May 11, 2021
Financing costs, write-downs and construction delays were to blame for a low return as taxpayers only made $40 million on the Trans Mountain Pipeline after the Liberals spent $4.5 billion to buy it, says Blacklock’s Reporter.
“In its first 28 months of public ownership, the Canada Development Investment Corporation-owned Trans Mountain Corp. entities reported a total net income of $40 million,” the Parliamentary Budget Office said in a report.
The $40 million represented a 4% return on $1.045 billion in revenues from pipeline tolls.
“The Canadian approach will be to ensure that we make a profit,” then-Finance Minister Bill Morneau said in 2020 testimony at the Commons Finance Committee.
“So, that’s where we’re at on that. We believe this is the right thing for us to do, to deal with a political challenge. It continues to be of benefit to all Canadians.”
The pipeline refit is due for completion in 2022.
Morneau said the pipeline was commercially viable, but would not forecast when taxpayers could expect a return of billions spent on Trans Mountain.
“There are always things we can’t necessarily predict,” Morneau earlier told reporters.
Asked if costs would climb higher, Morneau replied: “There’s always things they can’t necessarily predict.
“What is the limit the federal government is willing to put public funds into the project?” asked New Democrat MP Peter Julian (New Westminster-Burnaby, B.C.). “Is it $20 billion? Is $25 billion, or is the sky the limit?”
“The Canadian approach will be to ensure that we make a profit,” replied Morneau.
The finance department hired auditors on December 23 to complete an “independent financial analysis” of the pipeline.