Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh doesn't understand the economic importance of oil to Canada and should stop making Albertan families anxious by pushing to cancel the TMX pipeline, Alberta NDP leader and former premier Rachel Notley said today.
"I think, obviously, the position that Jagmeet Singh has taken with respect to TMX is wrong," Notley told CBC News Network's Power & Politics. "I know that the vast majority of Albertans want that pipeline built and I'm one of those Albertans.
"It's very, very frustrating to see that people don't seem to understand how important it is, not just to Alberta, but to all Canadians, and so I understand the frustration people feel when they hear that kind of language out of people who maybe haven't done all their research in terms of understanding how important it is to the economy," the New Democrat told host Vassy Kapelos.
Notley, now the leader of the opposition in Alberta's legislature, said Singh's continued opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project is hurting workers in the province and ramping up investor uncertainty in a way that could curb job growth and hurt the national economy.
In Monday's federal election, Singh's party was reduced from 39 seats to 24 — but now holds the balance of power in a divided Parliament.
Singh has pledged to work to halt the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline in the House of Commons. In the event the project comes to a parliamentary vote, however, the Conservatives would be expected to vote with the Liberals to defend the pipeline.
"[Singh] does not have the leverage to make this change in the House of Commons as it's currently constructed," Notley said. "So he should stop talking about it and focus on things where he has more consensus with respect to his priorities, like pharmacare.
"I think he can win on that and he needs to stop hurting jobs and accelerating anxiety around the kitchen tables in the province of Alberta."
Throughout the federal election campaign, Singh said repeatedly that the $4.5 billion Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government spent to purchase the existing pipeline, and the billions more that will be required to fund its expansion, amount to a subsidy for the fossil fuel industry.
"It is not an oil and gas subsidy," Notley said. "It makes money for Canadians. And it's not even close. And so he needs to understand it from that perspective and, quite frankly, all Canadians need it to be successful."