Alberta Premier Jason Kenney delivers his State of the Province address to the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce in Edmonton on Tuesday, October 29, 2019. Kenney announced the creation of a panel that will examine ways to make his province more independent of Ottawa in a speech to the conservative Manning Centre on Saturday in which he rejected separatist arguments.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Kenney announces ‘Fair Deal Panel’ to advance Alberta’s interests, like pipelines

Kenney told the audience that separating from Canada would landlock Alberta, not make pipelines easier

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced the creation of a panel that will examine ways to make his province more independent of Ottawa in a speech to the conservative Manning Centre on Saturday in which he rejected separatist arguments.

Kenney’s ”Fair Deal Panel,” which will include former Reform Party leader Preston Manning, will consult with Albertans on ideas such as establishing a provincial revenue agency, withdrawing from the Canada Pension Plan in favour of a new provincial agency and establishing a formalized provincial constitution.

The point of the panel, Kenney explained, is to secure a fair deal for Alberta and advance Alberta’s economic interests, such as the construction of energy pipelines.

Kenney noted that several of the ideas are borrowed from Quebec, such as collecting taxes and seeking provincial representation in treaty negotiations that affect Alberta’s interests.

He said that none of the ideas would be implemented without Albertans endorsing them in a referendum.

Kenney told the audience that separating from Canada would landlock Alberta and not make it any easier to get a pipeline built to a coast, but that he sees the fear in Albertans eyes about their economic futures.

“It’s expressed most devastatingly in an increase in the rate of Albertans who have taken their own lives over the past five years. The per capita rate of suicide in Alberta is 50 per cent higher than it is in Ontario,” Kenney said in his speech in Red Deer, adding that economic woes are also contributing to a wave of rural crime and opiod addiction.

“So this literally for many people is a life-and-death question.”

ALSO READ: ‘It hurts’: Indigenous Alberta boy, 5, comes home with braid undone

Other members of the panel will include Stephen Lougheed, a businessman and son of former premier Peter Lougheed, as well as University of Alberta law professor Moin Yahya, First Nations leader Jason Goodstriker, Canada West Foundation chair Oryssia Lennie, and some members of Kenney’s United Conservative Party caucus.

Kenney’s speech was the keynote address at the conference, where three of four panels discussed the federal election result and what it meant for Alberta and the West.

In the days that followed the Oct. 21 vote, a simmering separatist movement in Alberta gained momentum under the “Wexit” umbrella, a name seemingly created to mimic the Brexit movement aimed at separating Britain from the European Union.

The group’s founder, Peter Downing, earlier this week filed paperwork with Elections Canada to form a federal Wexit Alberta party that could, in his words, do for Western Canada what the Bloc Quebecois does for Quebec.

READ MORE: ‘Wexit’ applies to become a federal political party

Kenney said the status quo isn’t acceptable, but that he and most Albertans don’t want to give up on Canada forever.

“So what is the alternative?” Kenney asked. “Bold action.”

The panel will conduct public consultations between Nov. 16 and Jan. 30. It will complete its report to government by March 31.

Opposition Leader Rachel Notley responded in a statement that Kenney was “intentionally stoking the fires of western alienation in order to advance his own political objectives.”

The NDP leader also noted that Kenney never mentioned withdrawing from the Canada Pension Plan during the provincial election last April.

“Alberta is part of Canada, and Jason Kenney needs to accept that,” Notley said. “This premier needs to cut the theatrics and get back to the job of getting Albertans back to work.”

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Local businesses partner to support SOWINS

The Community Spoons invites people to help make soups the first Monday of the month

Kelowna grandmother scammed of $14,000 in phone scam

RCMP warn of Granparent Scam in the Okanagan after December incident

RDOS budget videos available online

Budget must be completed by March 31

Funding approved for conservation projects in South Okanagan and Similkameen

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen provides funds for nine projects

Nearly 12,000 children living in poverty throughout Okanagan: report

BC Child Poverty Report Card includes stats for Central and North Okanagan, Okanagan-Similkameen

Fashion Fridays: The basics you need for your body type

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Campfires no longer permitted at Kelowna scout camp

City of Kelowna said they rejected Camp Dunlop’s fire permit due to stricter bylaws

LETTER: Kindness and compassion needed around cats

I’ve observed callous disregard, and sometimes even contempt, exhibited towards these sentient beings

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Ronald McDonald House to open Family Room at Kamloops hospital

Facility to provide home-like retreat for parents, family members of pediatric patients

Break in artist refuses to be framed

No one is being framed in this break in. According to Princeton… Continue reading

Owner surrenders dog suffering from days-old gunshot wound to B.C. SPCA

The dog was also found to be emaciated and suffering from a flea infestation

Most Read