I n an effort to quell the spread of anti- Keystone Pipeline propaganda in the U.S. – the latest salvo, shamefully delivered in Washington by NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair – Alberta this week spent $30,000 on an ad in the New York Times promoting the obvious benefits of the giant project.
The Times, of course, recently editorialized that President Barack Obama should kill the pipeline – a position it based on some extremely dubious assumptions about the environmental impact of the project – and a position that the aforementioned Mulcair echoed, albeit in a backhanded way, on his recent visit with senior American officials in Washington.
Mulcair, who would likely be pushing the project if it was shipping Quebec oil instead of Alberta oil to the U.S., was so persuasive in his unseemly, fact-challenged attack on the project, that Nancy Pelosi, the powerful Democratic House Leader, said after meeting him that “Canadians don’t want the pipeline in their own country.”
Really? Keystone opponents act as if the concept of a pipeline is so new and frightening that the fate of the earth depends upon it. The fact is, there are already 81 pipelines currently operating between Canada and the U.S. There is also a lot of crude oil being shipped by rail, a mode of transportation which a TransCanada executive recently argued is a dirtier and more dangerous mode than pipelines.
While Pelosi, an ardent left-winger, may wish Mulcair’s views are Canada’s views, they’re not. She might ask Saskatchewan NDP Leader Cam Broten, for example.
After initially trying to avoid criticizing his federal leader, Broten held a news conference to say he supports the pipeline. That came after a broadside from Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, who accused Mulcair of leaving “a swath of destruction for the energy sector … Why is he down there (in Washington) betraying Canadian interests?”
When asked about Wall’s criticism, the haughty Mulcair dismissed him as a mere provincial premier, saying his political adversary is Prime Minister Stephen Harper, not provincial politicians.
(Here’s a question: If the Quebec premier says something publicly, would Mulcair dismiss her as a lowly provincial hack? Here’s the answer: No.)
Pelosi might also ask interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae who, to his credit, says “it’s in our national interest to see that these resources are developed in a truly and deeply sustainable way. I agree with the (U.S.) state department view that says that there’s no net environmental effect of building the pipeline in the United States. We’ve got to get our products to market here…”
While in Washington, Mulcair thundered that Americans “know that Canada is the only country that has withdrawn from Kyoto.”
Maybe they do, but that’s an odd argument to make in Washington, since Americans recognized Kyoto for what is was in the first place – a giant international ponzi scheme – and never did sign on.
I don’t subscribe to the popular argument being voiced by many that Mulcair has no right to criticize the country on foreign trips. He has every right to state his view, whether he’s saying it in Washington, London or Toronto. I just wish he’d stick to facts instead of adopting the extreme environmentalist scaremongering to paint the project as the looming Armageddon.
Not only that, if he’s going to state his views, he may want to state them consistently. In a Toronto Star interview last year, for example, Mulcair said baldly that, “You’ll never hear me speaking against the development of the oil sands.” And last month, he told the Calgary Chamber of Commerce that “the NDP will be a partner with the development of energy resources. … We will be there with you.”
Some partner. Mulcair says that sending our oil south is shipping Canadian jobs with it. (In fact, it’s creating tens of thousands of jobs, many of them in Ontario and Quebec). He proposes that, instead of Keystone, we build a pipeline from Alberta to supply eastern Canada. That’s possible, too. But it’s not one or the other. Selling our oil wherever we can is good for all of us, at least if you view jobs and other economic benefits – not to mention increased taxes for governments – as good things.
As for Mulcair – who recently opened the constitutional can of worms by suggesting we make it easier for Quebec to opt out of the country – he seems hellbent on retaining the NDP hold in Quebec.
He may just do that. But in the meantime, he seems prepared to sacrifice the rest of Canada on his self-constructed altar of Quebec ultranationalism.
Good luck with that.