Thursday, April 18, 2013

Canada's Leader of the Official Opposition on the Keystone XL Pipeline

Thomas Mulcair is the leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP) and the official opposition in Canada's federal parliament appears to be of two minds on the Keystone XL pipeline. He is a lawyer, university professor, and politician. Mulcair is a NDP Member of Parliament for the electoral district of Outremont in Quebec since 2007, he was selected as the leader of the New Democratic Party on March, 2012, with 57 percent of the votes on the fourth and final ballot. Mulcair succeeded the late Jack Layton.

Previously Mulcair was a member of the Liberal Party of Quebec where he was the provincial Member of the National Assembly (MNA) of Quebec for the riding of Chomedey in Laval from 1994 to 2007. He served as the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks from 2003 until 2006, in the Liberal government of Premier Jean Charest. Elected MP for Outremont in a by-election in 2007, he was named Deputy Leader of the New Democratic Party, jointly with Libby Davies, shortly afterwards, and has won re-election twice.

Mulcair's perspective on the Keystone XL seems a bit contradictory. As reported in the Edmonton Journal, the NDP leader told Americans that it's their decision on whether to approve Keystone but not to believe the Harper government's claims that Canada has a good record on the environment.

He then went on to say, "They [Americans] know that Canada is the only country that has withdrawn from Kyoto. They know that the Conservatives can’t possibly meet their Copenhagen targets (on greenhouse gas emissions) precisely because of the oilsands. They have to stop playing people for fools," he noted adding that he'd rather see a cross-Canada pipeline.

"...A president who has repeatedly identified climate change as one of humanity’s most pressing dangers cannot in good conscience approve [the Keystone pipeline] project that — even by the State Department’s most cautious calculations — can only add to the problem."

While applauded by those who oppose the project, Mulcair's statements on the Keystone XL are at odds with Canadians. According to an Abacus Data survey 53 per cent of Canadians support the development of the pipeline.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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