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

Last Updated Jun 10, 2021 at 3:30 pm MDT

Alberta Minister of Finance and President of the Treasury Board, Travis Toews delivers the 2021 budget in Edmonton Alta, on Thursday February 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

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

Finance Minister Travis Toews says it was a “calculated decision,” given the pipeline would have provided $30 billion in royalties over two decades had it gone through.

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

Both were responding to questions from NDP critic Joe Ceci in the Alberta legislature a day after the project was officially cancelled by TC Energy.

Ceci characterized the decision as an irresponsible gamble given that the multibillion-dollar cross-border pipeline was already in jeopardy when Alberta decided to invest in it early last year.

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

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

The Canadian Press