Red Deer south MLA Cal Dallas shook a lot of hands Monday and Tuesday, as he and Premier Alison Redford brought an Alberta perspective to Ottawa.
Dallas, who is the province’s International and Intergovernmental Relations minister, joined Redford at the official opening of Alberta’s new office in the nation’s capital.
He said members of Parliament from across Canada — including some ministers — were on hand for the event, as were 15 to 20 foreign ambassadors from Ottawa’s consular corp.
“There were a lot of positive comments,” he said, stressing the importance of Alberta having a permanent presence near Parliament.
It will make it easier to monitor federal policy initiatives and ensure Alberta’s point of view is considered, said Dallas, and to confer with MPs from this province.
And beyond Ottawa’s political base, there are a number of industry and not-for-profit associations based there, he noted.
“It really reinforced to me the value of having an easy point of contact for us to share information about perspectives and activities that are happening in Alberta.”
Alberta maintained an office in Ottawa until 1997, when it was closed as a cost-saving measure.
“Since that time, we haven’t actually had a physical presence nor a designated representative,” said Dallas.
Redford also addressed the Economic Club of Canada while in Ottawa.
Dallas said she talked about the challenges of getting Alberta’s land-locked energy resources to market, and the province’s current financial challenges.
Dallas met with Canadian International Trade Minister Ed Fast, discussing the status of the Canada-Europe Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement and the Keystone XL pipeline project.
“I’m guessing that we probably talked to another dozen members of Parliament just yesterday (Tuesday) as well.”
Dallas said the message that Redford delivered was related to the importance of collaboration between Alberta and Ottawa, and between the provinces, when it comes to issues like a national energy strategy and foreign trade.
He acknowledged that the Keystone pipeline was a dominant topic of conversation, but pointed out that it’s only one piece of a bigger puzzle.
Dallas also discussed Alberta’s commitment to reviewing the province’s climate change policy — a process that’s already underway.
“Clearly what we’ve acknowledged is that we recognize the need to play a contributing role to climate change mitigation and to maintain our social licence to market these energy products.”