Mulcair tones down anti-oilsands rhetoric in advance of Fort McMurray visit

Associated Press

OTTAWA - Tom Mulcair is dialling back the NDP's anti-oilsands rhetoric as he prepares for his first visit to Alberta's massive, unconventional petroleum deposits.

The NDP leader is to tour Suncor's oilsands project near Fort McMurray on Thursday.

The visit is akin to walking into the lion's den for Mulcair, who has been lambasted by western premiers for blaming booming oilsands exports for artificially inflating the Canadian dollar and hollowing out the country's manufacturing sector — a phenomenon dubbed the "Dutch disease."

Mulcair insists he's not against development; he's only advocating sustainable development.

And he says that applies not just to the oilsands but to natural resource projects all across the country.

Mulcair also insists he's got "nothing against provincial politicians," after referring dismissively earlier this month to western premiers as "messengers" of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

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