Kenney's billions for Keystone XL is ballast for a sinking ship - 2020-04-07
Climate advocates and energy analysts alike were stunned on March 31, when Premier Jason Kenney announced that the Alberta government was investing billions more public dollars in the Keystone XL pipeline, a risky and unnecessary oil pipeline owned by Calgary-based TC Energy Corp. Without providing any evidence or analysis, Kenney said the government's US$1.1 billion equity investment and $6 billion loan guarantee, which leaves Albertans on the hook for roughly 85 per cent of the cost of the pipeline, are "steps we must make now to build our future focused on jobs, the economy and pipelines."
Kenney's announcement came just a day after Finance press secretary, Jerrica Goodwin, justified the layoff of 26,000 public sector education workers because there were limits to the amount of money Alberta could borrow during the economic downturn. While it's certainly deplorable and disingenuous to prioritize corporate welfare over the day-to-day needs of Albertans, it shouldn't distract us from a bigger problem: How recklessly Kenney is betting on Alberta's increasingly unstable oil industry for its long-term economic salvation.
The first question Albertans should be asking themselves is why TC Energy Corp. needed the Alberta government's help in the first place. It's because big banks and other major investors are swearing off oil and gas projects because of the inherent risk involved in high-carbon fuels in the age of climate change.