EDMONTON - The man in charge of the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline project says that as long as Canada has existed, megaprojects have generated short-term controversy only to deliver profound, long-term benefit to the country.
In his opening remarks to a federal panel reviewing the $6-billion project, John Carruthers said if you go back to 1871, there was controversy over the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Carruthers, president of the project for Enbridge (TSX:ENB), says the TransCanada pipeline and St. Lawrence Seaway caused similar hand-wringing but delivered results that forged a nation.
His remarks came as the panel resumed its hearings in Edmonton.
The three-member body has been touring Alberta and B.C. hearing evidence on the pipeline, which will deliver Alberta oilsands crude to the coast of B.C. for shipment by supertanker to Asia.
The pipeline would cross a thousand streams and delicate eco-systems in British Columbia and some environmentalists and First Nations leaders say the possibility of catastrophic leaks make the project a non-starter no matter what the cost.