Premier Jason Kenney has announced that a panel will investigate the viability of a provincial pension plan, a provincial police force and a provincial tax collection agency.
Kenney discussed the launch of the Fair Deal Panel at the Alberta Manning Networking Conference in Red Deer on Saturday afternoon.
The panel will consult Albertans and consider whether certain measures would advance the province’s interests, including:
- Establishing a provincial revenue agency to collect provincial taxes directly by ending the Canada-Alberta Tax Collection Agreement, while joining Quebec in seeking an agreement to collect federal taxes within the province;
- Creating an Alberta pension plan by withdrawing from the Canada Pension Plan;
- Establishing a provincial police force by ending the Alberta Police Service Agreement with the government of Canada;
- Emulating Quebec’s practice of playing a larger role in international relations, in part by seeking Alberta representation in treaty negotiations that effect Alberta’s interests.
The panel will also look at how best to advance the province’s vital economic interests, such as the construction of energy pipelines.
“Alberta has been by far the biggest contributing province to Canada in recent decades, and a huge engine for jobs and growth. But governments that have profited from our resources, hard work, and generosity now seem determined to pin us down and block us in,” Kenney said.
“Albertans aren’t asking for a special deal. We’re just asking for a fair deal. And our government will do everything within our power to get it.”
Kenney also discussed why he is not in favour of western separation, during Saturday’s keynote speech.
“I don’t understand how it would be to our advantage to isolate ourselves,” Kenney said.
He said it’s “essential” leaders at all levels listen to the message “a growing number of westerners” are sending.
But “I cannot conceive of how we would be better off by cutting ourselves off and landlocking ourselves from the rest of the continent. The single greatest challenge that we face is a lack of coastal access for our energy because of the campaign to landlock Alberta.
“I do not understand how the solution to a campaign to landlock Alberta is for us to voluntarily landlock Alberta,” he said.
“I don’t understand how it would be in our economic or political benefit to withdraw from NAFTA, or the Canada-U.S.-Mexico trade agreement.”