Alberta's Redford calls Ontario's dollar views 'simplistic'
Alberta Premier Alison Redford says Ontario counterpart Dalton McGuinty is being simplistic for suggesting a booming oilsands is bad news for Ontario.
Redford disputed McGuinty's comments Monday that a strong oilsands industry means a high Canadian dollar, which hurts Ontario's wellspring manufacturing and export sectors.
"This is a false paradigm," Redford said in a conference call from Chicago, where she is meeting with business leaders. "We know how the value of the dollar works. It's in relation to an overall national economy. The reason the Canadian dollar is high is partly because the United States has been going through some economic difficulties.
"It's a very simplistic approach."
Redford also said the remarks caught her by surprise because McGuinty had not raised the issue previously.
Earlier Monday, McGuinty rejected calls from Redford for him to do more to publicly defend the oilsands. He said Ontario would prefer a lower dollar over a growing oil and gas industry in Western Canada.
"The only reason the dollar is high, it's a petro dollar, driven by the global demand for oil and gas to be sourced in Western Canada," McGuinty said. "If I had my preferences as to whether we have a rapidly growing oil and gas sector in the West or a lower dollar benefiting Ontario, I stand with the lower dollar."
During the weekend, Redford called on Ontario and Quebec to speak out in favour of the oilsands and the Keystone pipeline linking Canada to Texas. She said it's not enough for her to talk about the importance of the resource.
She pointed out that McGuinty's remarks clash with a study by the Canadian Energy Research Institute, which says Ontario enjoys the lion's share of oilsands benefits outside Alberta. The Calgary-based think-tank suggests the oilsands will create $63 billion in economic spinoffs in Ontario and create 65,000 jobs over 25 years. It also points to smaller economic benefits for and thousands of jobs created in British Columbia and Quebec.
More than 350 Ontario-based companies are suppliers to the oilsands, according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.