Thomas Mulcair To Visit Alberta Oilsands Amid Dutch Disease Criticism

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THOMAS MULCAIR
Federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is coming to Alberta to discuss the oilsands, but it isn't clear if he will tour the area that he says is killing manufacturing jobs in Central Canada. (CP) | CP

EDMONTON - Federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is coming to Alberta to discuss the oilsands, but it isn't clear if he will tour the development that he says is killing manufacturing jobs in Central Canada.

Mulcair's comments about the oilsands driving up the value of the Canadian dollar and killing jobs have angered Alberta Premier Alison Redford.

Redford has said she won't meet with Mulcair until he visits the Fort McMurray region to educate himself about the oilsands.

Alberta NDP Leader Brian Mason says Mulcair is to fly into Edmonton May 30 for meetings in the capital the following day.

"I hope that Tom's visit to Alberta will be very productive for Albertans and for all Canadians," Mason said Friday.

Mulcair and his staff in Ottawa were not available for comment.

Mason said Mulcair is to meet with unnamed political and business leaders.

Redford's staff said they haven't received any requests from the federal NDP for a meeting with the premier.

Mulcair has insisted that statistics on manufacturing job losses are "irrefutable'" and that "everyone'' agrees more than half of those losses are the direct result of the artificially high Canadian dollar created by booming energy exports, particularly from Alberta's oilsands.

However, a recent study by the Institute for Research on Public Policy and the latest Statistics Canada report on manufacturing output cast doubt on just how seriously Canada is afflicted.

The IRPP study concludes that about one-quarter of Canadian manufacturing output is suffering due to the high dollar.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has also been a vocal critic of Mulcair's statements about the oilsands.

Mulcair has said the Harper government is allowing foreign oil companies to "use our air, our soil and our water as an unlimited, free dumping ground.''

He said that if resource companies were required to pay for their pollution, the cost of oilsands bitumen and other natural resource exports would rise and the upward pressure on the dollar would ease.

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