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Transcanada's Keystone pipeline. (HANDOUT)
Transcanada's Keystone pipeline. (HANDOUT)

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Oil-sands workers press MPs to oppose 'wrongheaded' Keystone pipeline Add to ...

The union that represents many of the workers in Alberta’s oil patch will be on Parliament Hill on Thursday to ask politicians to oppose a pipeline that will carry bitumen to the southern United States for processing.

“We’re going to get into a lot of detail with MPs,” Dave Cole, the president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, said of the Keystone XL project, which has also been the subject of protests in the United States where regulators are taking a hard look at it.

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Mr. Cole and his colleagues will also be holding a news conference to tell Canadians why they want the pipeline stopped. Although the pipeline would be exporting bitumen extracted in Canada, it is a job killer, he said.

His workers, he said, do the job of upgrading the bitumen here in Canada before it becomes oil. But, if the pipeline goes through, that upgrading will be done in the United States.

“The Americans will get the jobs and Albertans, Canadians will get the pollution. It is wrongheaded for the economy of Canada,” Mr. Cole said.

“It’s export on steroid,” he said. “It’s bad for the industry. It inflates prices. It causes unnecessary pressure on supplies and labour shortages just so somebody can make a quick buck. It doesn’t deal with any of the footprint problems of the environment.”

Of course, not everyone in the oil patch sees it that way.

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver spent several days in Washington last month trying to persuade the Americans to approve an extension of the controversial pipeline .

TransCanada’s $7-billion Keystone XL pipeline “would help the U.S. move to a more secure energy future through a socially and environmentally responsible partner in Canada,” Mr. Oliver said at the time.

“It would also bring more than $20-billion in new construction related spending to the U.S. economy and create 20,000 well-paid construction and manufacturing jobs.”

But Mr. Cole said that, one the pipeline is constructed, it will take just 30 people to keep it running

Dewar set to enter NDP leadership fray

The NDP leadership race is about to get more interesting.

The Hill Times is reporting that Ottawa Centre MP Paul Dewar has decided to enter the race and that Mr. Dewar has “a campaign team across the country.”

When The Globe met with Mr. Dewar last week, he said he would not become a candidate unless he had the support and the money that he needed to win. But he repeatedly spoke as if he had already made up his mind.

He is a popular MP, a veteran politician, and bilingual – all things that should serve him well in the face of some stiff competition from party president Brian Topp.

Other New Democrat MPS should be deciding shortly whether they are going to make a run including Robert Chisholm of Nova Scotia, Peter Julian and Nathan Cullen from British Columbia and Thomas Mulcair from Quebec.

Romeo Saganash, a new MP from Northern Quebec, is the only person besides Mr. Topp to declare his hand at this point.

From ballot box to baseball diamond

Speaking of the NDP, they are quite puffed up about the fact that their team won its first championship this week in the Parliament Hill Softball League.

The league, made up of teams from in and around the Hill, plays once a week from Victoria Day until September and has existed since 1985.

But the New Democrats had never made it to the finals. So this victory has them pretty excited.

On top of the party’s success in the spring election, one staffer sent around a memo saying it’s clear that the NDP just “can’t stop winning.”

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