Wall sounds off on Energy East
Sask. Premier blames federal government for cancellation of TransCanada Pipeline project
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says the federal government is to blame for the cancellation of the Energy East Pipeline project.
On Thursday, TransCanada Pipelines CEO Russ Girling announced that the company would “no longer proceed” with the $15.7 billion project. If completed the pipeline would have transported up to 850,000 barrels of oil per day from Western Canada to Eastern markets.
In a post on Facebook, Wall said it was “a very bad day for the west,” and accused the federal government of treating the project with a mixture of apathy and contempt.
“TransCanada made the decision to cancel Energy East – but make no mistake, the reasons for it fall at the feet of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government,” he wrote. “They have been, at best, ambivalent about the project and then moved the goalposts at the last moment by asking the regulator to consider the impact of upstream greenhouse gas emissions.”
Wall also took aim at Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, a former Liberal cabinet minister, who celebrated Thursday’s decision as a “major victory.”
The Saskatchewan premier said the decision would cause Quebec and other eastern provinces to become even more dependent on imported oil, while stalling economic development in Canada.
“We have a company that committed more than a billion dollars to a project and made earnest efforts to address the concerns of the public and regulators. A company that made 700 changes to its plans as part of that response,” Wall wrote. “Make no mistake, other companies’ decision to invest in Canada will be informed by this debacle.”
Wall added that the decision may leave western Canadians wondering if the rest of the country really valued their contributions.
“Something needs to change,” he wrote. “For the west to continue on like this in our federal system is the equivalent of having Stockholm syndrome.”
The federal government released a statement of their own on Thursday defending their handling of the energy sector.
Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said TransCanada Pipelines’ decision was purely a business move, and pointed to other projects like the $11.6-billion TransMountain and Line 3 pipelines as proof of a healthy and growing industry.
“In making the decision to approve these projects, our government took into consideration a wide variety of information, data and scientific evidence, including the National Energy Board’s recommendation report, the views of Canadians and enhanced consultations with Indigenous peoples,” Carr said in the release.
“Our government would have used the same process to evaluate the Energy East Pipeline project that saw the TransMountain expansion and Line 3 projects approved. Nothing has changed in the government’s decisionmaking process.”
Prior to Thursday’s decision, TransCanada Pipelines had sought a 30-day suspension of the Energy East and Eastern Mainline project applications to conduct a review of the changes announced by the National Energy Board.
The company currently operates more than 91,500 km of natural gas pipeline across North America.
Saskatchewan’s NDP also released a statement on the cancellation. They called TransCanada’s decision “disappointing,” but blamed the Saskatchewan Party’s “unbalanced approach, rhetoric and grandstanding” for failing to move projects like Energy East forward.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall speaks at a campaign stop in Prince Albert during the 2016 provincial election.