NDP incumbent, Nathan Cullen, and local MLA, Gary Coons, both reject arguments made by Enbridge’s CEO on Thursday that if the Northern Gateway Pipline is built, Canada will become a major player in the world’s oil market.
“At Enbridge, we are committed to helping make Canada a truly global energy superpower. But simply possessing our vast reserves of oil, gas, coal and renewable energy sources doesn’t make it true . . . An economic superpower, in whatever sector, is a country that has the influence, impact and standing on the world stage, that comes from delivering to partners across the globe,” says CEO, Patrick. D. Daniel.
Daniel made his arguments during a speech in front of 300 business leaders at the Empire Club in Toronto. Gary Coons believes that the entire speech is a desperate attempt to gather support for the energy company’s unpopular project, by trying to frame it as a nation-building business endeavor. Coons says that trying to expand into the oil market is the wrong decision.
“ Canadians want the research efforts and money put into green energy projects, not fossil fuels,” says Coons.
Coons concedes that the pipeline could bring economic benefits much quicker than developing green energy projects will, but says that with Enbridge, B.C. is the one taking all the risk, while getting nothing in return.
“We reap no benefit at all but we take all the risk. I see tankers on our coast only lining the pockets of the oil barons and their shareholders,” says Coons.
During his speech, Daniel said that without pipeline Canada’s oil industry is limited to selling to the United States and must accept prices instead of setting them. He also framed opponents of the pipeline as “a coalition of hard-line activists,” and obstructionists who say no to energy sources, but still expect their benefits.
“[They say] ‘no’ to proposed projects and initiatives rather than seeking balanced, sustainable development and supporting continued prosperity for our entire country. We say ‘no’ to nuclear, we say ‘no’ to coal, we say ‘no’ to oil, we say ‘no’ to fracturing wells to recover natural gas, but we say “yes” to light switches, cooked food, school busses and gas pedals,” says Daniel.
Daniel believes that the election is the right time to begin emphasizing Canada’s need to become a global leader in the energy industry. According to an interview with the Globe and Mail, the CEO also expects that the Liberal party will back down on their anti-tanker stance if they win the election on May 2.
NDP incumbent, Nathan Cullen, says that this is evidence that only the NDP can be trusted to remain opposed to the project.
We’re the only party that has a clear, firm, longstanding commitment on this issue,” says Cullen.
There is still no Liberal Party candidate officially nominated to run against Cullen, but an announcement is expected soon.