The government of Canada needs to balance its support between pipelines and clean technology if it wants to ramp up the economy after the pandemic, according to New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs.

“In the past I talked about a transition economy and that was moving oil into a cleaner, greener economy and non-emitting sources and I support all of that, but it’s like, ‘Do you shut the lights off and hope for the best?’” Higgs said in an interview with BNN Bloomberg on Wednesday.

“So, the lights have been shut off and we didn’t plan it but that’s kind of how it’s happening. But now, how do we re-start? What is going to get us back to where our citizens want to be?”

Canadian energy company Irving Oil Ltd. was given federal approval on Monday for a new shipping route to move Alberta oil sands crude to its refinery in Saint John, N.B., via the Panama Canal.

The New Brunswick premier said that a balance in support between new pipelines and clean energy will be essential for a post-COVID-19 economy.

“There’s a balance, and so whether it’s pipelines or whether it’s new technology, there’s a balance here in how we ramp up here with the known and with the new formula…We can’t go back,” Higgs said.

The New Brunswick premier also said the province will continue to ramp up border security between it and other provinces and states as it looks to enter phase two of re-opening its economy.

“We are very concerned because I would say our biggest area of risk is between the provinces and states around us.”

Higgs said New Brunswick has positioned workers at its borders to stop all traffic into the province in order to understand what people are doing, and then decide whether or not they would be allowed entry.

“We see it months, months, that is the area we’re going to strengthen, not reduce….But we’ll understand what they’re doing, where they’re going and why they’re coming, and that’s going to be critical I would say certainly for the foreseeable future.”

The New Brunswick premier announced on April 24 that the province would begin immediately with phase one of a four-phase COVID-19 recovery plan. This included the loosening of physical distancing restrictions to allow two-household gatherings and car pooling if the passenger travels in the backseat.

“Things went very well, so now we’re into that next phase which I’ll announce this week but it’s looking at opportunities for businesses to get up and running,” Higgs said.

“It’s basically allowing them to run their business in a new way. A new way that respects the public health’s guidelines.”