Back against the wall, Trudeau passed the buck

Damned if he did, damned if he didn’t. That’s the general consensus around Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to buy out the Trans Mountain pipeline. Kinder Morgan had set a deadline of May 31, after which it threatened to pull the plug unless the federal government could guarantee the project would go ahead.

Kyboshing it would have cost 15,000 construction jobs, $3.7 billion in additional annual oil revenues, and $47 billion in provincial and federal taxes over 20 years. It would have also cost Canada’s reputation as a place where megaprojects can get built, where a government agency’s approval actually matters, and where a Prime Minister’s promises can be kept.

His back against the wall, Trudeau did what many politicians in a similar circumstance would have done: threw public money at the problem to make it go away. This isn’t just a Liberal response; faced with the potential collapse of the auto industry in 2009, Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper bailed out Chrysler and GM, ultimately costing taxpayers $3.5 billion. The Quebec Liberal government bought into Bombardier in 2016 to the tune of $1 billion, only to see shares drop and the company lose contracts.

Add these to the list of countless companies and Crown Corporations — such as Pratt and Whitney and VIA Rail — who have received some $648 billion in subsidies over the past 30 years, and it’s clear that this relationship between the state and business has always been pretty cozy.

Read the full article on iPolitics.

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