Gormley: Mulcair should pipe up on pipelines


Gormley: Mulcair should pipe up on pipelines

John Gormley

Photograph by: File photo , StarPhoenix

From politics to a remarkable chapter in the history of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, an interesting week has unfolded. And, amid the new season feel of students returning to school, your humble columnist offers the following early September reflections:

With the marathon federal election campaign having spanned the month of August, the coming Labour Day weekend ushers in the second and final act of the election.

The remaining six weeks of the campaign will concentrate our political attention on three aspects: the parties will fully unveil and cost their election platforms, which makes our job as voters easier; the focus on issues will narrow, likely to the question of which party and leader is best trusted and suited to oversee the critically important role of government in our financial lives and the economy; and, underneath the large national campaign, 338 local elections will take shape, often on your doorstep, phone or inbox.

For 100 years, from the 1860s, political party leaders visited dozens of towns and cities by train, pulling in on so-called whistle stop tours. The same thing happens now, except it's by chartered jet.

One feature of a visit is the local media stop, where the leaders field questions, often focusing on regional campaigns and local issues. As a talk-show host with decidedly conservative leanings - in one form or another, I've been covering (or in two cases campaigning in) federal campaigns since 1979 - it's always interesting to spend time one-on-one with the leaders.

Having been dodged by Liberal Justin Trudeau's handlers for two days, and being promised a post-Labour Day interview with Stephen Harper, it was good to spend studio time with NDP leader Thomas Mulcair.

Never afraid of a good debate, Mulcair chatted with me about budget numbers, pipelines, genetically modified crops, grain marketing, and the federal equalization program. Most puzzling was the NDP leader's refusal to comment - favourably or otherwise - on any of the four major oil pipeline proposals that are important to Western Canada.

Defaulting to the regulatory approvals process, which he criticizes and promises to beef up, Mulcair repeatedly stated that it's up to pipeline companies to propose and government regulators to approve. Many of Mulcair's most ardent supporters on the political left are the same people who have made it their life mission to block all pipelines in their bid to stop the oil economy.

If President Obama can tell the world that he's not keen on Keystone XL and Harper can indicate his support for certain pipelines, the least Mulcair can do is tell us where he stands.


This weekend marks the halfway point of the Canadian Football League season, when the Labour Day Classic against Winnipeg unfolds at Mosaic Stadium. With the tumultuous events that have rocked - and now seemingly energized - Rider Nation, it should be an exciting day.

Within 24 hours of a bizarre and wrong-headed coaching call by the Riders' Cory Chamblin, he was sacked along with general manager Brendan Taman, whose misfortune was either giving too much rein to a coach who needed supervision or buying into Chamblin's increasingly disappointing decisions.

In any event, Taman's fate was sealed. And for one of the genuinely nicest and most ego-free people in football, it was sad to see, but necessary in a business based on entertainment and results - neither of which an 0-9 team has delivered.

Three thoughts continue to swirl: first, for new Rider President and CEO Craig Reynolds, this was a fast track introduction to the rigours of running the CFL's most iconic franchise - call it a quick PhD-level course in management; second, an often rabid fan base reaffirmed that we will not settle for mediocrity and erratic team behaviour - these fans actually behave like deeply invested owners; and, third, can a team of terrific and talented young men turn a winless season into a playoff berth? Just watch.


With two oil reliant provinces tabling their first quarter financial updates on the same day, the Alberta-Saskatchewan tale of two provinces has never been more stark. Alberta, barring divine intervention, is on the way to a deficit of at least $6.5 billion. Saskatchewan's challenge is to avoid a deficit of $292 million.

Most peculiar is the contrast in what each province is estimating the price of oil will be for the rest of this year. Saskatchewan's estimate is $49.50 a barrel; Alberta's is $55.85. If prices don't hit those targets, deficits will be larger.

Betting people may want to avoid putting money anywhere near the pony named Alberta.

John Gormley

John Gormley

Photograph by: File photo, StarPhoenix


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