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Beck’s trip to Ottawa gets a grilling from Sask Party

Premier Scott Moe dismisses Carla Beck’s visit to Ottawa as helping the Trudeau-Singh “coalition”.
Opposition Leader Carla Beck and Premier Scott Moe faced off this week over Beck’s attendance at the Canadian Labour Congress meetings in Ottawa.

REGINA - Opposition leader Carla Beck is back in Regina after being in the nation’s capital Ottawa last week.

Beck was there to attend the Canadian Council of the Canadian Labour Conference meetings. But the governing Sask Party have tried to make political hay out of Beck's attendance in recent days by portraying the Saskatchewan NDP as propping up the federal Carbon Tax — something the provincial NDP have insisted they oppose.

This past week, Premier Scott Moe roasted Beck on his account on the X platform with this post that stated:

“SK NDP Leader Carla Beck took three days off last week to fly to Ottawa to attend a Canadian Labour Congress meeting to plot strategy to get the Trudeau-NDP government re-elected. Don’t believe the SK NDP when they tell you they don’t support Trudeau, Singh and the carbon tax.”

Underneath that ‘X’ post was a graphic of politicians attending the CLC meetings, featuring photos of Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, and Beck, in that order.

During Question Period in the legislature, Beck made no apologies about her attendance at the CLC meetings. 

“Mr. Speaker, I had some great meetings in Ottawa. I met with Saskatchewan health care workers, those who work in uranium, those who work in oil and gas — all who were all, Mr. Speaker, being failed by this tired and out-of-touch government," said Beck, as recorded in Hansard.

“And yes, Mr. Speaker, I met with Jagmeet Singh and members of the federal government. And I let them know that we oppose the carbon tax, that the home heating carve-out is unfair, and that we need a better deal on equalization. And I reached out to the Conservatives too, Mr. Speaker, but they couldn’t make the time. And I made it clear where we disagreed.”

“Maybe the reason they weren’t able to meet with the Conservatives at this labour meeting, Mr. Speaker, is they weren’t invited,” Moe retorted in the Assembly.

Moe went on to point out that “the title of the labour meeting was ‘Labour reps to discuss election strategy.’ Mr. Speaker, it was publicly called a call to arms to plot strategy ahead of the federal election vote, Mr. Speaker, and to actively discuss election strategy.”

Moe then proceeded to turn the tables on the NDP over the Opposition's consistent hammering of the government for attending meetings abroad, such as the recent trade mission to India or the trip to COP28 late last year in Dubai:

“We often hear of outcomes that are coming back from meetings that we may attend abroad, Mr. Speaker, of which are many when it comes to the economic improvement of our province, Mr. Speaker. Outside of, Mr. Speaker, the NDP bringing back an election strategy on how to keep Justin Trudeau in power, what outcomes did they bring back from Ottawa?”

“Mr. Speaker, the Premier should know that Saskatchewan people expect more than huffing and puffing from their leaders,” Beck responded.

In speaking to reporters after Question Period Monday, an animated Moe doubled down on characterizing the CLC meetings as a “campaign school” to prop up Trudeau.

“The single most inflationary pressure we have in this nation is the implementation of the carbon tax. It increases each and every year. What we saw this week was the NDP — not only the Opposition leader, but members of the NDP caucus — attend a ‘call to arms’ meeting put on by the Canadian Labour Congress that really was a campaign school on how to campaign against Conservatives at every corner of this province.

“The NDP leader didn’t just attend, she actually presented at that meeting, and if we agree on the fact that we need to get rid of the carbon tax not only in Saskatchewan, but across Canada to ensure that life is affordable for families and retain that investment environment for the industries that are creating jobs in our community. And the Liberal-and-NDP government is adamant that they will not remove that carbon tax. It’s ultimately the goal that we should not, in this province, be out attending campaign schools on how to keep Justin Trudeau in power. What we’ve seen with the Liberal-NDP minority administration in Ottawa, and what we see across this country with Liberal and NDP Parties is that the NDP are nothing more than doing nothing more than running errands for Justin Trudeau and the federal level party and we saw that on full display with our provincial NDP this past week.”

The NDP have pushed back against the notion that Beck was attending an “election planning meeting” by pointing out a main order of business at the CLC was not election planning, but the welcoming of the Canadian Football League Players’ Association as an affiliate.

Beck had posted this on the X platform: “Great meeting with former linebacker Solomon Elimimian. The CFL Players' Association was welcomed as the newest affiliate of the CLC at their conference last week. I wish I'd worn my jersey! Go Riders!”

During remarks at a media availability Monday with reporters, Beck made known her own reaction to Premier Moe’s ‘X’ post from last week.

“I’m proud of the meetings that we had when we were in Ottawa talking about jobs, talking about the economy. From the very first day that I took over leadership of the party, we said very clearly where there is a disagreement with any party in Ottawa, regardless of who is in power, we are going to make that known. And, where there is benefit for the people of this province, when we need to be at the table to ensure that no money is left on the table, that our needs and our concerns and that opportunity is being realized in the province, we will also be there. This is a job of leaders — not playing silly partisan games, but actually getting to the table and making sure that the opportunity that is very real in this province is known.”

When asked at that news conference about what she said to Jagmeet Singh and Justin Trudeau about the carbon tax issue, Beck replied: “I did not meet with the Prime Minister. But you know as I’ve said from the front of the room at SARM, at SUMA, at every conversation that I’ve had with Jagmeet Singh or any federal leader or any federal minister is this: the consumer carbon tax is simply not on for us, the carveout that we saw around heating fuel was unfair, and that we would be willing and wanting to be at the table when there’s federal money…

“We are being failed by the provincial government we have right now. There is opportunity in this province right now,  We need leaders that have the courage not only to stand up or put out spicy Tweets. We need leaders that have the courage to get to the table and get results for Saskatchewan people.”