Josh Andrus Speech To The Essentials Of Freedom Conference 2019
Speech delivered to FreedomTalk’s “Essentials Of Freedom Conference 2019 - Meeting the Unity Challenge: An Agenda for Canada” Conference in Red Deer on November 15, 2019
Full Text Of Speech:
Ladies and gentlemen, we are in a national unity crisis. Last month’s election laid bare a truth that has been echoed across the media, has dominated coffee shop politics and has even made the politicians, who normally bury their heads in the sand, look up and pay attention.
Alberta, and her interests, are minuscule on the national stage. In all of the incredible confusion that defined that election campaign, we saw a perfect demonstration of how this country operates; taking from the hand in the West to feed the mouth in the east, all while writhing and twisting, strangling one another in anger, agony and greed.
Some might say we’ve been here before.
The center of power in Canada has always resided in Quebec and Ontario, a reality that we have had to face since before becoming a province in 1905.
This time, though, it feels different. What were once jokes and throwaway lines have become more real. The rest of Canada, by taking Alberta for granted, have stoked tremendous anger in this great and hibernating province and Albertans are looking for an outlet, one that vindicates a natural emotional response to injustice.
If there is one thing everyone in this room can agree on, it is that the status quo cannot stand. The current system of Confederation is fundamentally unfair, and we have to do something.
Project Confederation has deliberately not taken a position on whether separation is the ultimate solution.
Instead, we have decided to fight for a better deal for Alberta and developed a series of reforms to Confederation that we believe would be beneficial for our province regardless of your end goal.
I don’t have time to go through our entire plan – for that I invite you to visit our website – projectconfederation.ca, or come visit us at our table, but in short, it includes referendums on equalization, senate reform, and free trade and pipeline access, withdrawing from the federal pension plan, employment insurance program, RCMP, and federal immigration system to create our own Alberta-based alternatives, collecting income taxes here in Alberta, and converting existing transfer payments in to tax points.
We recently included our plan in an open letter to Premier Kenney which has already been signed by more than 6,500 Albertans including both those in favour and those opposed to separation. Again, if you haven’t signed the letter yet, come see us at the back.
We have hundreds of people who have volunteered their time and money to help us because they believe that separation is the answer but recognize that pursuing many of these reforms is necessary on the path to that intended goal.
We also have hundreds of people helping us who don’t really want to separate – if it can be avoided – but do agree that Alberta needs more independence from Ottawa. These people see our plan as a calm, rational, and credible way forward – as long as Ottawa is willing to listen.
The key is that no matter what outcome you are pursuing, the proposals we have laid out would be good for Alberta.
If Ottawa doesn’t listen, then who knows what will happen – but either way, before making any demands, we should figure out what it is we actually want.
Premier Jason Kenney announced a Fair Deal panel last week that will ask Albertans for their opinion on many of the issues we have highlighted in the last two weeks.
The “Fair Deal” panel, which will host public consultations to bring forward ideas and help to shape the province's response to this national unity crisis.
In creating this panel, Kenney has opened the door. However, it is still up to us to walk through that door. We, all of us, have a job to do. We have been given an opportunity to present solid arguments based on fact and crafted with intelligence, to build a case as to how we feel Alberta can flex its political and economic muscles.
The time has come to work together. If we are working in silos we will accomplish much less than what we can accomplish if we collaborate, engage in the process and show a united front to Ottawa.
It’s time to rise to that challenge. If we succeed Independence is achievable, whether that be within or without Canada.