VIDEO: Kenney lays out key demands for meeting with Trudeau

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney aims for clear signs of federal action on two-day Ottawa trip

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney set out a dire picture of the economic and social impact of federal policy on Alberta Monday as he embarked on a two-day political trade mission in the capital.

The trip is intended to rope the federal government into making immediate changes to improve the province’s fortunes.

A full-page newspaper ad setting out five key demands he’ll take into his meeting Tuesday with the prime minister was followed by a 30-minute speech to a packed Ottawa ballroom that saw Kenney argue that if change does not come, one of the key engines of the Canadian economy will stall out for good, and the entire country will suffer.

Support for western separation is running at 30 per cent, Kenney noted, but what’s more troublesome is that upwards of 80 per cent of people polled on the issue say they understand and sympathize with that sentiment.

“They have not given up on Canada but more and more they believe that Canada has given up on them,” he said.

The polling numbers were one of dozens of statistics Kenney used to illustrate his speech to the Canadian Club of Ottawa, numbers that charted everything from Alberta’s economic contributions to Canada to rises in addiction, suicide and bankruptcies and the billions lost by the oil sector in the province since 2014.

READ MORE: Alberta ‘Fair Deal Panel’ starts public town hall meetings in Edmonton

Too many Canadians believe the issues facing the province are about a downturn in oil prices that year, he said. But the reality is, oil prices have stabilized and while in the U.S. the energy sector is in the midst of a job boom, Alberta remains in crisis, he said.

“The difference is not (oil) prices,” he said. “It is policy.”

Among the casualties of federal government uncertainty and reversal of regulations, Kenney said, have been the Northern Gateway and Energy East pipelines as well as a liquefied-natural-gas project in B.C., all of which hit the Canadian energy industry hard.

There are also the issues created by two new pieces of federal legislation, known as bills C-69 and C-48.

The former governs the environmental assessment process for energy products, and is derided by Albertans and others as the “no more pipelines” act in the belief it will further bog down new projects. The latter is a ban on massive oil tankers being allowed to make port in northern B.C., a ban that Kenney and others argue is a direct slap to Alberta, whose products would be taken to market on those ships.

Many — including Kenney — want both laws repealed, but Kenney acknowledged Monday that might not be possible. Instead, the relevant regulations needed to apply them, especially the environmental-assessment law, must be made with direct provincial input, he said.

The fiscal-stabilization program is another irritant. It’s a mechanism that allows the federal government to top up provincial coffers by a maximum per-capita amount in the event of an economic downturn, but the funds available barely scratch the surface of how much Alberta has lost, Kenney claims. He wants Alberta to receive about $2.4 billion going back to 2014.

Action on the fiscal-stabilization program and the two new laws are among the five demands Kenney will make of the prime minister on Tuesday. Both were issues supported by all premiers at a meeting last week, Kenney pointed out Monday after his speech.

“If I was the federal government, I would take that as a pretty strong prompt, a nudge, to deliver,” he said.

“I don’t expect to be walking out of the prime minister’s office with written agreements on these things tomorrow but I sure hope we get an indication they are prepared to move.”

READ MORE: ‘Pick a lane:’ Alberta premier fires back at Bloc Quebecois leader

During Monday’s lunch, Kenney was seated at the same table as Trudeau’s deputy prime minister, Alberta-born Toronto MP Chrystia Freeland, who has been tasked by Trudeau with repairing the strained relationship between the federal and provincial governments. The two met in Alberta last month.

Kenney is in Ottawa with eight cabinet ministers and a posse of officials who will make the rounds with their federal counterparts, industry leaders and Opposition politicians.

Later Monday, he was meeting with the leader of the NDP, and hosting political and industry insiders at Ottawa’s private Rideau Club Monday night.

On Tuesday, he’ll sit down with Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer prior to his afternoon meeting with Trudeau.

In addition to seeking action on legislation and the fiscal-stabilization program, Kenney will press the prime minister to place a hard deadline on the completion of the Trans Mountain pipeline project, with Indigenous groups quickly made partners; an expansion of tax instruments to help increase investment; and federal recognition for Alberta’s methane regulations as being equivalent to a federal program.

What Albertans want isn’t unreasonable, nor does it hurt any other province, Kenney said.

“We are simply asking for a fair deal now,” he said.

Stephanie Levitz, 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

Chilliwack trustee removed from committees, district invites

Barry Neufeld’s censure involves four forms of reprimand due to recent Facebook post

Volunteers and donors behind Chilliwack’s boots and backpacks programs awarded

Principals and vice-principals chose Murray Honda, Staples and Canadian Tire for provincial award

Chilliwack RCMP support Special Olympics athletes

This year’s torch run aiming to raise $30,000 for B.C.’s athletes

FVRD activates its emergency operations centre to monitor Fraser River levels

FVRD activates its emergency operations centre to monitor Fraser River levels

Body of Maple Ridge man recovered near Harrison Lake

21-year-old last seen on May 16 when he fell into Silver Creek

B.C. retirement home creates innovative ‘meet-up’ unit for elderly to see family face-to-face

Innovative ‘purpose-built’ unit keeps residents safe when seeing family for first time since COVID-19

Death toll rises in COVID-19 outbreak at Langley Lodge

Number has risen to 22, making it the worst to date in B.C.

Fraser Valley libraries to offer contactless hold pick-ups

FVRL Express — Click, Pick, Go service to be offered at all 25 locations starting June 1

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

COLUMN: Canada needs to remember rural communities as thoughts turn to pandemic recovery

Small towns often rely on tourism, which has been decimated by COVID-19

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

United Way allocating $6.6M in federal funding to help with food security, youth mental health

Applications from Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland charities being accepted for the emergency funding

Most Read