Trudeau wants more public support before backing Energy East pipeline

WATCH ABOVE: Federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau says he will not commit his full support for the Energy East Pipeline just yet. Global’s Shelley Steeves reports.

FREDERICTON — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said he will not fully back TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline until the project gets more public support.

“We need to get our resources to market and more oil by rail is a bad idea. We need to do it in a responsible way and that means pipelines. But those pipelines have to achieve the public trust and the social license that is necessary.” Trudeau said Monday in Fredericton.

Trudeau said the regulatory process must be done right and is calling for more public consultation to address people’s environmental concerns regarding the safety of the pipeline. He also wants to see further consultation with First Nations.

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Colleen Mitchell, president of Atlantica Centre for Energy’s President, said public consultation is already ongoing and will be for at least another 15 months.

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“Public consultation is a vital part of The National Energy Board process and they have already solicited input from Canadian across the country stemming from Alberta all the way through to New Brunswick and individuals have had an opportunity to participate in that process,” Mitchell said.

But public consultation process won’t be complete before this fall’s federal election. So, it remains to be seen whether or not Trudeau will fully support Energy East before the public casts their ballots in October.

“I am not going to prejudge the outcome of those public consultations.” said Trudeau.

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Meanwhile, New Brunswick’s Energy Minister Don Arseneault said the provincial government supports both the Energy East pipeline and allowing the regulatory process to go forward before proceeding with the project.

“This project has the ability to help create jobs and stimulate the New Brunswick and Canadian economies for the benefit of families and communities,” Arseneault said.

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Premier Brian Gallant was not available for comment Monday, but questions remain whether or not he’ll campaign with the federal Liberal leader.

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“We actually haven’t had a conversation about his involvement when the campaign actually comes, but I can say that I sat down with him last night to talk about the very real challenges that New Brunswick’s economy is facing and the need and the need for jobs,” Trudeay said.

According to TransCanada, the Energy East pipeline is forecast to create roughly 1,600 jobs in New Brunswick.