investment is at historic lows because of expanding regulatory timelines, escalating fiscal costs and market-access challenges. The company is mulling the future of its 150,000 barrel a day Aspen project but if they can’t transport the oil to their customers it may not go ahead, even if it receives regulatory approval.

In Houston, Kinder Morgan is acutely aware of how important Trans Mountain is to Canada. No wonder it is trying to squeeze the federal government until the pips squeak.

Morneau’s gamble is that if Kinder Morgan finds it can’t extract a premium price from Ottawa, the project is so sound financially that the company will proceed as planned. The entire press conference was designed to send the message to Texas that if they won’t, someone else will.

• Email: | Twitter: IvisonJ

resting POV.


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May 16, 2018 6:57 pm

Updated: May 16, 2018 7:06 pm

Alberta passes legislation that could let province cut oil to B.C. over Trans Mountain pipeline dispute



Alberta has passed landmark legislation giving it sweeping power to intervene in oil and gas exports that could result in punitive price spikes in British Columbia in the dispute over the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion.

Premier Rachel Notley won’t say when and how the power will be used, but said she won’t wait long.

“Alberta will be equipped with new tools to assert our rights to control the flow of our resources to British Columbia,” Notley said Wednesday prior to Bill 12 passing third and final reading.

“Albertans, British Columbians and all Canadians should understand that if the path forward for the pipeline through B.C. is not settled soon, I’m ready and prepared to turn off the taps.”

READ MORE: Alberta to pass Bill 12 Wednesday; Notley ‘prepared to turn off the taps’ over Trans Mountain

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said her NDP government is prepared to turn off the taps over the Trans Mountain pipeline dispute.

The bill would give Alberta the power to intervene in the energy market, to decide how much fuel is sent and by what means, be it by rail or pipeline.

B.C. Premier John Horgan called the Alberta law provocative.

“Instead of asking how can we work together on this, they took aggressive action,” he said in Chilliwack, B.C.

 John Horgan said it was an “unprecedented day” on Wednesday, calling comments by Kinder Morgan and the federal government “provocative” and labelling Alberta legislation to turn off the taps as “unconstitutional.”

B.C. Attorney General David Eby, in a letter, said legislation designed to inflict harm on another province violates the constitution.

He urged Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley to first run the bill past the courts to confirm its legality.

“In the absence of such a commitment, I intend to instruct counsel to bring an action challenging its constitutional validity in the courts of Alberta,” said Eby.

“Bill 12 is a step back towards trying to resolve differences through threats of economic harm.”

READ MORE: B.C. government threatens to sue Alberta over ‘turn off the taps’ legislation

Cutting oil flow to B.C. is expected to cause price spikes in gas at the pumps along with other related fuel fees.

But Notley said it’s justified legislation, given that Alberta is losing billions of dollars due to transportation bottlenecks and the fact that B.C. is frustrating the federally approved Trans Mountain project.

“With pipeline capacity stretched to the limit, Albertans have the right to choose how our energy is shipped,” said Notley.

“Alberta has the right to act in the public interest.”

The Trans Mountain expansion would triple the amount of oil flowing from Alberta to tankers on the B.C. coast.

Notley said Alberta oil sells at a discount because of tight pipeline capacity and because most of it goes to the United States. A better price could be fetched on overseas markets.

The $7.4-billion project was approved by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government in 2016, but since then has been hamstrung by permit delays and court challenges in B.C.

Horgan has said his government remains concerned about the effects of spills on the inland waterways and coastline.

The pipeline owner, Texas-based Kinder Morgan, has scaled back spending on the line and has given Trudeau’s government until May 31 to show that there is a way to complete it.

The Alberta and federal governments have committed to backstopping the project with public dollars if that’s what it takes to make sure it’s completed.

Earlier Wednesday, federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau said those talks continue. He said if Kinder Morgan wants to abandon the expansion, there are plenty of other investors willing to step up.

Notley’s bill echoes similar legislation passed in Alberta a generation ago in the early 1980s in a dispute with Ottawa over oil ownership and pricing.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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Federal finance minister blasts B.C. premier with scathing comments

  • Calgary Herald
  • 17 May 2018
  • DON BRAID Don Braid’s column appears regularly in the Herald Twitter: @DonBraid Facebook: Don Braid Politics
getimage.aspx?regionKey=awIeM4peM5J5OET8urEKlg%3d%3dCHAD HIPOLITO/THE CANADIAN PRESS Ottawa’s attacks on B.C. Premier John Horgan have stepped up as support for the Kinder Morgan pipeline grows in that province and there could be more on the way.

B.C. Premier John Horgan insists: “I do not believe I have been provocative in any way.” Really. He said that. Surrounded by wildly provoked neighbours, he denies he’s the kid who broke the window.

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau blasted Horgan a half-dozen times Wednesday, by name, accusing him of blocking the Trans Mountain pipeline with “unconstitutional” tactics.

The federally approved pipeline “is being thwarted on purpose by Premier Horgan,” Morneau said, rejecting the premier’s argument that B.C. is just testing its powers in the courts.

“This is impossible for a private-sector actor to deal with,” Morneau added.

Morneau was careful not to censure Horgan’s province or its people. He blamed only the man and his party, the NDP.

Then he praised Premier Rachel Notley for Alberta’s climate-change plan, especially the hard cap on oilsands emissions.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau first tested the attack mode in February, in a curious interview with the online publication The National Observer.

“John Horgan is actually trying to scuttle our national plan on fighting climate change,” Trudeau said.

“By blocking the Kinder Morgan pipeline, he’s putting at risk the entire national climatechange plan.”

It sounded like the start of an aggressive campaign. But the personal rhetoric quickly softened. The feds worried about provoking a pro-Horgan backlash.

Three months later, it’s clear that support for the pipeline is rising in B.C. Horgan seems increasingly isolated. Kinder Morgan’s artificial deadline, May 31, has amped up the stakes for everyone, especially Ottawa.

Morneau cut loose at Horgan, even as he threw the whole pipeline deal onto the open market.

“We think plenty of investors would be interested in taking on this project, especially knowing that the federal government believes it is in the best interests of Canadians and is willing to provide indemnity to make sure it gets built,” he said.

The timing on Wednesday — just an hour before Kinder Morgan Canada held its annual general meeting in Calgary — wasn’t just a hint. It was more like a slap in the face.

The feds aren’t as irritated by Kinder Morgan as they are by Horgan; but it’s getting close.

They have not been happy with apparent company efforts to push up the price as we approach its deadline.

On Wednesday, Morneau showed that Ottawa isn’t about to pay just any amount to keep Kinder Morgan on the job.

He also signalled that the company’s May 31 deadline may not be absolute after all.

What investors would be qualified to take over?

We could start with Enbridge Inc. and Trans Canada Corp., both headquartered in Calgary. It’s been reported that Enbridge is already involved in talks.

Listen hard and you might hear the hoots of laughter from downtown offices.

Both companies have been denied tidewater pipelines by the Trudeau government. Enbridge lost Northern Gateway to federal cancellation. Trans Canada abandoned Energy East after Ottawa said downstream emissions would count against the project.

Now Ottawa might offer up a Trans Mountain project all approved and primed to go, along with the promise of federal money to offset political hostility.

This would be an irony served on a silver platter, with a bow on top.

Also on Wednesday, the Alberta government passed Bill 12, which allows control over oil and gas exports and thus strangulation of supply to B.C.

B.C. has said for some time it will sue.

The argument from Horgan’s side is that a legal dispute can’t be resolved by inflicting harm on another province through trade sanctions.

But doesn’t that exactly describe what Horgan has already done to Alberta, with anti-pipeline actions that severely damage the provincial economy? Isn’t blocking an approved pipeline the ultimate trade sanction?

Both the Trudeau government and Notley’s NDP have had it with this guy. Ottawa, especially, will have more in store for John Horgan.

On Wednesday, the B.C. Liberals demanded temporary tax cuts to ease astronomical gasoline prices on the Lower Mainland.

As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, the cheapest 10 stations in Vancouver were all charging above $1.50 per litre. Just as ruinous supply cuts become a real possibility.

Despite all this, John Horgan seems to think he’s doing just fine. It’s very strange.


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Perhaps the BC Government has a legal point...


Section 92A of the Constitution Act 1867 allows for provincial export control but the section contains a huge caveat - there can be no supply nor price discrimination directed against a particular province ("such laws may not authorize or provide for discrimination in prices or in supplies exported to another part of Canada."). Constitutionally Notley conceivably could act but she would have to cut off oil supply to all provinces. I do not see that happening.

In 1982 Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed gave up the hammer to make the bastards freeze in the dark by turning off the taps when Trudeau the Elder was forced to recognize provincial control of natural resources as part of the Constitution patriation package.

The result? Section 92A of the Constitution Act 1867 that in essence recognizes the exclusive power of provincial legislatures to make laws for “exploration”; “development, conservation and management” of provincial non-renewable resources as well as forestry resources and electrical energy. Provinces can also regulate (NOTE this huge caveat - without price or supply discrimination) the export of these natural resources (subsection 2). It is that caveat that stops Notley dead in her tracks.

And if such discriminatory acts are legislated by Alberta the Feds can simply prohibit such action by passing legislation (subsection 3).

Non-Renewable Natural Resources, Forestry Resources and Electrical Energy

Laws respecting non-renewable natural resources, forestry resources and electrical energy

92A. (1) In each province, the legislature may exclusively make laws in relation to

(a) exploration for non-renewable natural resources in the province;

(b) development, conservation and management of non-renewable natural resources and forestry resources in the province, including laws in relation to the rate of primary production therefrom; and

(c) development, conservation and management of sites and facilities in the province for the generation and production of electrical energy.

Export from provinces of resources
(2) In each province, the legislature may make laws in relation to the export from the province to another part of Canada of the primary production from non-renewable natural resources and forestry resources in the province and the production from facilities in the province for the generation of electrical energy, but such laws may not authorize or provide for discrimination in prices or in supplies exported to another part of Canada.

Authority of Parliament
(3) Nothing in subsection (2) derogates from the authority of Parliament to enact laws in relation to the matters referred to in that subsection and, where such a law of Parliament and a law of a province conflict, the law of Parliament prevails to the extent of the conflict.

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Trudeau plain wrong about Harper’s legacy on building pipelines


  • Calgary Herald
  • 17 May 2018

It’s either an untruth or ignorance. Either way, it doesn’t reflect well on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

For two years now, Trudeau keeps saying that “not a single kilometre of pipeline was built” during the almost 10 years that Stephen Harper’s Conservative government was in power.

On Tuesday, even in Alberta, Trudeau uttered that falsehood and it’s time it was exposed.

On Tuesday, following an announcement that he would give $1.5 billion already promised by the former federal Conservative government to expand Calgary’s LRT Green Line, he was asked a question by Postmedia columnist Rick Bell.

Trudeau actually used the phrase, “Let’s be honest about these things, Rick.”

It would be nice if some honesty followed, but it didn’t. Here’s what Trudeau said:

“I don’t think there’s anything that I can say that would reassure some of my critics who have such little faith in my government getting anything done for Alberta, regardless of the $1.5 billion we’re putting into the Green Line, regardless of all of the investments we’ve made into supporting EI in the difficult times.”

Without digressing too far, Alberta has been leaving about $21 billion net in Ottawa annually to redistribute to other provinces and firms like Liberal-connected Bombardier for decades. Getting back $1.5 billion is better than nothing but he’s returning crumbs from the loaf.

As for employment insurance, most workers pay into EI for decades and never collect. Until recently, that was true for the many tens of thousands of Albertans. EI is not a gift of benevolence from Trudeau. It’s a benefit that Albertans use less than most other parts of the country and are eligible for much less, despite the hard times here.

Trudeau continued: “I don’t think there’s any magic phrase I can say that will have critics and skeptics put down their criticism and say, ‘You know what, the prime minister reassured me today,’ so I’m not speaking to them today. I’m speaking to the rest of Albertans who have watched for 10 years under the Conservative government where there was a tremendous amount of boosterism for Alberta, there was an oil-sector-first mentality that actually didn’t deliver a single kilometre of new pipeline to market. They weren’t able to get it done for 10 years regardless of all the words they had.”

That statement is factually incorrect by more than 8,000 kilometres!

Stephen Harper was prime minister of Canada from February 2006 until November 2015.

Enbridge’s Alberta Clipper (Line 67) pipeline expansion from Hardisty, Alta., to Wisconsin was approved in 2006 and construction was completed on April 1, 2010. That pipeline covers 1,081 km and exports an additional 800,000 barrels per day ( bpd) of crude oil to Canada’s largest customer.

Also completed in 2010 is Enbridge’s Southern Lights Pipeline from Manhattan, Ill., up to Edmonton. That pipeline — covering a length of 2,556 km — transports diluent to Edmonton to aid in shipping bitumen through pipelines.

Then there’s the Mount Robson & Jasper Park Expansion, also known as the Anchor Loop Project. Construction on that Kinder Morgan project began in August 2007, adding a 158-km section of pipeline to the existing Trans Mountain pipeline system between Hinton and Hargreaves, B.C., near Mount Robson Provincial Park. It included twinning a part of the pipeline system across Jasper National Park, which won Kinder Morgan an award.

That is exactly what Kinder Morgan wants to do with its existing pipeline to Burnaby — continue twinning its Trans Mountain pipeline. The company has warned that it is prepared to abandon the already federally approved pipeline owing to the delay tactics by British Columbia’s minority provincial NDP government led by Premier John Horgan.

Also, a portion of TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline was approved in 2006 and was completed in 2010 taking crude from Alberta to Nebraska spanning a whopping 4,324 km.

The so-called XL portion of that pipeline has been controversial and long delayed but was approved by President Donald Trump.

So, by my calculations — and I’m not certain I’ve included all of the pipelines that were approved and completed during Harper’s tenure — Trudeau is wrong by 8,119 km.

Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline was also approved under the Harper government, but Trudeau killed that pipeline once he became prime minister. Surely, he can’t blame that on his predecessor?

Instead of focusing so much on Harper, Trudeau should concentrate on something he can change for the better — particularly Bills 68 and 69, which are adding to the existing regulatory burden spooking capital investment away from Canada’s energy industry

On Tuesday, Siegfried Kiefer, president and chief strategy officer of ATCO, told the company’s annual general meeting in Calgary, that the new laws coming down the pipe by Trudeau’s Liberal government could be crippling.

Kiefer and ATCO’s chair and chief executive officer, Nancy Southern, made it clear that ATCO fully supports a public process for reviewable projects that is complete and thorough. However, they say, unless changes are made, the new legislation will make the review process “all inclusive.”

What that means is you don’t even have to be a Canadian to participate in the review process, so organizations funded by American oil companies who have a vested interest in keeping Alberta oil landlocked in order to continue to buy discounted oil, could fill the public hearing process endlessly. Also, adversaries to any project don’t have to demonstrate any impact from the project either. It’s utter madness.

“The Fisheries Act is being amended to protect each fish, not just fish populations, so there’s a lot of language right now that’s being debated that we need to get right,” said Kiefer.

As for Trudeau and his staff, they should now consider themselves informed on just how many kilometres of pipeline got built under the former Conservative government. From now on, the “not a single kilometre” line can safely be described as a lie.

Getting back $1.5 billion is better than nothing but he’s returning crumbs from the loaf.

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“ It’s either an untruth or ignorance. Either way, it doesn’t reflect well on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.”


He’s either a Liar or Stupid....take your pick.....both fit.

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She does have a point.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley was supposed to be on her way to Yellowknife on Tuesday to participate in the Western Premiers’ meetings. Instead she decided to drop out of the meetings and focus on the pipeline deadline. When asked about the pending legal challenge, Notley said she was not surprised the claim was filed but is surprised by B.C.’s legal strategy.

“On one hand they don’t want our oil and on the other hand they are suing us to get our oil,” said Notley. “It’s probably premature but we appreciate them sharing their arguments with us in advance. We will let the courts work this out.”


May 22, 2018 2:19 pm
Updated: May 22, 2018 5:17 pm

B.C. taking legal action against Alberta over bill allowing province to cut off gas

By Amy Judd and Richard Zussman Global News

Tue, May 22: Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says it’s very clear what B.C. is doing right now, as she responds to B.C.'s Attorney General.


B.C. is taking legal action against Alberta over the bill allowing Alberta to cut off oil and gas to B.C.

B.C. Attorney General David Eby says the province filed a legal motion on Tuesday after failing to convince Alberta to refer their law to the courts as B.C. has done.

“Today’s filing came after we repeatedly called on Alberta not to move forward with blatantly unconstitutional legislation. We asked them instead to refer the matter to their courts as we had done with our legislation that they had concerns about,” said Eby. “We also proposed that the federal government step in and bring all outstanding legal matters between B.C. and Alberta to the Supreme Court of Canada. This would fast track resolution of the inter-provincial dispute. It would bring finality and it would bring certainty. Unfortunately, both Alberta and Canada refused our proposals.”

READ MORE: Notley defends move to skip premiers’ meeting, says Kinder Morgan deadline too important

In a separate case, the B.C. government is asking the B.C. Court of Appeal to determine whether it can pass legislation that would require companies to get permits from the provincial government before increasing the flow of bitumen through the province. If the appellate court approves, the new provincial rules would derail the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

WATCH: David Eby explains why B.C. is taking legal action against Alberta? 

The B.C. government has been locked in an ongoing dispute with Alberta over the Trans Mountain expansion. Alberta introduced Bill 12 as a way to get British Columbia out of the way of blocking the pipeline. Cutting oil flow to B.C. is expected to cause gas prices at the pumps to go up.

WATCH HERE: Alberta Premier responds to B.C. legal action against Bill 12

“We believe it would be reckless and extreme if Alberta used the powers they granted themselves in Bill 12, especially when there is an outgoing constitutional challenge,” said Eby. “However if Alberta did take the remarkable step of using the law we are ready to file an immediate injunction.”

Kinder Morgan has imposed a May 31 deadline on the federal government to ensure that B.C. is on board with the $7.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. The expansion would nearly triple the volume of bitumen flowing through the pipeline to Burnaby, B.C., from north of Edmonton.

READ MORE: Alberta Premier Rachel Notley backs out of Western Premiers’ Conference over pipeline spat

WATCH HERE: ‘It’s not business as usual’: Rachel Notley explains decision to skip western premiers’ meeting

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley was supposed to be on her way to Yellowknife on Tuesday to participate in the Western Premiers’ meetings. Instead she decided to drop out of the meetings and focus on the pipeline deadline. When asked about the pending legal challenge, Notley said she was not surprised the claim was filed but is surprised by B.C.’s legal strategy.

“On one hand they don’t want our oil and on the other hand they are suing us to get our oil,” said Notley. “It’s probably premature but we appreciate them sharing their arguments with us in advance. We will let the courts work this out.”

WATCH HERE: Alberta Premier says she will not let B.C. play ‘legal rope a dope’ with pipeline

Notley says Alberta is frustrated with B.C. because there is no ‘end point’ when it comes to the Trans Mountain dispute. The Alberta premier adding that lack of an end point was the reason her government added Bill 12 on top of the ban on B.C. wine.

“If we thought that was the very last thing they would do, we would have probably moved on. But they can’t make that commitment,” said Notley. “They are still reserving the right to play legal rope-a-dope until the cows come home.”

READ MORE: B.C. government to formally challenge Alberta’s wine ban

The British Columbia government has also been criticized by both Alberta and the federal government for drawing out the pipeline fight by using the courts. Eby has estimated that it could take years for the courts to rule on Bill 12 and the constitutional question around restricting the flow of bitumen.

“So we hear the federal government, the government of Alberta, and Kinder Morgan continue to allege that any delays in their project are maliciously the fault of the B.C. government,” said Eby. “Now, I think the evidence points to the contrary, but, regardless, we will continue to stand up for our coast, our economy, and the people of B.C., and we will do so responsibly and within the confines of the law.”

The federal government has responded to the legal battle in a statement. Ottawa is vowing to continue work with Kinder Morgan towards a deal that ‘is fair for their shareholders, and right for Canadians’.

“This is a decision made by the Government of British Columbia,” said Alexandre Deslongchamps, the press secretary for Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr. “The Transmountain Expansion will create thousands of good, well-paying jobs for Canadians, greater investor confidence, and a fair price for our natural resources.”

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Canadian oil flows into U.S. Gulf Coast market as Venezuela falls apart


  • Calgary Herald
  • 23 May 2018
getimage.aspx?regionKey=aSLCpShKbydR4wCDRTuuow%3d%3dRICARDO MAZALAN/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS A man proclaims support Tuesday in Caracas for Nicolas Maduro, who returned to power on the weekend in the Venezuelan presidential election. U.S. Gulf Coast refineries could soon process more Canadian crude as Venezuelan production declines further amid global objections to the election.

As Venezuela’s economy continues its “death spiral,” Canadian oil producers have capitalized on the South American country’s misery by increasing its share of the world’s largest refining market.

Venezuelan heavy oil production competes directly with Canadian oilsands barrels for space at refineries specially calibrated to process heavy blends.

“In January, it was the first month in history — as far as we are aware — that Canadian exports to the U.S. Gulf Coast outstripped Venezuelan exports, by a very small amount,” Scotiabank commodity economist Rory Johnston said. “That’s a fairly considerable shift in the balance.”

U.S. Department of Energy data shows Canadian producers sent 463,000 barrels of oil per day in January to the U.S. Gulf Coast, which is slightly higher than the 455,000 bpd Venezuela shipped to the region.

In February, data shows Canadian shipments to the region continued to beat out Venezuelan shipments, rising to 471,000 bpd, while Venezuelan shipments to the U.S. Gulf Coast fell to 416,000 bpd.

Venezuelan oil production has declined 41 per cent over the past two years, from 2.4 million barrels per day to 1.4 million bpd in 2016, according to IHS Markit, as the country’s economy has deteriorated.

While most of Canada’s oil is shipped to the U.S. Midwest, more Canadian barrels of heavy oil are making their way to refineries in Texas and Louisiana — the largest market in the world for heavy oil — on railway cars.

“There definitely is a substitution happening,” Scotiabank’s Johnston said. “On a monthly basis, we’ve seen definitely an increasing trend of oil by rail shipments to the U.S. Gulf Coast, but there are lots of constraints on the rail side as well.”

Overall, U.S. government data shows Canadian oil shipments to the country have surged to 4.2 million bpd in February, the last month for which data is available, which is up from 3.2 million bpd in Feb. 2014. Over the same period, Venezuelan exports to the U.S. have declined from 807,000 bpd to 472,000 bpd.

The surge comes even as Canadian oil producers are constrained by both full export pipelines and a lack of railway cars in recent months.

U.S. Gulf Coast refineries could process an increasing amount of Canadian crude in the coming months as Venezuelan production is set to decline further as countries around the world slam its “fraudulent” election over the weekend that returned President Nicolas Maduro to power.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland blasted the elections as “illegitimate and anti-democratic” in a release Monday, which announced Canada would immediately recall its ambassador to the country.

Brazil, Argentina and other countries also recalled their ambassadors and U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order imposing more financial sanctions on the country.

“It’s a very dire, negative outlook for the Venezuelan energy sector and that definitely does present an opportunity for Canadian oilsands producers to take advantage,” said Eurasia Group energy analyst Hilary Novik Sandberg.

She expects the U.S. will continue to ramp up sanctions on Venezuela, which could include a ban on U.S. producers sending diluent to state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA), which needs a blending agent for its heavy oil.

The U.S. may eventually — after mid-term elections in November — also impose a full ban on imports of Venezuelan crude oil, which would be devastating for PDVSA and Maduro, Novik Sandberg said, adding that she expects Venezuela’s total oil output will decline by 50,000 bpd each month even without additional sanctions.

In fact, Venezuela’s heavy output is likely to decline because it simply can’t afford diluent.

“Venezuela is essentially broke and unable to pay for standard operating maintenance on the (oil) fields and unable to finance imports of diluent products that are required for upgrading its own heavy crude so they’re in a sort of death spiral now,” said Bill Farren-Price, founder and CEO of U.K.-based Petroleum Policy Intelligence.

“There’s no way to get around that saving an (International Monetary Fund) rescue plan and a renegotiation of credit and that’s not going to happen under the current government, especially after Maduro’s been returned to power,” he said, adding that it is “absolutely clear that Venezuela’s loss is Canada’s gain.”

Some analysts believe the U.S. Energy Information Administration data is actually under-reporting how much Canadian oil is being refined in the U.S. Gulf Coast. “There is over 800,000 barrels of Canadian heavy crude that has found its way to the U.S. Gulf Coast,” IHS Markit oilsands and crude oil market analyst Kevin Birn said.

Canadian oil producers are delivering their oil to the storage hub at Cushing, Okla. and the U.S. Department of Energy is recording the import data in that region, before the barrels are transferred to the refineries near Houston.

“We think by 2020, Canadian heavy oil in the Gulf Coast could reach 1.2 million barrels per day — a full third of the region’s heavy oil refining capacity,” Birn said.

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Justin, the Senate has said it is time for you to defecate or get off the pot.

Senate puts pressure on feds to declare pipeline in national  interest . THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Published Wednesday, May 23, 2018 12:29PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 23, 2018 12:34PM EDT

OTTAWA – The Senate has passed legislation declaring the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in the national interest.

On Tuesday, Senators sent the House of Commons Bill S-245, which seeks to have the federal government declare the project “to be for the general advantage of Canada.”

The Trans Mountain Pipeline Project Act was introduced by independent Sen. Douglas Black in February, and passed all stages without amendment.

Not all senators were on-side with his proposal, however, passing it by a vote of 54 to 15, with six abstentions.

Liberal Sen. Lilian Dyck sought unsuccessfully to amend the legislation to acknowledge ongoing legal action and Indigenous rights.

The bill’s stated purpose “is to ensure that the Trans Mountain Pipeline Project and any works related to it that are carried out.”

On Tuesday, ahead of the final vote, Black told his colleagues the bill sets the groundwork for the federal government to act and “provides certainty that Kinder Morgan is requesting in order to allow them to continue their work in constructing the Trans Mountain Pipeline.”

Kinder Morgan put the project on pause in April, demanding reassurance by May 31 that the pipeline to move oil from Edmonton, Alta. to Burnaby, B.C. can go ahead despite opposition from the B.C. government.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several of his cabinet ministers have stated that they consider the project to be in the national interest, and have pledged legislative measures to assert the federal government’s jurisdiction, but nothing has been tabled yet.

“All options are on the table,” Carr said when asked about the Senate bill Wednesday morning.

Last week, the government announced it is willing and prepared to financially back the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, whether or not Kinder Morgan is the company that ends up building it, and is continuing talks with the Texas-based company about how to see the $7.4-billion expansion built.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday morning, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said his caucus will be supporting Bill S-245.

Conservative MP Tony Clement called the bill “very interesting” and said it asserts that the project is in the national interest.

“Maybe this will be a way to save Justin Trudeau from his own inaction,” Clement told reporters

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2 hours ago, Malcolm said:

passing it by a vote of 54 to 15, with six abstentions.

54 + 15 + 6 = 75

There are 105 senators in the Canadian Senate.  Where were the other 30?

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According to Wikipedia there were 12 open seats in February. It sounds improbable, but the missing seat holders may have retired over the last few months, or didn't feel like showing up the day of the vote?


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1 hour ago, DEFCON said:

According to Wikipedia there were 12 open seats in February. It sounds improbable, but the missing seat holders may have retired over the last few months, or didn't feel like showing up the day of the vote?


or they were die heart Liberals.

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I think it is a pretty common practice that if you disagree with your party on a vote and don't want to "rock the boat", you call in sick on voting day.  your missing vote is as good as a Yay for the other team.


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Credit Agency warns Alberta will feel more pain if Trans Mountain project Cancelled

  • Calgary Herald
  • 24 May 2018
  • CHRIS VARCOE Chris Varcoe is a Calgary Herald columnist.
getimage.aspx?regionKey=PL%2bBVWjXwRcjFdrorSz41w%3d%3dCHAD HIPOLITO/THE CANADIAN PRESS If British Columbia Premier John Horgan is successful in blocking the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Alberta is expected to take a credit rating hit, warns Moody’s Investors Service.

Premier Rachel Notley has spent months hammering home just how high the stakes are for Alberta in the pipeline war with British Columbia.

Now, a credit-rating agency has waded in to clinically back up the premier’s political assessment.

Alberta can’t let the Trans Mountain expansion hit the rocks or it will suffer a financial pounding on several fronts for years to come.

“Despite the recent federal indemnity, the Trans Mountain pipeline dispute is credit negative for the Canadian province of Alberta,” said a statement from Moody’s Investors Service vice-president Adam Hardi.

“The project’s cancellation would represent a potentially significant loss in revenue, increase its energy transportation costs and diminish future energy infrastructure investment and oil development.”

For a province that has already seen its fair share of credit rating downgrades and two gruelling years of recession, that’s the last thing Albertans can afford.

But the countdown clock is ticking louder each day, and the question keeps being asked: Will the project finally move ahead?

Ottawa, the provincial government and Kinder Morgan continue to meet this week over the Trans Mountain expansion as the company’s self-imposed May 31 deadline approaches.

Kinder Morgan has suspended all non-essential spending on the $7.4-billion expansion.

Faced with multiple delays and lawsuits, the company is seeking assurances it can get the project built through B.C., where the NDP government of John Horgan is trying to stop the expansion over concerns about the increased potential of tanker spills off its coast.

Kinder Morgan is also seeking to protect its investors from the financial risk of further delays. The project is a year behind schedule and faces two major legal rulings in the coming weeks that could complicate, or clarify, its future.

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau has offered to provide indemnity to Kinder Morgan on any further political uncertainty created by the B.C. government. The federal backstop would be available to a third party if the pipeline company decides to withdraw.

While the federal offer is welcome, there are more intricacies ahead on a file that is already as politically complex as quantum physics.

“Although this (promise) eases some of the related credit risks, the federal announcement lacks detail,” states the Moody’s report released Wednesday.

“In addition, the guarantee may not provide sufficient assurances to entice privatesector investors to invest in cross-border energy projects in Alberta, or even in other provinces.”

The Horgan government, which wants to see a liquefied natural gas (LNG) complex built in B.C., should take careful note of that last phrase. Killing the pipeline might have ramifications for its own energy dreams.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; talks with Kinder Morgan and the governments are ongoing and a deal could be reached within the next week.

If project opponents want to understand why Alberta is fighting so resolutely for the pipeline to proceed, the Moody’s report would be a good place to start.

Cancelling the federally approved venture would increase transportation costs for Alberta oil, forcing more crude to move by rail.

It would cut into provincial revenues “at a time when the province is already forecasting a prolonged period of deficit and rapidly rising debt,” the report states.

In his spring budget, Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci projected $8.8 billion in red ink this year, and another $20.6 billion of deficits before Alberta sees a balanced budget in 2023-24.

And that’s based upon achieving success on the pipeline front.

Building at least two of three proposed oil pipelines now on the books — Trans Mountain, TransCanada’s Keystone XL and Enbridge’s Line 3 project — is projected to boost Alberta’s economy between 1.5 and two per cent by 2023.

The three projects would trigger more oil production and investment, adding an extra $10.5 billion in royalties to provincial coffers over five years.

So there’s a clear economic imperative — with more jobs — to be realized if the project moves ahead.

But what if Horgan is successful and the Trans Mountain project is shelved?

Coming after the failures of Energy East and Northern Gateway, such a step would have “significant implications for investor confidence,” Moody’s states.

The rating agency said such a lack of success building crossborder pipelines “could ultimately impact TransCanada’s decision whether to proceed with the Keystone XL project.”

For opponents of Trans Mountain, that would be a doubleknockout win in their attempt to keep more Alberta bitumen from being exported out of the province, but it would cause a deep ripple across this province’s economy.

“In the absence of new investment, transportation bottlenecks will worsen as existing pipeline capacity would be insufficient to consistently move oil out of the province,” the report added.

To recap, killing Trans Mountain would lead to lower energy investment, fewer jobs, less government revenues, a bigger deficit for Alberta and a negative cloud hanging over investor confidence in Canada.

In an interview shortly before the Moody’s report was issued, Ceci insisted Alberta can’t let that happen.

Moving ahead on the pipeline would bolster economic certainty and lead to a “reinvigoration of capital investment in the oil and gas sector,” he predicted.

“This is a very pivotal moment for Alberta and one that will define Canada and what it looks like, so we are going to take every and all actions necessary to make sure this pipeline gets built,” Ceci said.

Alberta has gone all in at the pipeline poker table as it, along with the federal government, seeks to broker a deal to get the project across the finish line. Time is running out.

But failure, as Alberta’s finance minister says, is not an option.

This is a very pivotal moment for Alberta and one that will define Canada and what it looks like.

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We’re reaping what Notley and Trudeau sowed


  • Calgary Herald
  • 24 May 2018
  • CHRIS NELSON Chris Nelson is a Calgary writer.

If it wasn’t so darn important to our city, there’d be some degree of smug satisfaction with the awkward position in which both the premier and prime minister now find themselves embroiled in with this whole pipeline brouhaha.

After all, it was Premier Rachel Notley, when ensconced in opposition with barely a thought of ever getting the top job, who would regale the then-ruling Tories about the urgent need to wean the province off the endless energy rollercoaster.

And it was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who once campaigned on a platform promising Indigenous groups and environmentalists there’d be a new dawn in Canada under his steel-eyed steerage, which would ensure the age of dastardly Big Oil would melt faster than any 21st century Arctic glacier.

Well, Notley is now desperately clinging to that same disparaged roller-coaster with a white-knuckled fervour unmatched in modern-day Alberta politics. If it doesn’t quickly kick into gear and help reduce the recession still lingering in Calgary, then the only coasting her party will do is into the Prairie political history dustbin this time next year.

Meanwhile, those Grits in Ottawa might as well be wording a help wanted ad aimed at anyone with a big shovel and broad back daft enough to try their hand at building a pipeline in this hopelessly divided country.

Reap what you sow springs to mind at this complete and utter farce.

Notley set the scene in the early days of her premiership with all that long-since ditched blather about social license. Believing that the rest of Canada consisted of scrupulously fair folk without an ounce of self-interest, we were

Just like Notley, (Trudeau) believed in this social license silliness.

treated to the strange spectacle of marauding bands of ardent light bulb changing missionaries saving us from environmental Armageddon whether we liked it or not.

But that was then; this is now. (Though, to be honest, I’ve not noticed any real change in my monthly power bill since getting the blessed bulbs, other than the notorious carbon charge.)

Certainly, there’s been no change either among many in the rest of Canada, despite our self-imposed emissions cap and carbon levy. Yep, they’re quietly continuing to enjoy the fruits of those extra taxes Alberta generates, while merrily complaining we’re turning the planet into some big black blob.

Then there’s the prime minister, who happily stuck a stake through Enbridge’s planned $7.9-billion Northern Gateway pipeline to Kitimat in B.C., while allowing his government to disparage the National Energy Board and let a bunch of loudmouths, grandstanders and liars destroy TransCanada Corp.’s $16-billion Energy East project aimed at shipping Alberta crude to New Brunswick refineries.

Just like Notley, he believed in this social license silliness. In Trudeau’s case, he no doubt expected the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to get a relatively easy passage as a type of payback for his government’s success in screwing up the other national pipeline projects.

As we all now know, it didn’t quite work out that way. So now the federal government is on bended knee to Kinder Morgan, promising no doubt some huge taxpayer-funded payoff if the company agrees to continue putting up with the relentless sticks and stones of protest in B.C. and actually completes the project.

And if they pull out as they have threatened to do at the end of this month? Well, according to federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau, there are other outfits that could step in to finish the job.

And, pray tell, who could they be? Maybe Morneau is thinking of those experienced Canadian pipeline builders. Yes, TransCanada and Enbridge — the same ones the Grits skewered a year or so ago.

And what would their reaction be, we wonder? Hold on a moment, folks. Can anyone else hear a strange, almost maniacal laughter emanating from those downtown Calgary office towers?

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