Three Parties in NB Endorse Energy East: Tory, Liberal and NDP

5 09 2014
Energy Quebec backing national energy strategy positive for Energy East: New Brunswick leaders
KARISSA DONKIN TELEGRAPH-JOURNAL

FREDERICTON • Having every Canadian province committed to developing a national energy strategy is good news for the proposed Energy East pipeline, leaders of all three major provincial parties said over the weekend.   Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, a federalist who won a majority government in April, teamed up with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to push the strategy forward at last week’s Council of the Federation meetings in Charlottetown. Quebec was the last province to sign on to developing a strategy.   The document every premier agreed to says the final strategy will “foster the development of pan-Canadian, regional and bilateral agreements on energy development,transportation and transmission”   The proposed Energy East pipeline would see an existing 3,000-kilometre natural gas line converted to pump Alberta crude into Quebec, and an additional 1,400-kilometre extension built to pump it further to the Irving Oil refinery in Saint John.   Since the pipeline would cut through Quebec, that province’s support is key to the project moving forward.   “It’s very positive to hear the province of Quebec open to working as a region and as a nation when it comes to energy,” Liberal Leader Brian Gallant said on Saturday.   We believe there is a vast potential here in the province,the region and nationally to have a very strong energy strategy that will benefit many Canadians and New Brunswickers,”he added.   “On top of that, we’re very aware that the region also shares our views when it comes to hydraulic fracturing. Quebec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland have moratoriums on hydraulic fracturing.”   Progressive Conservative Leader David Alward attended Council of the Federation meetings for just one day, but said energy was top of mind for him before he went to the meetings.   On Saturday, he said he’s been glad to find Couillard co-operative.The pair met three times before the meetings in Charlottetown.   Couillard has a vision of“a strong Quebec within a strong Canada”and appears to recognize the importance energy plays in the country’s future, Alward said.   “Quebec is prepared to be at the table with the rest of Canada”he said.   “That’s certainly very good news for us as a province. We’re very close neighbours and we work very closely with the electricity grid. We’re working collectively now as well to see a pipeline come from the west of Canada to here.”   Ahead of April’s election in Quebec and an election in Ontario in June, NDP Leader Dominic Cardy said he was worried the proposed pipeline project would turn into “a political football.” He worried the re-election of a separatist government in Quebec and division along environmental lines in Ontario would stall the project.   Cardy has supported the Energy East proposal under the condition there’s onshore and offshore spill units,full consultation with First Nations and that provincial royalties are“commensurate with our share of the risk”   “The project could have been threatened for purely political reasons,”Cardy said on Saturday.“I’m glad to see that risk has disappeared with those two elections being wrapped up.”   The NDP leader believes many of the obstacles to the pipeline’s creation have been removed now.   “The company is continuing to do its consultations which I think is exactly what they should be doing and hopefully it will move ahead”Cardy said.   The only other provincial opposition to a national energy strategy came from British Columbia Premier Christy Clark, who worried her province wouldn’t get its fair share of royalties from the Northern Gateway project. But she changed course last fall and signed on.   Last week in Charlottetown,Clark told The Canadian Press that getting all provinces on board with the development of an energy strategy was a“watershed moment.”   The energy strategy outline approved by all premiers last week also emphasizes climate change, something Couillard requested as a condition of agreeing to sign on.   The document says the strategy will address climate change with the goal of “moving toward a lower carbon economy” and recognizing “the importance of environmentally and socially responsible energy.”   Green party Leader David Coon said the strategy fails to adequately recognize the country’s reliance on fossil fuels, something he described as a“deepening crisis.”   “Anything that would dramatically expand the production of fossil fuels in this country is problematic,”Coon said,citing the Energy East pipeline as an example of something that would do that.   “You can’t have it both ways,”he added. “The only way you’re going to be able to tackle the climate calamity is to reduce our production of fossil fuels, to wean our dependence off of fossil fuels, to reduce our economy’s dependence on fossil fuel production. This goes exactly in the opposite direction.   “It’s nice to put some words there (about climate change) but it’s meaningless.”   – With files from Adam Huras, Shawn Berry and The Canadian Press

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Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard waits for the start of a session at the annual Council of the Federation meeting in Charlottetown on Friday. Quebec’s endorsement of a national energy strategy is good news for the Energy East pipeline proposal, the leaders of all three major parties in New Brunswick say.   Photo: the CanaDian Press

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