REGINA—Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says the more than $3 million paid to an American law firm to lobby for projects such as the Keystone XL pipeline is money well spent.
The Toronto Star reports public documents show that since 2009, the Saskatchewan government has paid Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarborough LLP to help Wall lobby in Washington.
The paper also says the documents show some United States congressmen received political contributions from the law firm before or after meeting with Wall.
Wall says the money is being spent to promote Saskatchewan interests in the U.S., something he says wasn’t being done under previous governments.
He says the firm has many Canadian clients pursuing similar interests and he is confident none of the payments to congressmen were on behalf of the Saskatchewan government.
The opposition NDP says the millions of taxpayer money paid to the law firm seems to have done very little for Saskatchewan.
Wall defended the payments.
“We’re going to tell Saskatchewan’s story, we’re going to promote things like our clean-coal project, we’re going to fight against anti-Canadian trade measures in the U.S. like the country of origin labelling, we’re going to promote Keystone and our energy interests as well in that country,” Wall told Regina-based radio station CKRM.
“I think it’s fair to say we have tried to make sure we have focused on Saskatchewan’s interests in case of the decision-makers in the U.S., but also in advancing our trade relationship.”
In April, the Saskatchewan government said it was “deeply concerned” with the U.S. State Department’s announcement that it would delay its final decision on the proposed pipeline.
A portion of the TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone pipeline from Alberta would run through Saskatchewan.
Wall has said approval of the Keystone project is critical to the successful transport of other commodities in his province.