Mulcair says Tories damaging Canada's reputation

Federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says Canada and its once-admirable image around the world have become unrecognizable under the Conservatives, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Nation 'no longer recognizable' to world partners, NDP leader says

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair has accused the Harper Conservatives of damaging Canada's international reputation. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says Canada and its once-admirable image around the world have become unrecognizable under the Conservatives of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Mulcair said he recently had a meeting with European Union ambassadors in Ottawa, and they are not happy with the federal government.

"The Canada that [the Conservatives] are projecting onto the world stage is no longer recognizable to our many partners around the world who have always admired and worked with Canada, and it’s no longer recognizable to us," he says.

The man who has been leader of the Official Opposition since March 24 made the comments while discussing the European debt crisis during an interview with Michael Enright on The Sunday Edition on CBC Radio One.

On the debt crisis, Mulcair says he wouldn’t support a bailout, but thinks Canada should be at the table for discussions. That suggestion has brought attacks from Conservatives, he says.

'Weird statements from Conservatives'

"We had these weird statements from Conservatives saying that [the crisis] was because of the sumptuous lifestyle in Europe. They turned it into a local, parochial, partisan, political fight, whereas this is literally something where we're all attached."

Even though the Conservatives maintain Canada’s banking system is strong, Mulcair points out that the Royal Bank of Canada had its credit rating downgraded by Moody’s on Thursday.

Shortly after being chosen by his party to replace the late Jack Layton, Mulcair grabbed the political spotlight with his views on oilsands development.

Asked why he would take on Alberta over a resources development issue, Mulcair says it is all about making polluters pay.

"What I am saying is same thing I say in B.C. and New Brunswick. It’s not a question of one province versus another, it's a question of whether or not we’re going to have a vision of sustainable development and enforce basic rules like polluter pay," he says.

"Everybody in Alberta believes polluters should be left with the bill for the pollution they are causing."

Mulcair, who has represented the Montreal riding of Outremont as an NDP member of Parliament since 2007, also commented about the tuition protests by students in Quebec.

He believes the only way to increase wealth in a society is to increase knowledge, which means investing more in education.  But he said it would be a mistake for the federal government to take over education from the provinces.