Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is suggesting that a vote for the federal NDP is bad for the province’s economy.
Wall has released written responses from the Conservative, Liberal, and NDP leaders to a letter he sent asking about policy positions on pipelines, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), and equalization payments to provinces.
Speaking to reporters at the Saskatchewan legislature on Tuesday, Wall criticized the NDP position on pipelines and the party’s push to require labels for GMO food – something he says would be bad for the agricultural industry.
“I would argue strongly that to vote NDP in this federal election – although it’s obviously up to people to do what they want – but to vote NDP would be counter to the economic interests of our economy and agriculture in Saskatchewan,” Wall said.
The Conservatives support all three major pipeline projects including Keystone XL, Northern Gateway and Energy East.
“The New Democrats, in their letter, I can’t find any support for any pipelines,” Wall commented. “At least Mr. Trudeau points out that he supports, in this letter, supports Keystone XL and understands the importance of conveying our resource sector, that’s a key difference between those two particular parties.”
Local NDP candidates have expressed potential support for the Energy East pipeline only, saying it would keep more jobs in Canada for refining oil.
Wall stopped short of praising the Conservatives, but did say the Harper government was actively involved in opening access to international markets for Saskatchewan uranium.
Wall said in hindsight he should have asked about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, especially after hearing that the NDP would not support it. He said the TPP is good for the province because it removes tariffs on canola exports, pork, beef, and agricultural equipment manufactured in Saskatchewan.
“How in the world could Saskatchewan voters be asked to support the tearing up of the TPP agreement, which does represent very much the economic interests of the province of Saskatchewan,” Wall said. “It’s how we pay bills in the province.”
The Liberals have expressed tentative support for the TPP, saying it would require consultation with the provinces.
Wall is not impressed with the vague answers from all three major party leaders on changing the formula for equalization payments.
“None of the three parties are prepared to even have a discussion about it, and I think western Canada is treated unfairly as a result,” he said.
When asked if these topics favoured a specific party over others, the Saskatchewan Party leader only saud that the questions were of specific relevance to the province.