New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa May 10, 2012.
Credits: REUTERS/CHRIS WATTIE
Its opponents lash out at potential environmental consequences.
Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, on the other hand, takes aim at the oilsands with both barrels.
Not only does he exaggerate environmental risks the oilsands and related projects might pose, he also blames the resource for inflating the value of the loonie, thus destroying manufacturing jobs in Ontario and Quebec.
Mulcair makes these outrageous claims even as many other countries shed the same types of jobs, regardless of the value of their currency or the state of their resources.
When Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty made the same claims in February, Premier Alison Redford suggested his comments were "divisive."
Of course they're divisive, that's the game these Eastern politicians are playing.
If you're devoid of solid policies and plans yourself, and your party has been all but shut out on the prairies, what better way to ingratiate yourself to voters east of Manitoba than to bash oil-rich Alberta?
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall had the right idea when he immediately fired back at Mulcair's misleading claims.
Alberta Environment Minister Diana McQueen, who was also a guest on the radio show where Mulcair made his outrageous allegations, echoed Redford when she said the NDP boss was being "divisive" in his treatment of the oilsands.
McQueen described it as "old-style politics - trying to pit one part of the country against another."
Here's a news flash.
Mulcair is an old-style politician.
His endgame is nothing less than routing the federal Tories by undermining confidence in them in jurisdictions where Conservative support is soft.
The prize he seeks is to defeat Harper in the next election and move from the opposition leader's residence at Stornoway into 24 Sussex Drive.
He'd gladly throw Alberta - not exactly a stronghold of NDP support - to the wolves if it suited his political aims in the East and in B.C., where many residents are in a state of panic about the prospect of a pipeline stretching across a sliver of their not-so-pristine wilderness.
A week after Mulcair made his spurious claims, Redford weighed in on his musings.
"I'm not taking them too seriously right now," she said.
She should think twice about that.
It's a sure bet Mulcair won't experience an epiphany after a tour of the oilsands.
His spurious claims, like the "dirty-oil" campaign waged by enviro-extremists, need to be nipped in the bud.
We know Alberta's premier is big on diplomacy and national strategies, but she should join Wall in telling Canadians Mulcair is full of it when he talks about the impact of the oilsands on jobs and the economy.
More to the point, she ought to clarify his erroneous claims for the workers whose votes the NDP courts.
The premier needs to shine a light on the hypocrisy of his stance, when the oilsands are responsible for generating so many badly needed jobs - not only in Alberta - but across the country.
Take our word for it, given the direction Mulcair's party has been taking, it won't be that tough a challenge.