NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair responds, but gives no commitment to moratorium

After many months of requests, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair finally responded to one of our members, on the issue of a moratorium. Our member had asked the NDP to commit to protecting the Gulf of St. Lawrence from oil and gas exploration and development. She noted “In your leadership run, you indicated that the precautionary principle should be upheld, and that drilling should not proceed at this time. This forward thinking no doubt garnered support for you and your party. Now is the time to put this intention into action!”

Here is NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair’s response:

From:  Date: December 6, 2012 5:34:30 PM AST
Subject: RE: need for moratorium in Gulf of St. Lawrence

Dear Trudy,

Thank you for your persistence and writing in support of protecting the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Please know that I remain concerned about the Conservative government’s refusal to conduct a proper environmental assessment of the Old Harry drilling project. As you no doubt are aware, Environment Minister Peter Kent has denied the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board’s request for a federal review. The Board requested a review after it had received a flood of letters from Canadians concerned about the safety of the project.

I am pleased to say that NDP Environment Critic Megan Leslie (Halifax) has firmly stood up against the Conservative government’s refusal to conduct a proper environmental review. She recently said, “People in these communities saw what happened in the Gulf of Mexico and want to make sure the same tragedy doesn’t wash up on the shores of the St. Lawrence. They want to be assured that this drilling will be done safely. They shouldn’t be waved away by the Minister.”

You can read more about this at http://www.ndp.ca/news/new-democrats-call-on-kent-to-show-leadership-protect-st-lawrence

As you know, New Democrats have been working on this issue for a long time and have been urging the Conservatives to review and improve Canada’s oil drilling regulations. While they continue to claim that these regulations are among the toughest in the world, this is simply not the case. New Democrats have learned that the regulations on Canadian oil drilling practices are less strict than those in the U.S., and we are very concerned about the looming cuts to the Environmental Assessment Agency.

You can be sure that New Democrats will continue to stand up against risky drilling projects. We will also continue to urge Minister Kent to comply with the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board’s request for a proper environmental assessment of the Old Harry drilling project.

Once again, thanks for writing.


Thomas Mulcair, P.C., M.P. (Outremont) Leader of the Official Opposition

New Democratic Party of Canada