Breakenridge: Energy East pipeline debate remains pointless and silly

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TC Energy clearly favoured Keystone XL over Energy East, and for good reason. The latter was always an economically inferior Plan B to the former. Obviously, if things go sideways again in the U.S. for Keystone XL, the case for another pipeline project would be stronger. In the meantime, though, we needn’t spend this much time dwelling on it.

The latest go-round on Energy East was sparked by comments from Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole following his meeting last week with Quebec Premier François Legault. O’Toole said the two had a “good, frank discussion” about energy and pipelines, but acknowledged that Energy East is “not on the table.”

This was a simple statement of fact that really shouldn’t have caused any sort of a stir. That it did only speaks to the weird political obsession around this project.

Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley pounced, declaring that O’Toole, Premier Jason Kenney’s preferred choice for Conservative leader, had somehow “killed” Energy East. Kenney shot back by blaming Trudeau for killing the project and indicting Notley for somehow failing to stop him from doing so. It was all rather pointless and silly.

The debate around Energy East has far more to do with politics than economics. There mere fact that this project faced opposition in Eastern Canada left many Albertans resentful. The fact that Canada imports oil runs counter to the widely held notion that we should always strive to “buy Canadian.”


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