The West Wants In

Published on April 05, 2018

April 5, 2018 – MLA Fildebrandt Members Statement

The last time that a Trudeau was in power in Ottawa, the long standing quasi-colonial attitude of the federal government to Alberta and the West began to boil over.

Even a change of the party in power in 1984 only delayed this reckoning, as the deep institutional injustices of the federal government became impossible to ignore. Preston Manning and Stephen Harper constructively channeled our frustrations under the banner: The West Want In. The election of an Alberta Prime Minister in 2006 saw some of the anti-western injustices of the federal government changed, but institutions and entrenched interests are hard to overcome. Equalization and other transfer programs, continue to bleed Alberta dry of our hard earned prosperity.

The Senate remains as unelected, unequal and ineffective as ever. All four Atlantic Provinces have a combined population of 2.3 million, represented by 30 Senators.

Alberta, with a population of 4 million, has just 6.

Albertans have always been willing to pay more than our fair share into confederation out of love for our country, and the understanding that at the very least, we had the right to trade in an open and free market. But now even this, most simple condition for the existence of even as quasi functional national state, is questionable at best. Despite the NDPs well-meaning, honest efforts to bend over backwards to earn social license for a pipeline, those who benefit from Alberta’s economy continue to do everything possible to bite the hand that feeds. And while I do believe that a change in both the federal and provincial governments will improve our situation, I fear that the deep, institutional resistance towards Alberta’s interests may be impossible to overcome.

In my constituency and across large swaths of our province, Albertans – patriotic Canadians all – are beginning to lose hope. What were once whispers - spoken in private - are fast becoming a loud demand for justice.  My colleagues . . .  we are all here, proud Albertans and proud Canadians, but our relationship with the federal government is quickly becoming untenable. I ask that we stand together behind the old banner of The West Wants In … before people conclude that they want out.