Premier Brian Gallant used a Sunday night appearance on Radio-Canada's popular Tout le monde en parle to debate Montreal's mayor over the merits of building the Energy East pipeline.

The talk show format didn't lend itself to any theatrics on the part of either Gallant or Denis Coderre or a lengthy debate over the proposed pipeline that would bring oil from Alberta with a final destination in Saint John.

But Gallant did use the television segment to make the pitch directly to a large audience that the pipeline project would create much-needed jobs in New Brunswick.

"There are economic benefits to New Brunswick for this project," he said.

"But I still want to make the point that we have to ask ourselves also, if this project doesn't go ahead, what is going to happen? If this project doesn't go ahead, there will still be oil transported across the country. It will be done by train, by ship, by truck."

Tout le monde en parle is a talk show that brings together various guests on issues of the day. The guests have a chance to interact with each other during the show.

The talk show draws more than one million viewers every Sunday night.


Energy East is a proposed 4,600-kilometre pipeline from TransCanada Corp. It would stretch from Alberta to an export terminal in Saint John and could carry up to 1.1 million barrels of crude oil per day. (CBC)

It was evident from the reaction to Coderre's introduction that the Montreal mayor's opposition to the pipeline project was popular with the show's live audience.

Coderre continued to make his argument that TransCanada Corp. hadn't done enough work to consult on the project and he was worried about the potential environmental problems.

Michelle LeBlanc, a Radio-Canada reporter, said Gallant did his best despite being an underdog in the debate.

"He was there, he was friendly. It was a contrast to the other voices that Quebecers heard that were criticizing Mayor Coderre," she said

"He was there, not confronting, not saying Quebecers should pay back equalization, but saying in New Brunswick it is an important project, it would create jobs, we need jobs."

When Coderre first came out in opposition to the pipeline project, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said the Montreal area could "politely return" its portions of the equalization funds that came from western Canada.

Gallant's ability to further debate Coderre was limited as the other guests on the Sunday night talk show pushed the discussion to the mayor's promised crackdown on massage parlours.

During that exchange, Gallant was left to a spectator's role.

However, Lise Payette, a feminist author and former Parti Quebecois cabinet minister, twice referred to Gallant as the best-looking man in Canada.