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Pipeline project should be stopped, Mulcair says

Jul 11 2012

A damning report on Enbridge Inc.'s inept handling of the 2010 crude oil spill in Michigan should kill the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair said Tuesday in Victoria.

"Northern Gateway should be stopped and the plug should be pulled on it," said Mulcair, who was in town to meet with local community groups and business leaders and attend a fundraising event.

"Today's conclusive report by the Americans, I think, should be the final nail in that coffin."

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday that Enbridge mismanaged the Michigan spill.

The Northern Gateway pipeline, which is facing opposition from First Nations and many British Columbians, would run from Alberta's oil sands to Kitimat, where bitumen would be loaded on to supertankers and shipped to Asian markets.

"The concerns being expressed in B.C., now have to be listened to by everyone," Mulcair said.

"I am firmly opposed to Northern Gateway, as is the NDP. It makes no ecological or economic sense to be taking those huge risks with that very delicate coastline."

The New Democrat leader previously aroused the ire of Albertans by saying the oilsands were driving up the dollar and hurting the manufacturing sectors of central Canada and calling for greener development and massive cleanup efforts.

On Tuesday, Mulcair also criticized the Conservative government's dismantling of environmental protections and said actions such as gutting the Fisheries Act are turning many Canadians to the NDP.

"Canadians want us to protect the environment. They believe in basic principles like polluter-pay," he said.

Changes to the Fisheries Act would have devastating effects on B.C.'s lakes, as the new rules require the presence of a commercial fishery before waters are protected, Mulcair said.

"It is not enough to show a deleterious substance has been put into fish habitat, now you have to be able to prove that, not only were the fish negatively affected, but they're actually going to die," he said.

Polls favourable to the NDP show that Canadians want an alternative to the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the NDP is providing that option, Mulcair said.

Mulcair shrugged off a Conservative attack ad campaign and said, although the NDP is upbeat and wants to take the high road, the party will respond in a similar vein if that is what it takes to show Canadians what is wrong with the Conservative government.

New NDP ads, posted on the party's website, go after Harper's economic record and feature ominous drumbeats and unflattering black and white photos.

jlavoie@timescolonist.com

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