Maude Barlow, a well-known author and environmental activist, is travelling to the Maritimes to rally opposition to TransCanada Corp.'s proposed $11-billion Energy East pipeline project.
The Energy East project has won wide political support from former premier David Alward, recently-elected Premier Brian Gallant and many local politicians.
However, Barlow, the national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, is coming to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to outline her opposition to TransCanada's plan to transport Alberta bitumen all the way to Saint John, where it could be refined and exported.
“This pipeline is carrying the dirtiest energy on Earth and a spill would devastate many rivers,” she said.
Barlow's Council of Canadians said most of the energy will be exported and she warns the pipeline will not be the job creator that many are promising.
“It will create some jobs while the pipeline is being built. But very few will be needed, once that's done and all of this energy, almost all of it is for export,” Barlow said.
“It is not to be used. It is not to be refined in New Brunswick. It is not to be used by New Brunswickers. It is to be sent out through the New Brunswick port, to refineries in the United States. That is where it is going.”
Barlow started her tour in Halifax on Sunday and her final meeting will be on Nov. 6 in Edmundston.
TransCanada's $11-billion Energy East proposal would see the conversion of roughly 3,000 kilometres of natural gas pipeline on the company's Canadian Mainline route and the construction of 1,400 kilometres of new pipeline, to carry crude oil from Alberta to Saint John.
The pipeline proposal, which still needs regulatory approval, would send 1.1 million barrels of oil per day from Western Canada to refineries and export terminals in Eastern Canada.
TransCanada and Irving Oil Ltd. have also formed a joint venture to build and operate a new $300-million deep water marine terminal.
Public meetings provide 'invaluable' feedback
Shawn Howard, a spokesperson for TransCanada, said from the company’s perspective, the public meetings are going very well.
Howard said the company’s open houses are designed to get instructive feedback from interest groups and landowners.
He said they help "get that local input which is invaluable for us."
“It's part of our commitment to meet with people in the communities where our project would go through and where facilities would be located,” he said.
“So we can understand some of the local issues but also to get local input from local people, which has really been invaluable in terms of helping us establish routing and really tap into that local information that we might not be aware of.”
These meetings are a part of the regulatory process so the company can get approval for the project. TransCanada’s final public meeting will be in Saint John on Thursday.