Since May 13th, I’ve been participating in very useful meetings in Ukraine with Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs.
When we left Canada, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair was getting into hot water with ill-informed remarks about resource developments in western Canada. I thought, by the time our Committee returned home, he would have extricated himself. But not so.
Instead, he’s repeating the poisonous notion that resource projects in the West – and only the West – are a “disease” doing damage to the national economy. He depicts himself as a “victim”, being “bullied” by western Premiers. And he insults Premiers Wall, Redford and Clark as “messengers” for another bully, Stephen Harper.
This is astounding behaviour. It’s clearly calculated to be hurtful.
Different economists have different views about the interaction between resource developments and the manufacturing sector. Most opinion suggests any negative impact on manufacturing is minor, and largely offset by the positive effects of resource projects on overall economic growth.
But whatever economic debate there might be, there is no doubt about the political implications of what many westerners are now calling the “Mulcair disease”.
Can you imagine Mr. Mulcair attacking Ontario in such a demeaning fashion? Would he ever dismiss the Premier of Quebec as he has the western Premiers?
The point is clear. This man doesn’t understand the subtleties and sensitivities of Canadian nation-building. It’s always a delicate work-in-progress. You can’t take our national cohesion for granted. And you never pit region-against-region, or sector-against-sector.
This is not Mr. Mulcair’s first offence. Remember, he’s also against the Clarity Act. In any future referendum on separatism – it’s OK with him to let this country go on some fuzzy ballot-question with a margin of only 50-percent-plus-one.
Western elder-statesmen like Roy Romanow and the late Allan Blakeney understood how wrong this would be for Canada. They also had a long history of defending western Canada’s natural resources.
Mr. Mulcair doesn’t get it.