Ottawa not focused on finding Trans Mountain buyer right now: Morneau
With the federal government set to deliver its final decision on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion’s fate on Tuesday, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said he’s not concerned with finding a new owner for the pipeline just yet.
“It’s not something that we’re focused on right now, because we’re looking towards next week,” Morneau told BNN Bloomberg’s Amanda Lang in an interview on Friday.
“One way or another, we want this to be in the private sector over the long-term. We don’t think this is a role the government should play over the long-term, and that’s going to be a consideration that we take in the weeks [and] months to come.”
Morneau said Tuesday’s decision on whether to proceed with the pipeline the federal government purchased for $4.5 billion in May 2018 has to be done “the right way” after the Federal Court of Appeal sent the project back to consultations to address environmental and indigenous concerns.
“We’ve been really clear that we’re going to look at this next Tuesday, considering all of the things that we’ve done in response to the Court of Appeal’s decision that set us back,” he said. “That work has been ongoing. We’ve been consulting with Indigenous peoples … What I want Canadians to know is we’re going to do that in consideration of what we’ve been given as an appropriate way to get this done.”
However, Morneau added that the federal government won’t step away from the project until the political risk has been removed. He reminded Canadians why the Trudeau government stepped in in the first place.
“We own this pipeline because we had a political problem that was creating an impasse for a private-sector owner,” he said.
“That impasse, that challenge, hasn’t gone away. The project hasn’t had risk removed. So, what we’ve always said is: ‘We want to find a way that there’s a path for the private sector to be engaged in this project.’ Next Tuesday will be a really important marker.”