Editorial: No pipelines, no prosperity


As National Energy Board hearings resume Monday in Montreal on TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline, it’s time to stop kidding the troops.

Kidding the troops is what happens when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau floats the idea that if pipeline proponents act in a certain way domestically, and Canada acts in a certain way internationally, it will earn a “social licence” to construct pipelines and export oil.

Pipelines which are vital to Canada’s economy and necessary to move our landlocked fossil fuel resources to Canadian ports and from there to international markets.

The problem with Trudeau’s rhetoric is that it suggests there is some sort of perfect pipeline proposal that will satisfy all critics such as Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, environmental groups and First Nations opponents.

The reality is there is no process for pipeline approval that will satisfy these people. Pretending there is, is a fool’s game.

Coderre, for example, now wants the Energy East pipeline hearings suspended and reviewed because former Quebec premier Jean Charest met with NEB officials while an employee of TransCanada -- at the NEB's request -- to discuss the conduct of the hearings in Quebec.

Never mind that the NEB met with Coderre and other pipeline opponents to discuss the same thing.

Never mind that the NEB and a spokesman for Charest said there was no discussion of and no lobbying for Energy East.

Coderre and the environmental groups are now saying the simple fact of the meeting -- and that Charest didn’t tell the NEB he was in TransCanada’s employ, is enough to undermine the credibility of the entire hearing process.

That’s absurd. It would have been better had the NEB been informed of Charest’s relationship to TransCanada but to suggest that means the entire process is tainted is ridiculous.

As for social licence, Trudeau would no doubt point to his good buddy U.S. President Barack Obama as a jolly green giant of environmentalism.

Obama stopped the Canada-U.S. Keystone XL pipeline.

Except Obama has also boasted that his administration has approved enough new U.S. oil and gas pipelines to more than encircle the Earth.

Why? Because approving them was in the economic interests of the United States.

Someone should tell Trudeau that Energy East is in Canada’s economic interests.

Article: Ottawa Sun