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Kevin Libin: Don’t dismiss Coderre’s Alberta bashing; all anti-pipeline politics are local

Montreal’s mayor Denis Coderre, former Liberal cabinet minister under Jean Chrétien, along with mayors from Laval and Longueuil, this week declared opposition to the Energy East pipeline running through their region.

Everybody who’s nobody is rejecting Alberta’s pipelines these days. Nobody who has any official power to do so, anyway. But get enough of those nobodies together, and they can have a powerful effect that can sure get somebody’s attention.

The latest is Montreal’s mayor Denis Coderre, former Liberal cabinet minister under Jean Chrétien, who along with mayors from Laval and Longueuil this week declared their opposition to the Energy East pipeline running through their region. Coderre also threw in a shot at Albertans, for good measure, accusing the opposition Wildrose Party, lately the most popular party in Alberta, of being a bunch of ignorant rednecks for daring to suggest that there was no science behind Coderre’s fears. “Allow me a moment to laugh,” at the Wildrose, Coderre told Radio-Canada. “These are probably the same people who think the Flintstones is a documentary.”

A few days earlier, it was the reeves of Burnaby, B.C. who, through their lawyer at a regulatory hearing, called the National Energy Board’s review of the Trans Mountain pipeline a “sham” and demanded a stop to it. “It has become obvious that this board is not capable of representing the public interest,” their lawyer lectured the NEB. “It indeed appears that you’re here sometimes to represent the interests of an American oil company.” Burnaby’s mayor Derek Corrigan has said he’s willing to get arrested to stop the pipeline. Or rather, the renovation of an existing pipeline that’s been sending Alberta crude to Burnaby for more than 60 years, with no reports of widespread death and destruction. Burnaby’s lawyer insisted to the NEB that Kinder Morgan’s expansion plan is “rapacious.”

And a little more than a week ago, it was Christy Clark, premier of B.C., saying her province could not support Kinder Morgan’s proposal, either, because she was still uneasy about the risk of a spill. That was Coderre’s opinion, too. “We are against it because it still represents significant environmental threats and too few economic benefits for greater Montreal,” he said. By “significant,” he presumably meant slightly higher than zero. Or, at least, dramatically lower than the threats posed by oil trains passing through Quebec, as we so horrifically learned from Lac-Mégantic.

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