Alberta's Redford pitches pipeline in New Brunswick
Premier Alison Redford also waded into shale gas development debate during Friday visit
Alberta Premier Alison Redford brought her sales pitch for her province's oil to New Brunswick on Friday as she addressed the legislative assembly and the business community in Saint John.
Redford also waded into the contentious debate over shale gas development in New Brunswick during her visit.
She started her day at the legislature in Fredericton, earning a standing ovation from both the Progressive Conservatives and the Liberals as she arrived to speak.
There's political opposition in British Columbia and the United States to pipelines that would carry Alberta oil. However, in New Brunswick all three main political parties are endorsing the proposed west-east pipeline.
Redford told MLAs environmental concerns about Alberta oil are misplaced.
"By linking up with Alberta, New Brunswick is supporting one of the world's most progressive and environmentally sensitive energy producers," she said.
"We aren't still debating whether man-made climate change is real. We've put in place innovative measures to fight it."
Redford told reporters it is important to keep selling the idea to overcome environmental objections.
"It's not an either-or conversation. We've always done a very good job in Canada of being able to balance those interests and I think we can continue to do that," Redford said.
New Brunswick Premier David Alward said the pipeline idea is gaining the support of other premiers.
"Collectively across the country, leaders get it, how this project makes sense for Canada," Alward said.
Redford also toured the Irving Oil Ltd. refinery and addressed the Saint John Board of Trade during a luncheon on Friday.
Shale gas mistrust
Her visit highlighted how the Opposition Liberals and NDP are treating the idea of a west-east pipeline differently than plans to develop the shale gas industry in New Brunswick.
Both involve extracting fossil fuels from the ground, yet the Liberals and NDP support the Alberta pipeline while opposing shale development.
Redford said she believes she knows why.
"People that are opposed to development, on things that are a lot more technically complicated, can come up with an awful lot more misinformation," she said.
Liberal environment critic Bernard LeBlanc has expressed mistrust of the Alward government on shale, but he appears to trust Redford on oil.
"What they're doing down there, I'm sure they're looking at the environment," he said.
Green leader David Coon, however, contends it's foolish to think the pipeline is any less of an environmental threat.
"It would mean the equivalent of building six new coal-fired power plants or putting four and a half million new cars on the road in terms of emissions," he said.
Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. announced in April a bidding process that will allow interested producers to make binding commitments for space on the pipeline.
The proposed pipeline could carry between 500,000 and 850,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to the eastern refineries, according to the company.
This is Redford’s first appearance in New Brunswick to pitch the pipeline.
Premier David Alward and Energy Minister Craig Leonard visited Alberta in February before TransCanada Corp. announced the project was moving forward.
Saint John Mayor Mel Norton visited Alberta last month to meet with business leaders and politicians to reinforce the city’s support for the project.