Mixed emotions were felt across the nation last week when the federal government announced that they would buy the controversy-ridden Kinder Morgan Pipeline for approximately $4.5 billion. However, one may wonder what the effect on those in the southeast corner of Saskatchewan will be.
"It's really what it's going to mean to Canada, that's the big thing. Building pipelines are important for Canada, and for southeast Saskatchewan obviously. We've got to move our oil and be able to get it to the world market so we can get better prices," stated Souris Moose Mountain Member of Parliament, Dr. Robert Kitchen, "But, why we're using taxpayer dollars to pay for this when it would have been paid for by itself by private industry, is just beyond me."
"I've talked with many (people) since this has been announced, and obviously they have that sort of bittersweet aspect of it, of the fact that it is building that pipeline, which is what we need. The part that we're seeing in the industry right now is the lack of confidence that there is. With lack of confidence, there's lack of investment. When those investment dollars go south of the border where they're booming right now, and they're investing there instead of here in Saskatchewan, hopefully that will parlay into maybe some confidence in the market and that will help the oil sector here."
He added that, in addition to the $4.5 billion spent to purchase the pipeline, somewhere around another 7.4 billion will have to be parted with to get it built.
"That 4.5 doesn't build the pipeline, it just purely buys it for the government. You and I and everybody in the constituency now own, basically, an inch and somewhat of a piece of pipe. But that hasn't built it yet, and that's a big issue. People need to recognize that it's going to be an even bigger cost, and those costs of $7.4 billion are purely estimate. Who knows what those costs will be, and that's the part that will be an even greater burden on our deficit."
Meanwhile Estevan MLA Lori Carr noted that the fact that the pipeline was purchased and shows commitment to completing the project is good news for Evraz Steel, meaning a boost in jobs and economy in the province. However, once again, the pocket may have to be a little emptier for it.
"The taxpayers are going to be paying for this, so it's unfortunate because we have private industry that was doing that pipeline, doing a good job. All the federal government really had to do was enforce the laws on the people that were protesting, the same things they're going to do right now for themselves, but now we're on the hook for it."
Until everything plays out, she hesitated in speculating on whether the matter will turn out for the better or worse in the region.