by Dennis McConaghy
June 7, 2018
The federal government’s promise to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline was not ideal, but it was preferable to a total breakdown of the project. Nationalization was the federal government’s last remaining market-access option for Canadian oilsands entirely within its own jurisdiction.
That the Trudeau government was compelled to resort to this option is a testament to the dysfunction of our approval processes for major hydrocarbon infrastructure. A project that had all of the requisite regulatory approvals and had not to date suffered any substantive reversal in the courts was nevertheless deemed by its private capital investors as too risky to try completing.
Regardless of whether Trans Mountain is actually completed, as the Trudeau government promises, and eventually sold to private-sector interests, as it also vows to do, the question for reasonable Canadians is what we’ve learned from this outcome.