The provincial government’s panel examining Alberta’s role in Confederation has now heard from central Albertans.
Alberta’s Fair Deal Panel, which was announced by Premier Jason Kenney in Red Deer last month, held its second open town hall meeting at Westerner Park on Monday. The first meeting was held in Edmonton last week.
“We’re here to listen to what the people of Red Deer, and regions around Red Deer, have to say about what they would believe would be fair for the people of Alberta,” said panel member Donna Kennedy-Glans.
“Everybody has a different perception of what is fair. I think it’s really important for us to be listening to different people and how they perceive what is fair and what is not fair, and also what are the solutions and what can be done to recalibrate that fairness.”
The panel is consulting 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.
“There was an Ipsos poll conducted right after the … federal election and it reflected that one third of Albertans believe they’re so frustrated with the way we are in Confederation that they would actually think about separation,” said Kennedy-Glans.
She said the poll also found “two thirds of Albertans believe we’re not getting a fair deal. If you’re a government in Alberta and you’re trying to make decisions, I think it’s really incumbent on you to listen to that poll and to understand what’s underlying that frustration.”
Kenney and eight of his cabinet ministers were in Ottawa Monday as part of a trip to meet their federal counterparts.
Alberta’s premier is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday to discuss issues ranging from pipelines to equalization.
Future Fair Deal Panel town hall meetings are planned for Calgary on Tuesday, Lethbridge on Wednesday and Grand Prairie on Dec. 18.
The panel has until Jan. 30 to hold the meetings across the province, gather online feedback and consult with experts. It is to submit a final report with recommendations to the government by March 31.
More information is available at www.fairdeal.ca.
–With files from The Canadian Press