Alberta Politics

The Energy East Blame Game. Who blames who?

Today’s announcement by the TransCanada Corporation that it would no longer pursue the construction of the Energy East Pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta to Saint John, New Brunswick triggered a storm of statements, accusations and criticisms from politicians trying to drive their political narratives.

While the reasons for the TransCanada Corporation withdrawing its plans are likely influenced more by economics than by politics, there will certainly be political implications for the politicians – like Premier Rachel Notley – who have tethered their governing agenda to the approval of pipeline projects.

So, politics being politics, here is a quick look at who is blaming who for the demise of the Energy East Pipeline:

The TransCanada Corporation blames existing and likely future delays caused by the National Energy Board regulatory process, associated costs and challenging “issues and obstacles” facing the project.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley blames “a broad range of factors that any responsible business must consider.”

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant doesn’t blame the TransCanada Corporation, but recognizes “recent changes to world market conditions and the price of oil have negatively impacted the viability of the project.”

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall blames Justin Trudeau, the federal government, and Montreal mayor Denis Coderre.

Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr blames the decision to cancel the pipeline project as a business decision.

Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer blames Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Alberta Liberal MPs Randy Boissonnault, Amarjeet Sohi and Kent Hehr blame “current market challenges related to world market conditions and lower commodity prices.

Calgary Conservative MP Michelle Rempel blames “Liberal ideological opposition to the wealth and prosperity of western Canada, to the detriment of the nation as a whole.”

United Conservative Party interim leader Nathan Cooper blames the Alberta NDP.

UCP leadership candidate Brian Jean blames Rachel Notley, Justin Trudeau and Denis Coderre.

UCP leadership candidate Jason Kenney blames the Alberta NDP carbon-tax and social license, and the Trudeau Liberals. He later also blames Denis Coderre.

UCP leadership candidate Doug Schweitzer blames Justin Trudeau and Rachel Notley.

Alberta Party leader Greg Clark blames the Alberta NDP.

Alberta Liberal leader David Khan blames economic factors, describing the decision as “a business decision by TransCanada based on current economic and political realities.”

UCP MLA Drew Barnes blames Justin Trudeau’s Liberals.

UCP MLA Prasad Panda blames the Alberta NDP’s carbon tax.

6 replies on “The Energy East Blame Game. Who blames who?”

There are obvious realities that need to be considered here. For starters, it is very low oil prices that are a culprit. There is no Canadian government that can control what happened within the last three years, when oil prices went down hill. Next, it is foreign governments that are behind these low oil prices. Third, it is not feasable to build a pipeline when what will be going through it is at a very low price. Lastly, if there is a blame game, we had oil prices at higher levels than they have been in the last three years. The Alberta PCs and their federal counterparts, the Conservative Party Of Canada were basking in healthy majority governments when oil prices were higher. Where were any pipelines built?

It is like a good murder mystery – who killed energy east. However, unlike murder mysteries which usually have a clear cut culprit, I think it is fair to say in this case there were several factors. The big decline in the price of oil and the revival of Keystone XL, since this project was announced are likely the two main factors. The increased regulatory burden and building opposition in the Montreal area may also be two other factors, but much less important.

The fact that this is not very clear cut leads to a lot of political spin, some of it excessive. Sorry, Mr. Panda, I really don’t think Premier Rachel Notley did it.

That word “blame”… you know, there are thousands, perhaps, millions of Canadians across the country, for whom the operative word would be “credit”, or maybe “thank”… for instance, “we want to thank the new, more robust and demanding regulatory processes at the NEB for putting an end to this proposed project”. Of course, it is likely that few of those Canadians so inclined live in Alberta, but you have to look at this from their point of view to fully understand this development.

Sounds like there’s plenty of blame to go around for all. While we’re on the subject while not blame Saudi Arabia for slashing prices.

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