Calgary's former police chief is condemning Montreal mayor Denis Coderre for his abrasive comments about constructing new oil pipelines in the country.
Among several remarks, Coderre told Radio Canada: "First of all, you have to allow me a moment to laugh at a guy like Brian Jean, when he says he relies on science. These are probably the same people who think the Flintstones is a documentary."
'We need statesmen. We don't need comedians' - Rick Hanson, former police chief
Jean, the leader of the Wildrose party, fired back accusing Coderre of gutter politics.
Rick Hanson spoke out about Coderre during a Thursday speech about terrorism.
"He doesn't realize the damage he does by insulting people and contributing to the inflammatory conversation," said Hanson at a Calgary Chamber of Commerce event.
- Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre says Energy East pipeline too risky
- Alberta Wildrose leader accuses Montreal mayor of 'gutter politics'
Unnecessarily fanning the flames of the pipeline debate could motivate people to take extreme action, according to Hanson.
"This is a time in our history when we need statesmen. We don't need comedians," Hanson told reporters. "The issues we are facing today really do require thoughtful dialogue, debate and conversation."
Hanson, a former RCMP officer, organized security for a G8 meeting and participated in a FBI counter-terrorism program during his 40 year policing career. He retired last year.
"You can look and see the inflammatory words, the rhetoric around this debate and say 'hey, if I do this, if I do something overt against pipelines, for instance, and blow up critical infrastructure, there's going to be some people in this country who think I'm a hero,'" Hanson said.
Regionalism will always be a barrier to finding the solution to a problem, said Hanson, adding that being dismissive and picking fights is never helpful.
A few weeks ago, Coderre announced his city's official opposition to the proposed Energy East pipeline project, arguing the potential risks outweigh possible economic benefits to his community. He was joined by mayors from neighbouring cities including Laval and Longueuil.
Hanson is not the only one to call for more civil debate. Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi expressed the need for more "thoughtful conversation" on Energy East rather than a sideshow.