ROTHESAY, N.B.—Federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is accusing a national energy lobby group of “pulling a con job” when promoting shale gas fracking.
Mulcair was in New Brunswick to boost the campaign of provincial NDP Leader Dominic Cardy in a by-election in the Saint John-area riding of Rothesay.
During his visit, Mulcair said the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) is deceiving the public when it says there are regulations to ensure that shale gas fracking is safe.
“I met with the leadership of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers who gave me a lovely brochure, colour, glossy, explaining that they had a policy that all companies doing fracking had to reveal the contents of the fracking fluid,” Mulcair said Sunday.
“I said, ‘But the companies aren’t doing that.’ You know what they said? ‘Well, we can’t force them, they’re just our members.’
“That representative of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers was out here pulling a con job, trying to make people believe that somehow they were regulating, somehow they had rules that were going to mean something.”
Mulcair called on the energy industry to tell the public what is in the fluid that is used in fracking.
“Here’s one tough question: If you think that your method of getting to that gas is safe, why won’t you reveal the contents of the fracking fluid?” he said.
“Because that fracking fluid contains known carcinogens and other very dangerous substances.”
Mulcair also said he supports the development of a west-to-east pipeline that would deliver energy and generate jobs in Atlantic Canada.
His comments come just over a week after he toured Alberta’s sprawling oilsands. At the time, he said he was surprised at the size of the operations and left determined to ensure it gets cleaned up.
He has also traded barbs with premiers from the West after he said that region’s booming oil sector was hurting other parts of Canada’s economy by driving up the dollar — a phenomenon known as Dutch disease.
Fracking, which refers to hydraulic fracturing, involves the use of high volumes of water and chemicals to fracture layers of rock to release pockets of shale gas.
The industry has argued that fracking is safe and sustainable and provides major economic benefits, an argument environmental groups reject.
There has been a public backlash to shale gas development in New Brunswick in recent months, including protests near exploration sites and at the provincial legislature.