NDP candidate doubles down on LNG opposition despite leader’s support
OTTAWA -- NDP candidate Svend Robinson is standing firm in his opposition to any new oil and gas infrastructure, despite NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh's support of the B.C. liquefied natural gas pipeline.
"I oppose any new oil and gas infrastructure, including that particular one," Robinson told Evan Solomon when asked about the B.C. LNG project on an episode of CTV Question Period, airing Sunday.
"We're probably going to have to leave a lot of the oil and gas in the ground if we're going to meet these targets. We owe that to our children," he said.
Robinson first announced his opposition to any new oil and gas infrastructure in an interview with Don Martin that aired Tuesday on CTV Power Play. The comment sparked headlines and even attracted the ire of more than one politician on Twitter, with both Alberta UCP Leader Jason Kenney’s office and former Tory leadership candidate Brad Trost slamming Robinson's stance online.
Robinson served for over 25 years in the House of Commons under the NDP banner. However, his position on oil and gas pits Robinson against Singh, his own party’s freshly minted leader.
"I've already mentioned my support for this project given the fact that they’ve done consultation in a very meaningful way, broadly speaking," Singh told Solomon in an episode of CTV Question Period, which aired Jan. 13.
Robinson said he's also faced backlash from members of his own party over his strict stance on oil and gas.
"People say to me what about Alberta, what about those workers, you don’t give a damn about those workers. I’ve even heard that from some New Democrats," Robinson said.
"Those workers have children whose planet is in peril. And the last chance we have is the next election to make sure there’s enough New Democrats, hopefully led by Jagmeet Singh, to say we put the planet and we put people before corporate profits."
Robinson said dissent within the NDP is nothing new.
"We are a democratic party," he said.
"I've been around a while, you know -- there's been challenges in the past in terms of some issues, on Palestine, a number of other issues," Robinson said.
Robinson wasn't shy about voicing his personal opinion during the interview. He volunteered his position on the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, an issue about which has been active for years. Robinson said he supports more economic pressure on Israel within the "context of the occupied territories.”
“In the context of the occupied territories, I would say absolutely we have got to do everything in our power to ensure that we put economic pressure, that boycott and divestment in the occupied territories, absolutely.”
He also touted his support for creating a national pharmaceutical company.
When pressed on whether these are NDP policies, Robinson said "it’s not yet, and I'm going to work hard to make it a policy."
If Robinson and Singh both come out on top in their ridings in the fall election, the two politicians will share a border between their two neighboring constituencies of Burnaby North-Seymour and Burnaby South.