Pipe­line vi­tal to N.B.: econ­o­mists

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

The grow­ing na­tional di­vide over the En­ergy East pipe­line couldn’t come at a worse time for New Brunswick, which is al­ready be­set by a se­ries of eco­nomic blows and needs a ma­jor pro­ject to cre­ate much needed jobs and rev­enue to turn around a flag­ging econ­omy.

“It looks bad,” said Univer­sity of New Brunswick econ­o­mist David Mur­rell.

“It is a dark week we went through, and I’m hop­ing there can be an ef­fec­tive lobby set up to get the Canada East pipe­line through,” he said.

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gal­lant will de­liver his an­nual state of the prov­ince speech this week, but the out­look for the pro­vin­cial econ­omy is not overly promis­ing, with a num­ber of ma­jor re­source projects in ques­tion.

Days af­ter Potash Corp. an­nounced it was clos­ing its potash mine near Sus­sex in­def­i­nitely, Mon­treal-area may­ors voiced op­po­si­tion to the pro­posed $15.7-bil­lion En­ergy East pipe­line pro­ject, which would see western crude trans­ported as far as the Irv­ing Oil re­fin­ery and a pro­posed ex­port ter­mi­nal in Saint John, N.B.

New Brunswick’s Lib­eral govern­ment will de­liver a bud­get next week and is al­ready con­sid­er­ing cuts to the pub­lic ser­vice, an in­crease in the HST and the in­tro­duc­tion of high­way tolls among the pos­si­ble ways to ad­dress a struc­tural deficit that hov­ers around $600 mil­lion.

The pro­vin­cial govern­ment has been ac­tively pro­mot­ing the pro­posed En­ergy East pipe­line as a way to gen­er­ate rev­enue, thou­sands of jobs dur­ing con­struc­tion and over 300 per­ma­nent po­si­tions.

Marie-Chris­tine Bernard of the Con­fer­ence Board of Canada said New Brunswick is bank­ing on the pro­ject.

“New Brunswick has struc­tural prob­lems, large deficits, an ag­ing pop­u­la­tion, and also young work­ers who leave the prov­ince to seek em­ploy­ment else­where in Canada,” she said.

“There hasn’t re­ally been a ma­jor in­vest­ment in the prov­ince in the last few years apart from Potash Corp. in­vest­ing in the Sus­sex mine. So that would be very ben­e­fi­cial to the econ­omy.”

New Brunswick En­ergy Min­is­ter Don­ald Arse­neault said the pro­ject has al­ready been de­layed by two years and he hopes it won’t be de­layed much more.

He wouldn’t say if he’s con­cerned that the pro­ject could be halted.

Gal­lant

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