Alberta NDP leader is a man with a problem., but he doesn't seem to realize it.
Until now that problem, most simply, has been federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair. He can't resist trying to jab some needles into Alberta's interests and at least for him there could be some net benefit. For a leader whose best interest is in pandering to Quebec -- where they, like the New York Times don't like our oil but absolutely love our money -- he can afford to bash Alberta a little bit. Maybe it even helps him.
Not so for Mason. If he attacks Alberta's interests there's literally nowhere else for him to turn. Which is why it makes so little sense that he was silent on Mulcair's bizarre "dutch disease" thesis -- the very thesis debunked by every serious economist who's considered it -- and why it makes so little sense that he's burning Alberta's interests now.
In the wake of the Alberta government placing a $30,000 ad in the New York Times promoting the keystone XL -- they may not like Albertan oil but, like Quebec, they sure seem to like Alberta's money -- Mason has blasted the ad as "dishonest."
"The ad is extremely misleading with respect to Alberta's environmental record. It says that we have put a price on carbon," Mason complained. "What we have is a very low price put on carbon intensity emissions."
This is the point at which Mason's logic completely jumps the shark. To complain that the price put on carbon isn't high enough for your tastes, or to complain that you don't like the precise means by which that price is levied is not actually to support an argument that Alberta has put no price on carbon. The price is still levied whether or not Mason thinks it's being levied appropriately.
This logic is every bit as spurious as Mason's insistence that the pipeline represents the export of oil refining jobs to the United States. Specific market forces guide the decision-making on when and where refineries are constructed, and those market forces do not favour building them in Alberta.
Not to mention the detail that even if every drop of Oklahoma-bound oil to be transported via the Keystone XL were refined in Canada that product would still need to be exported... say, by something such as a pipeline...
If only Mason's biggest problem were Thomas Mulcair. It turns out Brian Mason's biggest problem may actually be Brian Mason.