"It is time for provinces to start asking what’s in it for Canada, not just what’s in it for me."
That's Rick Mercer's message to Denis Coderre, after Montreal's mayor took a stand against the Energy East pipeline last week.
Speaking on behalf of the Montreal Metropolitan Community, an organization representing 82 municipalities, Coderre said the risk of an oil spill outweighs the economic benefits of a pipeline that would run from Alberta to New Brunswick.
It's a position that the organization plans on pushing at National Energy Board (NEB) hearings and meetings on the project's environmental impacts.
But the host of CBC's "Rick Mercer Report" wants Coderre to think less about his city and province, and more about his country.
"This has nothing to do with Montreal, this has nothing to do with Quebec," Mercer said. "This is about one part of Canada trying to get their natural resources to the world market."
Mercer also pointed out that the money Alberta has made from oil has gone into transfer payments that the federal government doles out to have-not provinces ... and has been doing this for a very long time.
"Last year alone, Quebec received $9.5 billion, as they should," he said. "Have provinces transferring wealth to have-not provinces so we all share the same standard of living. And why? Because we are a country, we are in this together."
Mercer's hardly the first to suggest the pipeline is a matter of national unity.
Rona Ambrose, the interim Conservative leader in the House of Commons, said Monday that opposing Energy East "isn't in the spirit of Confederation."
"It's not in the spirit of national unity. It's not in the spirit of Canadians who always reach out when people are having a tough time." she said.
The pipeline is expected to cost $15.7 billion.
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