Premier Moe demands 'new deal,' says he is handing Justin Trudeau a 'fire extinguisher'
Scott Moe says he wants Trudeau to cancel carbon tax, change equalization and build pipelines
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe today called on a newly re-elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to stop what he described as a "fire" of regional alienation "burning" in Western Canada.
Moe issued a statement Tuesday asking the federal Liberals for a "new deal" for Western Canada, calling on the prime minister to kill the carbon tax, commit to negotiating a new equalization formula and pursue new pipeline projects.
"Last night's election results showed the sense of frustration and alienation in Western Canada is now greater than it has been at any point in my lifetime," Moe wrote.
"There is a fire burning here in the Prairie provinces and what I am doing handing the prime minister this letter is handing him a fire extinguisher, and I'm asking him not to show up with a gas can," Moe told reporters Tuesday morning.
When asked if his comments were fanning the flames of Western separation, Moe called himself a "frustrated federalist."
"The conversations that are happening in the Prairie provinces are very problematic. In no way is my tone divisive. Everything I've said is reactive to federal policies that have been put forward over the course of the last four years," Moe said.
In Saskatchewan, the Conservatives swept all 14 federal ridings. In Alberta, 33 of 34 ridings went Conservative. Neither province elected a Liberal. In Saskatchewan, 64 per cent of votes went to the Conservative Party of Canada, while 69 per cent of Alberta voters chose the Tories.
"We have no representation in the minority government," Moe said.
When asked what happens if Trudeau doesn't go along with his wish list, Moe said, "I'm not going to answer what happens if he doesn't accept this. I'm asking him to accept this."
Moe said that if Trudeau is listening to the frustrations of Western Canadians, as he claimed in his victory speech, he should "prove it."
Moe's approach to the new minority federal government is the opposite of the position taken by New Brunswick Conservative Premier Blaine Higgs, also an outspoken critic of the carbon tax. Higgs told reporters Tuesday his government would look at creating its own carbon price to replace the federal government's backstop.
Of New Brunswick's 10 seats, six went to the Liberal Party, one went to the Green Party and three went to the CPC.
Sask. NDP Leader says Moe stoked 'separatist sentiments'
Saskatchewan opposition Leader Ryan Meili said Moe's letter "did the opposite" of uniting.
Meili released his own statement Tuesday in response to Moe's.
"I will not stoke separatist sentiments, as we sadly watched our Premier do today. I am a proud Canadian," Meili said.
He acknowledged that Saskatchewan faces challenges that are "not insignificant."
Meili accused Moe of ignoring equalization throughout the campaign and only raising it when it was "politically convenient."
"We can do better than anger and division. A leader would promote our interests within Confederation and work to make life better for people here in Saskatchewan," Meili said.