Hon. Joseph A. Day (Leader of the Senate Liberals):
Colleagues, I had originally intended to speak on the issue of the Energy East Pipeline through this inquiry, but I have decided to speak more fully about my concerns in the context of the sixth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications, which is a report that is on our Order Paper for adoption at page 17. I will speak on it, but not today. We have since passed it. It is entitled Pipelines for Oil: Protecting our economy, respecting our environment.
We have an inquiry and a report of the committee both dealing with oil pipelines and their impact on the Canadian economy and the Canadian environment.
While I am on my feet, however, I would like to express once again my disappointment at the cancellation of the Energy East Pipeline project.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Day: It was very important to my province. It would have created jobs in New Brunswick, and I have no doubt that had the project gone ahead, it would have created many jobs and helped the economy for the rest of Canada, including the Province of Quebec.
When Minister Carr was here for Question Period earlier this month, I asked him about what had transpired. We know that in August, the National Energy Board announced an “expanded focus” for the Energy East project, including the consideration of greenhouse gas emissions and the impact of reduction targets.
That was all expanded from what had been going on for some time and many millions of dollars being spent on this, colleagues.
In September, TransCanada suspended its project application so that it could conduct a thorough review of the changes announced by the National Energy Board. In the end, given the new assessment criteria announced by the National Energy Board, TransCanada terminated the project altogether, very regretfully.
I am disappointed that the National Energy Board chose to greatly expand the assessment criteria in the middle of the assessment process. There were other projects that were approved under the old rules. They didn’t have to have a reassessment under the new and expanded rules. Only this particular TransCanada Energy East Pipeline project was subject to two of those additional rules, very unfairly.
The rules should not have been changed in the middle of the game. I am also disappointed that TransCanada felt it was no longer in their best interests to continue the project. As a result, my home province of New Brunswick lost out on the economic prosperity that the Energy East Pipeline would have brought.
As I said, I will speak in greater detail about the issue of pipelines and, in particular, the Energy East Pipeline and what it could have done for the East Coast of Canada when I speak to the Transport Committee’s report at a later date.