Alberta has become one of the best places in the world to live, work, and invest, even though the current challenges we face can overshadow those accomplishments. I’m both a proud Canadian and Albertan and I take pride in the knowledge that my nation has benefited immensely as a result of my provinces’ success. It’s clear, however, that Alberta has not always been treated as an equal and respected partner in our federation.
Increasingly folks in Alberta are telling me they feel like Canada has given up on them. These are not simply a few vocal voices at the fringe. These people include business owners, community leaders, health care professionals, athletes, teachers, and lawyers. And by and large, they don’t want to give up on Canada; they simply feel left behind. This challenge transcends political affiliation and, if not taken seriously, the consequences could be grave.
Over the last century, we have seen many actions that have contributed to this. The current Liberal Government has accelerated this, and we have seen an unprecedented consolidation of power in the Federal Government and intrusion into provincial decision making (Bills C-48 & C-69 and the imposition of the carbon tax, to cite a few examples).
Many folks who have entered into this debate are quick to blame the foundations of our country for these problems. I see how one would easily come to that conclusion, and yet when I look at the founding documents and history of Canada, I see the solution. The only way that the Fathers of Confederation came to an agreement in the lead up to 1867 was recognizing the need for unity that included safeguards that respected regions, cultures, economies, and languages.
Government needs to not only know what they are responsible for but where they should not be involved and respect the jurisdictions of other levels of Government, regardless of political differences.
The solution must start with respect. However, that doesn’t dismiss where reform is needed. A few of those reforms I will write about in the future include the Senate, representation in the House of Commons, the equalization formula, and the justice system.
It’s tragic that folks are questioning whether they can be both a proud Canadian and a proud Albertan. The fact that many Albertans, and folks from other western provinces, are even considering separation should concern every Canadian. Especially when the answer to addressing these divisions was built into the fabric of our nation. The current Government has shown itself incapable of unifying our country. A change is needed, and that’s a change that Conservatives are ready to bring, starting with respect.
I welcome your feedback on this, regardless of your politics or position on the issue. This is a conversation that needs to be had, and your input would be appreciated.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this column you are encouraged to write Damien at 4945-50th Street, Camrose, Alberta, T4V 1P9, call 780-608-4600, text 403.575-5625, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also stay up to date with what Damien is up to by following him on social media @dckurek.