Green MP Paul Manly warns against use of taxpayers’ money for Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

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      Paul Manly is returning to Ottawa as representative of the B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

      One of the things the re-elected Green MP wants to find out is how the incoming Liberal minority government will fund the $9.3-billion expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline.

      The Greens are committed to stopping the expansion of the pipeline that was bought by Canada in 2018 for $4.5 billion.

      It is now operated by the federal government at a loss.

      According to Manly, if costs for the construction of the project are going to be included in the budget that will be introduced by the government, then Greens will vote against the budget.

      Budgets are confidence measures, and if there are enough opposing votes, the government falls.

      As Manly said in a phone interview with the Georgia Straight on Wednesday (October 23), Trans Mountain is a “red line” for the Greens.

      “If it’s in the budget, it’s going to be problematic,” Manly said. “And the Bloc Quebecois say they won’t support it. I’m not sure where the NDP are on it. But we won’t support the Trans Mountain expansion.”

      As for the Conservatives, Manly said that they were not happy when the Liberals bought the pipeline, and would rather “see it just as a private sector project”.

      “So I don’t know how the Liberals will try to bring it forward, but, you know, the expansion project [if it] is coming off taxpayers, if they plan to use taxpayers’ dollars to fund that expansion, then we won’t support it,” Manly said.

      The government’s purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline, its assets, and the expansion project was financed by a loan from one Crown corporation to another.

      As the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer has previously noted, this “did not require Parliament’s review”.

      The annual financial report of the federal government for the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2019 noted that Trans Mountain assets are controlled by the Trans Mountain Corporation (TMC).

      TMC, for its part, is a subsidiary of the Canada Development Investment Corporation (CDEV), a Crown corporation reporting to the Minister of Finance.

      The purchase of Trans Mountain entities was financed through a loan to CDEV from the Canada Account of Export Development Canada (EDC), another enterprise owned by the government.

      “Construction and other associated expenditures related to the construction of the Expansion Project prior to its in-service date will be recorded as additions to the book value of the Project,” according to the financial report.

      The report also notes that it is “not the intention of the Government of Canada to be a long-term owner of the Trans Mountain entities”.

      In its 2018 annual report released earlier this year, CDEV related that its subsidiary TMP Finance borrowed $5.3 billion from the Canada Account administered by EDC to “finance the acquisition and ongoing expansion of TMC”.

      “Loans payable of $5.3 billion relate to the financing of the TMC acquisition, draws to fund construction costs of TMC and $500 million to backstop a letter of credit,” according to CDEV.

      The CDEV report related that the purchase was made on August 31, 2018, in culmination of an agreement executed on May 29, 2018 between Canada and energy company Kinder Morgan.

      The Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer has made notes about the CDEV annual report and 2019 first quarter report that were released in May 2019.

      “Overall, in its first seven months of public ownership, CDEV-owned Trans Mountain Corp. (TMC) entities reported a net loss of $36 million,” the office noted.