The Liberals have done it to themselves. Just as Henry Ford’s customers could have any colour of Model T car, as long as it was black, so the Liberals can have any pipeline they want, as long as it’s Trans Mountain.
By reducing the number of options, they are now engaged in the politics of last resort to push through Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain project.
But if they hadn’t blocked Northern Gateway, raised the regulatory bar on Energy East to unattainable levels and imposed an oil tanker moratorium on the west coast, they wouldn’t be faced with the prospect of a need to fund a de facto nationalization of Trans Mountain.
(The tanker ban is frustrating the ambitions of First Nations-led Eagle Spirit Holdings to build a northern-Alberta-B.C. pipeline).
Finance minister Bill Morneau said on Wednesday that there are “plenty of investors who would be interested in taking on this project”.
Eagle Spirit was named as one potential partner – an optic that would obviously sit well with the Liberals’ reconciliation agenda.
But Calvin Helin, the indigenous entrepreneur who heads up the company, said it is not interested in the Trans Mountain route.
Rather it is focused on a legal challenge by the Lax Kw’alaams Band, of which he is a member, to the oil tanker moratorium legislation that is currently before the Senate.