Notley was so critical of Singh that at times I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t interviewing United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney
Alberta’s NDP Premier Rachel Notley has all but declared war with federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.
In a remarkable interview Friday, Notley criticized her fellow New Democrat as thoughtless, elitist and pretty much an enemy of the working people.
She was so critical of Singh that at times I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t interviewing United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney.
She ridiculed Singh’s opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline project and literally laughed at his suggestion on how Canada can best wean itself off Saudi Arabian oil.
“What happened with Jagmeet is that he’s learning that things are not as simple as they sometimes seem,” said Notley of the federal leader who is based in Ontario but announced this week he is running for a byelection seat in Burnaby South in British Columbia.
Notley is irritated by Singh’s highly charged and simplistic attacks on the federal deal to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline project from Kinder Morgan.
Singh has said Canada “should not be spending public dollars on a 65-year-old leaky pipeline.”
Notley has shot back by pointing out the project will create thousands of jobs as workers build a new parallel line to allow Alberta to ship more oilsands bitumen to the West Coast for transport overseas.
“I am a New Democrat that comes from the part of the party that understands that you don’t bring about equality and fairness without focusing on jobs for regular working people,” said Notley. “To forget that and to throw them under the bus as collateral damage in pursuit of some other high level policy objective is a recipe for failure and it’s also very elitist.”
Notley has lost what little patience she had for Singh because the Trans Mountain project is not just important for Alberta’s economy but is crucial to the survival of her government as it heads toward a provincial election expected in May.
Her main opponent is Kenney, whose party is well ahead of the NDP in public opinion polls and who delights in claiming that, as fellow NDP members, Notley and Singh are anti-business comrades-in-arms.
Being tied to Singh obviously bothers Notley. Her comments Friday were designed to detach herself from the federal NDP and, really, she couldn’t be putting more distance between herself and Singh if she had strapped him to NASA’s mission to the sun that launches Saturday morning (and I’m still wondering if she’s tempted).
In case there’s any doubt of Notley’s animosity toward Singh she did the unspeakable for a New Democrat and compared him to her arch rival, Kenney.
Both politicians have done nothing to get a pipeline built to “tidewater,” said Notley, Singh by doing all he can to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline now, and Kenney by failing to get one built when he was part of the federal Conservative government: “He (Kenney) has a record, interestingly his record looks like somebody who’s aligned with Jagmeet Singh, not somebody who’s in favour of Kinder Morgan.”
Notley is exasperated with Singh for all kinds of reasons. When asked about his suggestion that Central Canada look to other nations to replace oil from human-rights laggard Saudi Arabia, Notley laughed out loud. The obvious answer, she said, is to have Central Canada get more of its oil from Alberta.
“It struck me that that was a thing that maybe he should have thought through before he said it.”
Of course to get more Alberta oil to Central and Eastern Canada would mean building more pipeline capacity and Singh is defiantly anti-pipeline.
He’d apparently rather have Quebec buy more foreign oil than Canadian oil.
Notley wonders, though, if there might be a silver lining for Alberta in the diplomatic spat between Canada and Saudi Arabia.
It might make Central Canadians, particularly in Quebec, more amenable to the idea of a new pipeline project, call it Energy East 2.0, that would pump Alberta oil east for domestic, not foreign, consumption.
But Notley said governments need to jump-start the process.
“Rather than letting the private sector just sort of hurl itself into the abyss and hope for regulatory approval however long down the road, I think it would behoove provincial and federal governments to think about this from an infrastructure point of view and going forward,” said Notley.
She chose her words carefully, not suggesting governments go so far as to put up the money for new pipelines as Ottawa has done for Trans Mountain. But …
“It’s too much to be left to an organic solution to be found within the market. I think that all governments that are impacted need to sit down and think about how we can do this differently.”
To do that Notley would be glad to talk with any provincial or federal politicians.
Just not, apparently, Jagmeet Singh.