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Canadians need to embrace west-east pipeline, urges N.B. premier

New Brunswick Premier David Alward is in Alberta to promote a west-east pipeline and says Canadians need to embrace natural resource development or face the consequences.

David Alward in Alberta working with Alison Redford to promote natural resource development

New Brunswick Premier David Alward is in Alberta to promote a west-east pipeline and says Canadians need to embrace natural resource development or face the consequences.

Canadians need to embrace natural resource development — or face the consequences, says New Brunswick's premier.

David Alward is in Alberta to promote a west-east pipeline and made the case Friday for Canadians to come to grips with the sector fuelling massive growth in Alberta and some parts of the Maritime provinces. 

"Do we want our economy to be weak or do we want it to be strong?" Alward said at the Bennett Jones Lake Louise World Cup Business Forum in southern Alberta. "Do we want to seize one of the greatest economic opportunities our country has ever seen? There's a choice Canadians need to make."

TransCanada Corp. may build 1,400 kilometres of pipeline, extending its capacity into Saint John. (Courtesy of TransCanada)

Alward says the country's quality of life depends on exporting its resources and is working with Alberta Premier Alison Redford to promote the west-east pipeline to other provinces.

Redford says the global demand for Canada's energy is growing and with that comes new economic opportunities.

"I think it is an important conversation for provinces right across the country to have," Redford said Thursday after Alward became the first sitting premier of another province to address Alberta's legislature.

"My sense is that it's going in the right direction and that people are understanding."

TransCanada's proposed $12-billion Energy East pipeline would span 4,500 kilometres and transport Alberta's crude oil from Edmonton to refineries in Quebec and Saint John, N.B.

It is currently moving through the regulatory approval process but has sparked intense debate across Canada.

Supporters say the pipeline would spur job creation and is necessary for Alberta oil to get market access.

Opponents say the risks — from potential spills, potential loss of property rights and lack of public consultation — are just too great.

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