Canadian Contractor

Steve Payne   

Would you spend $450,000 to buy project that may never go ahead?

Canadian Contractor

Well, the Trudeau government just spent $4.5-billion for the now-frozen (by the courts) Trans Mountain Pipeline Project

I’ve been editing this online forum for six years. During that time, the number of small, family-owned contracting firms that have posted about their harassment from government and regulatory agencies – usually in the form of fines – has to now number in the thousands.

This past week, for example, I’ve heard from a hydronics firm in the GTA that has just been smacked with $750 in two separate fines from the Ontario College of Trades. Its grave offence? Its tremendous safety risk to the public? It installed a “plug and play” high velocity air handler into an attic without having a FULL TIME 313 refrigeration and AC mechanic as the only person who touched a damn thing, or even looked at the equipment. $750 in fines and no realistic recourse to actually protest the tickets. Just swallow it; and pay up.

So what are we to make of Justin Trudeau and Bill Morneau, the finance minister, and all the Liberal brain trust in Ottawa? Are we to apply such rigorous standards to their business practices as were applied to this GTA hydronics firm? Apparently not.

Earlier this year, the Liberals made an offer to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project – which will essentially twin an existing pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby, BC – for $4.5-billion.

Yes, $4,500,000,000.

Taxpayer’s money.

Yesterday, a judge at the Federal Court of Appeal put the project into indefinite suspension. Why? Because the project had not proceeded to date through enough due diligence – especially with respect to consultations with indigenous peoples. (Of course, Trudeau’s team will be hard at work today figuring out ways to blame Stephen Harper for the lack of such protocol. That’s standard practice. But he wasn’t the man whose government offered $4.5 billion to buy the project lock, stock and barrel.)

MINUTES after the decision, the shareholders of the Kinder Morgan pipeline company, in Calgary, voted to accept the $4.5-billion offer from Trudeau’s superb stewards of the people’s money. Of course they did. And they are laughing all the way to the bank.


Would you, as a contractor, bid $450,000 to buy a contract to build an addition on a home if you knew the zoning was anything but approved, and the project might not go ahead? And that if the project never went ahead, you would have spent $450,000 for nothing?

Of course you wouldn’t risk $450,000 on such a deal. You wouldn’t risk $45,000 on it, probably.

But if you’re Justin Trudeau, you’re OK taking a gamble on $4.5-billion to buy a pipeline project that may never go ahead.

Enough to pay the salaries of 88,156 teachers for a year, according to the Huffington Post. Or about 60,000 nurses.

How many cancer hospitals? How much clean water for indigenous peoples? How about clean water for all of them?

Meanwhile, government agencies everywhere are fining mom and pop shops for not following sound procedures.

Shaking my head. As you should be, too.



Stories continue below

Print this page

Related Stories

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.