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NEWS: NDP leadership candidate Mulcair on NAFTA, tar sands and perimeter security

Yesterday, Outremont MP Thomas Mulcair declared his candidacy for the leadership of the federal New Democrats.

iPolitics had “an exclusive and wide-range interview” with Mulcair, previously a Liberal environment minister in Quebec, and reports:

NAFTA: “Mulcair says he supports NAFTA and helped draft some of its provisions on professional services. ‘To some people, the NAFTA is an anathema,’ he said. ‘The NAFTA is the first international agreement that had provisions dealing with the environment. You can’t throw out the baby with the bath water.'”

Chapter 11: “What he would like to change, however, is the way the Conservatives are allowing the U.S. to try to use the trade agreement. ‘When you look at how Chapter 11 has been enforced, when you are told that a company has a right under the NAFTA to continue to export a substance that our government has considered deleterious, a substance that was an additive in gasoline. When you look at the fact that the Americans are now fighting back on a ban that I helped enforce in Quebec on 2-4-D, which is a pesticide, telling us that we have no right to ban 2-4-D, then I say we have to stand up and fight back and just tell the Americans that they are not going to determine for us that we have to add certain poisons to our environment and that’s not what the NAFTA is all about.'”

Tar sands: Mulcair says, “No one who is conscious of the size and scope of the oil sands in our economic life in Canada would ever call for an end to their exploitation. But anyone who has ever looked at the way they are being exploited realizes that the cumulative effect on the air, the soil and the water is something that the federal government has been ignoring and that cleanup is being left to future generations.”

Environmental laws: “Mulcair said Canada doesn’t need new environmental laws. It has to do a better job of enforcing the legislation its already got – especially when it comes to the oil sands.”

Perimeter security: Mulcair says, “Canada has to be able to be able to continue to stand up for its role in the world and in its negotiations with the Americans – whether on softwood lumber where it was a complete and utter sellout by the Conservatives and the Bloc – or whether it is on the current negotiations on perimeter security. We’ve just got to stop being such chumps when it comes to dealing with the Americans. We have to understand that it is in their best interest and in ours to keep things moving.”

F-35s: “Mulcair would halt Canada’s purchase of F-35 jets without guarantees of contracts for Canadian companies and spend money on services for Canada’s veterans and equipment for its armed forces rather than on changing the name of Canada’s navy and air force.” He says, “This is about creation of jobs. If we’re spending Canadian taxpayers money to procure and secure new aircraft for our military, we’re going to get a lot of the spinoff here. We have a huge aerospace industry in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba and other places – B.C. even has some – but it would be absurd for us to continue with this process the way we’re doing it now.”

Afghanistan: “Mulcair endorses the position that Layton adopted in 2006, that all sides, including the Taliban, have to sit down together and work for peace.”

Middle East: “Mulcair would like Canada to play a constructive role in creating safe, negotiated borders for Israel and Palestine.”

Mulcair reportedly has the support of 29 of the 59 member NDP caucus in Quebec. The NDP leadership convention takes place March 24 in Toronto.

The full iPolitics article is at http://www.ipolitics.ca/2011/10/14/weve-got-to-stop-being-such-chumps-mulcair-says-of-foreign-policy/.