The war of words between former U.S. vice-president Al Gore and Canada’s Conservative government accelerated again on Friday when a prominent Conservative MP called Gore a “foreign oil profiteer.”
Responding to comments Gore made earlier in the week, in which the U.S. politician said Canada’s oil sands use the atmosphere as an “open sewer,” Tory MP Pierre Poilievre told Parliament Gore had “insulted” Canada’s half-million energy industry workers.
“Look who’s talking,” Poilievre said. “Gore recently stuffed his pockets with $70 million in oil money when he sold his low-rated television network to dictators in petro-state Qatar.”
Poilievre was referring to Gore’s sale of Current TV to Qatar-based international news network al-Jazeera earlier this year.
Poilievre then launched into an attack on Qatar, with which Canada is embroiled in a diplomatic spat over the location of an international aviation agency.
“Human Rights Watch says that low-paid migrant workers have their passports confiscated there so they cannot escape the crowded unsanitary conditions which lack potable water,” Poilievre said.
“These abuses paid Al Gore his millions. Far from environmental prophet, he is a foreign oil profiteer. That is the inconvenient truth of Al Gore.”
Observers of Canada’s political scene will no doubt note some irony in Poilievre’s criticisms of Qatar’s migrant worker record when the Conservatives are themselves caught up in a controversy over the rapid expansion of Canada’s temporary foreign workers program, and allegations of abuse and exploitation of foreign workers.
Poilievre was recently the target of ridicule when he jumped into the fray over opposition Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau’s musings about the “root causes” of terrorism.
“The root cause of terrorism is terrorists,” Poilievre declared, prompting derisive comments from political opponents.
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