Protesters disrupt Energy East environmental hearings in Quebec

MONTREAL -- Quebec's environmental hearings into the Energy East Pipeline project got off to a difficult start Monday evening, as protesters chanted and disrupted proceedings seconds after the company's vice-president began speaking.

See Full Article

Joseph Zayed, with Quebec's environmental regulation agency, was forced to temporarily suspend the hearings as protesters snuck into the audience room, unfurled a banner denouncing the pipeline and sang songs to try and silence the presenter.

The room was brought under control after roughly 15 minutes and Louis Bergeron, Energy East's vice-president for New Brunswick and Quebec, was able to start again.

Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) is the company behind the $15.7-billion project that would carry more than a million barrels a day of crude from Alberta and Saskatchewan, through Quebec to Saint John, N.B., for refining.

The project is particularly controversial in Quebec, where environmental activists and some municipal politicians have come out against the pipeline.

They say the risks of Energy East are greater than its benefits and it would represent an increase in the country's greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to global climate change.

Many of the roughly 250 people gathered in a conference room in Levis, across the St. Lawrence River from Quebec City, were against the project.

People booed and chirped when they didn't like Bergeron's answers, forcing Zayed to plead with the crowd several times to settle down.

Quebec's environmental review agency is tasked with conducting an assessment of the risks and benefits and produce a report to the province's environment minister.

Bergeron gave the broad strokes of the Energy East project to the agency's three commission members as well as to those gathered in the audience room.

"The Energy East project will bring a major reduction of foreign imports of oil into refineries in Eastern Canada," Bergeron said.

Canada's oil sands are currently landlocked and TransCanada says an export pipeline to the Atlantic Ocean would open international markets and grow the country's GDP, benefiting all Canadians.

"Pipelines are a way to transport oil that is safe, reliable and efficient," Bergeron said.

After TransCanada's presentation, Canada's National Energy Board gave a brief presentation about its role in reviewing energy project proposals.

While the federal government has final say over whether or not Energy East is given the go-ahead, it would be politically difficult for Ottawa to force a pipeline on Quebec's territory if the province rejects the project.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard has not taken a position on the pipeline, and neither has Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Members of the public who took part in the question-and-answer period after the presentations were mostly skeptical of the project.

They asked Bergeron questions about soil contamination, increased greenhouse gas emissions and the rights of property holders along the pipeline route.

Many of Bergeron's answers were met with some boos and other muffled comments from many in the audience.

Monday's hearings were the beginning a months-long process looking into the Quebec portion of the pipeline.

The hearings will be broken down into two parts: the first will analyze the project's potential impacts on water and risks of spills. The second series of hearings are scheduled to begin in April, when the environmental agency is set to hear more from the public.

Last week, a Quebec court refused an environmental coalition's request to suspend the hearings.

The coalition was seeking the injunction because it believes the process will not be complete without impact studies from TransCanada.


Latest Economic News

  • Can Facebook restore public trust after privacy scandal?

    Economic CTV News
    CHICAGO -- It's a scandal of privacy, politics and an essential ingredient of business success -- public trust. Facebook is confronting a costly, embarrassing public relations debacle after revelations that Cambridge Analytica may have misused data from some 50 million users to try to influence elections. Source
  • China tells U.S. it will defend interests after Trump tariffs

    Economic CTV News
    BEIJING -- China's newly appointed economic czar told U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Saturday that Beijing is ready to defend its interests after U.S. President Donald Trump announced plans to slap tariffs on nearly US$50 billion in Chinese imports. Source
  • The biggest loser in a trade war between China and the U.S.? It's you (but don't worry about it)

    Economic CBC News
    The old adage tells us no one wins a trade war. So, the next logical question is: Who loses? Well, the short answer is — you do. Consumers have been the clear beneficiaries of globalization. Cheap stuff has flooded into North America at a historically unprecedented rate. Source
  • What's being done with your data: Experts ask, shouldn't someone get this under control?

    Economic CBC News
    Now that Facebook, Google and Amazon know pretty much everything about us, how they're using that information is drawing the focus of politicians throughout the Western world, asking in effect: "Shouldn't something be done about this?" Source
  • Bombardier executive compensation hits US$33.4 million in 2017

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Bombardier's executive compensation rose seven per cent to US$33.4 million in 2017, according to a circular released ahead of the company's May 3 annual meeting. The increase comes after a year marked by improved results, but also by the Airbus takeover of the C Series program without the company having to pay a single cent. Source
  • U.S. sets May 1 tariff threat on Canada, Mexico amid rush to speed up NAFTA talks

    Economic CBC News
    The United States has just applied additional pressure in its rush to get a new NAFTA agreement within several weeks, establishing a May 1 deadline, after which Canada and Mexico would face tariffs on steel and aluminum. Source
  • United Airlines gives $10,000 voucher to traveller on overbooked flight

    Economic CBC News
    A passenger who was bumped off a full flight has scored the maximum prize — a $10,000 US travel voucher. A spokesperson for United Airlines confirmed Friday that a passenger got the big voucher, but he didn't name the person. Source
  • Canadian retailers could be boosted by a U.S. trade battle with China

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- U.S. President Donald Trump's plan to impose tariffs on up to US$60 billion of Chinese imports could help Canadian retailers by further easing cross-border shopping, even though a full-fledged trade war between the world's two economic superpowers would damage Canada's economy, experts say. Source
  • CRA audits just 5 Canadians out of hundreds of RBC Panama Papers accounts

    Economic CBC News
    Two years after it took aim at hundreds of Royal Bank clients exposed in the Panama Papers leak, the Canada Revenue Agency has decided just five cases require an audit. That's because most of the offshore accounts it unearthed ended up belonging to foreigners, the CRA says. Source
  • Manulife mix-up: $170K retirement nest egg transferred from account without warning

    Economic CTV News
    A Toronto woman’s retirement nest egg was transferred out of her RRSP account after Manulife Financial wired more than $170,000 to a foreign third-party stock transfer company, putting the funds in limbo amid an ongoing spat with the financial services giant. Source