06/30/2015 12:33 EDT | Updated 06/29/2016 05:59 EDT

Thomas Mulcair Denies $180,000 Offer From Conservatives

QUEBEC CITY, Que. - It was policy, not the paycheque, that prompted Tom Mulcair to walk away from an offer eight years ago to become an environmental adviser to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the NDP leader says.

Speaking in Quebec City, Mulcair acknowledged that he was approached in 2007 about taking on a role with the governing party — talks he has discussed publicly before.

But he is denying a report this week in Maclean's magazine that says he walked away because his salary demands couldn't be met.

"After I left provincial politics, various parties approached me and I was interested in continuing to work on environmental issues," Mulcair said Tuesday after a meeting with Premier Philippe Couillard.

"I can tell you one thing: salary never came into play. My discussions with (the Conservatives) made it clear to me that they had no intention of respecting our international commitments, especially on Kyoto.

"And when that became clear, I put an end to the discussions with them."

Mulcair said he never had any dealings with former Conservative operative Dimitri Soudas, who told Maclean's that the government was offering a $180,000 salary, but that Mulcair wanted $300,000.

"The person who's saying that was never involved in these discussions," Mulcair said. "I never met this gentleman."

Asked whether he was offered $180,000, Mulcair replied: "That is absolutely false. That number is plucked out of thin air by someone who wasn't involved in those discussions."

Indeed, Mulcair added, he had an offer at the time to join a law firm that would have paid him a more handsome sum.

At the time, Mulcair had just resigned as environment minister in Jean Charest's Liberal government in Quebec.

He joined the NDP in April 2007 and won a byelection in the Montreal riding of Outremont five months later.

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