TransCanada Corp. will not renew its contract with Edelman, the PR company that suggested bullying detractors of the Energy East pipeline and proposed creation of “third-party” proxy groups.
On Wednesday, one week after Greenpeace Canada leaked Edleman documents detailing controversial strategy for the high-stake $12-billion pipeline, TransCanada said it wants to bring the conversation back to the merits of the pipeline.
“The conversation about Energy East has turned into a debate about our choice of agency partner,” said a TransCanada email announcing the decision. “We need to get back to a conversation about the project itself and as a result we have agreed that it is in the best interests of the project that we do not extend our contract with Edelman.”
It admitted, in an email, that the decision was taken because the controversy became “an unhelpful and unconstructive distraction.”
TransCanada and Edelman had been working together on Energy East since last winter and the contract was set to expire at the end of December, said TransCanada spokesman Shawn Howard.
Keith Stewart, the climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace, said the pointed absence of climate change as a valid concern seems like a slap in the face to the premiers of Ontario and Quebec. “. . . To which I would say (that) if TransCanada really wants to restart the conversation on Energy East, the first step is to acknowledge that this pipeline will fuel climate change.”
Meanwhile, at Queen’s Park, Premier Kathleen Wynne stood firm on her concerns about the pipeline despite the stance of proponents such as Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall.
“Any premier, any leader of a government, any member of a government in 2014 on this planet needs to acknowledge that there are actions that need to be taken on climate change,” Wynne said.
“I’m happy to have a conversation with Brad Wall about climate change. I’m happy to have a conversation with him about Energy East, but it would it be great to talk about the principles that (Quebec Premier) Philippe Couillard and I have put on the table,” she said, referring on seven principles for the approval of such pipeline projects.
Energy East is TransCanada’s $12-billion dream. It wants to convert its 40-year-old natural gas pipeline from Saskatchewan to Ontario to carry diluted bitumen and to connect it with a new pipeline it plans to construct through Quebec to export terminals and refineries in New Brunswick. The 4,600-kilometre pipeline would carry up to 1.1 million barrels of dilbit every day.
It has already seen opposition in Ontario and Quebec.
- With files from Robert Benzie