Montreal likely to block Energy East pipeline, Rona Ambrose says
Protesters hold up signs during a protest to highlight environmental and social issues in Montreal, Thursday, August 11, 2016. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)
Published Monday, March 27, 2017 5:45PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, March 27, 2017 7:46PM EDT
OTTAWA -- Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose says she's not optimistic the proposed Energy East pipeline from Alberta to New Brunswick will be built, citing the opposition from the mayor of Montreal and anti-pipeline groups.
Speaking to a Toronto business crowd Monday morning, Ambrose expressed frustration with the lack of pipeline approvals in Canada.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last November approved the Trans Mountain and Line 3 pipeline expansions and killed the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal, which would have run through the Great Bear Rain Forest in Northern B.C.
TransCanada's proposed Energy East pipeline would see an existing pipeline converted to carry 1.1 million barrels of crude oil a day to New Brunswick to be refined.
"I've got to be totally honest with you. I just don't see how it's going to happen. I don't see Energy East getting through Montreal," Ambrose said, in response to an audience question about whether it will happen.
"And that's just the political reality of it... I obviously will support any efforts to get it there."
Ambrose says she thinks the federal government has done a political calculation and decided Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline, through Burnaby, B.C., is the one it can live with.
"I don't know what to say to you. These issues become political with this government and they've made a political decision around [Northern] Gateway," she said.
"[The Liberals have] said it has to have social license and we still don't know exactly what that means. But if you think that [Mayor] Denis Coderre in Montreal and the groups that have gotten organized against Energy East are going to give the government social license to go through Montreal, I don't believe it."
A spokesman for Coderre says the city doesn't need Energy East.
"The mayor deplores the project's lack of relevance, both at the economic and environmental level," Marc-André Gosselin wrote in French.
TransCanada said it’s listening to the questions and issues raised by the mayors and other stakeholders in the Montreal region, and along the Energy East route.
"Energy East is a project serving markets including refineries in Quebec and New Brunswick, which currently depend on hundreds of thousands of barrels of imported crude oil every day. That demand has not changed, nor has our commitment," spokesman Tim Duboyce said in an email to CTVNews.ca.
"We continue to await direction from the [National Energy Board] on the next steps in the review process that will provide the opportunity for parties to raise issues and to provide answers."