Montreal-area mayors reject proposed pipeline
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.
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre speaks during a news conference in Montreal in this file photo.