Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Hearings on Energy East Pipeline a Circus

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Hearings on Energy East Pipeline a Circus

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Hearings on Energy East pipeline a circus


An editorial from the Winnipeg Free Press, published Aug. 30:

Demonstrators for and against the Energy East pipeline project were out in force Monday when the National Energy Board opened the Montreal phase of its national hearings on the project. The anti-pipeline crowd, however, not content to make their point out in the street, pushed their way into the hearing room, shoved the security guards aside and broke up the meeting. The energy board members, ill-prepared for the antics of the demonstrators, were driven from the room and the hearing was called off.

The Energy East pipeline, using the path of TransCanada's existing natural gas pipeline, would pass under the St. Lawrence River near Montreal and then lead to a terminal near St. John, N.B. It would allow for refinement and export of bitumen from the northern Alberta oilsands.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, who had been scheduled as the first witness, has been leading the area opposition to TransCanada's pipeline project, complaining that members of the energy board had previously met privately with Jean Charest, a former Quebec premier and more recently a lobbyist for TransCanada. He wanted this week's hearing called off because of that. When the energy board tried to hold the hearing anyway, the protesters appeared and broke it up, achieving what Mr. Coderre was not able to do through political manoeuvring. Mr. Coderre walked out of the adjourned hearing, calling it a circus.

Mr. Coderre and his allies turned it into a circus and hurt their messaging. Had they allowed the hearing to proceed, Mr. Coderre's complaints about the energy board would have been exposed as totally fake. The invasion of the hearing room and cancellation of the hearing spared Mr. Coderre from exposing his complaints to rational study. …

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