Monday, March 11, 2013

NDP about-face on oilsands?

Picture of Mulclair cowboying up.
From the article. No news yet  on
whether or not he's expecting.
Maclean's has an interesting story about an apparent reversal in the NDP on the oilsands. Thomas Mulclair, the party's leader, has recently been in Calgary making pretty positive noises at a bunch of oil people. They would now be "a partner for the development of Canada's energy resources", apparently.

This is of course a big change from the party's position in the past, where he blamed the oilsands for eastern Canada's economic woes as well as the standard environmental criticism.

Why the change? Impossible to say for sure, but here's my opinion: As expected, sooner or later someone put together than the NDP, a party with deep labour ties, was sending a very anti-labour message in the union-rich industries of northern Alberta. At the same time, he'd already done his grandstanding/Alberta bashing to satisfy his (new) base in Quebec. Thinking they were no longer paying attention to the issue, the party has tried to soften its message to Albertans and other workers in resource industries, where they probably thinks they could pick up some seats, provincially if not federally. They have essentially adopted the Liberal position - support development, but only with constrained growth and only if operators are forced to refine their oil in Canada. As I've mentioned before, I don't think this is a particularly good policy, but it's certainly better than their previous policy of stopping new oilsands developments altogether*. It's also, not coincidentally, a very union-friendly view and demonstrates that unions still trump the environment in the NDP's priority list.

The article makes the interesting point that the environmental and labour positions of the party may collide if the industry tries to make an export pipeline through Quebec. 

* The article says that was their old policy. I can't remember them taking such an extreme position.


  1. NDP sucks. Hopefully Albertans see through their party better than Quebecers do.

  2. Expecting a cheeseburger?

  3. More like Gut Cassidy and the Sundance Cheeseburger!