Propelling The Fair Deal Conversation
I don't know about you, but I’ve noticed a definite shift in the tone of conversations around western alienation and fairness for Alberta.
The lack of progress on a fair deal in recent years has actually propelled the conversation forward.
The calls for action have become greater and the tactical conversation has become more serious, as Ottawa has not stopped its assault on our industries.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been a full ten months since Albertans gave their provincial government a 62% mandate in order to seek the abolishment of equalization from the Constitution of Canada.
And yet, since then, the Alberta government has passed a resolution on the floor of the Legislature, but done nothing else.
The lack of progress or any meaningful conversations with Ottawa or the rest of the country on equalization seems to pretty clearly suggest that the rest of the country doesn't care about dealing with this issue, or about reconciling with Alberta in any meaningful way.
If anything, they're doing the opposite.
Take, for instance, this week's furor over Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's insistence that there has "never been a strong business case" for exporting Canadian LNG to Europe.
What Trudeau left out was that the biggest weakness in the business case for LNG exports is his own energy policy!
That's why LNG companies have been abandoning Canada in droves in recent years!
Now, despite all the barriers the federal government put in place, things are so dire in Europe that it still might end up making sense to try and pursue exports.
And yet, Ottawa is still not interested.
Just another shot from Ottawa against Alberta (and BC this time) to put on the list.
I have said, over and over and over again, that the federal government has been encroaching on our constitutional jurisdiction for too long.
The impacts can be seen across all areas of our lives - from conditional health transfers, to equalization, to carbon taxes, to clean fuel standards, to fertilizer reduction mandates.
The eight scariest words to all Albertans should be: “I’m from Ottawa, and I’m here to help.”
We need to use every political tool at our disposal to protect ourselves from these intrusions, and every negotiating chip needs to be in play when it comes to seeking a better deal from Ottawa.
That means everything.
It means collecting our own taxes, implementing our own police force, taking care of our own pensions, managing our own employment insurance, and more.
It also means that we must seek permanent changes to the way that this country is governed in order to permanently protect the interests of Albertans.
This includes constitutional changes that guarantee things like unrestricted nationwide free trade for goods, services and infrastructure, electoral reform to respect the rights of individual provinces within the nation, and making significant progress on fixing Canada’s unfairly weighted tax and transfer programs.
There is only one way forward.
And that way is to make a stand now.