EDMONTON, AB: The NDP government needs to be clear with Albertans about what other parts of the Canada Free Trade Agreement it doesn’t plan on honouring after Postmedia revealed how the government lobbied aggressively to give notice of its intent to create a new Crown – but then told Albertans they didn’t actually mean it, the Wildrose Official Opposition said.
On Monday, NDP Infrastructure Minister Brian Mason angrily denied any notion the government plans on creating a new Crown corporation to hand out infrastructure contracts, even though the text of the agreement explicitly states, “Alberta gives notice of its intention to create a Crown corporation which will be responsible for all infrastructure procurement.”
Now, the NDP is drawing criticism from other provincial ministers who participated in negotiations, like Jeremy Harrison, Saskatchewan’s economy minister, who said, “I sat at that table, and I can tell you that it was a consistent Alberta position, both at the officials level and the political level … Alberta has been very consistent (during the trade talks) that they intended to create a Crown.”
“The NDP government got caught speaking out of both sides of its mouth. Now, it’s time to set the record straight,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said. “Why was the government telling other provinces one thing, and Albertans another? Who’s not getting the whole truth and why? And what other exemptions and parts of the trade deal do the NDP plan not to honour?”
Wildrose Shadow Economic Development and Trade Minister Prasad Panda said the NDP government is putting Alberta’s credibility at risk by so quickly flip flopping on the exemptions they wanted in this free trade agreement.
“As of today, no one knows what the government’s true plans are,” Panda said. “If indeed it no longer wants to create this Crown, it will cost our province serious credibility in the eyes of our provincial peers. Albertans need these questions answered.”