New Brunswick

Financial 'realities' might prevent pipeline's construction, N.B. trade minister says

New Brunswick Trade Minister Roger Melanson acknowledged the Energy East Pipeline project may have run into financial "realities" which diminish its chances of ever being built.

TransCanada announced it would suspend its application for the pipeline for 30 days to re-evaluate

Roger Melanson suggested the project would create more than 3,700 jobs annually. (CBC)

The Energy East Pipeline project might've run into "financial realities" that could diminish its chances of ever being built, New Brunswick's trade minister says.

"TransCanada is looking [to see] if this is viable for them. They have to have a business model that is viable for them," said Roger Melanson.

Melanson said the pipeline, which would carry 1.1. million barrels of crude oil a day from Alberta to Saint John, would be worth more than $850 million in tax revenue for New Brunswick.

He suggested it would create more than 3,700 jobs annually, peaking at 10,000.

TransCanada announced last week it would suspend its application for the pipeline for 30 days to re-evaluate its viability.

"There is a 30-day pause now. If this doesn't go ahead, it's not going to be positive for New Brunswick," he said.

Glen Savoie of the Progressive Conservatives said market conditions are not all to blame.

The panel debates what, and maybe who, is to blame for the pause and possible death of the Energy East pipeline. 48:57

"I would say a large part of that is the failure of Brian Gallant and this government to stand up for the interest of New Brunswickers," said Savoie.

"He is more interested in the perception that he supports this project that in the reality."

He also said Premier Gallant should urge Quebec to drop its opposition to the pipeline instead of urging TransCanada.

Green Party Leader David Coon said climate change is also one of the reasons why the pipeline is being reevaluated.

Jobs elsewhere

People's Alliance Party Leader Kris Austin said the province desperately needs jobs, especially now that "government has taxed everything that walks in the province."

NDP Leader Jennifer McKenzie said instead of focusing on Energy East, Gallant should create jobs elsewhere.

"Why isn't our premier going on and doing something that will really create jobs for the area in the short term?"

According to Melanson, there will be job growth, whether the pipeline goes through or not.

"If Energy East doesn't materialize, the jobs will come from either the cybersecurity, blueberry industry, cannabis sector, all kinds of sectors in that plan that we are pursuing," he said.