Nov 14, 2019 – A Quick Copy And Paste Can Save Green Line

Calgary, Alberta – November 14, 2019 –

With Calgary City Council’s Green Line Committee scheduled to meet on Friday to discuss the fate of the project a few paragraphs of text may now be all that stands in the way of construction beginning. In a Nov 4 op-ed published in the Calgary Herald defending the 90 day termination clause introduced in Bill 20, Minister Ric McIver pointed to the Canada – Alberta Bilateral LRT funding agreement as having similar language with a similar purpose. A closer examination reveals key differences between the two documents that could be Green Line’s salvation.

“Minister McIver should be commended for his determination to work with the City of Calgary to find a solution to the problem created by the delay to Green Line funding. We have confidence that issue can be resolved but if the language in Bill 20 remains unchanged it could prove to be an insurmountable hurdle,” said Jeff Binks, president of LRT on the Green. “The Minister has pointed to the federal funding agreement as having a similar intent as Bill 20 and as being acceptable to the City of Calgary and to industry so if the wording in that document works for everyone, why not just adopt those portions of it to replace the controversial text in Bill 20?”

Article 10 of Bill 20 allows the Lieutenant Governor in Council to terminate the $1.53 billion grant agreement “without cause” after a minimum of 90 days’ notice. Article 11 limits the liability the provincial government has even if funding is terminated due to “misfeasance or bad faith”. In contrast Articles 5 and 22 in the Canada – Alberta Bilateral only permit funding to be terminated through either a budget appropriations bill that must stand up to the rigours of the legislative process or through a 90 day dispute resolution process. The difference in tone and the increased level of transparency and scrutiny outlined in the federal document means the likelihood of funding being terminated is much lower.  The LRT on the Green Foundation is proposing the Alberta Government replace Articles 10 and 11 in Bill 20 with the text from Articles 5 and 22 in the Canada – Alberta Bilateral.

“We are at the point where construction of a $4.9 billion infrastructure project is being held up not by funding but by a few paragraphs of text. By copy and pasting the wording of the federal funding agreement to replace the controversial language in Bill 20 Minister McIver can launch the largest public infrastructure project in Alberta’s history and put 20,000 people to work. It’s the deal of the decade. If the provincial government isn’t willing to make such an easy modification to Bill 20 it’s concerning and Calgarians deserve to know why,” concluded Binks.


The Relevant Excerpts From Bill 20 and the Canada – Alberta Bilateral Are Included For Reference On The Following Pages

Link to the full text of Bill 20:        

Link to the full text of the Canada – Alberta Bilateral Agreement:


Oct 30, 2019 – Risk to Green Line Rises With New Bill 20

Calgary, Alberta – October 30, 2019 –

Questions of concern are being raised about how the Alberta Government’s Bill 20 legislation will impact the Green Line LRT. ‘Schedule 3 – Public Transit and Green Infrastructure Act’ appears at the very end of the large omnibus bill and introduces language that dramatically increases the amount of project risk the City of Calgary will have to accept as it considers whether to begin construction on Green Line after a delay to almost half a billion dollars in funding was announced as part of the recent provincial budget.

“Our new provincial government has stated repeatedly that they are committed to building the Green Line LRT however the delay to a sizeable amount of funding for the project has raised some doubt,” said Jeff Binks, president of LRT on the Green. “Premier Kenney gave life to the Green Line with the funding he announced while he was a federal cabinet minister and Minister McIver has been a supporter of this project throughout his time in government. If that commitment remains solid we must ask why language was included in Bill 20 that helps push this project towards a cliff?”

Article 9 of Schedule 3 requires the City of Calgary to seek approval from the Minister if there is any material change to the project and allows the Minister to impose additional terms and conditions prior to approving the proposed changes. With the centre city portion of Green Line under review, this could transfer the ultimate decision making power about the final alignment away from the citizens of Calgary and to the provincial government. In addition, Article 10 allows the Lieutenant Governor in Council to terminate the $1.53 billion grant agreement “without cause” after a minimum of 90 days’ notice. This termination clause means the City of Calgary faces a dramatic increase in financial risk when it comes to borrowing the money required for construction as the provincial portion of the total funding may not be available to repay the loans requiring Calgary taxpayers to make up the difference.

“After fundamentally altering a signed grant agreement and delaying a significant amount of Green Line funding Calgarians are being asked by the Alberta Government to trust them when they say they will deliver the remainder of the funding by the end of 2028. How can that level of trust be reached when at the same time they’re using the final pages of a massive omnibus bill to insert language that allows the entire provincial funding to be pulled on a whim? Calgarians deserve answers on why this language exists and need to see concrete actions that demonstrate this government’s support for Green Line” concluded Binks.