'This is my job': Sask. premier answers critics of pitch to Calgary companies
Brad Wall insists he's simply selling existing benefits
Premier Brad Wall says he's done nothing wrong in inviting energy companies in Calgary to pull up stakes and move corporate jobs to Saskatchewan.
We're going to tell that story.- Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall
"This is my job, to try to attract permanent new jobs to the province and to try and improve the corporate presence," Wall said.
Wall is facing criticism after a letter he sent to Calgary-based Whitecap Resources was made public. In the letter, the oil and gas company is offered incentives to move to Saskatchewan.
Wall said he's done nothing more than talk about existing policies that may prove to be attractive.
"We're going to tell that story; we've been doing this for a long time."
"I ask companies every time we meet with them if they would move their headquarters or increase their presence. That's why Mosaic is here, they moved their regional headquarters from the U.S."
Efforts 'likely do violate' trade deals: Notley
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says she is looking into whether Wall is violating provincial trade agreements by offering incentives to get the Calgary oil company to relocate.
"The efforts of the province of Saskatchewan at this point likely do violate the New West Partnership as well as the AIT [Agreement on Internal Trade]," Notley said at an announcement in Red Deer, Alta. on Thursday.
The New West Partnership is an agreement between British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Article 12 of the New West Partnership states that parties shall not directly or indirectly provide business subsidies that "entice or assist the relocation of an enterprise from another party."
The AIT states a government is prohibited from offering incentives that entice a business to relocate in that province or territory.
Notley said she would review the trade agreements with Economic Development and Trade Minister Deron Bilous to see if Alberta needs to respond.
The Saskatchewan government provided a statement in response to Notley's remarks.
"As a government we have consistently worked to attract investment and jobs to our province. This is nothing new and is a policy objective we would expect all governments to pursue," the statement reads.
"Jurisdictions across Canada offer incentives of varying kinds. This is not unusual. We are confident our ongoing efforts to attract business and investment to Saskatchewan are within the provisions of the New West Partnership."
Sask. and Alberta battle over budgets
This seems to be just the latest escalation in a cross-border budget squabble with Alberta.
Wall, in his pitch to Calgary's corporate sector, highlighted reductions to corporate and personal income taxes, and has vowed that, unlike Alberta, his province will not have a carbon tax.
"This budget makes Saskatchewan more productive."
But the critical political gaze is not only coming from Alberta, Saskatchewan's Opposition NDP is also weighing in over Wall's braggadocio take on the budget.
We have a premier that's making it up on the fly.- Saskatchewan NDP's Trent Wotherspoon
Interim leader Trent Wotherspoon said the NDP is also anxious to see more jobs in the province, but that Wall's budget will hinder growth, not help.
"We have a disastrous budget on this front, a billion dollars in tax hikes in a budget that really devastates small business across Saskatchewan," Wotherspoon said.
From his perspective, Wotherspoon says that it appears that Wall's letter offers incentives that do not exist and were not outlined in the budget.
"We have a premier that's making it up on the fly and that's scrambling and that's trying to actually distract from his deceitful damaging budget."