Canada Ceases Public Financing of TMX; Costs to Reach $21.4 Billion

News Release
February 18, 2022

Canada Ceases Public Financing of TMX; Costs to Reach $21.4 Billion

(Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh)/Vancouver, B.C. – February 18, 2022) The Trans Mountain Corporation has announced that the cost to build the beleaguered Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMX) has nearly doubled to $21.4 billion in the two years since the last comprehensive update. Subsequently, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) was encouraged to hear the Government of Canada’s announcement that it intends to discontinue public financial support for TMX.

The decision signals a major red flag to any parties considering purchasing the project, as well as the growing uncertainty of the commercial viability of new fossil fuel infrastructure amidst the quickly growing climate crisis. Only 25% of cost overruns will be fully recoverable through tolls applied to the pipeline’s future customers, calling into question the likelihood of TMX to yield meaningful returns to the Canadians who have financed it.

“We find it outrageous that the Trans Mountain Corporation took two years to complete this review and inform the public, considering how massive the public investment in the project has been and how devastating the environmental impacts stand to be,” stated Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, UBCIC Secretary-Treasurer. “Keeping Canada in the dark on the state of this project and dumping the press release on a day when all eyes are on the police operations in Ottawa is not the sign of a great economic success story.”

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, UBCIC President, stated “For years, we have been calling on the federal government to put an end to this risky and expensive project. The Crown needs to focus on rebuilding a clean economy in the aftermath of the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic rather than beating an economic dead horse. The Parliamentary Budget Officer calculated that a 10% cost increase and 1 year delay would render TMX uneconomic. With both of those benchmarks greatly surpassed, TMX’s fate as a stranded asset is all but assured, with a lasting legacy of infringement of Indigenous rights, climate denial, and fiscal irresponsibility.”

Over $1.4 billion of TMX’s cost overruns were attributed to the ongoing pandemic and the climate-exacerbated natural disasters that wracked BC in 2021. As the impacts of the climate crisis continue to escalate while global greenhouse gas emissions remain above net-zero, the risk of additional costs and delays due to future natural disasters cannot be overstated. “The UBCIC Chiefs Council has passed resolutions opposing fossil fuel expenditure and promoting climate strategies that uphold the self-determination of Indigenous peoples. To the contrary, Canada’s government is trying to build a pipeline through Indigenous peoples’ lands without their consent to export the number-one driver of the climate crisis,” said Chief Don Tom, UBCIC Vice-President. “Instead, we should cut our losses, cancel TMX and start investing in truly renewable energy and other climate mitigation opportunities in Indigenous communities.”


Media inquiries:

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, 250-490-5314
Chief Don Tom, Vice-President, 250-813-3315
Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer, c/o 778-866-0548

UBCIC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

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