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.
The oil and gas industries accounted for around $65 billion of economic activity in Canada annually in recent years, or slightly less than 5 per cent of GDP. Source: <a href="http://www.ceri.ca/docs/2010-10-05CERIOilandGasReport.pdf" target="_hplink">Canada Energy Research Institute</a>
Canada exported some 12,000 cubic metres of oil per day in 1980. By 2010, that number had grown to 112,000 cubic metres daily. Source: <a href="http://membernet.capp.ca/SHB/Sheet.asp?SectionID=9&SheetID=224" target="_hplink">Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers</a>
Canada refined 300,000 cubic metres daily in 1980; in 2010, that number was slightly down, to 291,000, even though exports of oil had grown tenfold in that time. Source: <a href="http://membernet.capp.ca/SHB/Sheet.asp?SectionID=7&SheetID=104" target="_hplink">Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers</a>
Despite talk by the federal government that it wants to open Asian markets to Canadian oil, the vast majority of exports still go to the United States -- 97 per cent as of 2009. Source: <a href="http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/statistics-facts/energy/895" target="_hplink">Natural Resources Canada</a>
Canada's proven reserves of 175 billion barrels of oil -- the vast majority of it trapped in the oil sands -- is the second-largest oil stash in the world, after Saudi Arabia's 267 billion. Source: <a href="http://www.ogj.com/index.html" target="_hplink">Oil & Gas Journal</a>
One-third of Canada's oil sands bitumen stays in the country, and is refined into gasoline, heating oil and diesel. Source: <a href="http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/statistics-facts/energy/895" target="_hplink">Natural Resources Canada</a>
Despite its reputation as the undisputed centre of Canada's oil industry, Alberta accounts for only two-thirds of energy production. British Columbia and Saskatchewan are the second and third-largest producers. Source: <a href="http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/statistics-facts/energy/895" target="_hplink">Natural Resources Canada</a>
Alberta' government <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/03/27/alberta-oil-sands-royalties-ceri_n_1382640.html" target="_hplink">will reap $1.2 trillion in royalties from the oil sands over the next 35 years</a>, according to the Canadian Energy Research Institute.
Thanks to improvements in energy efficiency, and a weakening of the country's manufacturing base, oil consumption in Canada has had virtually no net change in 30 years. Consumption went from 287,000 cubic metres daily in 1980 to 260,000 cubic metres daily in 2010. Source: Source: <a href="http://membernet.capp.ca/SHB/Sheet.asp?SectionID=6&SheetID=99" target="_hplink">Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers</a>
The National Energy Board says oil and gas employs 257,000 people in Canada, not including gas station employees. And the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says the oil sands alone <a href="http://www.capp.ca/aboutUs/mediaCentre/NewsReleases/Pages/OilsandsaCanadianjobcreator.aspx" target="_hplink">will grow from 75,000 jobs to 905,000 jobs by 2035</a> -- assuming, of course, the price of oil holds up.