Canadian government to gamble billions of Canadian taxpayer dollars on controversial oil project – Greenpeace responds

Publication date: 29th May 2018

29 May 2018 (VANCOUVER) — The Canadian Finance Minister, Bill Morneau announced this morning that the federal government has reached an agreement with Kinder Morgan Canada to purchase the existing Trans Mountain pipeline and infrastructure related to the Trans Mountain Expansion Project for CAD$4.5 billion (£2.6 billion).


In response, Hannah Martin, oil supply campaigner, said:

‘“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is gambling billions of Canadian taxpayer dollars on an oil project that will never be built – a project that Kinder Morgan itself, one of North America’s largest energy companies, has indicated is ‘untenable’.  His decision today is in stark contrast to his supposed climate credentials and his commitment to Indigenous rights.


“It’s ironic that Trudeau made this decision on the same day that Royal Bank of Scotland  became the latest global bank to scale back financing for tar sands projects – following the lead of both BNP Paribas and HSBC.


“Kinder Morgan ran away in the face of an indigenous-led movement of people against oil pipelines. These communities have already put one pipeline company on notice – now it’s time show the Canadian government that this pipeline cannot and should not be built.”



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Notes to editors: 

The new pipeline Kinder Morgan is building (called the Trans Mountain Expansion project) will run 1,150-km from the Alberta tar sands in Western Canada to Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby, British Columbia for export.  


Tar sands pipelines cross more than a thousand watercourses, jeopardizing drinking water, rivers and streams along the way. The Trans Mountain pipeline crosses over 1,300 waterways in Alberta and British Columbia.


HSBC, Europe’s biggest bank, is the latest to say it won’t fund new pipelines dedicated to the tar sands sector. French banks BNP Paribas and Natixis, Dutch bank ING, insurance and investment giant Axa and Sweden’s largest pension fund, AP7, all made similar announcements in 2017.      


The tar sands are huge deposits of bitumen, a type of petroleum with a tar-like texture that is refined into oil. They are located in Alberta, Canada. All fossil fuels are dangerous to people and the environment. But tar sands, as an extreme fossil fuel, pose an even greater threat to climate and water. Extracting tar sands from the ground emits 30 percent more carbon into the atmosphere than conventional oil and uses three times as much water.


Today RBS announced new policy changes to support low carbon transition.  Covering the mining, power and oil and gas sectors, they mean the bank will not provide project-specific finance to:                   New coal fired power stations   

New thermal coal mines            

Oil sands projects         

Arctic oil projects          

Unsustainable vegetation or peatland clearance projects


The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion threatens to increase the transport of toxic tar sands oil through the Salish Sea sevenfold, creating a tar sands tanker highway off the West Coast. The Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion and tanker superhighway would endanger Southern Resident Killer Whales and fish populations and trample Indigenous rights on both sides of the border. Moreover, such an expansion of the tar sands will exacerbate global climate change.