What This Election Means For Alberta
Earlier today, the federal government dropped the writ - officially beginning the 2021 federal election which will be held on September 20th.
While 36 days can be an eternity in politics and anything can happen, one thing is pretty much already guaranteed - Alberta will be largely ignored (or attacked) throughout the campaign, as political attentions shift to Ontario and Quebec.
That's because those two provinces are where 199 of the 338 seats in the House of Commons are located, and where the election will almost certainly be decided.
One thing that's not guaranteed, however, but seems quite likely given recent polling, is that the ruling federal Liberals will win re-election, potentially returning to a majority government.
What would that mean for Alberta?
The energy industry is the heartbeat of Alberta's economy, but it is considered public enemy number one by many elected officials in Ottawa who seem intent on killing the industry that has paid the bills for the rest of the country for decades.
Interestingly, in the background of this federal election, there will be equalization and senate campaigns taking place across Alberta, and these issues could very well become flashpoints for discontent.
As many now know, Alberta has contributed over $600 billion to the rest of the country since 1957, including more than $20 billion per year for the last decade or so.
No matter the result of the federal election, frustrations in Alberta are not going away, and any government in Ottawa will need to contend with the results of the Alberta equalization referendum or risk the issue growing even further.
The timing of all these events also adds a certain degree of intrigue to the equation, with the Alberta government struggling in the polls at least in part due to frustrations about the inability of the province to make progress on improving Alberta's position with the rest of Canada.
If Premier Kenney and his government want to make a political comeback, they will need to seize the moment.
Albertans are looking for someone - anyone - to stand up for them.
So, what should Premier Kenney do?
His best play - perhaps the only play that could stave off a growing independence movement - would be to execute the Fair Deal agenda with flourish.
This means creating an Alberta Pension Plan, forming an Alberta Police Force, and establishing an Alberta Constitution that includes property rights, at a minimum.
An Alberta Pension Plan would be a good place to start, with Albertans paying $3 billion more into Canadian Pension Plan premiums than our residents receive in benefits every single year.
Alberta pulling out of the CPP would see the rest of Canada paying more in premiums to maintain their benefits, while Albertans would be able to enjoy the same benefits at lower premium rates, better benefits at the same cost, or a little of both.
An Alberta Police Force and Alberta Constitution, meanwhile, will place Alberta in a better position to implement Alberta-focused policies, rules, and regulations in the future as well as guaranteeing Albertans additional rights that other Canadians do not receive.
No matter what happens in the next 36 days, we could all face a very different political landscape on the other side.
The question is, how should Alberta respond, and how will Alberta respond?