May 16, 2018
Remarks on the Trans Mountain Expansion Project
Check against delivery
Thank you for being here today.
Before I take your questions, I'd like to give you an update on where things stand with the ongoing discussions regarding the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.
Let me start by saying that, as we all know, Canada is a great place to invest.
We're a country that is blessed with natural resources, and the resourcefulness of our people.
When you put those two things together, you have a recipe for a strong and growing economy – and a strong and growing middle class.
A strong economy makes it possible for us to invest in protecting our environment – the air we breathe, our oceans, lakes, and rivers.
We're also a country where we have – and where we respect – the rule of law.
That's critically important, because the rule of law provides certainty for investors, and is one of the reasons Canada is such a good place to invest, and do business.
If we give that up, we give up some of what gives us an advantage in a competitive world.
These values – recognizing that the environment and the economy go hand in hand, and respecting the rule of law – are what have guided me since the Prime Minister asked me to explore financial solutions to make sure the federally and provincially approved Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMX) moves forward in a manner that makes sense for Canada and Canadians.
It is important for Canada that investors are able to develop the vital infrastructure needed to get Canadian resources to global markets.
As a country, Canada must be able to develop our resources, while protecting our environment, including safeguarding our oceans and combatting climate change.
And as a government, we need to ensure that the rule of law is respected, and that investors have the certainty needed to complete the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, because it is in the national interest to do so.
It's a project that will create jobs, and that will support Canada's communities – including Indigenous communities – and benefit all Canadians.
As you know, Kinder Morgan has expressed reservations about its ability to proceed with the project unless the uncertainty caused by Premier Horgan's deliberate attempts to frustrate the project are resolved by the end of the month.
Let me remind you that we are here today because, despite the Government of BC approving this project, the Premier of British Columbia's stated intentions are to do whatever it takes to stop the project, which is unconstitutional in its very purpose.
These are challenges that frankly put the livelihood of thousands of Canadians and their families at risk.
And so, we have been working closely with Kinder Morgan to address and remove the uncertainty that the Horgan Government has created.
Both parties have agreed to keep negotiations confidential, but I want to be clear on our government's position…
We believe in this project.
We believe it is in the best interest of Canada and Canadians to get this project built.
It means thousands of good, well-paying jobs for Canadians.
It means greater investor confidence, and a fair price for our natural resources.
And it's clear we have the jurisdictional authority to ensure it is completed.
That's why we are working diligently to remove the investment risk, so that this project can go ahead as planned.
As we do that work, there are several principles that are guiding and informing our search for solutions.
First, we accept that the federal government has a clear role to play.
Kinder Morgan cannot resolve differences between governments.
It is our responsibility to consider different ways that we can help resolve these differences and address these risks.
We are prepared, for example, to indemnify the project against any financial loss that derives from Premier Horgan's attempts to delay or obstruct the project.
This indemnification would allow Kinder Morgan to finish what they started – what they received federal and BC provincial approval to do.
Second, if Kinder Morgan decides at some stage not to proceed with TMX, the indemnification against financial loss would still be in place for another party who might wish to take over the project.
And third, any support that Canada provides to ensure that this project proceeds must be sound, and fair, and beneficial for Canadians.
We understand that a private sector company would want to maximize its profit.
Likewise, we have a responsibility to act in the best interest of all Canadians.
To sum up:
We are willing to indemnify the Trans Mountain Expansion against unnecessary delays that are politically motivated.
And we believe that the principles I've outlined make good business sense.
If Kinder Morgan is not interested in building the project, we think plenty of investors would be interested in taking on this project, especially knowing that the federal government believes it is in the best interest of Canadians, and is willing to provide indemnity to make sure it gets built.
Discussions with Kinder Morgan continue – and we are striving to get to an agreement by the May 31st deadline.
We have in the Alberta energy sector resources that are being developed safely and responsibly, under a legislated cap in emissions, and under the leadership of a premier whose support for our national climate plan is steadfast.
And remember – this project will provide a safe and efficient means of getting our natural resources to international markets, where we can get a better price for them.
And by getting this project done, governments across Canada – the federal government, as well as governments in British Columbia and Alberta – would have more to invest in the vital services that Canadians depend on to get ahead.
That's what's at stake. That is what we are working hard to protect.
That's why we are so appreciative of the leadership shown by Premier Notley, who has been a tireless advocate for this project and for the people of Alberta.
For our part, we will continue to discuss options with Kinder Morgan.
While we know there is reason to disagree in any negotiation, we are confident that we can come to an agreement that is fair for the shareholders of Kinder Morgan, and one that is right for Canadians.
I'd be happy to take your questions now.