Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is taking a turf war with Alberta to its economic heart, inviting energy companies based in Calgary to move their headquarters to his province.
In a letter to Whitecap Resources dated Monday, Wall offers to subsidize relocation costs, trim taxes and royalties and help find space in unused government buildings if the oil and gas firm moves to Saskatchewan.
Wall cites reductions to corporate and personal income taxes promised in his recent provincial budget as further incentives, adding that his government has no intention of implementing a carbon tax like the one Alberta did this year.
“Given these major tax changes and your production presence in our province, I would therefore like to formally ask you to consider a relocation of your head office from Calgary to Saskatchewan,” reads the letter.
A spokesman for the premier confirmed the letter’s authenticity.
The letter emerges in the wake of public bickering between Notley and Wall over each other’s provincial budgets. Neither was immediately available for comment.
The letter, provided to The Canadian Press, says it may make sense for Whitecap Resources and other Calgary companies with oil and gas production in Saskatchewan to make a “co-operative joint move” to benefit from additional cost savings.
READ MORE: Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says he doesn’t need a budget lesson from Alberta
Whitecap Resources CEO Grant Fagerheim said he’s taking Wall’s offer seriously but would only move if it would benefit his company’s shareholders. He conceded such a decision would come as a “shock” to his Calgary head office staff of 105.
“It’s a very pleasant offer from Premier Brad Wall but we have to look at that in much more detail,” Fagerheim said.
“When we’re working for shareholders, we have to consider all of our costs and everything that goes alongside that, (including) logistics.”
Whitecap Resources produces about 50 per cent of its oil and gas in Alberta, 40 per cent in Saskatchewan and the rest in B.C., said Fagerheim. Other Calgary companies with oil and gas production in Saskatchewan include Crescent Point Energy, Husky Energy, Raging River Exploration and Surge Energy.
Alberta’s Economic and Trade Minister Deron Bilous responded to Wall’s move in a statement saying Alberta is already the best place in Canada to invest and do business.
“Albertans have no provincial sales tax, no payroll tax, no health care premiums and some of the lowest gasoline and diesel taxes in Canada. We pay billions less total tax than Saskatchewan,” Bilous said in the statement.
“Contrary to Premier Wall’s claim – businesses know the federal government will impose a carbon levy in his province. In contrast – our Made-in-Alberta plan secured the approval of new pipelines that will create thousands of good jobs in Alberta and Saskatchewan.”
Notley’s NDP government tabled a budget this month that relies on economic growth to balance the books in six years. Wall’s budget boosts the provincial sales tax and cuts spending with the aim of returning to surplus in three years.
When Notley was asked whether there is anything in the budget tabled by Wall’s right-leaning government that she would never do, she replied: “Almost everything.”
On the weekend, Wall took to Twitter to say he wasn’t about to take budgeting advice from Notley and the Alberta NDP.
Wall has pitched his province over Alberta to energy companies in the past. Shortly after Notley was elected in 2015 promising a royalty review, Wall used a speech in Weyburn, Sask., to highlight his province as a place of “royalty stability.”
With files from Global News