Canadian Conservatives Ponder Huge Gas Pipeline Investment

The Conservative government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper can't find $50 milion to maintain spending on greenhouse gas reduction, but it's contemplating a gas-pipeline investment of $1 billion or more - an effective subsidy of ExxonMobile and its partners.

Never mind the eco-freaks: every libertarian think-tanker in the business should be spitting mad at the very notion of this level of government intervention in the most profitable business in the world.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of the Tories’ environmental policies, but when it comes to the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline, the Liberals were worse. Under Chretien and Martin and feds had offered $1.2 billion in incentives. Hard cash. Some of it in the form of social services to communities to help them cope with the effects of industrialization – money that should come from the pipeline consortium’s pockets. At least Harper has nixed that subsidy. And as Imperial (Exxon/Mobil) has rejected the fed’s notion of an equity stake, it looks less likely that loads of taxpayers’ dollar will end up in the pipeline.

In fact, the pipeline’s new projected costs are even higher the the Globe and Mail story suggests: probably closer to $10.5 billion and rising. This is putting the whole project in jeopardy, according to my well-placed sources in the NWT.

So, sure let’s criticize Harper’s bad environmental policies. But it looks like subsidizing the pipeline isn’t one of them.


I think you are confusing two issues. There was an initial promise from the Fed Liberal party to provide social development costs in early 2005 ($500 M). I believe the Conservatives have stated that they will honour that agreement and still provide the funding. 

The second subsidy was negotiated last November, just prior to the election which involved lower royalties (equivalent to $1.2 B net present value) of the gas entering the pipeline. I think this was the subsidy you are refering to.

From the G&M Nov 24th, 2005:

“That progress includes a promise from Ottawa this month to make fiscal concessions. The federal government said Imperial asked for help on matters amounting to $1.2-billion and Ottawa said it would aim to have precise plans in place by next summer. Ottawa this past summer promised $500-million over the next decade to address social and economic issues among first nations in the north.”

Until the final deal is announced and analysed, I think it’s premature to suggest it could have been worse.

… even then, the fact that it could have been worse does not make it good now.
By what perverse logic is criticism of the Tories necessarily to be taken as praise for the Liberals? Those guys spent 10 years letting the country down on climate change. They deserved to be tossed from office for that sin alone.
But this little complication – that the Tories won’t even acknowledge that the problem is occurring and needs attention – takes some of the fun out of watching the Grits lick their wounds.
Unfortunately, their plague is on all our houses.

(author of previous anonymous post)