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Libs and NDP spar over CKNW interview

B.C. Premier Christy Clark appears to support an oil sands refinery in Kitimat. Now her party is trying to make an election issue out of the media mogul who proposed it.

In a Wednesday morning press release, the BC Liberals called out the NDP for failing to show support for David Black's "made-in-BC" refinery proposal, as well as "disparaging remarks" they claim NDP energy critic John Horgan made about Black, "the B.C. businessman who's looking to create thousands of jobs."

The Liberals quote from a recent CKNW interview, where Horgan apparently said, "I think it's irresponsible to assume because the guy has an idea that it's going to be successful…as they say, there's a sucker born every minute."

"It's not leadership to tell a businessman that your party has no interest in good ideas, in seeing if it can work and then to call him a sucker," Energy Minister Rich Coleman said in the press release.

In an interview with The Tyee, Horgan said the Liberal comments were a "ham-fisted" attempt to "smear" the NDP campaign.

One need only take his interview comments in their proper context, he said.

Horgan prefaced his so-called "disparaging remarks" about Black, according to an interview transcript, with the following:

"Call me pragmatic…for saying the obvious, that this guy's got a long way to go, and I wish him well. If he's got $25 billion that he wants to invest in British Columbia, bring it on, Mr. Black."

Does Horgan think his comments were cherry-picked and spun against him? "At a minimum," he said. "The Liberals are trying to find traction on something -- anything."

A recent report produced for the B.C. government claimed Black's refinery proposal "has economic merit and should be considered seriously."

Geoff Dembicki reports for The Tyee.

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