So just where are Thomas Mulcair's priorities, really? Are they in Canada's best interests? Or are they in the best interests of himself, his party, and their ideology?
His recent efforts to undermine the Keystone XL pipeline while visiting Washington, DC make it crystal clear: his priorities are not in Canada's best interest. And even if they are, his screwy grasp of economic issues is undermining his ability to act in Canada's best interests.
Of course it wasn't economics that Mulcair invoked while in Washington. It was the environment. “In the US people know how to read,” he declared. “They know that Canada is the only country that has withdrawn from Kyoto. They know that the Conservatives can’t possibly meet their Copenhagen targets (on greenhouse gas emissions) precisely because of the oilsands."
None of this is actually true. Russia and Japan have also withdrawn from the protocol. And had Mulcair bothered to read the US State Department's report on the pipeline, he would know that rejecting the pipeline is not a viable means to reducing Canada's alleged impact on climate change.
Not that all of Mulcair's comments are likely to harm the pipeline's prospects.
“According to object studies, Keystone represents the export of 40,000 jobs and we think that is a bad thing for Canada,” he continued. “We have never taken care of our energy security. We tend to forget that a 10-year supply to the US is a 100-year supply to Canada. We are still going to need the energy supply to heat our homes and run our factories, whether it comes from the oilsands or it comes in the from natural gas. Fossil fuels are always going to be part of the mix.”
Note that Mulcair doesn't dispute that oilsands bitumen will be refined and used, he merely questions where and when. But aside from even this, his suggestion that building the pipeline would add 40,000 jobs to the US economy should be very enticing to the President of a country that could very much use them... provided that Obama really cares about unemployment at all. (Best indications are that he really doesn't.)
But as it turns out, Mulcair's notion that Canada could add those 40,000 jobs is screwy when one considers the trending of oil refining in Canada over the past 30 years. As it turns out, refineries haven't been built in Canada since 1984 for two reasons: first, because they're too costly. Secondly, because for the most part it isn't Canadian companies that are making the decisions about where to build them.
And while this may almost seem like an argument for nationalization, it's also worth remembering that the Saskatchewan NDP's own crown petro corporation -- SaskOil -- was not by any means a prolific builder of refineries.
No matter which way someone looks, Thomas Mulcair is just plain off. That in itself would be just one thing, if not for the prospect of his screwiness in turn screwing Canada.