If You're Buying Trans Mountain, Where's Your Backing for Energy East: Raitt

By Rabson, Mia | The Canadian Press, May 30, 2018 | Go to article overview

If You're Buying Trans Mountain, Where's Your Backing for Energy East: Raitt


Rabson, Mia, The Canadian Press


Pipeline purchase revives talk of Energy East

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OTTAWA - If Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is willing to go to the wall to save the Trans Mountain pipeline and get oil to Canada's west coast, federal Conservatives say he should be equally willing to do the same to revive a pipeline that would have brought oil to Canada's east coast.

And at least one Liberal backbencher is echoing that sentiment.

A day after Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the federal government has made a $4.5-billion offer to buy Trans Mountain from Kinder Morgan and will build the expansion to the pipeline itself in order to overcome political opposition in B.C., Conservative Deputy Leader Lisa Raitt questioned Wednesday why Trudeau wasn't putting up the same fight to save Energy East.

"Will the Prime Minister promise to enter into negotiations to provide the same level of certainty for Energy East?" she asked.

Energy East, which would have converted a natural gas pipeline to oil and extended it all the way to New Brunswick, was cancelled last fall when TransCanada decided conditions had changed, including new federal regulations and lower oil prices.

The Conservatives were not alone in their thinking. Saint John, N.B., Mayor Don Darling also took to Twitter to wonder "where was this support for Energy East."

For his part, Trudeau rejected the idea, accusing the Conservatives of raising "old news" because they were embarrassed that they couldn't get pipelines built when they were in government. However the questions raise a possible vulnerability for the Liberals in Atlantic Canada, a region where the party won all 32 seats in the last election.

New Brunswick Liberal MP Wayne Long said that while he's thrilled with the Trans Mountain decision, he'd like Trudeau to take another look at Energy East.

"I'm simply asking my government to take a look at TransCanada, Energy East, and see if maybe the parties of TransCanada, our government could get together and find a way to revisit, reboot, restart a process that could lead to Energy East coming to Saint John, New Brunswick, my riding," he said.

In a speech to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, Morneau warned that the Kinder Morgan deal does not set a new precedent for other projects.

"What I would say is that this decision today was exceptional. We are in a situation where we're putting forth a decision to make something happen in an exceptional way for a project that, let's acknowledge, is pretty unique."

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer vowed to make reviving Energy East a campaign issue and said he wouldn't put $4.5 billion on the table to get it done.

"I believe the Liberals would like people to believe (buying) was the only way to get the pipeline built but I think more and more Canadians are realizing that the fact that it's being nationalized is a result of other things that could have been avoided if this government had made different decisions," Scheer said. …

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