It’s not easy to build pipelines or expand their capacity in Canada. Last fall, faced with obstacles and lengthening delays, TransCanada abandoned its Energy East pipeline project in Quebec and New Brunswick, valued at over $16 billion. Earlier, in the spring, Ottawa had put the kibosh on the Northern Gateway project out west, valued at $8 billion.
But there are also successes, like the Trans Mountain project, which was approved by the federal government and seemed, up until just recently, about to get moving. But now, thanks to British Columbian politics, this major project of importance for the Canadian economy is also at risk of being derailed.
For months now, the authorities in Burnaby, B.C. have been refusing to issue the necessary permits for the construction of infrastructure required for the Trans Mountain project. More recently, the provincial government (a coalition of New Democrats and Greens) has announced its intention to launch a new environmental evaluation process, which will push back the project’s completion date and add another layer of uncertainty.
Kinder Morgan reacted by indicating that it might abandon the Trans Mountain project. Nothing more was needed for Alberta Premier Rachel Notley to man the barricades. Notley started last week by suspending negotiations on the purchase of electricity from British Columbia. This week, she put an end to wine imports from Alberta’s neighbour. In short, we have the opening salvos of a trade war, which benefits no one.
This conflict raises two issues. First, there is the rule of law. The best way to kill private investment, one of the keys to a rising standard of living, is to open the door to case-by-case arbitrary political decisions about which projects will be approved. If any change of government can lead to a substantial increase in costs and delays for companies, they will take …read more
Source:: Edmonton Journal