Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews delivers the 2021 budget in Edmonton on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Alberta finance minister defends $1.3B loss on Keystone XL as ‘calculated decision’

Alberta finance minister defends $1.3B loss on Keystone XL as ‘calculated decision’

EDMONTON — Alberta’s finance minister says the province’s $1.3-billion investment of taxpayers’ money in the now-defunct Keystone XL oil pipeline project was a prudent gamble given the potential payoff in profits and jobs.

“We did commit to delivering on pipelines, and we made a calculated decision around investing in the KXL pipeline, a pipeline that would have provided $30 billion of wealth creation for Albertans over the next 20 years,” Travis Toews told the house Thursday.

Energy Minister Sonya Savage added the decision meshed with a broader commitment to grow Alberta’s wellspring industry.

“In this province, we produce over three million barrels a day of oil from the oilsands alone,” said Savage.

“If prices go down because we don’t have enough pipeline capacity, we can lose hundreds of millions of dollars in provincial revenue.”

They made the comments a day after the project operator, TC Energy Corp. of Calgary, officially abandoned the multibillion-dollar cross-border project.

Premier Jason Kenney and his United Conservative government, in early 2020, committed $1.5 billion in direct financing and $6 billion more in loan guarantees to TC Energy Corp.

The KXL expansion project was to take more Alberta oil across the United States and down to ports and refineries on the Gulf Coast in Texas.

Around that time, the project faced multiple court challenges. The emerging U.S. Democratic party candidate, now President Joe Biden, promised in his election campaign to cancel it.

Biden did so in January on his first day in office, saying more product from Alberta’s oilsands does not mesh with his larger goal of combating climate change.

Opposition NDP critic Joe Ceci, during question period, renewed a call for the government to release all details surrounding the contract to confirm the calculated $1.3-billion hit to Alberta’s bottom line.

Ceci characterized the decision to invest in Keystone XL as an irresponsible gamble given that the project was already in jeopardy when the line’s backer, then-U.S. president Donald Trump, was facing stiff opposition to retain the presidency.

“The UCP gambled wrong,” said Ceci.

“Yesterday’s loss is another example of how this premier has failed our energy sector.”

Kenney said the province is still consulting with lawyers about suing the U.S. government to recoup the money under legacy rules tied to the old North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.

NAFTA has been replaced by the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, but investors can still sue under NAFTA until the middle of 2023.

“We have a number of legal options on the table,” said Kenney. “Both TC Energy and the government of Alberta have engaged U.S. counsel since the beginning of the year to advise us on those options.

“We’ll announce that strategy in due course.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 10, 2021.

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

Keystone XL

Just Posted

The Sylvan Lake Gulls celebrate a sixth inning home run from Nolan Weger on Sunday during a game against the Edmonton Prospects. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Historic opening weekend for Sylvan Lake Gulls

It wasn’t perfect, but perhaps that was the beauty of it. Fans… Continue reading

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Alberta reports 100 new cases of COVID-19

The Central zone sits at 218 active cases

Three Hills RCMP recovered stolen copper wire during recent investigation near Kneehill. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Fatal ATV rollover near Innisfail Saturday

A 77-year-old man from Red Deer County died Saturday after an ATV… Continue reading

Firefighters and emergency services workers helped celebrate Barry Young’s 85th birthday at Timberstone Mews on May 29. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Firefighters in central Alberta make birthdays special

A fire truck arriving outside your house is not normally good news.… Continue reading

A view of Two Jack Lake in Banff National Park is shown in this undated handout photo. More Canadians are expected to leave their passports at home this summer and hit the road in Canada as the weak loonie and low gas prices prompt a deeper exploration of their own country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Travel Alberta *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Report: Alberta losing residents to other parts of Canada

As the COVID-19 pandemic slowly winds down in Alberta, residents are continuing… Continue reading

A large number of supporters were out Saturday at a rally intended to bring awareness about including Hinduism in the grade 2 portion of the K-6 draft curriculum. As it stands now, Hinduism won’t be taught until grade 6 in the proposed draft curriculum. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Video: Rally to support adding Hinduism to draft curriculum draws crowd in Red Deer

The Hindu community in Red Deer came out in droves on Saturday… Continue reading

Orange shirts, shoes, flowers and messages are displayed on the steps outside the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 following a ceremony hosted by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations in honour of the 215 residential school children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Alberta city cancels Canada Day fireworks at site of former residential school

City of St. Albert says that the are where the display was planned, is the site of the former Youville Residential School

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Germany's Robin Gosens, left, celebrates Germany's Mats Hummels after scoring his side's fourth goal during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group F match between Portugal and Germany at the football arena stadium in Munich, Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Matthias Hangst/Pool Photo via AP)
Germany clicks at Euro 2020 with 4-2 win over Portugal

MUNICH (AP) — Germany finally clicked into gear at the European Championship,… Continue reading

Fans cheer on their team during the pre-game warmup of Game 3 of the NHL Stanley Cup semifinal with the Montreal Canadiens facing the Vegas Golden Knights, in Montreal, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
COVID-19 concerns give way to Habs Fever in Quebec as Montreal continues playoff run

MONTREAL — The sun hadn’t yet risen in Montreal on Friday morning… Continue reading

Coronavirus cases are on the rise from India to South Africa and Mexico, in a May 19, 2020 story. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
As Brazil tops 500,000 deaths, protests against president

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Anti-government protesters took to the streets in… Continue reading

A black bear cub forages for food along a salmon stream below a bear viewing spot for tourists in the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area in Juneau, Alaska.  (File photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Bandit responsible for vehicle break-ins is a black bear

THORNTON, N.H. (AP) — Surveillance video helped police get to the bottom… Continue reading

FILE - In this April 25, 2019 file photo, Editor Rick Hutzell, center, gives a speech to his staff including Chase Cook, Nicki Catterlin, Rachael Pacella, Selene San Felice and Danielle Ohl at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md. The editor of the Capital Gazette, which won a special Pulitzer Prize citation for its coverage and courage in the face of a massacre in its newsroom, is leaving the Maryland newspaper. Hutzell, who worked at the Annapolis paper for more than three decades, authored a farewell column that was published on the paper's website Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Ulysses Muoz/The Baltimore Sun via AP)
Editor of paper that endured newsroom shooting says goodbye

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The editor of the Capital Gazette, which won… Continue reading

Most Read