NDP leader pledges his sup­port

Regina Leader-Post - - Front Page - JOE COU­TURE jcou­ture@thes­

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.

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