Rona Ambrose: ‘I don’t see Energy East getting through Montreal’

Click to play video: 'Ambrose says she doesn’t believe Energy East will become a reality' Ambrose says she doesn’t believe Energy East will become a reality
WATCH: Ambrose said she doesn't believe the Liberal government will get the “social license” from Montreal in order to make the Energy East pipeline a reality – Mar 27, 2017

Rona Ambrose says she doubts the Energy East pipeline will ever become reality in Canada, and that one municipality in particular will be behind the death of the project.

“I’ve got to be totally honest with you, I just don’t see how it’s going to happen,” the interim leader of the Conservative Party told audience members at the Toronto Region Board of Trade on Monday.

“I don’t see Energy East getting through Montreal, and that’s just the political reality of it.”

WATCH: Stakeholders weigh in on future of Energy East Project

Click to play video: 'Stakeholders weigh in on future of Energy East Project' Stakeholders weigh in on future of Energy East Project
Stakeholders weigh in on future of Energy East Project – Feb 1, 2017

Ambrose suggested that Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, who has voiced strong opposition to the 4,500-kilometre pipeline, will never change his mind.

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Even if Energy East gets through all of the National Energy Board hearings and has hundreds of conditions attached to it when it is approved, she explained, the Liberal government has said the project must have the “social license” necessary to move forward.

“If you think that Denis Coderre in Montreal and the groups that have gotten organized against Energy East are going to give the government social license to go through Montreal, I don’t believe it. I’d like to be more optimistic.”

A spokesperson for Coderre’s office said his position on Energy East has been “consistent from the start.”

“The mayor decries the project’s lack of relevance, on both an economic and environmental level. We don’t need Energy East.”

Ambrose said Energy East, which would transport oil from Alberta eastward to the Maritimes would be a huge boon to New Brunswick in particular.

“Potentially a new refinery could be built, we’re talking thousands of jobs,” she said.

“It’s Atlantic Canada, you know, it’s not a booming economy. These are really important jobs in a place like New Brunswick.”

If it gets all the approvals it needs, the Energy East project is still not likely to be in production until 2023, at the earliest.

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Alberta Premier Rachel Notley wasn’t overly impressed by Ambrose’s comments on Monday.

“We know that there is objection and concern around pipeline and energy infrastructure, construction in Canada. We also believe, however, that it is fundamentally important, not only for the Alberta economy, but for the Canadian economy, for that construction to proceed,” Notley said.

“And it is up to us to roll up our sleeves and find ways to work our way through those disagreements.”

The Liberals have done a “political calculation” on pipeline projects, according to Ambrose. At the very least, she said, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should follow up on his government’s recent approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project in British Columbia by travelling there to drum up support.

Trudeau needs to “burn some political capital” in B.C., she said, and use his popularity there to try and make the public case for Trans Mountain.

Ambrose is now in the final two months of her tenure as interim Conservative leader. The party is scheduled to select a permanent replacement for Stephen Harper on May 27.

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