REGINA – Federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall have had their first face-to-face meeting and it appears they will agree to disagree.
Mulcair and Wall emerged from the meeting in Regina to speak to reporters separately, but both men describe the chat as positive.
“I think building a relationship, either with the leader of the opposition federally, or someone who might be prime minister is important for Saskatchewan to do,” Wall explained.
Mulcair says the two agree that the Senate should be abolished and that diversity is important in Canada’s economy.
But they disagree on some specific issues, including the Keystone XL pipeline.
“We can get a better price for producing provinces, and therefore more royalties,” said Mulcair. “We can create more jobs in Canada and we can take care of our own energy sector for future by moving more product from west to east.”
Wall likes the Energy East Project, but says Keystone would mean big business for Saskatchewan.
“I think he does understand the importance of getting our product to tide water,” he explained. “I don’t think we’ve changed (Mulcair’s) mind on Keystone.”
Wall has also criticized Mulcair for what the premier called divisive comments that suggested booming oil and gas resources in the West have inflated the dollar and hurt central Canada’s manufacturing sector.
Mulcair says the meeting was friendly and they talked openly.
Both sides benefited from the meeting, according to Regina Leader-Post political columnist Murray Mandryk. Mulcair touched base with a popular premier in a province where he is trying to gain seats while Wall had a chance to speak for Saskatchewan’s best interests.
“He basically makes a big statement saying, ‘You know what? I’m willing to listen, I’m willing to meet with someone with an opposite view, but I’m going to stand up for Saskatchewan as I see it’,” Mandryk said.
With files from the Canadian Press