Don’t be passive on Energy East Pipeline

According to the economic impact statement prepared for the proposed the Energy East Pipeline, it is supposed to generate $1.2 billion worth of GDP in New Brunswick and create 11,000 jobs.

This type of economic impact assessment is based on Statistics Canada I-O tables which show how spending in new projects should flow through the economy based on how similar spending in that sector flowed in the past (i.e. it’s based on history).

The industry group they use is “oil and gas engineering construction” and once you hear that the point should become obvious.   There is a big difference between building an LNG plant in Saint John and an oil pipeline but the economic impact model assumes the GDP, employment, etc. flows will be the same.

I worry the Energy East Pipeline will come to New Brunswick with much of its workforce and supply chain in tow.  It’s not as if the guys and gals working on the pipe in Quebec will just stop working when the pipe starts in New Brunswick (or will they?).  It is likely much of the workforce on this will be national in nature and that means wages will be spent where the workers reside and not in the province where they are working (unless you include the hot turkey sandwich from the diner in Florenceville).

Same thing for the supply chain.  If the refinery is expanding in Saint John, it will likely prefer to use construction contractors, engineers, environmental consultants, etc. from the Saint John area.  Will TransCanada be the same?  They also could bring much of their supply chain with them thus ensuring that most of the economic benefit will flow western (Energy West).

So, our companies and workers need to get in on the front end and government needs to ensure that as much of that $1.2 billion GDP and 11,000 jobs actually occurs to the benefit of the New Brunswick economy and people.