Federal finance minister speaks in Calgary
CALGARY -- Finance Minister Bill Morneau is speaking in Calgary to a full room of local business leaders and members of the Economic Club of Canada.
Morneau’s talk focused on the "government’s plan to strengthen the middle class and build a more sustainable economy," but his stop in Alberta comes just days after it was announced the cost of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion ballooned.
The pipeline expansion — which would ship diluted bitumen, refined products and lighter crude from Alberta refineries to a shipping terminal in Burnaby, BC — will now cost $12.6 billion, up from initial estimate of $7.4 billion.
"We remain confident that when it’s time to sell, we will make a profit," Morneau said in Calgary Monday.
The project is expected to be operational by the end of 2022, according to Trans Mountain Corp. president Ian Anderson. The federal government purchased the project from Houston-based Kinder Morgan in 2018 for $4.5 billion.
Morneau said Monday that the government will launch "the next step in engagement" with indigenous groups in the coming weeks.
The finance minister’s Alberta visit also comes weeks ahead of the anticipated deadline for the Trudeau government to decide whether or not to approve a massive oil sands project in northern Alberta.
The Teck Frontier mine is estimated to cost more than $20 billion and, according to the Alberta government, could create 7,000 jobs.
Recent reports said Ottawa may consider some sort of bailout to Alberta if the multi-billion dollar project is scrapped, but Morneau called that idea a "mischaracterization" last week.
This is a developing story and will be updated throughout the day.