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Canada Pension Plan could invest in Kinder Morgan pipeline if it provided “decent returns”

On May 30, 2017, Toronto-based Council of Canadians organizer Mark Calzavara delivered 8,000+ letters to the head office of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in Toronto calling on them to not invest in the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline.

The Council of Canadians has opposed the possibility of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) investing in the Texas-based Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline for more than a year.

In February 2017, Reuters reported, “Kinder Morgan Inc. has begun talks with institutional investors including major Canadian pension funds and private equity firms to raise capital for the $6.8 billion expansion of its Trans Mountain pipeline project, according to people familiar with the process. Kinder Morgan has held discussions with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, three of the biggest Canadian pension funds, the people added. It was unclear whether talks with the three pension funds were still ongoing.”

In response, we launched this online action alert calling on the pension plan to publicly state it would not invest in the pipeline. That appeal generated 8,000 letters that Council of Canadians organizer Mark Calzavara delivered – dressed in a toxic hazard outfit – to the CPPIB office on Queen Street East in Toronto in May 2017.

At that time, Calzavara stated, “The Council of Canadians emailed and phoned the CPPIB months ago for the first time, and they promised they would get back to us with a response, but we have yet to hear anything from them.”

Now, The Globe and Mail reports, “[Federal finance minister Bill Morneau] says even if Kinder Morgan walks away, there would likely be other investors willing to take the project over — including, potentially, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.”

Reuters adds, “Mark Machin, chief executive of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, said the pension fund manager, the country’s biggest, could consider the project. ‘If it’s an opportunity that has decent returns then we’ll look at it’, Machin said, adding the government’s pledge to protect investors against political risk was helpful.”

Last week CBC reported, “Canada is willing to write Kinder Morgan — or anyone else who steps up to the plate — a cheque to ensure the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion gets built despite British Columbia’s opposition, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said Wednesday. Morneau said the federal government is willing to compensate the pipeline’s backers for any financial loss due to British Columbia’s attempts to obstruct the company’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. …Kinder Morgan has threatened to abandon the project if a clear path forward isn’t reached by May 31.”

That article noted, “Morneau wouldn’t say if there’s a limit to how much the government is willing to spend to compensate the pipeline’s backer.” BNN Bloomberg has previously reported former TransCanada chief executive officer Hal Kvisle commenting that it would need to be a $10 billion dollar indemnity.

The Council of Canadians calls once again on the CPPIB not to invest in the pipeline.

To add your name to our online petition – Back off Trudeau, respect Indigenous rights and BC’s no to Kinder Morgan – please click here. And if you are in the Ottawa area, please be sure to join us on Parliament Hill on Tuesday May 22 for this emergency rally against the Trudeau government’s backing of the pipeline.

To read Council of Canadians campaigner Andrea Harden’s blog ‘5 Reasons to #StopKM’, please click here.