|Surveying the prairies ca. 1860 Photo courtesy of Saskatchewan Archives Board.|
(Recently, I wrote Thomas Mulcair chastising him for the clumsy way in which he introduced the subject of "Dutch Disease" into the Canadian dialogue and informing him that if he meant to garner votes in the East by playing on Ontario suspicions of Alberta, I would have to reconsider my support. He responded to me as follows below; I'm flattered that he did, although this may well be a form letter sent out to a bunch of people who had problems with the way that unfolded here in the west.)
Thank you for writing. I welcome this opportunity for an open exchange on how best to develop our natural resources.
As you may know, I recently did a western tour that included key stops in all three Prairie provinces. This included a tour of the bitumen sands operations and a discussion of oil sands development with the Deputy Premier of Alberta and the Mayor of Fort McMurray.
Whether in Yellowknife, Red Deer, or Miramichi, I have been clear about my intentions to work with all those - across the country - who support a vision of long-term, sustainable development that will create wealth and prosperity for generations to come. My focus is on the Harper government's failure to make polluters pay and on the serious consequences for our environment and our economy.
Further, there is a growing body of research supporting the claim that the failure to make polluters pay is having a negative impact on our economy. One report sponsored by Industry Canada says that - at least - one third of job losses in the manufacturing sector were caused by Canada's artificially high currency. You can read it here: http://www.michelbeine.be/pdf/BBC2012.pdf.
Another report, Overview of the Economic Survey of Canada, by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), found that the run-up in commodity prices is leading to an uneven economy in Canada. It goes on to say that Canada needs to do more to develop non-resource sectors of the economy. Read more here: (http://www.oecd.org/document/30/0,3746,en_2649_34111_50538526_1_1_1_1,00.html).
Further, the NDP is proposing a balanced strategy for our natural resources that would include:
(1) the need for a made-for-Canada energy strategy that prioritizes the interests of Canadians;
(2) the protection of quality, value-added jobs in the refining sector;
(3) the need to ensure sustainable energy security in all parts of the country; and,
(4) the importance of responsible, sustainable resource development and a robust environmental assessment process.
In a recent Regina Star Phoenix article, economist Eric Weir said that this is a "balanced approach to resource development that would generate more public revenue, a more competitive exchange rate, and more manufacturing jobs."
Once again, I appreciate having this opportunity to address your concerns on this very important challenge facing our country.
All the best,
Thomas Mulcair, M.P. (Outremont)
Leader of the Official Opposition
New Democratic Party of Canada