The issue of U.S approval of the Keystone XL pipeline is a booby trap for Canadian politicians visiting Washington – apart from Conservative Cabinet Ministers and Premiers who are down there selling the tar sands. Thomas Mulcair, the leader of our NDP, managed to avoid the trap by refusing to answer a direct question on the pipeline, such as: “Why won’t you give a simple answer, yes or no, whether you back the Keystone XL.”
If The NDP Leader speaks against the pipeline, he will prejudice the party’s chances in Saskatchewan, where it has traditional support, and in Alberta, where it has a seat. Approximately a year ago, just after his election as a leader of the NDP, Mulcair said that his party supported the exploitation of the tar sands, only demanding the Government enact and enforce tough regulations. If he supports the exploitation of the tar sands, logically he will be in favour of a pipeline to take the product to new markets.
Keystone XL will dovetail nicely with other pipelines already constructed that will take tar sands bitumen to specialized refineries in Texas located on the Gulf Coast. From there the refined oil can be exported overseas or sold on the American market.
Assuming he gets these tough regulations, where will Mulcair and the NDP stand on the tar sands? Canadians will demand that the question will be answered.