Wall and other western Canadian premiers have recently been highly critical of Mulcair’s statements on the effect of resource development on the country’s manufacturing sector. The NDP leader has said the premiers are messengers of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, though he wouldn’t repeat that comment on Friday before reporters at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities convention in Saskatoon.
“What I’ve said since the beginning is I didn’t want to deal with anybody else but Stephen Harper,” Mulcair said. “I’ll work with all the provinces. … If they want to turn this into a provincial-federal fight with me, I’ll set the record straight every time, saying I’m not looking in any way to have the debate with them. I want to work with them. My debate is with Stephen Harper.”
The federal official Opposition leader also rejected the notion he is pitting the eastern part of the country against the West, saying that is “how some of my political adversaries are trying to portray it.
“Some people were trying to change the message, setting up an east-west straw man, saying that’s what it was about,” he said. “But that’s not the case. Since the beginning, this has been about sustainable development. Some people have tried to turn that into, ‘Oh, they’re attacking us personally.’
“Having seen that sort of exercise before in my home province, I’m immune to it. I’ll keep talking over it and I’ll keep setting the record straight, as I’m doing now, and make it very clear that we want an energy future that is sustainable, we want an economic future that’s sustainable.”
The type of mistakes we’re making now at the federal level are having an undesired effect both economically and ecologically, and that’s what we’re talking about.”
Mulcair said he felt welcome in Saskatchewan despite the vocal criticisms made in recent week the province’s premier.
“I’ve been to Saskatchewan many, many times and Saskatoon is one of my favourite cities in Canada,” he said. “I love this place and I’m going to keep coming back. You’d be very hard-pressed to find anything that I’ve ever said that attacked the premier of this province or any other.
“I want to work with all provinces, irrespective of what party is in power, to ensure that across Canada, we leave to future generations something that is perennial, especially a green energy infrastructure.”
In a phone interview after Mulcair’s speech, Wall said “there’s really not much of a choice” when it comes to the federal NDP leader engaging with him.
“I’m hired on by the people of the province of Saskatchewan to promote and defend our economic interests and jobs for Saskatchewan families,” Wall continued, noting that he will speak up if there is such an external “threat” from “someone with aspirations to be prime minister.
“He’s the one saying he’s going to adopt policies that will hurt job creation and cost jobs in our resource sector and potentially increase energy costs,” Wall said. “I’m going to be speaking out. The people of the province expect me to do that.”
Wall said the “vast majority of economists” disagree with Mulcair’s assessment of Canadian energy exports creating a high dollar that negatively affects manufacturing.
“The expanding resource sector helps the Canadian economy,” Wall said, noting he expects Mulcair’s policies would “transfer wealth and money out of the West.”
The premier added he does “appreciate the fact that the tone’s changed” with regard to describing the premiers as Harper’s messengers, noting he thinks Mulcair is “trying to get the toothpaste back into the tube.
“We always welcome people to the province of Saskatchewan,” Wall added. “And if it’s the leader of the Opposition and a policy discussion ensues, that’s democracy. I hope someone gives him a Rider jersey.”
The federal Liberal party’s interim leader, Bob Rae, also spoke to the FCM convention, and afterward told reporters that he “absolutely” believes that comments made by Mulcair on the issue were “pitting one section of the country against another.
“First of all, I don’t think you should ever as a national leader call a provincial premier a messenger of Mr. Harper,” Rae said. “Mr. Wall is a representative for the people of Saskatchewan. He’s going to be defending the interests of the people of Saskatchewan.”
Source: the star phoenix
Author: JOE COUTURE