NDP leader needs to flip-flop — again — or risk sinking in oilsands
by Eric Duhaime
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair keeps sinking in quicksand on the oilsands issue.
Two months ago, the leader of the official opposition was accused of treason when he visited Washington, D.C., and publicly criticized the TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline, a 1,800-km pipeline project that could ship 830,000 barrels a day of bitumen from Alberta’s oilsands to Texan refineries.
While U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to decide the fate of the pipeline in the near future, Mulcair’s statement made him look like someone who wanted to interfere in the American decision-making process and a traitor who backstabbed his fellow countrymen.
That controversy did not seem to teach the NDP leader a lesson. He made another faux pas this week regarding another pipeline.
Mulcair came out against Enbridge’s 9B pipeline reversal, which currently carries crude oil from West Africa and the Middle East.
A surprising move, since less than a year ago, in a speech to the Canadian Club in Toronto, Mulcair said shipping Alberta’s oil to Quebec via an existing pipeline was a “pro-business, common sense solution.”
He could have added it’s also the patriotic and ethical thing to do. However, in Repentigny, Que., on Tuesday, Mulcair flip-flopped.
He is now against the idea of reversing Line 9B between North Westover, Ont., and Montreal, Que. Why? For environmental reasons.
“There is no system of environmental regulation in Canada, with Stephen Harper. So, people have to say ‘no’ to this (pipeline reversal) because you absolutely cannot trust them (the Conservatives) to produce a result that is safe for the environment,” Mulcair said. Partisan Mulcair does not trust Canada’s environmental regulation system anymore since we have a Conservative government. That is the latest excuse used by Mulcair to try to take the NDP out of the muck.
We are not talking about building a new pipeline in this specific case, just reversing the flow. How could it provoke more spills and environmental catastrophes when it goes from west to east than east to west?
Even the Quebec separatists have not tried to use such an argument.
Isn’t it safer to carry oil in an existing pipeline than by boat on the St. Lawrence River as we currently do?
By trying to please his environmental fanatics on the left, Mulcair is thrashing about, up to his neck in sand.
Now that the NDP has
57 of the 75 seats in Quebec, he might have a hard time convincing Quebec motorists they better buy more expensive petroleum from a dictatorship in the Middle East than cheaper fuel from fellow Canadians.
It could also become difficult for the leftist leader to tell unionized workers at the refineries in the east end of Montreal that he refuses to protect and expand their industry. There now is no easy way out out of the quicksand in which the environmentalists have lured Mulcair, other than a step backward.
The NDP leader had better flip-flop one more time before he sinks for good in his own mud.