Rachel Notley and Brad Wall continue to trade jabs over budget philosophy

Notley doesn't like anything in Saskatchewan budget

CALGARY — Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall continue to take jabs at one another over their provincial budgets.

Notley’s government tabled a budget this month that relies on forecasted economic growth to reach balance in six years. It includes a $10.3-billion deficit and $71 billion in debt by 2020.

Wall’s deficit budget of $1.3 billion boosts the provincial sales tax and cuts everything from public-sector wages to funding for libraries. The goal is to whittle down the deficit to $685 million by the end of the fiscal year and achieve balance in three years.

Notley was asked Monday whether there is anything in the Saskatchewan budget that she would never do and her response was: “Almost everything.”

She used Wall’s five per cent cut to post-secondary education as an example of what she sees as short-term thinking that will pinch off economic growth. She invoked the name of conservative icon Peter Lougheed, noting the late Alberta premier saw investments in higher education as forward-looking.  

“We are maintaining stable predictable funding in our post-secondary sector,” she said.

On the weekend, Wall took to Twitter to say he wasn’t about to take budgeting advice from Notley and the Alberta NDP. He tweeted an editorial cartoon of Notley and a provincial debt that runs off the charts.

“Premier Notley decided to give us some budgeting advice,” he quipped. “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Wall and Notley have been at each other since the Saskatchewan budget was released last Wednesday. Notley responded to the document by saying: “What we’ve seen in Saskatchewan is what it looks like when the rubber hits the road.”

On Friday, Wall urged people to look at the Alberta premier’s record.

“Since she (Notley) was elected, their government has increased every tax, introduced a new tax, a multibillion-dollar carbon tax and have posted … two $10-billion deficits,” Wall said.

“I’m about as interested in fiscal advice from the Alberta NDP as I would be in Twitter etiquette advice from (U.S. President) Donald Trump.”

Notley said she’s talking about the Saskatchewan budget because she believes the opposition parties in her province are fans of Wall and she wants Albertans to see what his right-leaning Saskatchewan Party’s budget is all about.

“Our opposition parties — the Conservative and the Wildrose opposition — have been telling Albertans that they can balance the budget, protect front-line services and drop taxes all at the same time,” she said 

“We have all known that that is a fantasy land and it is not real and the significance of the Saskatchewan budget … is that it shows you can’t deliver that fantasy land.”

“What we’ve seen in Saskatchewan is what it looks like when the rubber hits the road,” Rachel Notley said.

— With file from CJME

The Canadian Press