October 21st’s federal election has undoubtedly cast a shadow over many in our province. The Conservative Party of Canada led by Andrew Scheer gained the largest number of votes from Alberta in Canadian electoral history with the party picking up 47/48 seats in Alberta and Saskatchewan, yet our votes have been to no avail as another four years were inevitably awarded to the Justin Trudeau Liberals.
Understandably, Western alienation has risen to an all-time high – as many of you are well aware. Our government understands your frustration. We understand the anger you feel towards a system that collects so many of your hard-earned dollars while giving you nothing but disrespect and indignation in return. We understand the despair many of you feel after losing your jobs, homes, and families over the last few years. We are frustrated and angry too. But as I said in my column last month: just because we are frustrated with our federation does not mean we should outrightly give up on our federation.
Despite our dissatisfaction with the federal election results, I refuse to abandon my country. I will always remain a Canadian nationalist because I believe that our country can be fixed. I fully realize that many of you will not like that opinion, but I refuse to let hatred and division split my country in half. We are better than that.
The Conservative Party did win the popular vote across Canada, and between us and the Liberals – who have purchased the TransMountain Pipeline – 278 Members of Parliament were elected that remain committed to building that pipeline. The West does have support in this country.
This being said, Alberta still deserves much better than the treatment we are receiving. In the Spring, our United Conservative Government began the work of setting our province up to be self-reliant regardless of October’s outcome. We began this work by repealing the carbon tax, incentivizing Alberta- based job creation, and filing a constitutional challenge against the no-more-pipelines Bill C-69. But with the federal election results now recognized, it is apparent that much more work needs to be done.
I want to assure you that our government is preparing an extensive strategy to demand that Alberta receive the same respect that we give within this federation. We will demand fairness, resource corridors, equalization reform, and a mortgage stress test exemption – at minimum. And if we don’t see movement on any or all of these files, we will not just hold a referendum on equalization reform; we will hold a referendum to outrightly remove equalization from the Canadian constitution. Further, our Premier will be launching a series of townhalls across the province in the weeks ahead to hear suggestions from you on other ways we can strengthen our province’s stature within the Canadian federation.
We are all upset with these election results, and rightfully so. But that is why your United Conservative Government is committed to taking bold and decisive action during this pivotal time in our history to ensure Alberta is treated as an equal ally in Canada’s economic union. Rest assured that you have a team of 67 MLAs working day and night to ensure our province is treated with dignity and respect within this federation, and we will be relentless in this pursuit until we achieve the outcome we deserve.
Tough times don’t last, but tough countries do.