Mon­treal-area may­ors re­ject pro­posed pipe­line

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

The re­jec­tion by Mon­treal-area mu­nic­i­pal lead­ers of Tran­sCanada Corp.’s pro­posed En­ergy East pipe­line prompted a sharp political re­buke from some parts of Western Canada on Thurs­day.

The Mon­treal Metropoli­tan Com­mu­nity, which rep­re­sents 82 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and 3.9 mil­lion res­i­dents, said it op­poses the pro­ject and will de­fend that po­si­tion at Que­bec en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact and Na­tional En­ergy Board hear­ings.

Mon­treal Mayor De­nis Coderre, the cur­rent pres­i­dent of the or­ga­ni­za­tion, said the de­ci­sion was unan­i­mous and that the en­vi­ron­men­tal risks of a spill far out­weigh any eco­nomic ben­e­fits for the re­gion.

That po­si­tion sparked anger in Al­berta and Saskatchewan.

Deron Bilous, Al­berta’s min­is­ter of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and trade, said his prov­ince is now do­ing its share to com­bat cli­mate change while fac­ing tremen­dous chal­lenges with the col­lapse of oil prices.

“We all look to the same re­source rev­enues to cre­ate jobs and fund the so­cial pro­grams we all de­pend on,” Bilous said. “The mayor of Mon­treal’s state­ment to­day is there­fore both un­gen­er­ous and short-sighted. Ev­ery­one loses if we de­stroy our re­source econ­omy.”

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall called it sad that lead­ers from Que­bec would be so “parochial” about a pro­ject that would ben­e­fit all of Canada.

Wall said Que­bec will re­ceive about $10 bil­lion in equal­iza­tion pay­ments this year.

“For the bet­ter part of the past decade the western Cana­dian en­ergy sec­tor and western Cana­dian tax­pay­ers have sup­ported a great por­tion of th­ese trans­fer pay­ments as well as the Cana­dian econ­omy,” he said in a state­ment.

“Is it too much to ex­pect that th­ese Que­bec mu­nic­i­pal lead­ers would re­spond to this re­al­ity with gen­er­ous sup­port for a pipe­line that sup­ports the very sec­tor that has sup­ported them?”

Coderre said the pro­ject is worth about $2 mil­lion a year in eco­nomic ben­e­fits to the Mon­treal area, while the cleanup of a ma­jor oil spill could cost be­tween $1 bil­lion and $10 bil­lion.

CP PHOTO

Mon­treal Mayor De­nis Coderre speaks dur­ing a news con­fer­ence in Mon­treal in this file photo.

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