Remarks by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance regarding the Emergencies Act and the Trans Mountain Expansion Project


February 18, 2022

I want to first provide a brief update on the financial measures that we introduced through the Emergencies Act to target the illegal blockades and those who fund them.

As I said yesterday, information is already being shared between our law enforcement agencies and Canada’s financial services providers.

Action is being taken.

So let me repeat again what I said yesterday:

If your truck is being used in these protests, your bank account will be frozen, and your insurance will be suspended. The consequences for taking part in these illegal blockades are real.

If you are in Ottawa, it is time for you to go home. If you are thinking about driving to Ottawa to take part in the illegal occupation this weekend, you should not.

But I also want to say this: we have taken no joy in invoking these measures. They are unprecedented, and for good reason.

The vast majority of Canadians are hardworking and law-abiding. We are all sick and tired of a pandemic that we have been dealing with for almost two years.

When this crisis is over, all of us are going to need to work hard to heal our country.

But today, our economy and our democracy are facing a serious and foreign-funded threat.

These illegal blockades and occupations cannot be allowed to usurp the authority of democratically-elected governments.

They cannot be allowed to threaten peace, order, and good government — and they will not be allowed to do so.

These illegal blockades and occupations will end, and they will end for good.

This afternoon, I also want to speak to the news that was released by the Trans Mountain Corporation a short time ago.

TMC today announced their increased cost estimates, and the extended completion date for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project to the third quarter of 2023.

Reasons cited include the pandemic, the BC floods, and significant but necessary changes to deal with the terrain and to protect the environment.

However, I want to assure Canadians that there will be no additional public money invested in TMC.

TMC will secure necessary funding to complete the project through third-party financing, either in the public debt markets or with financial institutions.

Both BMO Capital Markets and TD Securities have been engaged by the government to provide advice on financial aspects of the project.

Their analyses confirm that public financing for the project is a feasible option that can be implemented swiftly. They have also confirmed that the project remains commercially viable.

Our government acquired TMC and the Trans Mountain Expansion Project in 2018 because we knew it was a serious and necessary investment. This project is in the national interest and will make Canada and the Canadian economy more sovereign and more resilient.

The transition to a net-zero economy will take many years. We will get there, but during that transition, our natural resources are needed globally.

The Trans Mountain Expansion will ensure Canada receives fair market value for our resources. That is not the case today, while we are dependent on the United States for market access.

Getting our resources to those global markets will be good our economy, and it will be good for our workers.

TMC has signed agreements with 75 Indigenous communities worth more than $580 million, and the project will generate over $2.7 billion in Indigenous-based contract awards.

Our government has also been working with Indigenous communities on further economic participation in Trans Mountain for more than two years, and we will announce the next step toward that important objective later this year.

As we have said from the very beginning, our government does not intend to be the long-term owner of the project. We will launch a divestment process in due course.

And before I close, on behalf of the Government of Canada, I want to publicly thank Ian Anderson, who is retiring as the President and CEO of Trans Mountain after many years of service. 

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