Redford 'shocked' Mulcair dismissed western premiers

Federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is "wrong and misinformed" for his contention that the oilsands are hurting Canada's manufacturing sector, Alberta Premier Alison Redford says.
Alberta Premier Alison Redford used Twitter to call federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair 'divisive and ill-informed' on Wednesday. (CBC)

Federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is "wrong and misinformed" for his contention that the oilsands are hurting Canada's manufacturing sector, Alberta Premier Alison Redford said in an interview with CBC News on Thursday.

Redford told the Sunday Edition's guest host Jim Brown that she is dismayed Mulcair never shared his views with her or her western counterparts, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and B.C. Premier Christy Clark.

"I was absolutely shocked in the last couple of days, to see the fact that he would dismiss comments from western premiers, whether it's me, or Brad Wall, or Premier Clark, where he simply didn't think it was appropriate to have a conversation with us about resources that we have jurisdiction over," Redford said.

On Wednesday, both Redford and Wall used their Twitter accounts to hit back at Mulcair. Wall said that Mulcair and the NDP were continuing their attacks on the West, while Redford called the NDP leader "divisive and ill-informed," remarks she expanded upon during Thursday's interview.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says his issue is with how the federal Conservative government enforces federal legislation. (Canadian Press)

"To have this idea that you want to be a national leader, and then target a particular province or a particular resource that is fundamental to the economic development not only of Alberta, but Canada, is ridiculous, and I'm terribly disappointed to hear the comments," Redford said. 

"It's not appropriate, and it's not based on a real understanding of either Alberta's role in Canada, or Canada's role in the world."

Canadian heritage minister and B.C. MP James Moore said in the House of Commons Thursday that Mulcair should apologize to western Canadians for his remarks.

But the NDP leader said his debate is with the federal government and how it is failing to enforce regulations in the oilsands, like the Fisheries Act and the Migratory Birds Act, which in turn benefits western resource companies.

"That's allowing them to have an artificially high number of U.S. dollars flowing in, pushing the Canadian dollar higher," Mulcair said.

"That has destabilized the Canadian economy. We've lost 500,000 good paying manufacturing jobs since the Conservatives came to power. We're losing the balanced economy we had built up since the Second World War.

"So we have a vision of sustainable development that opposes their vision of unbridled development, with no polluter pay. Polluter pay is the essential principle that is being avoided right now by those companies, and we want to have this debate on sustainable development."

Redford said that a high Canadian dollar affects Alberta as well, since oil and gas make up nearly 40 per cent of the country's exports, "but it's reality. It's part of what goes on in a global economy."

Redford was asked prior to a party fundraiser in Edmonton on Thursday about Mulcair's plans to visit the oilsands this spring.

"Once he's actually seen the oilsands, once he's actually been briefed, then I'm prepared to try to have a constructive conversation with him," she said. "So we'll see how it goes, but I think he's got some work to do first."

Redford's entire interview will air Sunday after the 9 a.m. news on CBC Radio One.