He’s not the prime minister of Quebec’: SNC-Lavalin affair draws ire of Western premiers

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley take aim at Trudeau

Two western premiers say the SNC-Lavalin affair is distracting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a time when he should be focused on jobs in their region.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe took aim Thursday at the prime minister’s comments about 9,000 jobs tied to the Quebec company.

“I remind the prime minister again, he’s not the prime minister of Quebec,” Moe said.

“He’s the prime minister for all Canadians.”

Moe said there have been thousands of jobs lost in the energy sector while Trudeau’s government has championed a carbon tax and a bill that would change how environmental assessments are done. Moe wants both scrapped.

Moe also criticized Trudeau for involving Canada’s ambassador to the United States, David MacNaughton, in the SNC-Lavalin issue when he should be working to get rid of U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminium.

READ MORE: Trudeau acknowledges ‘erosion of trust’ between office and former minister

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said Thursday that Alberta’s struggle to get its oil to market has a far greater impact on jobs than SNC-Lavalin.

She also suggested jobs at the Quebec company would be more affected by Alberta’s economy than the outcome of any criminal prosecution SNC-Lavalin is facing.

“We need our federal government to focus on the big picture and, by doing that, they will realize that Albertans need their attention.”

Notley said earlier this week that Trudeau needs to get back to work defending jobs and farmers, especially since China has started blocking import shipments of Canadian canola.

“We are calling on Ottawa to stop its navel-gazing about its internal controversies and fight back,” she said.

Trudeau’s comments about protecting jobs at SNC-Lavalin has landed him in even more trouble with western premiers than he already was, said a political expert.

“It justifies accusations of double standards that have started flying,” said Julian Castro-Rea, who teaches political science at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

“Some jobs seem to be more important to him than the jobs that are being lost here.”

READ MORE: PM strikes more conciliatory tone after second minister resigns over SNC-Lavalin

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

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