12/16/2014 06:51 EST | Updated 02/15/2015 05:59 EST

Brian Gallant Clarifies Justin Trudeau's Energy East Pipeline Comments

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant has been forced to clarify some recent comments by federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau about the Energy East pipeline.

Trudeau told La Presse TransCanada Corp.'s proposed west-east pipeline is still far from being acceptable enough to Canadians to proceed.

But fellow Liberal Gallant says Trudeau supports the project, which would bring Alberta crude to Saint John for export, and is merely pointing out the importance of it winning public support.

"I'm not going to speak for him, but I believe from what I saw, that's what he seemed to be saying," Gallant told reporters on Tuesday.

"And we agree with that. We understand that it's important to have social licence, and we certainly believe that we have that here in New Brunswick," he said.

"I think he's just commenting on something that we all know, that you need to ensure that communities have the chance to be heard, and that communities are as supportive of projects as much as possible."

Gallant's comments come after acting New Brunswick Progressive Conservative Leader Bruce Fitch called on him to straighten the matter out.

"We want to see if Mr. Gallant stands next to the federal leader on this issue," Fitch had said.

This isn't the first time Gallant has had to clarify pipeline-related comments by Trudeau.

In 2013, Trudeau said: "It won't go ahead if it's going to cost us in pollution."

Gallant quickly responded, telling the New Brunswick Legislature he had "clarified" his Liberal friend's position.

"I spoke to him last night ... and Mr. Trudeau says he is for the west-east pipeline."

Trudeau's latest comments were aimed at Quebec, where the project is unpopular.

But it makes things awkward for Gallant in New Brunswick, where the pipeline has more support — and where it's likely the premier will campaign for Trudeau in the federal election next year.

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