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CALGARY — It speaks volumes about the NDP leader that a Trudeau now boasts better odds of making gains in the Conservative stronghold of western Canada than Thomas Mulcair.
Two premiers — Brad Wall of Saskatchewan and Alberta’s Alison Redford — took the federal NDP leader to task again on Monday over the Keystone XL pipeline. As the western premiers have become the line’s lead champions, Mr. Mulcair has become their chief antagonist.
Mr. Mulcair went to Washington Wednesday to all but discourage the Americans from approving the contentious pipeline. He suggested the Conservative government was “playing people for fools” on Canada’s environmental record — prompting Nancy Pelosi, Democratic leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, to note: “The Canadians don’t want the pipeline in their own country.”
Not only were Mr. Mulcair’s actions “decidedly unhelpful to the Canadian interest,” Mr. Wall said on Monday, they were also untrue.
Alberta has a carbon tax, an environmental research fund and supports carbon capture and storage research. Further, Mr. Wall noted, Canada has regulations on the real carbon dioxide emitters — coal-fired electricity plants — that are in many cases far tougher than what’s in place in the U.S.
Mr. Wall spearheaded a campaign with American governors, while Ms. Redford’s government this week took out an advertisement in The New York Times after that paper encouraged the American president to say no to the Canadian pipe proposal. A lack of pipeline infrastructure is partially responsible for a growing discount on Canadian crude, eating a $6-billion chunk from Alberta’s recently tabled budget, and taking a toll on Saskatchewan’s treasury as well, and the premiers take Mr. Mulcair’s intervention personally.
‘‘The NDP are not friends of Western Canada right now,” the popular Mr. Wall said. “The Western Canadian economy is driving growth in our region, it can help the Canadian economy as well.”
For the rest of this article, please go to the National Post website: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/03/18/jen-gerson-it-speaks-volumes-that-justin-trudeau-has-made-more-inroads-in-alberta-than-thomas-mulcair/