There is a lot to say about today's announcement that the Liberal government is ready to buy the Kinder Morgan pipeline and expansion for $4.5 billion.
The majority of people are against using public money to bail out the Kinder Morgan pipeline, let alone buy the project out right. The decision puts us on the line to cover costs of further delays and failure to proceed in the face of legal challenges and on the ground resistance to the project.
Building the pipeline would violate Indigenous rights (over half of the Indigenous communities along the path have not signed an agreement or are actively opposed), is inconsistent with the Paris Climate Agreement and threatens waterways and the West Coast with a diluted bitumen spill.
And let's be honest, we all know it will be way more than $4.5 billion.
This doesn't even cover the construction costs for the new pipeline. Kinder Morgan estimated in December the full costs would be $7.4 billion while a former CEO of TransCanada suggested a $10 billion dollar indemnity would be needed to proceed.
Oh, and let's not forget that, if should this all proceed, the new crown corporation, or the Canadian Pension Plan if Finance Minister Morneau gets his way from the sounds of it, would be on the hook for spill clean up costs.
The Exxon Valdez spill of 1989 cost $3.5 billion (US), supertankers from B.C.'s westridge terminal would carry close to twice the amount of oil. Costs have gone up, not down. And this says nothing of whether the waters, which many jobs and livelihoods depend on for tourism and fishing, could be adequately cleaned.
I'll repeat, there is a lot to say about this.
As the next few days unfold one of the things I'm thinking about is how the federal government can magically make this $4.5 billion appear for a broken pipeline plan but not for other clear priorities.
How else would you spend $4.5-$10 billion dollars?
Here are a couple of my ideas:
- $10 billion in energy efficiency could generate 146,000 jobs, lowering home heating bills and climate pollution.
- $10 billion dollar investment over 5 years in higher speed rail would generate 101,600 jobs.
- $4.5 billion would cut all tuition fees in half.
- It would buy 4 to 10 years of clean drinking water for all First Nations.
- $11.5 billion per year would create a single-payer pharmacare plan in Canada with direct savings to Canadians of the same amount.