Days after Canadian business mogul and former Dragon’s Den star Kevin O’Leary pledged to inject $1 million of his own money into Alberta’s oil sector if NDP premier Rachel Notley agreed to resign, he tied the premier’s policies to the collapse of the Canadian dollar, and called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first two months in office “a fail.”
“My offer does still stand actually and…there’s actually billions of dollars behind it,” O’Leary said. “When you have politicians, both federally and provincially, telling you that the Canadian dollar’s collapse has nothing to do with them, it’s just tied to the price of oil, that’s actually not factual.
“What’s actually going on in Canada now—and I want every Canadian to understand this—is when you have policy such as what the premier in Alberta has put in place of uncertainty – for example, she won’t tell us what the royalty rates are, she raised corporate taxes, and we have a lot of instability about the idea of massive new carbon taxes –you’re basically telling everybody around the world who does invest in energy, not to invest in Canada. And when that occurs, you have no demand for the Canadian dollar.”
Watch below: Global’s previous coverage of Kevin O’Leary’s offer to Alberta Premier Notley and details on his potential leadership run
O’Leary gave examples such as a fund manager in the U.S. or England, who might consider allocating a percentage of their portfolio into energy.
“Your choices are worldwide. The last place you would do it today is in Rachel Notley’s Alberta, because it’s not friendly for investment—because there’s too much uncertainty.”
He also told anecdotes of young engineers asking him for contacts in the U.S. because they don’t see any jobs in Canada, suggesting “that means our policy, federally, is broken.”
“Every time I listen to a politician, the only thing I care about it is: is what they’re saying going to create one incremental job in Canada? Because a stable and growing economy solves 99 per cent of our problems as Canadians; that’s number one,” O’Leary said.
“I look at our new prime minister…He spent the first two months making $4.2 billion of commitments outside of Canada and didn’t create one incremental job. That’s a fail. I’m not happy with that. I think many other Canadians are going to question that going forward, as well.”
The Prime Minister’s Office had no comment in response to O’Leary.
Notley’s office had no further comment in response to O’Leary on Thursday, but the premier was asked about his original offer of $1 million for her to step down during a news conference Tuesday.
“The last time a group of wealthy businessmen tried to tell Alberta voters how to vote, I ended up becoming premier,” she said. “So if now we’ve got a Toronto wealthy businessman who wants to tell Alberta voters how to vote, I say bring it on.”
She said Tuesday the Alberta NDP will be adjusting budgets based on plummeting oil prices, and said policy will focus on stability and diversification.
“We don’t want to get into a panic slash-and-burn kind of dynamic where we simply take a problem and make it worse. We also want to ensure that we continue to invest in the kinds of programs that support Albertans and that support diversification, and support job growth, to the extent that we can. You know, I’m not a magician.”
O’Leary claimed Thursday there is a direct correlation between Notley and the economy.
“It’s true the price of oil is not in her control, but what is in her control is her leadership skills to create an environment where dollars, like mine and like investment dollars around the world, would come to Canada and make it their number one choice to invest in if they want to invest in energy.”
The businessman stressed he meant no disrespect to Notley personally.
“I’ve never met her; I’m sure she’s a fine woman. She is not the right leader at this time. Great leaders emerge at times of great uncertainty and under extreme stress. [She’s the] wrong person for the job, she should step down.”
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