Just days before protestors interrupted and subsequently delayed National Energy Board (NEB) hearings in Montreal on August 29 — part of a lengthy and comprehensive review process for the Energy East Pipeline — a coalition of Quebec-based business groups and unions came out strongly in support for the project.
“(We) believe that Energy East is very important for Quebec’s economic growth and its energy future,” a coalition of eight groups said in a news release issued August 26.
“In a context where stimulating our economy has become a necessity… the Coalition believes that Quebec cannot overlook one of the larger construction projects to come along in some 25 years.
“The Coalition notes that very few national projects could generate and maintain, on an annual basis, over some nine years, more than 14,000 direct and indirect jobs.
“Nearly one quarter of those jobs would be in Quebec during project development and construction. Energy East is indeed a job creator and arguments to the contrary don’t hold water.”
Golden opportunity to leverage Quebec expertise
The Coalition notes that the project would represent yet another opportunity to leverage the expertise of workers and businesses in Quebec’s construction industry.
“(That’s) an expertise acquired over decades of work on large infrastructure projects throughout North America — from the installation of vast wind farms, to the design and commissioning of some of the larger hydroelectric installations on the planet, Quebec know-how stands second to none.
“Younger workers will benefit from training, apprenticeships and mentoring.
“The importance, the scope and the leading edge requirements of Energy East, will make it a catalyst for the growth of our workforce and for the enhancement of (Quebec’s) world class expertise,” the Coalition added.
“Rarely do we see a project that can serve as a foundation for a society’s economic development, as well as its energy future.”
The Coalition includes:
- Association des constructeurs de routes et grands travaux du Quebec (ACRGTQ)
- The Association industrielle de l’Est de Montréal (AIEM)
- The Association des firmes de génie-conseil – Quebec (AFG)
- The Association des propriétaires de machinerie lourde du Quebec (APMLQ)
- The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal (BTMM)
- The Conseil provincial du Quebec des métiers de la construction (International),
- The Quebec Employers’ Council (QEC)
- The Fédération des chambres de commerce du Quebec (FCCQ) and FTQ-Construction,
Coalition support follows news earlier this summer that four other major trade unions had joined forces with TransCanada to support Energy East.
A historic memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed July 14 between TransCanada and the senior representatives of four major unions and the Pipe Line Contractors Association of Canada (PLCAC).
Union partners include:
- The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada (UA)
- Labourers International Union of North America (LiUNA)
- International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE)
- Teamsters Canada
The MOU ensures that thousands of pipeline jobs required to build the project will be awarded to the PLCAC and its four major union partners.
Meanwhile, NEB hearings were tentatively set to resume on August 30.