Citizen Action Monitor

TransCanada caught repeating false information about benefits of Energy East’s pipeline

Contrary to TransCanada’s claim, Energy East will not significantly reduce overseas oil imports to Quebec and Maritimes

No 1185 Posted by fw, November 6, 2014

Here’s TransCanada’s false claim, which appears on its website at

Energy East – real benefits for all of us

We wish to refute this statement by Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow published in the North Bay Nugget April 11, 2014, and provide her with evidence that the $12-billion Energy East project will bring benefits to our provinces and Canada as a whole.

“There’s no argument for this pipeline. It’s an export pipeline and we don’t need it,” Barlow said.

TransCanada’s Clarification:

Quebec and New Brunswick currently import more than 700,000 barrels of oil every day – or 86 percent of their refinery needs – from countries such as Algeria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria. At current oil prices, this is over $75 million drained out of the Canadian economy – every single day. Energy East proposes to connect Western Canada’s resources to Eastern Canada’s needs. Greater supplies of domestic crude would improve the financial viability of eastern Canadian refineries by giving them access to less-expensive, stable domestic supplies.

Once this primary purpose is served, Energy East will supply export markets. TransCanada has always been open about this and it is not something we are shying away from. Exports are a good thing for our country. They provide economic growth. They create jobs. They generate tax revenue that helps our provinces build new universities, resurface hundreds of kilometres of highways or provide our seniors with home care.


And here’s the truth

Why is TransCanada misleading Canadians on Energy East? by Adam Scott,, November 5, 2014

TransCanada has been using inaccurate and outdated information to promote its Energy East pipeline and tanker scheme.

The company which recently applied to the National Energy Board for its massive Energy East pipeline and tanker proposal, has been preoccupied with convincing Canadians that the pipeline will somehow benefit them.

It has been falsely repeating the same line again and again: “Eastern Canadian refineries import 86 per cent of their daily needs, from more expensive overseas sources including Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Venezuela and Algeria.”

That’s just not true.

We did the math and the reality is that very little oil is imported from those countries into Eastern Canada. 14.1 per cent, to be exact.  And as it turns out, Eastern Canada only imports 39 percent of its oil, period. The rest is Canadian.

Of the oil that we do import, more than 50 per cent is now coming from the United States. A growing trend that Energy East is unlikely to change.

Why does TransCanada keep repeating the name of four countries from which we import very little oil, and avoid mentioning the U.S. where most of the imports actually come from? It looks more like an attempt to scare Canadians with misinformation, rather than tell the truth. 

The truth is Energy East would do very little to reduce Eastern Canada’s dependence on overseas oil. Why? Because there is no such dependence. Eastern Canada already imports such a small amount from the countries TransCanada likes to repeat.

Energy East would have very little impact on our imports from the U.S. The upshot is that Energy East would create few permanent local jobs or economic benefits in Eastern Canada. Eastern Canada would have the risks, but not the benefits.

Energy East is an export scheme, not a made in Canada energy solution. The latest numbers show that if Energy East were built, it would export up to 1 million barrels of unrefined oil on tankers every single day. That’s not what we call a made-in-Canada energy solution.

For more detailed information, download the 7-page Overseas Import Information Backgrounder.pdf prepared by Environmental Defence

Adam Scott — An experienced advocate of international action on climate change, Adam Scott is Environmental Defence’s Climate and Energy Program Manager. Every day he works to raise awareness about the risks of the reckless expansion of Canada’s tar sands and the pipelines that enable the expansion of the tar sands. Environmental Defence ( is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.

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