Oil pipe­line of­fers eco­nomic stim­u­lus for weak econ­omy

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL -

Ev­ery­body seems to have an opin­ion re­cently on the En­ergy East Pipe­line Pro­ject. It makes sense since it has the best chance to pro­ceed from among the three Al­berta oil pipe­line projects.

En­ergy East will cross six provinces from Al­berta head­ing to the New Brunswick ter­mi­nus in Saint John and the Irv­ing Oil re­fin­ery. It would be a game changer for New Brunswick, a prov­ince fac­ing ma­jor eco­nomic chal­lenges. It would cre­ate a po­ten­tial boom for New Brunswick and its key port city.

Pipe­line con­struc­tion job op­por­tu­ni­ties are beck­on­ing for Is­lan­ders and oth­ers in the re­gion. It will have a pos­i­tive im­pact on At­lantic Canada as a whole. The im­por­tance of the En­ergy East pipe­line can­not be un­der­stated. It brings Cana­dian oil to a Cana­dian re­fin­ery and al­lows it to be shipped to Cana­dian and world mar­kets.

With the crash in oil prices and the down­turn in the dol­lar, here is a rem­edy to help bring Canada back to eco­nomic health. When the Al­berta oil sec­tor was boom­ing, it meant good-pay­ing jobs for hun­dreds and hun­dreds of Is­lan­ders. They brought back a lot of money to help our pro­vin­cial econ­omy.

Al­berta, which has pumped bil­lions into the na­tional econ­omy from oil re­sources, needs a lit­tle help right now.

The pro­posed Trans Moun­tain pipe­line through Bri­tish Columbia to the Pa­cific Ocean is go­ing nowhere. Pres­i­dent Barak Obama has blocked the Keystone XL pipe­line from head­ing south to sup­ply U.S. re­finer­ies.

Now there are threats to En­ergy East. Al­berta is be­ing re­strained from get­ting a valu­able re­source to mar­ket. Much needed rev­enue for prov­ince and coun­try is be­ing cur­tailed.

It’s time for the rest of Canada to step for­ward and of­fer Al­berta a lit­tle sup­port and co-op­er­a­tion. If en­ergy de­vel­op­ment and pipe­lines can be built in an en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able way, they should pro­ceed.

It is dis­ap­point­ing that Mon­treal Mayor De­nis Coderre and other mu­nic­i­pal lead­ers in Que­bec have ob­jected to the pipe­line. Now the mayor of Saint John is telling the mayor of Mon­treal to get out of the way and stop be­ing an im­ped­i­ment to a na­tional dream.

The mayor of Mon­treal is ac­cused of be­ing a hyp­ocrite. He is op­pos­ing the pipe­line on en­vi­ron­men­tal grounds yet had no prob­lem dump­ing a bil­lion litres of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River last fall to al­low for re­pairs to the city’s sewage sys­tem.

The stance of Mr. Coderre and oth­ers in the prov­ince is sur­pris­ing. It means that lengthy freight trains of oil tanker cars will con­tinue to travel over rail lines across Que­bec. The hor­rific disas­ter in Lac-Me­gan­tic where 47 peo­ple died in a 2013 crash is still a vivid mem­ory. It helps prove the ar­gu­ment that pipe­lines are the safest way to trans­port oil over long dis­tances.

Mr. Coderre was only too will­ing to ac­cept a free multi-bil­lion dol­lar Cham­plain Bridge paid by Cana­dian tax­pay­ers. It’s time for a lit­tle quid pro quo and some na­tion-build­ing. We need Al­berta oil, Al­berta jobs and a healthy Al­berta econ­omy to jolt the rest of Canada.

In Que­bec alone, a pro­jected nine years of con­struc­tion on En­ergy East will cre­ate over 3,000 full time jobs and 14,000 Canada-wide.

The fed­eral govern­ment's an­nounce­ment this week on a re­source pro­ject re­view process could break the na­tional dead­lock over pipe­line ap­provals. Five prin­ci­ples un­veiled by Ottawa are to ad­dress de­fi­cien­cies in the ex­ist­ing re­view process for fos­sil fuel projects.

The an­nounce­ment was wel­comed by all sides in the de­bate as a com­mon sense ap­proach to ex­am­ine and then ap­prove or re­ject pipe­line pro­pos­als. It’s an en­cour­ag­ing de­vel­op­ment.

Ottawa rec­og­nizes that pipe­lines won’t get built with­out pub­lic sup­port and the re­view process should help en­sure this hap­pens. Ev­ery­one in­volved will need to con­sider, not just their lo­cal in­ter­est, but also the na­tional in­ter­est.

If the pipe­line can pass the five guid­ing prin­ci­ples and re­view process, why de­lay any fur­ther? It's the right thing to do.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.