Canadian Manufacturing

National union blasts NEB over Northern Gateway recommendation

Unifor said NEB is "out of touch" with Canadians after recommending controversial project be approved

VANCOUVER—A national union representing thousands of workers in Canada’s energy sector says the National Energy Board is “out of touch” with Canadians after a review panel recommended the approval of a controversial pipeline.

Unifor, the amalgamation of members from the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) and Communications, Energy and Paperworkers (CEP) unions, decried the decision regarding Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway project, with its national president claiming the NEB ignored “very valid concerns.”

“In spite of overwhelming opposition from Canadians, the (NEB) has opted to approve the Northern Gateway project,” Jerry Dias said in a statement. “The NEB has shown just how out of touch it is with Canadians. It is once again ignoring very valid concerns.”

Dias said that the conditions attached to approval of the project—209 of them, according to the NEB’s 429-page report—”fail to address key problems.”

According to Dias, one of the most glaring of those problems is the massive export of raw bitumen, “and with it 25,000 jobs if processing was done in Canada.”

The proposed 1,178 kilometre would connect the Alberta oil sands to tankers on the British Columbia coast, moving an average of 525,000 barrels per day of oil.

“The export pipeline clearly demonstrates the unsustainable pace of development,” said Scott Doherty, Unifor’s western regional director. “Add to that the lack of desire or leadership by the government to deal with this looming issue.”

In a poll released by Harris-Decima last month, a majority of Canadians said they were in favour of the Northern Gateway project.

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