Ottawa—Comments made by Opposition leader Thomas Mulcair in the U.S. last week were ridiculous and unhelpful, Alberta’s premier said Monday.
Alison Redford is the latest leader to frame Mulcair’s D.C. visit as a poison dart aimed at the heart of Canada’s efforts to convince U.S. President Barack Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.
Mulcair insists he’s not providing advice to Obama on the issue one way or another and has said it’s up to the Americans to make up their own mind on the project, though it’s not one the NDP consider a priority.
They should, Redford suggested in an interview with The Canadian Press just ahead of a noon speech at the Economic Club of Canada.
It’s not an American pipeline but a Canadian one that’s vital to the country’s economy, Redford said.
In that context, Mulcair’s trip was disappointing, she said.
“Thomas Mulcair comes to Alberta and makes nice, he pretends to be a national leader who cares about environmental policy but understands importance of the oilsands and talks about economic growth and then goes to other places and says different things and that’s not what a national leader should do,” Redford said.
Mulcair was in the U.S. capital last week and spoke out against Canada’s environmental record, while also warning that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would cost 40,000 Canadian jobs.
Redford said that comment was ridiculous.
“To be spreading information that isn’t true with respect to any pipeline clouds the water, confuses the conversation, gets people unnecessarily emotional about the issue,” she said.
“It’s not helpful.”
The pipeline will create jobs both in Canada and the U.S. and players on both sides of the border know that, she said.
Mulcair has said the trip was part of his job as leader of the Opposition and nothing he said should have surprised anyone.
His preference, he told his American audiences, would be for Canada to focus on its own energy security and building pipelines within the country, creating Canadian jobs.
He also had harsh words for the Conservatives on their environmental record, saying there was no way the government could meet its targets for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
His remarks were characterized by the federal Tories and some other provincial leaders as “trash talk.”
They came at the same time the Harper government was on a lobbying tour in the U.S. related to the pipeline but also to selling Canada’s environmental record.
Obama isn’t likely to decided until later this year whether he’ll approve the Keystone project, which would deliver 830,000 barrels a day of mostly oilsands crude to U.S. markets.
A draft environmental report into the $5.3-billion pipeline released by the U.S. State Department reported no major environmental concerns and said it was unlikely to affect the pace of oilsands development or U.S. oil consumption.