Hundreds of Canadian companies oppose Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s nationalization of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline project.
But, as Global News reports, their complaint in a petition released Wednesday doesn’t focus on objections to the government spending taxpayer money to play in the private sector marketplace: the businesses are worried that the pipeline is “out of sync” with environmental politics.
Trudeau announced on Tuesday that the federal government would spend $4.5 billion to buy Texas-based Kinder Morgan’s Canadian interests — the construction of a pipeline from Edmonton to Vancouver in order to transport Alberta crude to foreign markets. While the province of Alberta is wildly enthusiastic about the idea, British Columbia (B.C.) and a loose coalition of environmental groups is opposing the project in court. Kinder Morgan was on the verge of walking away from the project because of the chronic protests.
Over 800 small businesses signed a petition that has little to do with business but encourages the premier of B.C. to continue to oppose the pipeline:
“The inevitable transition to a clean economy has already begun. Kinder Morgan’s project is out of step with the future prosperity of Canada, and out of sync with the wishes of Indigenous people. We applaud your resolve to stand up for our shared interests, and to protect communities, environment and local economy from a dangerous and unnecessary pipeline project.”
As one CEO who signed the petition told Global News, progressive businesses doesn’t believe economic gain can be achieved at the expense of the environment.
“I think it’s difficult to disentangle the fiscal argument from the environmental argument. I think oil-and-gas executives will concede that we need to navigate our economy away from our reliance on fossil fuels over the next few decades,” Michael Rowlands, president & CEO at Junxion Strategy, told Global News.
Rowlands went one further, suggesting that Asian markets could just buy oil from the usual Middle East suppliers.
“I’m not sure that if this oil ever got to Asia, there’s actually a market for it, and if I’m investing out of the public purse, I want more certainty on the return on my investment. I don’t want entrepreneurial risk when we’re looking at a return on taxpayers’ money,” he said.