NDP leader pledges his support
New Saskatchewan NDP leader says he supports Keystone XL pipeline.
Newly elected Opposition NDP Leader Cam Broten has clarified his position on the Keystone XL pipeline project.
“To clear the record … I support the Keystone XL pipeline because of a triple bottom line assessment looking at environmental, economic and social reasons,” Broten told reporters Wednesday at the legislature.
Broten came under fire from Premier Brad Wall and the Saskatchewan Party for comments he made Tuesday when he was asked about federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair’s statements against the pipeline project.
Broten didn’t definitively say on Tuesday whether he supported Keystone XL, instead remarking to reporters that “if the National Energy Board approves it based on the triple bottom line of environmental, economic and social benefits, it’s something that we support.”
In the legislature Wednesday, Wall pointed out that the National Energy Board approved the project three years ago and encouraged Broten to “have the courage to stand up, go against Mr. Mulcair and support the Keystone pipeline.”
When asked Wednesday if his now-clear support for the project puts him at odds with the federal leader, Broten said, “Mr. Mulcair will make his comments.”
“My job first and foremost is to stand up for Saskatchewan’s interests,” he added, “to develop our resources in a sustainable and responsible manner, and that’s the approach that I’ll be taking and our caucus and party will be taking with me as leader.”
Wall said he was pleased to hear Broten’s position was clarified.
“It is a change, but it’s a welcome one,” the premier said after question period. “This is the right place to land.”
Wall said perhaps part of the problem was that Broten didn’t have his “facts quite right” regarding the National Energy Board approval.
“We all make mistakes,” Wall said. “I sure do. He’s come upon the right position here and I hope it stays that way.”
Wall said although a large number of Sask. Party members also are federal Conservative supporters, “that doesn’t mean, though, that you just line up with those federal positions,” adding his provincial government hasn’t always been in agreement with Ottawa.
Wall recently travelled to Washington, D.C., to build support for the Keystone project, which the premier says will financially benefit Saskatchewan. Mulcair, who opposes the pipeline, has during a trip to Washington this week told Americans the Canadian government is “playing people for fools” with claims about its environmental record.
The premier said he thinks Mulcair is trying to make Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government look bad, but is hurting Canadian interests while doing so. Wall also said he doesn’t think Mulcair “gets the West.”
“Unfortunately for Mr. Broten, he should be finding himself in a position often where his federal leader is not representing the interests of the province, and I hope he calls him to task for that,” Wall said.