If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
That’s how Laura feels about Premier Jason Kenney’s Fair Deal Panel.
The Calgary resident was in Red Deer Sunday. She said she doesn’t understand exactly what Kenney is trying to solve with his new plan.
“It sounds like an opportunity to create more bureaucracy,” she said.
Kenney’s Fair Deal Panel, which will include former Reform Party leader Preston Manning, will consult 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.
The point of the panel, Kenney explained, is to secure a fair deal for Alberta and advance Alberta’s economic interests, such as the construction of energy pipelines.
Kenney noted that several of the ideas are borrowed from Quebec, such as collecting taxes and seeking provincial representation in treaty negotiations that affect Alberta’s interests.
Laura understands Alberta’s main concern – pipelines – and wants the premier to focus on the problem itself instead of adding more layers of bureaucracy.
“If there’s a problem, then name that problem and let’s work together to fix it, but just creating anger and that notion that ‘we’re upset about something’ and using these levers and tools as if that’s going to resolve the issue of the pipeline, it doesn’t seem like a reasonable approach.”
She said she doesn’t understand the advantages of some of the points in the plan such as creating a provincial policing agency. It may just create more isolation between the community and police officers, she explained.
Red Deer resident Barry is in agreement with the premier’s new plan. The senior resident said Kenney is ready to make some moves and hopefully “for us they’ll work.”
A provincial plan instead of the Canada Pension Plan might serve senior Albertans better, he said Sunday.
“They’re down in the low ranks and they can use and should have a greater source of revenue. I’m an elderly and I can certainly use that,” he said.
Barry said overall he is excited about the premier’s plan for Albertans.
“It can’t hurt us,” Barry said with a chuckle.
Dennis, a senior Red Deer resident, feels the plan further isolates Alberta from Canada, and does not agree with Kenney’s new vision.
“In Canada, we’re one nation,” he said.
“What it does is it makes us look like fools in the eyes of other Canadians.”
Alberta’s NDP leader Rachel Notley notes Kenney’s remarks are “dangerous” and that he did not campaign on any of these issues.
She said Kenney is intentionally stoking the fires of western alienation in order to advance his own political objectives.
“Instead of getting to work on the priorities of Albertans; getting the pipeline built, growing our economy, and creating jobs, he is exploiting the real frustrations of everyday Albertans by sowing the seeds of separation with tired ideas from decades ago. Alberta is part of Canada, and Jason Kenney needs to accept that.
“Kenney never talked to Albertans about putting their pensions in jeopardy in the last election and Albertans cannot trust him to be anywhere near their retirement savings, she said.
In his Saturday’s speech Kenney rejected the separatist notion, citing it would not make it any easier to get a pipeline built for a landlocked Alberta.
With files from the Canadian Press