Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is firing back at Brad Wall after he invited Alberta energy companies to move to east.
In a letter to Whitecap Resources dated Monday, Wall offers to subsidize relocation costs, trim taxes and royalties and help find space in unused government buildings if the oil and gas firm moves to Saskatchewan.
Wall cites reductions to corporate and personal income taxes promised in his recent provincial budget as further incentives, adding that his government has no intention of implementing a carbon tax like the one Alberta did this year.
On Thursday, Notley responded to the invitation at an infrastructure announcement in Red Deer, saying his efforts could be in violation of the New West Partnership and the Agreement on Internal Trade.
“If I was a business owner that resided in a smaller market, say Saskatchewan, that depended on an agreement that gave me access to a bigger market, say Alberta, I would be very concerned by a leadership that was taking swings at the very trade agreement that gave my business access to that larger market,” she said.
“I would suggest that it wasn’t necessarily the wisest approach by the political leadership of Saskatchewan to do that. It is actually a breach of a trade agreement and that trade agreement actually promotes back and forth business operations that contribute to prosperity on both sides of the border. You don’t touch one without pulling a really large string.”
Notley said the province will be reviewing trade agreements and looking at how it will respond to Wall.
“I would suggest that, in the long term, if we’re going to grow prosperity throughout Canada, what we need to do as government leaders is invest in growing businesses in our provinces – not trying to steal business from other provinces. Because that’s a zero sum game and it doesn’t help everybody out in the long run.”
Notley also shot down Wall’s comments on how Saskatchewan doesn’t have a carbon tax, like the one Alberta enacted at the beginning of 2017, by saying it will have to abide by a federal carbon tax. She also touted Alberta’s tax advantage.
She said Wall’s approach is not one that will help grow the economy.
“I just really think it’s a myopic view. It doesn’t take into account the kind of work that has to be done to actually grow economic prosperity, to grow trade, to grow markets. It’s not in the best interest frankly of Saskatchewan businesses, let alone Alberta.”
— With files from The Canadian Press