Armed with a smile and a handful of big numbers, Alberta Wildrose Leader Brian Jean accused the mayor of Montreal of engaging in "gutter politics" on Friday, as the two continued to battle over the proposed Energy East pipeline.
The skirmish broke out the day before, when Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said the potential environmental risks of the proposed pipeline would outweigh any possible economic benefits for his city.
After a few verbal volleys back and forth, Coderee tried to bomb Jean back into the Stone Age when he told Radio Canada's La Croisee: "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. But that's another story."
Jean reacted to that Friday, accusing Coderre of buying oil from offshore dictators while refusing to back a pipeline that would supply resources from his cousins in Alberta.
"I had an opportunity to serve with Mr. Coderre in federal politics for many years, and I'm used to watching him float up and down the gutter," said Jean, who was a Conservative MP for a decade before entering provincial politics in Alberta.
"I don't think gutter politics is helpful. Ever."
A day earlier, Jean told CBC's Power and Politics that Coderre's decision on Energy East was short-sighted.
"And I believe it's based only on politics," Jean said. "The science and the facts clearly indicate that Alberta has the best oil available for this kind of environmental and economic development in Canada, and certainly in the world."
Coderre, who sat as a Liberal MP from 1997 to 2013, told CBC his city considered environmental, economic and safety issues before coming out against TransCanada's proposed pipeline.
"The community of metropolitan Montreal isn't nothing," he said. "It's four million residents, it's 82 municipalities, it's 50 per cent of the gross domestic product, population and jobs of Quebec.
"We have committees of engineers, so we are working with credible data. We realized that when you build it, you can say it will bring this or that, and it will create so many jobs. But the economic reality is that it's only 33 jobs and at most $2 million per year of municipal revenue."
Earlier in the day, Jean called the mayor's opposition to the pipeline "disgraceful" and noted that Quebec has taken $72 billion in transfer payments over the past decade, with much of that money coming from Alberta.
"I'm not going to take environmental lessons from a mayor that will release eight billion litres of raw sewage into the river right in front of his community," Jean told CBC's Power and Politics. "I don't think that's the right person to take lessons from."