Calgary mayor, former Alberta premier willing to help PM bridge western divide

OTTAWA — Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi is willing to help bridge the current divide between western Canada and the federal government, but called speculation about him being appointed as a representative of — or adviser for — Alberta in federal cabinet “silly.”

“No job has been offered, nor no job has been contemplated,” Nenshi told CTV’s Question Period in an interview aired Sunday.

“Probably it’s wrong, but I am enjoying all this speculation because it’s so silly.”

Nenshi said he’d be prepared to aid the Trudeau government in gaining a better perspective on Alberta issues in an informal way, but appeared to lay down a few ground rules for his cooperation.

Calling separatist rumblings in Alberta “very real,” Nenshi said he spoke with Trudeau about a range of issues seen in the West as irritants in a call he received from the prime minister on Wednesday.

“Of course the (Trans Mountain) pipeline has to get built, of course we need to re-examine Bill C-69 which my premier calls the No More Pipelines Bill, but is actually much more dangerous than that,” Nenshi said.

The popular three-time mayor warned that Bill C-69, known as the Impact Assessment Act, would make it much more difficult to build not just pipelines, but other infrastructure projects as well.

The Trudeau Liberals were shut out of Alberta and Saskatchewan in the Oct. 21 election amid growing frustration with federal policies affecting the oilpatch, leading to questions about how the prime minister would provide representation of the two provinces in his cabinet, which is to be sworn in Nov. 20.

Comments made by Trudeau since the election triggered speculation that he might turn to Nenshi to be a voice for the West in cabinet.

Former Alberta premier Alison Redford has also been tabbed as a potential Trudeau confidant, and said she’s willing to lend the federal Liberals a hand in addressing the gap in western representation.

“I haven’t been asked. I am happy to help in any way,” she told CTV’s Question Period.

“This is something Canadians have been thinking about for a long time and I think the key is that there has to be a lot of voices at the table.”

Bill C-69, designed to change the way the federal government reviews major projects, including oil and gas pipelines, became a key focal point of discontent expressed by Albertans during the federal election campaign.

Oil industry executives have warned the legislation will halt economic growth in Canada, particularly in the West as companies struggle to get bitumen to markets other than the United States.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Samson Cree Nation reeling after 10 year-old-boy-shot, 13-year-old charged with manslaughter

‘Don’t give up, keep praying, we will get through this’

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Aug. 9

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00… Continue reading

Team says technical issues from ‘unprecedented demand’ left Oilers raffle in limbo

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers’ record-setting online 50/50 raffle from Friday with… Continue reading

Update: Possible drowning at Pigeon Lake involved man and woman from Edmonton

Bodies recovered from Pigeon Lake’s northeastern shores.

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Cast your votes for Best of Red Deer

The Advocate’s Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are back. Community… Continue reading

‘Do our lives count for less?’: COVID-19 exposes cracks in disability aid

Karyn Keith says she isn’t asking for much. All she wants is… Continue reading

Who can dismiss the Governor General? A look at protocols and possibilities

OTTAWA — With Gov. Gen. Julie Payette finding herself the focus of… Continue reading

Liberals turn over thousands of pages on WE decision

OTTAWA — The federal Liberal government has turned over thousands of pages… Continue reading

US hits 5 million confirmed virus cases, Europe is amazed

ROME — With confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. hitting 5 million… Continue reading

University of Victoria and women’s rowing coach sued over alleged verbal abuse

VANCOUVER — A former member of the University of Victoria’s varsity women’s… Continue reading

Parents, teachers press Quebec to revise back-to-school plan amid COVID-19

MONTREAL — For Politimi Karounis, August is usually spent buying new backpacks,… Continue reading

Most Read