Thomas Mulcair's trip to the 'bitumen sands'

The mayor of Fort McMurray reports on her meeting with the NDP leader.

“His passion is deep for the advances he’s trying to make in environmental legislation,” she said. “He’s got some valid points. He’s got some that I disagree with. But overall, I respect the visit he made to our region and the time that he spent while he was here.”

Alberta’s deputy premier seems less enthused, but Mr. Mulcair is awed and undaunted.

The three Western premiers have condemned Mulcair’s comments, saying that he is using wedge politics to divide the country. But Mulcair rejected that premise saying he is holding the federal government to account accusing the Stephen Harper Conservatives of failing to meet its legislative obligations in enforcing environmental standards.

“Our thesis has always been that one of the reasons we have an artificially high number of U.S. dollars coming in is because we haven’t internalized the environmental costs,” he said. “We haven’t included those costs in the product so allowing a bit of a free ride in using the air, the soil and the water in an unlimited way.”

He also tries a little diplomacy, saying he agrees with Premier Alison Redford that there needs to be a national conversation about resource development.