Sask. premier should worry about NDP, not equalization: Stephen Harper

It's not equalization payments Saskatchewan's premier should be worried about, it's the NDP's "no growth" policies, Conservative leader Stephen Harper says.

Conservative leader says New Democrats, Liberals opposed to resource development

While campaigning west of Regina, Conservative leader Stephen Harper was answering questions Thursday about the economy, the Mike Duffy trial and equalization. (CBC)

It's not equalization payments Saskatchewan's premier should be worried about, it's the NDP's "no growth" policies, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper says.

Making his first campaign visit to Saskatchewan on Thursday, Harper took questions from reporters on several topics, including the debate over federal equalization payments to "have-not" provinces.

Harper responded to recent comments from Premier Brad Wall, who says Saskatchewan puts $500 million per year into equalization but hasn't received anything from the $17-billion program in eight years.

"That is not really the central question that the premier and frankly, for that matter, most people in Saskatchewan should be concerned about," said Harper, speaking at a campaign stop at a farm west of Regina Thursday morning.

"The real issue around this is resource development. This is a province that depends on the development and sale of its natural resources. With the NDP, and I quote, once again, their star candidate in Toronto says, 'Leave the resources in the ground.'"

The Liberals have similar views, he said.

"The other parties believe in no resource development. That's their position. That's the choice in this election campaign and I don't think Saskatchewan wants to go back to the decades of no-growth NDP and they certainly don't want to see it on the national level."

While Harper spoke in front of supporters west of Regina, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau was in Saskatoon announcing part of the party's platform focusing on aboriginal people.

Saskatchewan elected 13 Conservative MPs and one Liberal in 2011. The NDP has been shut out for several elections, but political observers believe the new electoral map may give the New Democrats a better shot this time of winning some seats.


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