Canadian government’s desperate plan to bail out Kinder Morgan only emboldens opposition, environmental group says

Leaders grasping at straws in willingness to bail out pipeline company — but announcement doesn’t address risks from First Nations opposition, ongoing protests.

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VANCOUVER, BC — The federal government’s offer of a public taxpayer bailout of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker project only emboldens those working to stop the project, said environmental group Stand.earth.

On Wednesday, May 16, in Ottawa, Canada’s Minister of Finance Bill Morneau announced the federal government is willing to “indemnify against the risks” posed by British Columbia’s legal challenge to the pipeline.

"This is a desperate attempt by the Trudeau government to use taxpayer money to bail out a collapsing project. It's fiscally irresponsible and ignores the growing protests to the project and the federal government’s own promises on Indigenous reconciliation. Today’s announcement does nothing but embolden the opposition fighting to stop this dirty and dangerous project — they can’t indemnify investors against us." -Tzeporah Berman, Campaigns and Communications Director, Stand.earth

At the press conference, Morneau evaded questions about the ongoing First Nations legal challenge to the project, while stating that the government is confident a private buyer will be interested in taking a stake in the pipeline by Kinder Morgan’s May 31 deadline. Morneau offered few details on ongoing negotiations with Kinder Morgan and potential investors.

“Three years ago, Justin Trudeau and Bill Morneau told voters they would restore our leadership in the fight against climate change, seek reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and end fossil fuel subsidies. Today, they violated all three of those promises by finding new and even more wasteful ways to give taxpayer money to Big Oil, and yet again ignoring the need for First Nations consent for these kind of projects.” - Sven Biggs, Climate Campaigner, Stand.earth

“Morneau is attempting to lay the blame for the potential failure of this project at the feet of B.C. Premier John Horgan, while avoiding addressing the real risk of First Nations legal challenges and ongoing protests. Today’s announcement equated to a fire sale as the Feds desperately search for a new investor to take on this failing project. If the corporation with the most insight into the project’s financial viability wants to pull out, why would another private investor want to step in?” -Karen Mahon, Strategy Director, Stand.earth

Background

Opposition to Kinder Morgan’s pipeline and tanker project includes Indigenous leaders, the Province of British Columbia, the state of Washington, the cities of Vancouver, Burnaby, and Victoria, and 19 other BC municipalities, as well as 250,000 petition signers and more than 24,000 people who have pledged to do “whatever it takes” to stop Kinder Morgan’s pipeline and tanker project. Over 200 people have been arrested in the past few months alone for opposing the pipeline.

The BC Supreme Court and Canadian Federal Court of Appeals have yet to rule on First Nation lawsuits that could still quash the project.

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Media contacts:
Tzeporah Berman, tzeporah@stand.earth,  604-313-4713
Sven Biggs, sven@stand.earth, 778-882-8354
Karen Mahon, karen@stand.earth, 604-836-5992