05.20.2012 01:09 AM

In today’s Sun: Mulcair is a disgrace

It’s early days. But watching NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair destroy himself, as he is now inarguably doing with his anti-West tirades, makes for compelling theatre.

In politics, no wound is ever as deep as the self-inflicted one. And Mulcair — with his stubborn insistence that he is right and everyone else is wrong — has become a case study in political self-immolation.

By now, the nub of his argument is well-known. Our booming resources sector, centred in Western Canada, is artificially inflating the Canadian dollar. The high dollar hurts our manufacturing sector, principally based in Eastern Canada.

A rainbow coalition comprising western premiers, the Conservative government, and the federal Liberal party have excoriated Mulcair for his willingness to pit one region against another. They have hammered him for his cynical attempt to win seats in the East by killing jobs in the West. But the NDP leader is undeterred. If you disagree with him, you are one of Stephen Harper’s “messengers.” If you marshal economic evidence disputing his argument —– and plenty have — he will simply say that “everyone” knows he is right.

Arrogance, conceit and ignorance aren’t anything new in politics. They’re ever-present. But Mulcair’s attack on the region that, more than any other, has helped ease Canada through a grinding global recession is truly breathtaking. It takes political ego and stupidity to a level heretofore untouched by other mortals.


  1. Dan says:

    “The only reason the dollar is high, it’s a petro dollar, driven by the global demand for oil and gas to be sourced in Western Canada,” McGuinty said. “If I had my preferences as to whether we have a rapidly growing oil and gas sector in the West or a lower dollar benefiting Ontario, I stand with the lower dollar.”


    That was a far more regionalized comment than Mulcair’s, BTW. You’re the one who made this East vs West, not him. It’s really big oil vs everyone else.

  2. Paul O says:

    One is left to wonder what Mulcair would say if the regional imbalances were reversed: if a strong economy in Quebec were to suggest additional economic challenges to businesses elsewhere in Canada.

    • JamesHalifax says:

      You can be sure that if Quebec had the oil-sands, and Alberta was receiving the hand-outs, this would never have been an issue.

  3. Balcony says:

    You shouldn’t write such over-the-top hyperbole. It’s not healthy.

  4. Danny says:

    You have to know that Tommy is a poster boy for the greatest fund raising effort the Conservative Party will ever have.
    The big guys like Encana, Suncor, ExonMobile, and the tens of thosands of people who work in the West will all line up behind the party they see protecting them, Harper’s Conservatives.
    I know that people in the East sigh ‘Oy Veh’ when we mention the old NEP, but it is still raw in the West. And people see this as another Eastern NEP. There will be a fight this time.
    My bet is this is worth over $10 Million bucks for the CPC.
    Go Tommy, Go!

    • Michael says:

      As much as I may root against Mulcair and the NDP, corporate donations to political parties are not allowed in Canada. So Enccana, Suncor, and Exon are not able donate. As well, individual donations are capped.

      • pomojen says:

        But the number of individuals who can donate is not. And there are likely many other ways around the rules.

        Caps, rules, etc. are a good thing. But I have simply stopped underestimating any party’s imagination when it comes to thinking up new ways to get around them.

      • JamesHalifax says:

        True……but of the individuals who work in the oil-sands, or employees of companies who provide services or goods to the oil-sands decide they would rather keep working…..they can easily donate in numbers which provide a very healthy return to the Conservatives.

  5. frmr disgruntled Con now Happy Lib says:

    Wonder if theres a whole lot of leadership voters who have buyers remorse right about now……somewhere Ed Broadbent must be saying….”told ya so”…….


  6. W.B. says:

    Rex and Warren! What a team.

  7. Tiger says:

    Stephane Dion — Harper messenger.
    Allison Redford — Harper messenger.

    Fun times.

  8. W.B. says:

    What is Elizabeth May saying about this dustup? Nothing on the Green website.
    Doesn’t she have to support Mulcair? Or is she, like McGuinty, hiding out until this blows over?
    I back McGuinty; I back Mulcair; I back May.

  9. Lower North Shore says:

    Wow, what a bunch of BS, Warren. Guess you didn’t catch Mulcair on CTV or Global today. Here’s a link to the interview, which is basically the same on each network. http://www.globalnews.ca/canada/oilsands/6442644945/story.html#ixzz1vQjqDTB2 excerpt:

    But the fight is not with premiers of the Western provinces, as recent remarks from provincial leaders and the Conservative front bench would have some believe.

    The fight is over the lack of enforcement of Canada’s national environmental laws, especially in the context of oilsands development, Mulcair said.

    “I never connected with (the premiers) in any way shape or form,” he said. “My fight is with Stephen Harper’s Conservatives. So when some of them started suggesting I was anti-Western Canadian, which, of course, I’ve never even talked about, my reaction was, ‘Look – let me deal with the person who’s responsible for the problem I’m describing.”

    The problem as Mulcair sees it, is a federal government that’s not enforcing environmental legislation, and effectively downloading the environmental and economic costs associated with development on future generations.

    Read it on Global News: Global News | Mulcair prepares for the long battle on oilsands

    • deb says:

      Thanks for posting this clip. I was beginning to wonder what reports the rest of the folks had been tuning in to. I think Mulcair has alot of good things to say and I like that he is taking on harper…I hope the rest step aside and let him by or join him in solidarity. He seems like something the country needs right now, to shake up the apathy.

  10. Michael Behiels says:

    Perhaps this is a Mulcair ploy to take Quebec out of Canada with him as its President? Just saying!

    Perhaps Mulcair is just trying to consolidate his base in Quebec and shoring up his dwindling manufacturing base in Ontario. NDP has lost a lot of ground in prairie provinces over the past decade. Might make gains in BC when BC NDP wins the next election.

  11. Vancouver says:

    From The Hook a western online news source at http://bit.ly/KqQDQ3 comes this headline
    “Harper gov’t funded study arguing Canada suffers from ‘Dutch Disease”

    Seems the NDP leader is correct

  12. Datasmith says:

    You Liberals are hilarious. Mulcair is one of the most talented Canadian politicians ever. His talent is around the Bill Clinton level, without the bimbo outbreaks. Listen to him talk about this issue on Question Period and the Global equivalent today. This is a winning issue for him, and he knows it.

  13. Kelly says:

    Well the tar sands are unsustainable. It’s pure arbitrage. Hardly any net energy is produced. We’re taking relatively clean but cheap. natural gas and burning it to extract dirty expensive junk “oil” to sell for cash. Canada is a relativley small NET exporter of oil –ess than 2 million barrels a day lut of 87 millions used per day worldwide. In the last recession the price of oil crashed to $40 a barrel and Alberta immediately ran a deficit. That’s really bad managemt. Norway saves their oil money. In fact they could pay off Canada’s entire national debt and still have a $100 billion left over. Alberta pisses the money away at the mall. If they were smart they’d be working hard to make the tar sands obsolete. Theyd be investing heavily to find the technologies that will eventually render the tar sands irrelevant. It will happen and we don’t want another country to be the ones to grab the ball. I think this will be the NDPs next message tack. Show how were sliding down the Human development index and especially the infant mortality rankings. Your baby has a better chance of survival in Cuba and Andorra and 40 other countries. We’re now 41st for infant mortality. Look it up. The latest CIA fact book does not flatter us.

  14. MississaugaPeter says:

    I understand the outrage. I also feel his remarks are crazy. But it feeds his base. It solidifies his Quebec support (which supplies the majority of his caucus). Taking almost all the Quebec seats in the next election, means, he may need as low as 25% of the rest of the Canadian population (note: strategically placed), to become prime minister. It also means there will be no LIB/NDP arrangements in the near future.

  15. Sam Gunsch says:

    Mulcair is raising legitimate concerns in moderate language, when compared to the remarks by the conservative minister under Lougheed and former business prof., Allan Warrack. See his comments below.

    excerpt: “Deficits, foolish giveaways to corporations at the expense of taxpayers, and environmental “carnage” without funds to fix it, according to Allan Warrack, a former minister in the Alberta government who nearly 40 years ago helped craft the province’s plan for saving and intelligently investing its oil wealth.


    PM’s favourite province squandered its petro profits like a ‘banana republic.’ Is this any way to run an economy?”

    excerpt: “Warrack, one of the architects of the iconic Alberta Heritage Fund, told the Tyee earlier this year that the province is being run like a “banana republic” for failing to collect fair rents for non-renewable resources like the oil sands.
    Warrack is a professor emeritus of business economics at the University of Alberta and former minister of lands and forests in then-premier Peter Lougheed’s cabinet in the early 1970s.

    “He feels the lack of government oversight and fair royalty collection for the oil sands is creating a massive restoration liability. “There is going to be a thousand years of carnage left up there and we are not even getting fair money for it… I mean this is crazy, just crazy.”

    As far as pledges to restore the area around Fort McMurray, Warrack is not optimistic. “Anybody who thinks the environment [at oil sands operations] is going to get fixed is smoking something. I mean they will just declare bankruptcy and they are out of Dodge. Is there any doubt?”

  16. kitt says:

    Ed Stemach tried that during a recession. Didn’t work. Lots of $$$$ are banked during the good times and that income is used during bad times, allowing Alberta to bounce back before other provinces.

  17. tf says:

    Oh goodness, the reaction to Mulcair’s words are more hyped than his reasonable comment about the dollar, the economy and the oil-backed Harper government. I think the big boys are getting scared ~
    For a response that I agree with, I link to Pogge –
    “Mulcair’s right to dig his heels in”
    Thanks for the discussion and taking my comment Warren!

  18. Swervin' Merv says:

    Mulcair’s future will be determined by whether the Right are able to define him as anti-West and anti-premier. He is neither, of course, but they had to try to find something to attack him with, albeit made up (as usual).

    Speaking of provincial “leaders,” is Hudak incapable to getting past his ongoing “Muclair” stumbles?

  19. Tim says:

    I’ve lived in the Alberta and British Columbia for the past 22 years and I don’t have a problem with what Tom Mulcair is saying. He doesn’t have to apologise to me for anything, I don’t feel slighted in the least. That’s just spin coming from the other side of the debate. I’m not in total agreement with what Mulcair’s saying, but I think Allison Redford has another thing coming if she thinks she’s going to fix the oilsand issue by better educating the ignorant through press releases. We do need to have a debate and I don’t think Tom Mulcair and Peter Lougheed would have any trouble at all finding common ground on this subject.

    The disgrace to me is the Liberal Party of Canada. In two short months we have a leader of the opposition who is opposing the Conservatives to great effect, something three different Liberal leaders have been unable to accomplish in many years. I hate saying it, but Tom Mulcair and the NDP are doing a very good job as the official opposition. Brian Topp wrote a great piece in today’s Globe backing up his leader on this subject.

  20. Nic Coivert says:

    Seems to me he’s well acquainted with the Harper playbook. Two can play that game. He’s playing to his base right now, and his base is decidedly anti-oil, pro-environment. He’s making it interesting, which will get people out to vote.

    • Warren says:

      Yeah, like the NEP got people out to vote, too. Right.

      • Nic Coivert says:

        The Cons can only win Alberta once, doesn’t matter how high they pile-on. This strategy could reduce Cons back to minority situation, with the Liberals holding the balance of power.

      • Dan says:

        If you’re basing your political strategy on the landscape from 30 years ago, that might explain the Liberals declining fortunes.

        • Warren says:

          Yep. How many campaigns have you run, pal?

          • JamesHalifax says:

            Warren….you may want to remind Dan that you were “dis-invited” from the LIberals a while back. And then tell him to buy your “kicking ass” book.

            I’m a Conservative, but I watched you on TV with Stockwell Day and the Barney doll. I didn’t know whether to laugh or curse…it was that effective.

            Well done. You bastard!!!

        • JamesHalifax says:

          The Wheat Board was a travesty.

          I found it compelling that the Libs and NDP never demanded that Ontario and Quebec subscribe to the same deals. They wisely got out of it….so why keep the West in by force?


  21. po'd says:

    Well, it seems quite simple to me. You can approve Harper’s methods and goals of digging as fast as fast can be and sending the oil everywhere but East, or you can get on side with those who seek more benefits and a more well thought out approach. You can deny the effects of a petro dollar on the broader economy or you can look for solutions that work for a much broader swath of Canadians.

    Check out Frank McKenna’s plan. He’s got sway in high places too.

    • JamesHalifax says:

      I agree….we should be processing more of our raw materials here in Canada. We add value, create employment, and keep the cash in Canada.

      The problem. What do you think the reaction would be if we suddenly decided to build a few new refineries? how long do you think it would take for Lizzie May, David Suzuki, or other assorted enviro-wackos to have a fit?

      Remember, many groups today don’t care about mulcairs “sustainable” development. They want ZERO development.

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