File photo of twinning of a previous section of the Trans Mountain pipeline near Jasper. (Kinder Morgan Canada photo)

Trudeau stands by TransMountain as IPO is set to go

Company insists it will proceed despite a possible NDP-Green government in B.C.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is standing by the Kinder Morgan pipeline project, even as the New Democrats and Greens in B.C. are teaming up to fight it.

“The decision we took on the Trans Mountain pipeline was based on facts and evidence on what is in the best interests of Canadians and indeed, all of Canada,” Trudeau said Tuesday in Rome, where he held a joint news conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

“Regardless of the change in government in British Columbia or anywhere, the facts and evidence do not change,” he said.

Trudeau said his Liberal government understands that growing a strong economy requires taking leadership on both the environment and the economy.

“That is what drives us in the choices we make,” he said.

“We stand by those choices.”

His comments come as the anti-pipeline Green Party and NDP in British Columbia announced Monday they’ve come to an agreement that could cast doubt on the project’s future.

The leaders of the two parties say they’ve reached a deal that could see the formation of a minority NDP government in the province.

Both have voiced their opposition to the Trans Mountain expansion, which would see the pipeline running from Edmonton to Burnaby nearly triple its capacity.

Kinder Morgan is expected to proceed Tuesday with its initial public offering for the expansion.

Dave Conover, a spokesman for the Houston-based energy company, said in an email that the share listing will go ahead on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Conover’s confirmation came shortly after the leaders of the B.C. Greens and NDP said they came to a deal that could see the formation of a minority NDP government in the province.

Both parties have voiced their opposition to the Trans Mountain expansion, which would see the capacity of a pipeline running from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C., nearly triple its capacity to 890,000 barrels of oil per day.

In a press conference Monday, Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver said he’s been heavily invested in the Kinder Morgan pipeline issue, and that it was an important part of negotiating terms with the NDP that will be released tomorrow.

“This issue of Kinder Morgan was one that was critical to us and I think you’ll see that reflected in tomorrow’s announcement,” said Weaver.

The IPO is intended to raise $1.75 billion to help fund the $7.4-billion Trans Mountain expansion.

Kinder Morgan has put up 102.9 million shares on offer at $17 each — down from $19 to $21 it had initially sought — which will leave it with control of about 70 per cent of the Canadian entity.

The offering would be the largest on the Toronto Stock Exchange since Hydro One’s $1.83-billion listing in 2015, with only insurers Sun Life Financial and Manulife Financial having bigger debuts.

The listing, set to trade under the symbol KML, comes as opponents ramped up their campaign against the Trans Mountain expansion Monday.

The Tsleil-Waututh Nation sent out warnings to potential investors about the legal risks the project faces, while challenged the accuracy of the IPO documents and the Wilderness Committee launched a website to track construction of and protests against the pipeline.

Greenpeace, which earlier made its own challenge of Kinder Morgan’s IPO filing, said in a statement Monday that the B.C. Green-NDP co-operation is an unprecedented opportunity to stop Kinder Morgan’s expansion project.

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