'Bring it on': Notley responds to Kevin O'Leary's $1M offer to step down
Christina Commisso and Michael Shulman, CTVNews.ca
Published Tuesday, January 12, 2016 10:27AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 12, 2016 6:21PM EST
If Alberta Premier Rachel Notley was fazed by Kevin O'Leary's call for her to step down, she didn't show it. Instead, she challenged the Canadian business mogul to "bring it on."
Speaking to Toronto radio station Newstalk 1010 on Monday, O'Leary offered to invest $1 million in Canadian energy companies if Notley resigns.
"She has got to go," said O'Leary, chair of O’Leary Financial and a Bell Media on-air contributor. "Let me be the first to make that offer."
O'Leary later said he meant no "disrespect" by his offer, but he encouraged other Canadians who have the financial means to put up similar offers.
“It may not be enough but it is a symbolic gesture,” he told CTV’s Power Play. “I would like other investors like me to do the same thing I think it would be great for us to be able to invest back in Canada but when we actually understand what we're investing in. “
During a press conference on Tuesday, Notley compared O’Leary’s criticism to what she faced during Alberta's election last May.
"Well, you know 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 wealthy businessman (from Toronto) who wants to tell Alberta voters how to vote – I say, bring it on."
O'Leary said Monday that his offer comes as an individual concerned about the country and the economy. He said the Alberta government is currently "in freefall."
O’Leary said energy companies remain in the dark about potential changes to royalties, as a panel looking into what the province charges the industry has yet to release its findings. In the meantime, the NDP government has raised corporate taxes and is moving forward with plans to raise the minimum wage in the province.
Notley said Tuesday that the energy industry should not expect an increase in costs as a result of the royalty review.
Amidst low oil prices through 2015, the energy sector has seen 40,000 job losses, many of which were in Alberta, according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.
"All that talent, all those people that know what they're doing are losing their jobs by the thousands. All because of a government that just by some unfortunate chance got elected," O'Leary said. "(A government) that's never run an energy-based economy. What a disaster."
O'Leary said that Notley's actions amounted to "financial malfeasance" and her tenure has been plagued by "incompetency."
"It's over. You know you're a thousand feet underwater and you can't breathe," O'Leary told Power Play.
"She doesn't know what she's doing -- it is a catastrophe," he added.
O'Leary said that Notley has left Canada's "most important industry" -- the energy sector -- in "tatters," and predicted that Alberta could shed another 10,000 jobs in the next two weeks.
He also criticized the province's corporate tax increases and its plan to implement a tax on carbon emissions.
The business mogul said that the premier needs to get "get her act together" and meet with the federal government to come up with a plan to address the province's economic woes.
O'Leary said Monday Alberta needs a leader who has worked in the energy industry.
"Now, because of government policy, every leader of a private sector energy company in Canada is unsure of what's going to happen next," he said. "It's like a horror movie. It's an unbelievable series of events."