Less Ottawa, More Alberta
Less Ottawa, More Alberta.
That idea was a major theme throughout the premierships of both Jason Kenney and Danielle Smith over the last four years.
It’s also a phrase that has been used as a rallying cry on the campaign trail for generations - for good reason.
While the media has been downplaying the impact of the federal government on this election campaign, there remains ongoing frustration amongst Albertans who are sick and tired of Ottawa interfering in their lives.
So, despite appearances, this election has focused on Ottawa in a number of ways, even if it hasn’t always been as obvious.
In the end, this election is about whether or not Albertans want a government that embraces Ottawa’s plan to shut down our industries, or whether we choose a government that will push back and fight for our interests.
The affordability crisis and public safety have been two of the key issues of this election campaign.
But both of those issues are strongly tied to federal policy.
As Ottawa has centralized more and more political power and ignored provincial jurisdiction, they’ve limited the ability of individual provinces to adequately handle these types of issues at a local level.
When it comes to energy, Justin Trudeau and his team have made it clear that they want to shut Alberta’s fossil fuel industry down - despite the impacts that would have on affordability.
We understand, even if the federal government refuses to, that energy is the fuel of economic activity in a modern world.
Manufacturers rely on affordable energy to keep production costs down, meaning the price of goods goes up as the price of energy does.
Rising fuel prices impact the transportation costs of the goods as they leave the manufacturing line and move to the shelves in the store.
Energy-intensive agricultural activities such as irrigation, machinery operation, and processing rely on affordable energy - higher energy costs drive the cost of food up.
Businesses and households require affordable energy to heat their buildings in the winter, cool them in the summer, and power the lights and electronics that run them.
Increased energy costs have been one of the main things straining household and business budgets.
And, especially in Alberta, the cost of energy is a significant factor in resource extraction industries, such as mining, as well as oil and gas.
On crime, the federal government’s track record under Trudeau has been underwhelming.
For months, provincial and territorial premiers have been calling for reforms to the country’s bail system, which has made communities across the country vulnerable as violent criminals roam the streets on bail.
Last week, after public safety had become a major election issue in Alberta, the federal government finally took some first steps to address the problem, with Justice Minister David Lametti tabling a bill to bring in stricter bail conditions.
However, that action took far too long, and came only after significant pressure from the provinces.
It could take years to bring communities back to a level of public safety that makes residents comfortable.
Clearly, when it comes to affordability and crime, we cannot rely on the federal government.
We need made-in-Alberta strategies.
And it’s essential that the influence of the federal government on the affairs of Alberta be limited, to allow for those strategies to work.
So when you’re contemplating who to vote for, make sure you’re thinking about who will stand up to Ottawa, and actually implement made-in-Alberta solutions to Alberta-specific issues, rather than just go along with whatever Ottawa wants.
Imagine a strong and sovereign Alberta within Canada, governing ourselves, and bringing back the Alberta Advantage for good.
And, to get there, we need less Ottawa.
If you’ve appreciated the work we’ve done over the last year, and the discussion we’ve stimulated, please consider making a donation to support our work.
Our Sovereignty Act was just the first step, and we have much more work to do after the election!
The Free Alberta Strategy Team