NDP leader considers Northern Gateway pipeline dead
New Democrats prepared to start a provincial party in Quebec
NDP leader Tom Mulcair says he supports the idea of refining Alberta's oil in Canada instead of shipping the crude to Kitimat, B.C., and then on to Asia, as would be the case with Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project — which he calls a "non-starter."
In an interview that aired Saturday on CBC Radio's The House, the leader of the Official Opposition told guest host Chris Hall he supports the overall idea "of adding the value in Canada, developing, upgrading, processing, refining our own natural resources here."
On Friday, B.C. community newspaper tycoon David Black proposed building a $13-billion oil refinery near Kitimat to process all of the crude from Enbridge's controversial Northern Gateway pipeline.
RELATED: B.C. publisher proposes $13B crude refinery near Kitimat
"So whether it's that idea of having more refining capacity on the B.C. coast or what we've talked about, which is to move some of the bitumen in those pipelines, moving it east. Maybe that's a win-win situation," Mulcair said.
"We can start taking care of our own energy security, add the jobs in Canada instead of shipping both the bitumen and the jobs to the U.S. raw," he said.
As for the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, Mulcair thinks the project is dead, especially after the findings of a U.S. government report looking into an Enbridge oil spill in Michigan found there was a "complete breakdown of safety at Enbridge" and that employees at Enbridge acted like the "Keystone Kops," failing to quickly recognize the pipeline had ruptured and continuing to pump oil into the surrounding area.
RELATED: Scathing U.S. report missing from Northern Gateway hearings
"That was probably the last nail in the coffin," said Mulcair, recalling his reaction to hearing the "Keystone Kops" label.
Mulcair also took aim at Prime Minister Stephen Harper, suggesting his approach to sustainable development is failing.
"Mr. Harper seems to, over the summer, to have discovered the merits of science. The problem is he keeps firing his scientists and the ones he doesn't fire, he's muzzling.
"So if we can at least come up with a common understanding and use the highest level of environemntal assessment and get the best results then maybe these things can move forward in other places, but the Northern Gateway, I think, is a non-starter," Mulcair said.
Last week, while speaking to reporters after an announcement in B.C., Harper said science and not politics would decide the fate of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.
RELATED: Harper defends independence of pipeline approval process
Last month, B.C. Premier Christy Clark vowed to oppose the proposed pipeline project if the federal government and the province of Alberta didn't meet B.C.'s specific conditions, including getting a "fair share" share of the economic benefits.
When asked if a possible alliance with Clark was possible, Mulcair said he will be working closely with Adrian Dix, the NDP leader in B.C., to defeat Clark and her Liberal B.C. government in next year's provincial election.
"I'm going to be working very closely with Adrian Dix, the extraordinary leader of the NDP in B.C., to make sure the NDP forms a strong, progressive government in B.C."
Although NDP support is strong in B.C., the party holds only three seats in the Prairies.
This week, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall let it be known he had not forgotten Mulcair's diagnosis that the Canadian economy is suffering from a case of Dutch Disease, in which sales of natural resources increase the value of the dollar, hurting manufacturing through declining exports.
On Thursday, Wall tweeted: "Sask manufacturing up and leading the nation. Canada's up year over year 6.9%. That's quite a case of Dutch Disease."
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