Energy East cancellation a 'huge win' for Trump, says former ambassador
Published Saturday, October 7, 2017 7:00AM EDT
OTTAWA –TransCanada’s decision to cancel the $15.7 billion Energy East pipeline is a "huge win" for U.S. President Donald Trump and a big loss for New Brunswick, says Frank McKenna, former premier and Canadian ambassador to the U.S.
In an interview with Evan Solomon, host of CTV’s Question Period, McKenna said TransCanada cancelling the project is a major victory for Trump’s administration.
The proposed pipeline was designed to transport crude oil 4,500 kilometres from Alberta to New Brunswick.
Canadian political reaction to TransCanada pulling the plug was mixed, with the premiers on both ends of the pipeline, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, and New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant, expressing strong disappointment.
"We see this as a huge win for Donald Trump and the United States of America. They get continued access to Canadian gas and oil for decades to come at deeply discounted prices," he said, speaking for people of New Brunswick. There, TransCanada estimated more than 3,000 jobs would have been created during the construction phase.
Proponents of the pipeline say Energy East was also key to Alberta lessening its dependency on transporting oil to the south.
While the federal government could have pushed harder to see the project get approved, he said the political blame game could only go so far because the real downfall was the regulatory approval process.
TransCanada deciding not to go ahead comes after the National Energy Board announced, in August, it would broaden its review of the proposal to consider climate change impacts.
"The fact is process is the enemy of this project and of all the others projects that are trying to take place in this country of ours," said McKenna.
Maritimes 'royally steamed'
In a statement following TransCanada’s cancellation announcement, Gallant said, while he wasn’t banking on the project going ahead, it isn’t good news for the province’s economic growth.
McKenna went a step further, saying that New Brunswick and the Maritimes are "royally steamed at losing out of being part of the national dream with all of those jobs and opportunity."
"We don’t have access to oil pipelines, we don’t have access to national gas, so we’re literally cut off from the rest of the country," he said.
Coderre needs to 'keep his mouth shut'
Mayor of Montreal Denis Coderre joined the Indigenous and environmental groups in celebrating the project’s cancellation. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Coderre claimed victory and called TransCanada "arrogant and condescending."
On this, McKenna said he’d be best to butt out, citing already strained tensions over pipeline politics in Canada.
"In the case of Denis Coderre, if any of his projects… had to go through this process, they’d never be built. So he’d be smart to keep his mouth shut on this file," McKenna said.
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