The Northern Gateway project was bound to be an election issue in Skeena, but Enbridge CEO Pat Daniel moved it to the national stage last Thursday.
Speaking to more than 300 at the Empire Club in Toronto, Daniel maintained that the assertion Canada was a global energy superpower was a myth.
However, it could become a global player if its oil and gas were no longer trapped in North America, if “we can secure our access to the most important new energy markets in the world, the economies of the Pacific Rim…our Northern Gateway project will propel Canada into that league.”
Turning to the federal election campaign, he said, “I hope that you will help me explain to our leaders that Canada needs to be a more prominent world player.”
Daniel said the thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of economic benefit associated with Northern Gateway would only come “if we can rise above the mounting clamour of a coalition of hard-line activists and their political allies committed to saying ‘no’ to proposed projects and initiatives rather than seeking balanced, sustainable development and supporting continued prosperity for our entire country.”
Pointing out “reliable independent estimates” concluded the project would bring a $270 billion increase in Canada’s gross domestic product, Daniel noted that benefit would be felt not just in BC and Alberta, but also “here, in the industrial heartland of Canada, in the steel mills and manufacturing centres, and from heavy industry to heavy finance for a long, long time.”
But for all that to happen, for Canada to compete as an equal on a global stage “requires tough choices, following thoughtful discussion between well-informed Canadians. It requires politicians who are courageous, strategy driven nation builders rather than poll-driven followers of political fashion.”