If I had eight billion dollars

The Trudeau government won’t rule out full public financing for the Trans Mountain pipeline. What else could Canada buy?

The news shocked conservatives and oil tanker opponents alike: Ottawa is considering a full taxpayer bailout for Kinder Morgan. The Texas company – run by former Enron executives – hit pause on its B.C. pipeline project last week.

“We will not put shareholders at risk on the remaining project spend,” said CEO Steve Kean in Houston. So the federal government whipped out its cheque book. “The construction season is almost upon us,” Prime Minister Trudeau said on Sunday. “This pipeline will be built.”

In other words, Trudeau is willing to drive Canada even deeper into deficit to finance a project the free market wants nothing to do with. What else could taxpayers get for that money?

Kinder Morgan has not updated its estimated project cost for more than a year, meaning it’s probably out of date. And that doesn’t include policing or other social costs, which would already be borne by taxpayers. But for the sake of argument, let’s say it cost us $8 billion dollars to build.

For that amount we could fix drinking water systems and lift boil-water advisories in every single Indigenous community across Canada… Twice. And still have $1.6 billion left over. That kind of investment would create jobs across the country and improve health outcomes for thousands of people.

Or we could build 32,000 units of social housing, at a cost of a quarter-million dollars for each new home. On top of the construction jobs and money spent on local materials, what’s the long-term economic benefit of putting a roof over 32,000 families?

If you’re more a fan of tax cuts, the government could just hand that money back to citizens. 18.4 million Canadians pay income taxes every year. We could just give each of them a $435 refund. No emissions, no oil spills, no lawsuits.

Like military hardware? We could buy 13 more Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships. 75 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets. Or a couple thousand new Light Armoured Vehicles. With the change left over, we could take care of every wounded veteran in Canada for the rest of their life.

The point is, this is our money. We elect governments to spend it. But Justin Trudeau never said in the last election he would spend $8 billion of our money bailing out a Texas pipeline company. If he had, chances are he wouldn’t be Prime Minister today.

What would you buy with $8 billion of public money? Use the hashtag #IfIHadEightBillionDollars to share your ideas on social media. And don’t forget to send a message to MPs and cabinet ministers, telling them to stop this Texas tanker bailout.

Photo credit VICE News.

13 Responses to “If I had eight billion dollars”

  1. Lois & Ed Jarvis says:

    The health care transfer payments that were cut to the provinces coul be restored and a new Canada Health Accord could be created. The ultra rich who hide their wealth offshore should be paying taxes, another Trudeau promise broken. We don’t want our taxes going to Kinder Morgan!

  2. Karla Broadfoot says:

    Some of that money could be invested in alt. energy sources for remote communities that currently rely on fossil fuels torun generators…
    Upgrade the response resources to mitigate spills on the coast from existing tanker traffic and other vessels… BC coast is highly vulnerable… a spill north of mid Vancouver Is. going to spread before real help can show up.. a spill further up? well let’s just say with the currents it would spread faster than trump tweets… there is nothing of any might to deal with this area…
    With the change Trudeau could make good on some of those promises to First Nations..

  3. National pharmacare programme? Guaranteed Income Supplement for all not just seniors who need that money? A new Canada Health Accord with provisions for keeping the population healthy. Unhealthy people cost more money to our healthcare system than healthy people, right, so keep the population healthy? More money for real university and community college students not just those who have wealthy parents with money to burn. Don’t blame me! I didn’t vote for these clowns!

  4. Military hardware? Tax cuts? Dogwood, I know you’re kidding (at least, I hope you are), but please don’t give them any more dumb ideas. They can produce those themselves 🙂

  5. Jim C Mason says:

    If we are willing to spend that much on the energy sector, then spend it on implementing green technologies. If need be spend it all in Alberta to help transition away from the oil sands.

  6. Sally Allan says:

    Yes spend it on green energy development in Alberta.

  7. earlrichards says:

    Why does the Canadian taxpayers owe anything to KM?

  8. Brad Nelson says:

    How about addressing the opioid crisis and other mental health/addiction issues? And homelessness while we’re at it.

  9. Ruth Pickering says:

    How about paid maternity leave for the first three years of a child’s life?
    A decent integrated adequately funded child and adolescent mental health system?

  10. Vivian Unger says:

    So Trudeau said, “This pipeline will be built.” He also said, “2015 will be the last election under First Past The Post.” He said this over and over again. Don’t believe anything Trudeau says.

  11. J. Gidora says:

    Well said! Good one! And why do the Liberals make promises , stealing ideas from the NDP during an election and then when elected, doing an about face and doing things we didn’t vote for or hear about!! Yes clean water for all especially indigenous peoples and end poverty with education including trades training!!

  12. Supporting the pipeline project is short-sighted, aimed for immediate profit but ignoring long-term cost.

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