Following reports Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has changed his mind and decided to attend the 2017 Calgary Stampede, Wildrose Leader Brian Jean requested a meeting with Trudeau to discuss equalization fairness as Albertan’s continue to shell out billions in transfer payments while it faces opposition from its provincial neighbours on projects of national interest.
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard recently announced his desire to re-open the constitution and Jean said that if that debate is to happen, Alberta should be at the table to argue against a system that sends as much as a net $28 billion a year out of Alberta, with $11 billion in equalization going directly to Quebec’s provincial government with no strings attached.
“I, for one, will be the first to welcome Prime Minister Trudeau to Calgary this Saturday if he’s interested in actually discussing matters of importance to Albertans,” Jean said. “The people of this province rightly feel overlooked by this Prime Minister, and now is an opportunity for him to sit down and discuss how we can restore fairness to an equalization program that has been ripping off Albertans for years.”
Jean said it’s beyond disappointing that Premier Rachel Notley and her government have previously dismissed an opportunity presented by Wildrose to renegotiate Alberta’s position on equalization prior to the next round of talks in 2019, and that she cannot be trusted to represent Alberta’s interests when the Prime Minister comes to visit this weekend.
“Premier Notley and the NDP have shown they’re more interested in backstopping damaging policy from the federal government, like a carbon tax, than they are in standing up for Albertans,” Jean said. “The Premier clearly isn’t going to stand up and demand equalization fairness from this Prime Minister, but I will. I hope the Prime Minister takes my request seriously because I’ve been hearing from every corner of this province that Albertans want a better deal, and that’s the message I intend on delivering.”