This morning, New Democrat MPs from across the country will get down to business setting up their priorities and strategies ahead of the fall session of the House of Commons.
In an interview with The Tele-gram Tuesday morning before things got started, Leader Thomas Mulcair wanted to talk about balancing environmental concerns with economics, especially when it comes to the natural resource sector.
It’s been a consistent theme for Mulcair since he assumed the party leadership earlier this year.
Essentially, Mulcair said the NDP supports natural resource extraction, but only if environmental costs are built into the developments.
“Step away from the tarsands for a second. Imagine that we’re talking about a manufacturing company that instead of paying the $88-a-tonne tipping fee to dispose of its refuse safely in a sanitary landfill, has been dumping it in the river in the back,” Mulcair said. “Well, you would look at their profits and say that’s not real because you’re not including the environmental cost. That’s all we’re talking about.”
Members of the NDP have said that the reason they’re holding their national caucus meetings in St. John’s is basically because they see fertile ground to win more seats in Newfoundland and Labrador along with the rest of Atlantic Canada.
“In addition to the caucus retreat itself, we’re taking advantage, obviously, of the fact that we have so many people here in the province,” said St. John’s East MP Jack Harris. “We’re going to have events in each riding in the province over the next four or five days after the caucus retreat is over.”
MPs will be holding meetings tomorrow and Thursday in town.
“The caucus retreat, as such, is really the caucus making its plans for the fall session of the House and looking at approaches and priorities and talking about what they’ve heard over the summer from their constituents,” Harris said. “We’d be planning our strategy is what it really boils down to.”
Harris said they’ll be talking about everything from Old Age Security and pension issues to employment insurance and issues with the government’s multi-billion dollar purchase of new F-35 fighter jets.