A former New Democrat MP says NDP leader Tom Mulcair should be honest about his position on Kinder Morgan’s plan to triple oil exports from the coast of Metro Vancouver.
“I think that he’s trying to hedge his bets too much, and isn’t really coming clean with the electorate as to where he stands,” Jim Manly told the Straight in a phone interview Thursday (August 13). “We don’t know where he stands.”
Manly is the same ex-NDP MP who said in a February 2015 interview that the party has “lost its way”.
In that interview, Manly also said that the party’s “Ottawa apparatchiks” blocked his son Paul from seeking the nomination to represent the new riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith in this year’s election.
The younger Manly is currently running for the Greens, and his father is actively campaigning for him. A portion of the elder Manly’s former Cowichan-Malahat-The Islands riding is included in Nanaimo-Ladysmith.
In the new interview, the former NDP MP was reminded about his comments last February that the NDP has gone astray.
“If you look at Tom Mulcair in the federal leaders' debate,” Manly replied, referring to the August 6 debate, “he was not willing to come out and say that he was opposed to the Kinder Morgan pipeline.
“Even though you have NDP candidates in the Greater Vancouver area, like Kennedy Stewart, you know, who are strongly opposed to Kinder Morgan and the whole of the Greater Vancouver area, you know, the people there realize that this is not something that is desirable for our area, and yet Tom Mulcair is unwilling to make a commitment to oppose Kinder Morgan.”
In the debate, Mulcair didn’t say whether he’s for or against Kinder Morgan’s plan to bring 890,000 barrels of oil day to tankers in Burrard Inlet.
In this week’s edition of the Straight, North Vancouver Green candidate Claire Martin said that Mulcair is “flip floppy at best” about the Kinder Morgan project.
The NDP’s candidate in North Vancouver, Carleen Thomas, dismissed claims that the party leader is taking a cautious approach. Thomas maintained that the current environmental review process is flawed, and does not allow for a fair and scientific evaluation of proposed industrial ventures.
Manly said that Greens and New Democrats have a different approach to the oil sands of Alberta, whose voters elected their first NDP provincial government in May this year.
“New Democrats look to have continued expansion of the tar sands, and the Greens recognize that, you know, the extraction of bitumen will continue for some time, but they do not want to see that expanded,” he said.
The former MP suggested that Mulcair is facing a “lot of pressure” from both the oil industry and organized labour, hence his malleable position on Kinder Morgan. “And certainly now from the Alberta government of Rachel Notley,” he added.
“But given the situation of climate, the situation that our grandchildren are going to be facing, you know,” Manly also said, “we cannot keep on releasing any more greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. We have to start cutting back seriously. And I don’t see the NDP has a policy that would lead to that.”