EDMONTON — Premier Ed Stelmach is suggesting that criticism from other provinces over Alberta’s stand on climate change may be fuelling talk of separation.
He said the question about whether the province should leave the rest of the country was sent to him on Twitter.
“I recognize from the question and other comments that are being made that there is some dissatisfaction in terms of Alberta’s role in the country of Canada,” he said Friday.
“This question is probably stemming from the fact that the province, over the last couple of weeks, has been criticized by other premiers for our position on climate change.”
Quebec and Ontario have taken public shots at Alberta’s oilsands during global climate talks in Copenhagen.
Quebec Premier Jean Charest and Ontario Environment Minister John Gerretsen have said they’re not prepared to have their provinces shoulder the load for bigger polluters such as Alberta when it comes to meeting emissions goals.
“If they (the oilsands) are developed there may have to be larger greenhouse gas emission (cuts) elsewhere in the country in order to meet our overall targets,” said Gerretsen.
Stelmach responded earlier in the week with a letter published in several newspapers in which he warned have-not provinces not to criticize an industry that creates jobs across Canada.
He emphasized that Alberta’s economy provides the rest of the country with about $21 billion in various revenue sharing agreements, including transfer payments.
Stelmach broadened his remarks Friday in a video segment posted to YouTube.
“A number of Albertans are feeling that for whatever reason, (despite) our substantial contribution … to Canada’s prosperity, job growth, protection of all of the programs and pensions that we have in the province … we’re just not being recognized,” he said.
“The amount of money, the net contribution that we send to Ottawa on an annual basis, sometimes what many people feel is a lack of recognition for our contribution.”
The premier concluded by saying that all Canadian provinces should be treated equally.
“We will take a very firm position … to make sure that we’re recognized and that we’re treated fairly and equitably as any other Canadian should be.
“We are a part of a great country and we’ll work very hard to make sure that it stays a Canada that we can be proud of, but also that we can all be treated equally as Canadians from coast to coast to coast.”