Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Debate over Pipelines Anything but 'Drama Free' as Energy East Debate Heats Up

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Debate over Pipelines Anything but 'Drama Free' as Energy East Debate Heats Up

Article excerpt

East-vs-West divide opens up over Energy East

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CALGARY - Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has said she wants the discussion over pipelines to be "drama free," but this week it was anything but.

A coalition of Montreal-area mayors came out against the $15.7-billion Energy East Pipeline on Thursday, setting off a bout of cross-Canada sniping between municipal and provincial politicians over a matter that falls within federal jurisdiction.

Notley said it was "short-sighted" for the Montreal Metropolitan Community to oppose Energy East on the grounds its risks outweigh its economic benefit.

Other Western politicians had harsher words.

"I trust Montreal-area mayors will politely return their share of $10B in equalization supported by West," Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall tweeted.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre retorted with the respective populations of metropolitan Montreal versus Saskatchewan: four million compared to 1.13 million.

Meanwhile, Brian Jean, head of Alberta's Opposition Wildrose party, blasted Coderre for allowing raw sewage to be dumped into the St. Lawrence River, but opposing Energy East on environmental grounds.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi made a similar point at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland: "I could make a joke about how well Montreal protects that particular waterway over the last several months, but I won't."

"I've got a lot of respect for Mayor Coderre. On this, however, he's wrong," said Nenshi. "Certainly he needs to hold out for a better deal for himself... that's what mayors tend to do. But the deal has to be within reach."

The tone between Notley and her Ontario counterpart was much more congenial at a news conference Friday.

Premier Kathleen Wynne praised the climate change initiatives of Alberta's NDP government, saying those efforts are making "the national conversation about climate targets and pipelines easier."

Many of Ontario's conditions for supporting the pipeline are starting to be addressed, Wynne added.

Energy East, proposed by Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP), would take up to 1.1 million barrels a day of Alberta crude as far east as an Irving Oil refinery and export terminal in Saint John, N.B.

In Davos, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau encouraged everyone to work together.

"I'm very much in the camp of both premiers Wynne and Notley, who demonstrated that Canada can and should work together on eco issues for all of us. …

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