Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall unleashed a prairie storm against national NDP leader Thomas Mulcair, after the head of the official opposition tried to drive a proverbial spike through the heart of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline in front of law makers and business executives in Washington.
Mulcair told his U.S. audience on Tuesday the Canadian government "is playing people for fools," and only paying lip service to environmental responsibility, the Edmonton Journal reported.
“They know that Canada is the only country that has withdrawn from Kyoto. They know that the Conservatives can’t possibly meet their Copenhagen targets (on greenhouse gas emissions) precisely because of the oilsands. They have to stop playing people for fools," the Journal quoted Mulcair as saying.
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Saskatchewan's premier was quick to react with fiery attacks against the senior parliamentarian, taking to Twitter and talking to media to unleash his accusatory volleys.
Wall said Mulcair's mission to Washington left behind "a swath of destruction for the energy sector," the Saskatoon StarPhoenix reported.
"What Mulcair and the NDP are doing - with no objection from the Saskatchewan NDP or (its) new leader - is being quite destructive in terms of getting this important pipeline approved."
Wall's anger also spread to Twitter where he accused Mulcair of betraying his country's interests.
NDP Leader who wants to be PM betrays our country's national interest. Unbelievable.— Brad Wall (@PremierBradWall) March 12, 2013
Alberta Premier Alison Redford said the NDP leader is not being factual in his statements but he is being consistent in his behaviour.
“It’s important to be factually based and unfortunately we’ve seen that Mr. Mulcair is not factually based with respect to this," the Journal reported Redford as saying.
"I think it’s really unfortunate he would advance this political agenda at a time when getting this project through matters so much to Canadians and I’m not at all surprised that he’s doing it. He’s been very consistent."
Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver returned last week from speeches in Chicago and Houston, Texas, to promote Canadian energy exports. Three other ministers are travelling to Washington this week, and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and Alberta Premier Alison Redford have both visited the U.S. recently to promote the oilsands.
The proposed Keystone XL pipeline would start in Hardisty, Alta. and carry oilsands crude to the U.S. gulf coast and is a critical part of Alberta's strategy to deal with what Redford calls the bitumen bubble.
Getting oilsands crude directly to the Gulf Coast would diminish the difference in price Alberta crude currently gets compared to world prices, a condition that has seriously eroded provincial coffers.
Mulcair told journalists on Tuesday that instead of Keystone, what he'd rather see is a west-east pipeline, which he said would, "give priority to creation of jobs in Canada, to taking care of Canada's energy security and getting a better price."