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article imageMorneau — Trans Mountain talks must be held behind closed doors

By Karen Graham     Apr 11, 2018 in World
Speaking in Toronto, Finance Minister Bill Morneau made it clear the federal government isn't about to divulge how it plans to salvage the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion.
Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion owner Kinder-Morgan Canada upped the stakes on Sunday when the company announced they would suspend all unnecessary spending on the project until they were given assurances work wouldn't be blocked by British Columbia’s NDP government.
Morneau said there are several options being discussed in Ottawa to ensure the Alberta to British Columbia pipeline expansion gets built, including the federal government having a financial stake in the project.
According to the Globe and Mail, Morneau said any federal investment in the Kinder-Morgan project would require some behind-closed-door meetings with Kinder Morgan officials and the two provincial governments.
Morneau is expected to meet with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley later today, and he plans on reinforcing the Trudeau government's "resolute determination" to keep the project on track.
That "resolute determination" by the Liberal government was confirmed Tuesday during an emergency federal cabinet meeting in Ottawa, although Morneau wouldn't say what kind of financial penalties, if any, may be used against British Columbia. Those penalties could include withholding transfer payments, reports CTV News,
Canadian transfer payments can include the Canada Social Transfer, the Canada Health Transfer, and equalization payments. The first two must be spent on social and health services by the provinces. According to the Department of Finance, in 2018-19, the Government of British Columbia will receive $6.9 billion through major transfers.
The funding for 2018-2019 includes $5.06 million for Canada Health Transfer and $1.9 million for Canada Social Transfer.
“I’m not going to publicly negotiate with any one of the parties,” Morneau said after making a student work placement announcement at Toronto’s Ryerson University. “Public threats, in my estimation, aren’t helpful.”
Bill Morneau  Canadian Minister of Finance.
Bill Morneau, Canadian Minister of Finance.
All talk and nothing gets done
The Edmonton Journal is a bit more succinct in describing the latest happenings, including the "emergency cabinet meeting" in Ottawa yesterday.
They pointed out that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continues to "say the right things about Trans Mountain’s importance to the economy and the unconstitutionality of B.C.’s guerrilla opposition."
But seeing as the pipeline received federal approval almost a year-and-a-half ago, they wonder why politicians are still talking and not doing anything to get the pipeline completed. Kinder-Morgan is given credit for making the only decisive move to date, and that was suspending operations.
They also wonder why Alberta's oilpatch is not seeing the same governmental response shown by the federal government when it stepped in to assist aerospace workers in Quebec and protect auto-industry jobs in Ontario.
One thing is for sure - The pot is steaming and ready to boil. Let's just hope it doesn't boil over and burn someone.
More about Kindermorgan, behind closed doors, May 31 deadline, trans mountain, Politics
 
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