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Conservatives launch their first attack ad against Mulcair

A look at the ad, then a closer look at what it says


 

The Conservatives launch their first attack ad against Thomas Mulcair.

French ad here.

The “carbon tax” allegation is apparently a reference to Mr. Mulcair’s plans for a cap-and-trade system. As recently as December 2009, the Harper government was openly pursuing a cap-and-trade system.

The one quote that is cited—”make them pay now for what they’re doing”—is taken from an interview with CBC’s The House in May. You can listen to that interview in its entirety here, but here is the quote in its immediate context.

Evan Solomon: They have argued that they want to make sure that environmental assessment, though they argue it needs to be rigorous, is getting in the way of development of big energy projects and specifically around the oil sands and pipelines. They point to an article that you wrote in March, I think, of 2012 in Policy Options, where you basically said, dirty oil, the tar sands it’s called, dirty oil and the future of our country, where you argue that the development of the, as you use the word, tar sands, it’s become a political term, by the way, as you know, is basically not necessarily good for the country, in fact it takes jobs away in the manufacturing sector of Ontario. Do you stand by that?

Thomas Mulcair: Not only Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, there are other places in Canada, sure. It’s by definition the Dutch Disease, the Canadian dollar is being held artificially high, which is fine if you’re going to Disney World, not so good if you want to sell your manufactured product because the American client, most of the time, can no longer afford to buy it. We’ve hollowed out the manufacturing sector. In six years since the Conservatives have arrived, we’ve lost 500,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs, more than half of them because of the fact that we’re not internalizing the environmental costs.

Evan Solomon: The government of Alberta, they point to these statistics: the oil sands creates $307 billion in tax revenue, $187 billion for the federal government, 23% of employment is from oil sands, 7% of employment in Canada from the oil sands and in Ontario alone, 7%, they say, of employment comes from the oil sands and they say royalties of $1.9 billion fund programs across the country. In other words, it’s a huge net gain for the country, they argue.

Thomas Mulcair: It’s a non sequitur. The point that I’m making is not that we should be against the development of the oil sands, but it has to be sustainable development. We have to follow the basic rules of sustainable development. Internalization of the environmental costs, make them pay now for what they’re doing. We have to use basic rules like polluter pay, user pay, these are things that are not being done. And we’ve got legilsation that’s on the books, this is Canadian law, that’s not being enforced. You know, this is the law-and-order government. They preach a good game, but they don’t follow through with their own actions in areas that is their responsibility. That’s the problem. So at the present time, the way we’re exploiting and developing the oil sands is causing an imbalance in our economy. That’s demonstrable.

Update 5:10pm. More context here.


 

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