Trans Mountain reminds us Canada can still be capable of greatness against the odds – by John Ivison (National Post – May 6, 2024)

It is the kind of project that Canada no longer seems to be able to build

The completion of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (TMX) was not commemorated by an iconic photograph, such as the one taken one a wet November morning in 1885 in the mountains of British Columbia. What Pierre Berton, in his epic story of the building of the country’s first transcontinental railway, billed as The Great Canadian Photograph has a sense of occasion, as a white bearded old gentleman, Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) director Donald Smith, hammers home an iron railroad spike: The Last Spike.

“Canada had accomplished the impossible — a job done with a remarkable blend of financial acumen, stubborn perseverance, political lobbying, brilliant organization, reckless gambling, plain good fortune and the toil of a legion of ordinary working men … the unknown soldiers of (CPR general manager William) Van Horne’s army,” Berton wrote.

In just four-and-a-half years, they had managed to complete the great railway that joined the nation from sea to sea. It is the kind of project that Canada no longer seems to be able to build. Except, the completion of the TMX is a reminder that Canada is still capable of greatness in the face of almost insurmountable odds.

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