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Quebec businesses told to do better job of promoting Energy East Pipeline

TORONTO – Quebec businesses have not done a good enough job promoting the economic benefits the Energy East project would bring to the province, the president of Quebec Manufacturers and Exporters said Tuesday.

It’s up to Quebec’s business lobby to step up and make the pipeline happen in a province where it faces strong opposition, Eric Tetrault told a panel discussion in Toronto.

“Business gets it now and it’s going to step forward and make our government support those projects,” Tetrault said at an investment symposium hosted by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

The Energy East Pipeline, which would bring 1.1 million barrels of oil daily from Alberta through Quebec and into New Brunswick, has been criticized by many mayors and residents in Quebec.

TransCanada (TSX:TRP) is facing an injunction request related to the project launched by the Quebec government, along with an environmental law group’s request folded into the court action.

Tetrault said he doesn’t believe the opposition comes from environmental concerns, but rather the perception that people will be unsafe.

Quebec is not a province with a thriving oil culture, he said, so misinformation abounds.

It is important to quell safety concerns about oil pipelines and promote them as a boon for Quebec’s economy — rather than Canada’s — to help shift public opinion, he said.

“The population has to get it,” he said.