NDP questions Premier Moe's motivation for trip to Toronto
Moe met with Ontario premier, banking industry and made speech at private club
The Saskatchewan NDP is questioning the motivation for Premier Scott Moe's latest trip to Toronto.
Moe was in Toronto last Thursday and Friday with Finance Minister Donna Harpauer. The trip included a meeting with Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli.
The NDP is raising concerns about a speech Moe delivered at a private club on Friday at noon at the Albany Club. The club describes itself as "the premier private club for leaders in Canada's business and Conservative political spheres."
The lunch was $48 for members and $60 for guests.
"That's my big question. Were the bank meetings and the meetings with Ford just sort of tacked on to allow for taxpayer funding to cover what was really a very partisan event going to speak at the Conservatives only exclusive Albany Club," said NDP Leader Ryan Meili.
"I don't think going to that sort of event would be the sort of thing we should be covering as taxpayers," Meili said.
The public appearance schedule for the premier and cabinet members provided by the government of Saskatchewan on May 3 did not include the Toronto trip.
Last week the Meili and the NDP criticized Moe and his cabinet's spending on travel.
Moe denied the reason for the trip was the speech at the Albany Club. He said the "primary focus" of the trip was to meet with three major financial institutions, RBC, CIBC and Scotiabank. He said he was asked to go with Harpauer on the trip to Toronto.
"The finance minister does it each and every year. This year I was invited and decided to travel with the finance minister on this."
In March 2018, Crown Investments Corporation Minister Joe Hargrave traveled to Toronto to meet with investment banks.
Moe and Ford discuss carbon tax, trade barriers
In their meeting Friday, Moe and Ford discussed the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal's recent ruling that the federal government has the constitutional power to implement a carbon tax in provinces that don't have a carbon price of their own.
Moe has said his province will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.. Ontario is awaiting a ruling in a similar case.
A joint statement from the premiers following the meeting said they also discussed support for pipelines and farmers.
The two also agreed to create a Joint Red Tape Reduction Working Group to find ways to reduce interprovincial trade barriers.
Moe heading to Washington
Next week Moe will head on his second trip to Washington D.C. of this year. Moe spent five days there in February. He said his itinerary for next week's trip would be released in the next few days.
On a trip to Washington last June, Moe met with senators, members of congress and members of President Donald Trump's cabinet. Moe also met with Mick Mulvaney, who is now acting White House Chief of Staff.
Thanks to <a href="https://twitter.com/MickMulvaneyOMB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MickMulvaneyOMB</a> for meeting this morning.<br><br>Appreciated the chance to discuss trade and opportunities between Saskatchewan/Canada, and our largest trading partner. <a href="https://t.co/Oal3znqSDp">pic.twitter.com/Oal3znqSDp</a>—@PremierScottMoe
"This is a relationship that is most important now and most important for us to continue to invest in this trade relationship with our largest partners."
Moe said he would be discussing the recently signed USMCA trade deal, steel and aluminum tariffs.
Moe's two previous trips to Washington cost taxpayers an average of $12,500.
With files from The Canadian Press