New poll shows 59% of Canadians do not support any more spending on Trans Mountain pipeline construction

Monday October 18, 2021

Just 7% say federal government should spend whatever it takes to build the pipeline

Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) (VANCOUVER, BC) — A new poll from Abacus Data shows that 45 per cent of Canadians do not think the federal government should spend any more money on the Trans Mountain pipeline, and a further 14 per cent think they should not spend more than the current $12.6 billion in projected construction costs. 

An additional seven per cent of respondents said they would be comfortable with  costs rising to as much as $20 billion, another seven per cent told pollsters the federal government should spend whatever it takes to complete the pipeline, and finally 28 per cent of respondents were unsure. 

"Every dollar that Canada spends on TMX is a bet against a safe,secure, and environmentally healthy planet for future generations,” said Grand Chief Stewart Philip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “It is absolutely shameful that the federal government continues pushing this project through without the consent of the Nations whose territory it passes through and without appropriate social license from the Canadian public."

The projected cost of building the Trans Mountain Expansion has steadily increased since 2014, when Kinder Morgan first unveiled the project with an estimated cost of $5.4 billion. In 2017, they revised that number upwards to $7.4 billion, before revising it again a year later to $9.6 billion in regulatory filings related to the sale of the pipeline to the Canadian Government. Then in February of 2020 Trans Mountain CEO Ian Anderson announced the estimated cost had risen again to $12.6 billion. It has now been more than eighteen months since the federal government has updated the cost despite documented construction delays.

“Since the Trans Mountain Expansion was first proposed the construction cost of the project has increased by a jaw dropping 133 per cent and there is no reason to believe that it is not going to continue to rise” said Sven Biggs, Canadian Oil and Gas Program Director for Stand.earth. “The Trudeau Government needs to come clean with Canadians and tell them how much of their money he is willing to spend to build this boondoggle pipeline.”

Construction delays are the leading cause of cost increases of projects on the scale of the pipeline. Last month West Coast Environmental Law released a legal report entitled Trans Mountain: Delays into 2023 will add millions to public cost, which analyzed hundreds of Trans Mountain regulatory filings and legal documents, and concluded that the pipeline faced delays ranging from two to 23 months pushing the start date well into 2023.

“We found evidence of delays in every segment of the pipeline ranging from two to 23 months. When cross-referenced with sworn affidavit statements from Trans Mountain executives about the cost of delays, the TMX cost has likely ballooned to $20 billion,” said Eugene Kung, staff lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law. “However, the lack of transparency and culture of secrecy at Trans Mountain makes this hard to confirm. The Canadian public, who now own this project, deserve to know the full cost while there is still time to save billions.”

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For media requests, contact: 

Ziona Eyob, Media Director - Canada, Stand.earth, canmedia@stand.earth, c: +1 604 757 7279 (Pacific Time)

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President Union of BC Indian Chiefs, 250-490-5314
Eugene Kung, Staff Lawyer, West Coast Environmental Law Association 604-601-2514, ekung@wcel.org