The battle lines were drawn when Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said the potential environmental risks of the proposed pipeline would outweigh any possible economic benefits for his city.
That prompted the leader of Alberta's official Opposition, Brian Jean, to load and fire his catapult on CBC's Power and Politics.
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre and Alberta Wildrose Leader Brian Jean. (Photo: The Canadian Press)
"It's a short-sighted decision," Jean said. "And I believe it's based only on politics. The science and the facts clearly indicate that Alberta has the best oil available for this kind of environmental and economic development in Canada, and certainly in the world."
Coderre quickly returned that volley. Speaking to Radio Canada's La Croisee, the mayor said: "First of all, you have to allow me a moment to laugh at a guy like Brian Jean, when he says he relies on science. These are probably the same people who think the Flintstones is a documentary. But that's another story."
The mayor said his city considered environmental, economic and safety issues before coming out against TransCanada's proposed pipeline.
"The community of metropolitan Montreal isn't nothing," he said. "It's four million residents, it's 82 municipalities, it's 50 per cent of the gross domestic product, population and jobs of Quebec.
"First of all, you have to allow me a moment to laugh at a guy like Brian Jean, when he says he relies on science."
"We have committees of engineers, so we are working with credible data. We realized that when you build it, you can say it will bring this or that, and it will create so many jobs. But the economic reality is that it's only 33 jobs and at most $2 million per year of municipal revenue."
Earlier in the day, Jean called the mayor's opposition to the pipeline "disgraceful" and noted that Quebec has taken $72 billion in transfer payments over the past decade, with much of that money coming from Alberta.
"I'm not going to take environmental lessons from a mayor that will release eight billion litres of raw sewage into the river right in front of his community, Jean told CBC's Power and Politics. "I don't think that's the right person to take lessons from."
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