Mulcair likes oil sands except when he doesn’t – by Matt Gurney (National Post – March 13, 2013)

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“You’ll never hear me speaking against the development of the oil sands,” federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair told the Toronto Star last year.

It’s a theme he returned to last month, telling the Calgary Chamber of Commerce that, “the NDP will be a partner with the development of energy resources … we will be there with you.”

And he means it. So long as the oil industry doesn’t want to actually extract any petroleum and then export it to foreign markets in exchange for billions of dollars. That, obviously, is totally unacceptable.

This bit of mixed messaging came to us during Mr. Mulcair’s trip this week to Washington, D.C. Addressing political and business leaders there on Tuesday, Mr. Mulcair slammed the Harper government’s environmental track record.

“[Americans] know that Canada is the only country that has withdrawn from Kyoto,” he said. “They know that the Conservatives can’t possibly meet their Copenhagen [greenhouse gas emission] targets precisely because of the oil sands. They have to stop playing people for fools.”

There’s enough that could be said about Mr. Mulcair’s poor form — opposition leaders can and should direct withering fire at the government when at home.

But abroad, our elected leaders ought to be Canadians first.

As much as Mr. Mulcair may wish it were otherwise, the Conservatives are the government of Canada, and will be for years to come.

But it’s his comments about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to refineries in the southern U.S. that ought to raise much more concern.

Mr. Mulcair first said that his party opposed exporting 40,000 jobs to the U.S. by sending Alberta oil south, and that Canada should look to its own energy security first.

“We are still going to need the energy supply to heat our homes and run our factories, whether it comes from the oil sands or it comes in the form of natural gas,” he said. “Fossil fuels are always going to be part of the mix.”

But then he went further, and told reporters that he agreed with Tuesday’s New York Times editorial calling on U.S. President Barack Obama to use his presidential power to reject the pending Keystone proposal.

For the rest of this column, please go to the National Post website: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/03/12/matt-gurney-mulcair-likes-oil-sands-except-when-he-doesnt/

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