Bell: Kenney slams separatism, vows drag-out fight with Ottawa – Calgary Sun

Bell: Kenney slams separatism, vows drag-out fight with Ottawa - Calgary Sun
Premier Jason Kenney announces Fair Deal Panel to advance Albertas interests, like pipelines
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.

READ MORE: Alberta premier to create panel aimed at fight for fairness in Canadian 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.

The provinces situation has only gotten worse since the federal election in late October, according to Mr. Kenney. The election exacerbated those divisions and created a minority government that is potentially even more dangerous to the federation. Albertans know this and they want us to respond boldly and assertively with strength, he said.

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.

Rachel Notley, Albertas former premier and current opposition leader, denounced Mr. Kenneys speech and said he was using dangerous rhetoric. He is intentionally stoking the fires of western alienation in order to advance his own political objectives, said Ms. Notley, who leads the provinces New Democrats.

Kenney announces Fair Deal Panel for Alberta – Canada News

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

The Premier said a Fair Deal panel will now consider the establishment of a provincial revenue agency, withdrawing Albertas workers from the Canada Pension Plan and removing the RCMP in favour of a provincial police force. Alberta will even consider whether it should write its own constitution.

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 opioid addiction.

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 "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.

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.

Kenney reveals fair deal plan to assess Alberta-run pension, police and tax collection

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.

READ MORE: The West Wants Out: Alberta separatist group Wexit Canada seeking federal political party status

Additionally, the government has created a "Fair Deal Panel" to look at the benefit of Alberta ending several arrangements with the federal government, like the Canada-Alberta Tax Collection Agreement, Canada Pension Plan and the Alberta Police Service Agreement. The panel will explore instead Alberta forming an agreement to collect federal taxes in Alberta, and creating its own Alberta Pension Plan and provincial police force.

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.

"Instead of getting to work on the priorities of Albertans… he is exploiting the real frustrations of everyday Albertans by sowing the seeds of separation with tired ideas from decades ago. Alberta is part of Canada, and Jason Kenney needs to accept that."

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

Kenney said Alberta would fight to see its own earned dollars benefit the province more, by having non-renewable resource revenues excluded from the equzliation formula, imposing a cap on equalization transfers, and demanding reforms to employment insurance.

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

EDMONTON — The Government of Alberta will be opening offices in three other provinces to defend the provinces economic interests as part of a plan to address what the premier calls a "deep sense of inequity and unfairness in Canadas prairies."

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.”

"Jason Kenney never talked to Albertans about putting their pensions in jeopardy in the last election and Albertans cannot trust Jason Kenney to be anywhere near their retirement savings," read a statement from Alberta NDP Leader, Rachel Notley.

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

“This premier needs to cut the theatrics and get back to the job of getting Albertans back to work.”

I think Quebec and Ontario for the past 40 years have seized control of their own destinies, and done so by forming their own police services, having their own pension plans, having their own taxes, and so these are all things that other provinces do and theres absolutely no reason whatsoever we shouldnt do here, said Ken Boessenkool, former policy adviser to Stockwell Day and a signatory of the 2001 letter.

RED DEER, Alta. – 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.

Kenneys "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 Albertas economic interests, such as the construction of energy pipelines.

The panel will include Stephen Lougheed, the son of former premier Peter Lougheed. Also appointed were civil servant Oryssia Lennie, First Nations leader Jason Goodstriker, former PC MLA Donna Kennedy-Glans, University of Alberta law professor Moin Yahya, and three UCP MLAs: Drew Barnes, Miranda Rosin, and Tany Yao.

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

The panel will consult with experts, hold open town hall meetings across the province and undertake research to inform their recommendations, looking at how best to advance the provinces vital economic interests, such as the construction of energy pipelines, said a news release.

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.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney responds to the federal approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline in Edmonton, Alberta, on Tuesday June 18, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Amber Bracken)

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Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says the fight against climate change can unite this country even as it currently is fuelling talk of Alberta separation.

Stay on top of whats happening on the Hill with Rachel Aiellos twice-weekly updates on the minority Parliament when its in session.