Former B.C. premier Christy Clark says the only thing worse than the federal government preparing to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline would have been to let it go entirely.
In a wide-ranging interview on the Herle Burley podcast, hosted by Liberal political strategist David Herle, Clark weighed in on the Trudeau government’s decision to fork over $4.5 billion for the existing pipeline.
“I think the Kinder Morgan solution they came up with is the second-worst solution they could have had,” she said.
“The worst would have been nothing. So at least there is a solution. But I think having the government build a pipeline when the government can’t even figure out how to pay its own employees is not going to be the most certain outcome.”
Here described Clark as a “longtime friend of mine” and the pair know each other from time spent with the federal Liberals.
Clark’s government approved the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion after the federal government met B.C.’s “five conditions.”
The conditions were met, in part, after Trudeau’s government committed $1.5 billion for an Oceans Protection Plan.
The B.C. NDP has opposed the pipeline twinning and is in the midst of a legal challenge to restrict the flow of bitumen by pipeline or rail through the province. The B.C. government’s opposition led Kinder Morgan to threaten to walk away from the project.
Clark said Ottawa should not have buckled under the pressure.
“The best outcome would have been to get the approvals done, to stand strong in the face of many foreign-funded environmental groups and to say, ‘We are getting this done and we are going to be tough about it and we are going to do it fast,’” Clark told Herle.
“Everyone saw this storm coming but it all kind of got left to the end when Kinder Morgan threw up their hands and said, ‘We are out of here.’”
Anti-Kinder Morgan protesters are expected to be on hand when the federal cabinet meets in Nanaimo this week for their annual summer retreat.
The former B.C. premier says it would have been “folly” to think 100 per cent of First Nations would support the project. Clark also questioned the motivations behind protesters with links to organizations outside of Canada.
“If the Russians interfered in the American election in favour of Donald Trump, which we know that they did, is it so hard to believe that the Americans or the Russians would try to be interfering in our ability to get our resources to market when they are direct competitors?” Clark said.
Clark also weighed in on LNG development, saying that she spent “five-and-a-half years building social licence for LNG.”
The B.C. NDP changed the tax structure for companies wanting to set up in B.C. and are expected to see a final investment decision from LNG Canada this year.
“When the government changed I thought that is five-and-a-half years down the drain. And then they changed their minds,” said Clark. “It looks like as the market is improving, LNG is going to happen. I would be so proud of that legacy.”