It has been a few days since I posted about an agenda to move Alberta forward. I have read the comments and noted the reactions of the elites and everyday Albertans.
The vast majority of commentators clearly stated the NDP must be defeated. I agree completely.
And as I predicted the elites told us to “chill out”. Four media outlets did stories on how Albertans weren’t angry. They interviewed bloggers and university professors and quoted civil servants. Left wing activists started a hash tag #NotAngryAB and a few hundred twitter users posted pictures of their pets. The Star did an online poll and asked Albertans to tell them how they felt. Over 8000 people (almost 90% of the participants) told the Star they indeed were “mad as hell”. I recognize it wasn’t a scientific poll, but just a few days ago the Angus Reid Forum released a scientific poll showing 87% of Albertans believe “the lack of new pipeline capacity is a crisis.”
I stand by what I said: Albertans are angry. Reporters and politicians should stop talking to bloggers and academics and frequent where Albertans work and play. The anger and the fear are real.
Some critics took issue with me saying Albertans are looking for a political party that felt their pain and fears and spoke out about it. Some conservatives didn’t agree with my saying that no party was doing this well and suggested Iwas being disloyal to the party I helped create.
I stand by my comments. Of the five parties in the legislature, three are silent on these issues, one has embraced separatist language and the UCP under Jason Kenney has softened its stance.
When Mr. Kenney ran against me for the leadership, he “borrowed” one of my most popular promises and committed to holding a referendum on equalization. Unfortunately, in the last few months he has wavered on this topic in media interviews. And recently on Facebook live he said the UCP “MIGHT have an equalization referendum.”
Frankly, “might” isn’t good enough. An equalization referendum is just one of several necessary tools to force constitutional discussions and to drive positive change – we must pull every lever, and exert every right we have to reopen the constitution and get a fair deal for Albertans and Canada. The UCP needs to commit to having an equalization referendum.
Going the constitutional route is critical even if the CPC wins the federal election and joins a conservative government in Edmonton. That will not change the obstructionism of our courts. Governments come and go but court rulings remain. If we allow the courts to block pipelines and interpret laws in a way that prevents Alberta from selling to new markets, Alberta will not be able to have the economic growth to solve our fiscal problems.
Some UCP activists didn’t want me speaking out – they said I should have stayed in caucus if I wanted to have influence. That is wrong. In today’s politics, caucuses have too little influence and are bound to support the Leader and party policy. I had an obligation to step away from caucus if I wanted to comment on these issues and I feel even more confident today about my decision to do so.
When I stepped down from the Legislature I said I would continue to speak out. I will advocate for the return of prosperity to Canada by fighting for the principles that led to Confederation. I intend to be an activist for Albertans and their families to make sure governments stay accountable and work for the people they’re supposed to represent: YOU.