Of all the things that I could have predicted Justin Trudeau to do, nationalizing part of Canada’s oil industry wasn’t one of them.
I’ve been a tough critic of Trudeau, and for good reason, but I never thought I would see this happen. On Tuesday morning, Trudeau’s dynamic duo of Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, made the announcement.
“Make no mistake, this is an investment in Canada’s future,” Morneau said as he announced the $4.5 billion purchase.
Not only is the federal government finishing the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, they are buying the existing pipeline. And they will build a new one.
Morneau the pipeline builder.
Welcome to the new way business is done in Trudeau’s Canada, the government builds it for you. Morneau even bragged what this would mean for future foreign investment.
“To investors who are considering Canada as a place to build big, important, transformational projects like the Trans Mountain expansion, we want you to know that you have a partner in Ottawa,” Morneau said.
Over and over again he used the term national interest to explain why the project would now get built. It was as if he felt by saying it, he could make it true.
As the industry has been pointing out all day, this project was in the national interest before the pipeline purchase. How does it change now that the feds will own it?
Will the court cases go away? No.
Does BC Premier John Horgan give up his fight? No.
Will the protesters threatening civil disobedience and violence to stop the protests go away? Hell no.
So what has changed?
Nothing other than we all own a pipeline built in the 1950s along with the promise to build a new one. Except that promise to build a new one comes from a federal government that will not act.
Do you really expect that Justin Trudeau will order the RCMP or military to protect the pipeline and arrest protesters that lay down in the path of construction equipment?
No, as soon as people like that show up, flanked by one of the First Nations groups that opposed this pipeline, Trudeau will cave.
By the way, ever notice that to most of the media, the dozens of First Nations groups that agree with this pipeline and will benefit don’t count?
Another Trudeau nationalizes oil in Canada.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer blasted the deal as another Trudeau nationalizing another part of the oil sector, just like his father.
“This is a very, very sad day for Canada’s energy sector. The message that is being sent to the world is that in order to get a big project build in this country, the federal government has to nationalize a huge aspect of it,” Scheer said in the foyer of the House of Commons.
The NDP, the Greens, all sides really are blasting this deal.
This never had to happen. Kinder Morgan wanted to spend their own money to build and operate this pipeline. There is a solid business case to do so. But not without certainty that the thing could actually get built.
That is where the federal failure kicks in.
Justin Trudeau should have exercised his authority, as head of the federal government, to assert federal jurisdiction. Trudeau didn’t do that of course because he has been trying to play both sides. He didn’t want to lose votes in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland but he didn’t want to seem anti-oil.
So he waffled.
Then he delayed.
Then he bought something that he claims lots of people are willing to pay for.
If he had investors, Trudeau would have brought them in. Instead he bought the thing and sent a bad signal to international investors.
Like I said, I never would have predicted this. I am a regular and strong critic of Trudeau but even I could not have predicted this disaster.
Watch Below as Trudeau defends the purchase.