Premier Rachel Notley should voice her support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in an effort to expand access to markets and diversify Alberta’s economy, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.
Exports to Trans-Pacific co-signatories Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Peru and the United States have increased by 63 per cent over the last decade. As of 2014, Alberta industries export over $113 billion to the 11 TPP countries alone.
Wildrose House Leader Nathan Cooper said negotiations continuing without Canada and the expressed support of Alberta’s government would put the province at a competitive disadvantage.
“If Premier Rachel Notley is serious about supporting the diversification of our economy, it’s important that Alberta supports the TPP to expand global market access for our industries,” Cooper said. “More open trade and access to world markets will only serve to benefit Alberta’s interests during this time of economic and financial uncertainty surrounding our province. This shouldn’t be an issue of partisanship, it should be about what’s best for Alberta.”
Both the Saskatchewan and British Columbia premiers have spoken out in favour of the TPP, saying it would be an important step to diversify our economies in light of low natural resource prices.
Notley is currently still on her planned trip out-of-province, but has sent mixed messages to investors after campaigning for federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair’s cap-and-trade plans, failing to speak on the need to build important pipeline projects such as Energy East and calling the Keystone XL pipeline a “threat”* to Alberta.
Cooper said today is an important opportunity for Notley to speak on a matter critical to the Alberta economy.
“Instead of campaigning for federal politicians in Montreal and Toronto, Premier Notley has a real opportunity to state clearly her support for an initiative done by the federal government that will have positive impacts for the Alberta economy,” Cooper said. “To date, she has shown a reluctance for interprovincial and international initiatives such as the New West partnership, but today she can show she is above ideology and supports common sense growth and diversification of our economy.”
*BNN has now released a retraction of Premier Notley's comments, below is her full quote.
"BNN incorrectly reported Premier Rachel Notley said the Keystone XL Pipeline represented a 'threat' to Alberta. Her quote was 'there is a concern about particularly the impact of Keystone on the Alberta government’s ability to exercise its own levers to promote and/or protect upgrading that goes on in our province.' BNN regrets the error."