It sure looked curious at the time. Kinder Morgan was threatening to abandon the TransMountain pipeline project. That wasn't a surprise because the business case for the multi-billion dollar bitumen tube looked pretty wobbly.
The surprise was when Trudeau and Morneau put on their knee pads and raced to beat Kinder Morgan's ultimatum date. Morneau flew down to Texas and promised the feds would cover any losses from delays. That didn't work so Trudeau just up and bought the damned thing, allowing the sketchy Texans to pocket a nifty 675 percent return on investment.
Why did the Liberal government so completely knuckle under to Kinder Morgan's tactics? It didn't seem to make any sense. Why would Trudeau & Co. stick the Canadian taxpayer with this fiasco?
The National Observer suggests part of it was pressure from the Oil Patch during the last Ontario election.
Canada’s largest oil and gas lobby group ran a political ground war that targeted voters in 13 Ontario “Liberal swing ridings” with billboards in “high visibility locations” in the Toronto area and 400,000 pieces of pro-pipeline literature sent via Canada Post, an ongoing National Observer / Toronto Star / Global Newsinvestigation has found.
The details of Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers’ campaign appear in a flyer distributed at a government-sponsored summit in Vaughan, near Toronto, where the association had a booth. The flyer explained how the lobby group had engaged in a “ground campaign in Ontario targeting 13 Liberal swing ridings” between April 8 to May 29 — the period in which the federal government was deciding on the fate of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
CAPP’s campaign included 13 rallies across the country, billboards, a huge social media push and mailing hundreds of thousands of letters warning the public about their struggle to compete and gain access to new oil and gas markets, the flyer said. The Calgary-based group also sent 24,000 letters to “key decision makers” including B.C. Premier John Horgan, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and federal National Resources Minister Jim Carr, according to the leaked CAPP document.
The political implications of the campaign has prompted at least one political insider to call it “a warning shot” from one of Canada’s largest and most powerful lobby groups for the upcoming federal election.With that, it seems, Trudeau's government folded like a lawn chair. The Bitumen Barons had humbled the King. There would be no further trouble from Justin during the runup to the 2019 federal elections.
And who says we don't bargain with terrorists?