As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prepares to approve the much-delayed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion this month, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation has launched a cross-Canada tour to highlight the cost of Alberta’s land-locked crude oil.
CTF Alberta director Franco Terrazzano and B.C. director Kris Sims unveiled their lost revenue counter at the B.C. legislature Monday, as it ticked past $6.4 billion, based on the price gap between Alberta oil and prices on the international market.
— Tom Fletcher (@tomfletcherbc) June 3, 2019
Using calculations done by the Parliamentary Budget Officer last fall, the running display shows $6.2 billion lost due to discounts on Canadian oil compared to prices paid internationally. The display is set to rise by $3.7 million per day.
“When the B.C. government blocks pipelines, the only people who benefit are oil exporters in Russia and Saudi Arabia,” Sims said.
Terrazzano said Trans Mountain is just the latest project stalled by B.C.’s slow and unpredictable resource industry approval process. Northern Gateway to Kitimat and Energy East, a gas-to-oil conversion to allow Alberta oil to compete with Saudi and African imports to eastern Canada, were also victims of the current process, he said.
B.C. Premier John Horgan has stuck to his 2017 election promise to use every legal tool available to stop the expansion. After the province’s reference case claiming jurisdiction over what the Trans Mountain pipeline can carry was rejected by a five-judge panel at the B.C. Court of Appeal, Horgan said the case will carry on to the Supreme Court of Canada.
The federal cabinet is due to decide on approval of the expansion project June 18. Having taken over the 65-year-old oil and refined fuels pipeline and the expansion project last year at a cost of $4.5 billion to taxpayers, Trudeau has little choice but to green-light the work. He and his senior ministers have guaranteed the expansion, and they face an election this fall.
The Trudeau cabinet first approved Trans Mountain in 2016, with 157 conditions imposed by the National Energy Board. In August 2018, the Federal Court of Appeals ordered a new regulatory review to improve Indigenous consultation and look at shipping effects on marine life from the increase in oil tanker traffic.
The NEB recommended approval again in February, with the extra study ordered by the court.