Just like you, I woke up yesterday to the shocking news that TransCanada is pulling the plug on the Energy East pipeline. The $16 billion dollar project would have carried more than one million barrels of oil every day from Alberta and Saskatchewan across the country to be refined or exported from facilities in New Brunswick and Quebec.
It would have added 1,500 kilometres worth of new oil pipelines to an existing network of more than 3,000 kilometres, which would have been converted from carrying natural gas, to carrying oil.
Lastly, it would have created over 14,000 direct and indirect full-time jobs each year across Canada during development and construction alone, and 900 full-time direct jobs across Canada in its first 20 years of operation.
What bothers me is that the Liberals are calling this move a “business decision”. Sure, but it’s one that was influenced by the Liberals’ own energy policy choices. In their filing with the National Energy Board (NEB), TransCanada cited "existing and likely future delays resulting from the regulatory process, the associated cost implications and the increasingly challenging issues and obstacles," facing the project with the decision to pull the plug.
And there you have it. Energy East was cancelled for “business reasons” because the Liberals messed up whatever certainty existed there before for the project. And that’s because they changed the rules halfway through the process. New Liberal regulations on Canadian energy projects have forced companies to adhere to standards not enforced in other countries, giving exporters in Venezuela, Saudia Arabia and Algeria a competitive advantage. More conflict oil and less Canadian oil for Eastern Canadians.
Here at home, we had our own local Liberal MP Kent Hehr repeating the Liberal government’s talking points yesterday afternoon – that it was a business decision. This is the same Alberta MP with a seat at Justin Trudeau’s Cabinet table who said during the last election that he “will pound the table on the need for pipelines”.
But guess who voted against the Conservatives' pro-Energy East motion last year. Kent Hehr. He had an opportunity to champion this project, and to "pound the table", and he didn’t. He did nothing as far as I can tell.
In the last 18 months Canada’s energy industry has lost a whopping 110,000 direct and indirect jobs. There has also been an approximate $50 billion drop in energy investment in Canada since 2014 – that’s a 62% decline. This is equivalent to losing 75% of auto manufacturing in Ontario and almost all of aerospace in Quebec. Both of the latter would be a national emergency, but when it comes to Alberta we get the double standard treatment.
Prices are steadily going up, not down. Demand for oil worldwide is up, not down. In fact, global oil demand has gone up 10 million barrels per day over the last 6 years and will top the 100 million barrels per day mark in 2018. The need for oil has never been higher.
It is obvious that there is a market demand for Canada’s oil and the Trudeau Liberals need to stop putting the interests of foreign oil companies and foreign despots ahead of Canadian interests.
The business decision TransCanada made on Energy East was to abandon a project mired in red tape, with new near impossible rules to abide by, and a coarse public anger campaign waged by the Mayor of Montreal.
Yesterday was a very disappointing day for the hundreds of thousands of Albertans who rely on the Canadian energy sector for a job. I are here to be the voice of each and every person who is affected by this decision, and unlike Kent Hehr, I won't make excuses or hide behind my leadership when the going gets tough.
In your service,
Tom Kmiec, M.P.