CALGARY, Alberta, May 30 (Reuters) - Canada’s decision to buy Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd’s Trans Mountain pipeline was brought about by a “particularly problematic” situation and is not a symbol of how things get done in the country, the finance minister said on Wednesday.
Canada on Tuesday agreed to buy the pipeline for C$4.5 billion ($3.5 billion) in an effort to save a project that faces formidable political and environmental opposition on worries about the pipeline spilling its tar-like heavy oil.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the decision was exceptional and that the rule of law needs to be seen as a business advantage to investing in Canada.
“We don’t see this as a symbol of the way to get things done in this country,” Morneau told an audience in Calgary, home to Canada’s energy industry.
The planned expansion of Trans Mountain would nearly triple the capacity, running from Alberta’s oil sands to the Pacific province of British Columbia, which is opposed to the project. But the federal government has repeatedly said the project is in the national interest.
But opposition efforts by British Columbia threaten to further delay the project, which was approved by the federal government in 2016.
Morneau also reiterated that the government will seek private ownership of the project when it makes sense. ($1 = 1.2880 Canadian dollars)
Reporting by Rod Nickel in Calgary Writing by Leah Schnurr in Ottawa Editing by Matthew Lewis