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Fixing the Federation Print E-mail
Saturday, 01 October 2005

Strategic action

Choosing Alberta’s next premier

Ralph Klein has promised to resign two years from now (fall 2007), but the contest to replace him is already underway and he may leave sooner.

The Citizens Centre will question the five or six prospective Conservative leadership candidates about where they stand on the McClelland recommendations (see preceding), and about the level of effort they would bring to federal reform.

We will also question the two candidates seeking to lead the Alberta Alliance party.

We’ll report what they say in our next newsletter, and on our Web site ( ).

This will enable our supporters in Alberta to get behind the candidate they think best suited to lead Alberta and Canada in this direction.

Progress on provincial powers and the ‘Alberta Agenda’

Two years ago, the Citizens Centre joined forces with Pat Beauchamp’s Alberta Residents League to promote the “Alberta Agenda” -- Alberta taking control of provincial policing, provincial income tax collection, and Alberta’s share of the Canada Pension Plan.

Significantly, Alberta Solicitor General Harvey Cenaiko is now choosing a site for a new $40 million provincial police training academy. Though it’s to help train Alberta’s municipal police forces, the McClelland committee (see preceding) did recommend serious further consideration of replacing the local policing functions of the RCMP, and a provincial training facility would be a necessary first step.

Pat and the Residents League are building a formidable network of municipal, business and farm leaders throughout the province to implement the Alberta Agenda. This is an essential step towards refederating Canada, for if the Alberta government does not quickly take control of policing, old age pensions and provincial tax collection, it cannot enforce a winning constitutional amendment.

To join or support the ARL, phone 403-265-3669, or visit its Web site at

A ‘Calgary Congress’ to map out our constitutional future

Meanwhile, we at the Citizens Centre are organizing a public assembly in Calgary for next fall.

The Calgary Congress will consist of leading political and constitutional experts and grassroots Canadians who assemble to consider and define what Alberta’s constitutional position should be. The organizers can then launch a push to see it adopted by the provincial government when a new premier has been chosen.

The Congress has an important role in finding and building consensus. Should Alberta demand a Triple-E Senate? Should it demand constitutional limits on federal spending? What should it demand in the area of judicial reform? Exactly how should it prepare to enforce such a hard line on the federal government?

The Citizens Centre has been consulting with key people and believes a public, high-profile assembly is the best avenue forward.

Before the Calgary Congress, work needs to be done to raise the level of background knowledge among our supporters and those who attend the event, as well as among politicians, the media and the public.

We need as well to poll carefully the attitude of Albertans towards federalism as it now stands. We know from other polls that almost half of Albertans are ready to consider separation and that most support the Alberta Agenda. What we don’t know is whether they’ll support a hard line by the government of Alberta to force constitutional reform within Canada.

A clear and better vision

Difficult as this agenda may appear, it’s not as though the Alberta/Canada status quo offers a better alternative.

Albertans can and will bring about change when they are shown a clear and better vision of the future, and understand that they have both the economic power and the moral responsibility to make it happen.

Please do your part to move this forward.

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