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Uneasy allies seek to kill Senate

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NDP leader Tom Mulcair will meet Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall to discuss abolishing the senate.

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NDP leader Tom Mulcair will meet Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall to discuss abolishing the senate.

REGINA -- Two political leaders who have butted heads over the oilsands and the economy have become unlikely allies in a push to abolish the Senate.

Federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is scheduled to meet Monday with Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall in Regina.

They are expected to talk about the state of the Canadian economy, the Senate, health care and the federal skills training program.

The two leaders have both said the Senate -- which has been rocked by an expense scandal -- should be scrapped.

It is also expected Wall will raise the proposed Keystone XL pipeline as well as comments Mulcair made about the booming oil sector in Western Canada driving up the dollar and hurting other parts of the economy, such as manufacturing in Ontario and Quebec.

It's a scenario dubbed Dutch disease, a term coined in the Netherlands when a natural gas find in that country led to declines in manufacturing in the 1960s.

Wall has called Mulcair's comments divisive. The premier said in May 2012 resources have been the cure for the economy, not the problem.

Earlier this year, Wall also accused Mulcair of betraying Canadian interests when the NDP leader criticized Ottawa's environmental record and the Keystone XL pipeline while speaking in Washington.

Wall supports building the pipeline, which would carry oilsands bitumen to Gulf Coast refineries.

Mulcair has said there is nothing unusual about the Opposition talking about the government while abroad.

Wall isn't the only potentially unfriendly premier Mulcair has met with recently. During the summer, Mulcair met with Robert Ghiz, Liberal premier of Prince Edward Island.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Mulcair said he had assumed he'd find stiff resistance to his campaign to abolish the Senate in tiny P.E.I., which is constitutionally guaranteed four senators and an equal number of members of Parliament.

"Premier Ghiz was far more open than I was expecting," said Mulcair.

Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Manitoba say the Senate ought to be abolished.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 7, 2013 A22

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