NDP Leader Tom Mulcair was "irresponsible" and acted in a way that was a "fundamental betrayal" of Canada's economic interests by undercutting efforts to win U.S. approval for the Keystone XL pipeline, says Alberta Premier Alison Redford.
In an interview Monday on CBC News Network’s Power & Politics, Redford accused Mulcair of spreading misinformation when he criticized Canada’s environmental record and warned of massive job losses that could result from the contentious pipeline project.
Mulcair made the comments during a four-day trip to Washington and New York last week.
"I think if you’re a national leader that’s talking about Canada’s economic future, it’s important to understand that an important part of our future is an energy economy," Redford told guest host Terry Milewski.
"We’re very proud of the fact that as Canadians we have a strong record with respect to economic growth, how we work together as provinces to make sure that we’re growing our economy and investing in our future. And I think for anyone who purports to be a national leader to go down and really, from my perspective, provide information that isn’t factual with respect to some of these projects, is really unfortunate," the premier said.
Redford was in Ottawa Monday speaking to the Economic Club of Canada, where she slammed the Opposition leader’s remarks as a betrayal to Canada.
"For Mr. Mulcair to travel to Washington and undermine the months of good work by premiers of every persuasion, along with the federal government, is not only wholly irresponsible, but a fundamental betrayal of Canada's long-term economic interests," she told the business and political audience.
On Power & Politics, Redford defended taking out a $30,000 advertisement in the weekend New York Times to promote the Keystone XL pipeline. The half-page ad says that while the U.S. State Department concluded the project would not have a significant impact on the environment, some believe its fate should be decided "on emotion rather than science and fact."
Insisting that opponents are spreading "misinformation" about the science and playing on emotions, Redford said the objective of the ad is to set the record straight on Canada’s environmental targets, investments in clean technology and performance in reducing emissions.
She also questioned where Mulcair would find the money to invest in social programs and education without national revenue from Alberta’s oilsands.
"Where does he think that money comes from? It comes from economic growth and it’s important for us to make sure we’re being responsible when it comes to economic growth in our country," she said.
All pipeline routes on the table
Asked if Alberta would consider upping the current $15-a-tonne carbon tax on large emitters to show a commitment to tackling climate change, Redford said the current plan is to prove the province is a leader in setting and achieving targets by investment in clean technologies.
"We’re not in a position where we're going to go in and try and negotiate with respect to these issues from the perspective of a particular project," she said. "We want to go in and talk about what our record has been, demonstrate the fact that we've been leaders, show what we’ve been doing — not only with having a price on carbon, but what we’re doing with that money."
While remaining optimistic the Northern Gateway pipeline linking to Kitimat, B.C., will proceed, Redford said all routes are on the table — including a west-east Canadian passage through Quebec and New Brunswick.
"We see all of these pipelines as options — it's never been an either/or situation," she said. "We export that resource to the U.S. not only for export markets in terms of raw product, but to actually feed refineries that were built for the sole purpose of actually refining the product that's pulled out of the ground in Canada, in Alberta. And that product is not being pulled out of the ground right now in the United States."
Redford added that Canada and the U.S. have built a joint energy economy and said it would be "unfortunate" if that did not continue.