VIEW THE LETTER:
TO: Current and Future Conservative Party of Canada Leadership Candidates
RE: Standing up for Alberta and Saskatchewan
We are writing today because we believe this leadership transition is an opportunity to reset the stage. An opportunity to heal regional and social divides and renew our nation.
Our country is desperate for authentic, principle-based leadership. The Conservative Party has been home to such leadership in its history – and can be again.
Specifically for Alberta and Saskatchewan, we need a new and strong voice.
A voice to help us level the playing field. A voice fighting for provincial freedoms while ensuring provinces are equal partners in confederation.
All too often over the past century, Alberta and Saskatchewan’s concerns within confederation have been marginalized for political expediency in other parts of Canada. If continued, this unfair treatment puts a unified Canada at risk.
There is more that unites us than divides – and with the right tact and poise, a political leader can fairly advocate for our interests alongside all other Canadians.
Our provinces have been the economic engines of Canada – and are poised to do so again.
Alberta and Saskatchewan need to be firing on all cylinders to dig us out of the fiscal hole created by a terrible pandemic and Trudeau government mismanagement.
Now is the time for a new leader to emerge and unite Canadians.
We believe there are four (4) key western issues any federal leader must advocate for as part of a renewed confederation.
# 1: A Renewed Equalization and Transfers System
Albertans voted strongly in favour of removing equalization from the constitution in a provincial wide referendum on October 18, 2021. The federal government is constitutionally obligated to now negotiate the terms of equalization with Alberta and should include other provinces.
The equalization system can be modified with legislation and does not require a constitutional amendment.
Canada needs a unifying leader committed to meaningful multi-day negotiations between the federal government and Alberta on equalization reform.
# 2: Unequivocal support for further development of our resource sector
Canada has the modern, clean and responsible resources the world needs: oil, natural gas, hydrogen, potash, uranium and rare earth minerals.
World-wide demand for these products will increase for 30 years or more, not to mention the critical global shortages at present.
Other countries are developing their resources while Canada is being left behind.
We need a leader to boldly declare that Canada is Open For Business. A leader who actively promotes our products and services to the world. A leader who instills pride in what Canada does and creates the conditions to attract new investment in our resource sector and beyond.
# 3: More private health care options within our single-payer system
The best universal health care systems in the world have a greater mix of private and public health care options than Canada.
The pandemic has exposed many of the flaws of our system and simply spending more taxpayer money on this system is not the answer.
Quebec and Saskatchewan have experimented with private health care for elective surgery and diagnostics. The results have been lower wait times and more capacity in the public system.
We recommend you champion changes to the Canada Health Act, including amendments allowing for private surgery and diagnostics within the public system.
# 4: Allow provinces to manage their own emission reduction plans
With significant inflation here to stay and confusing systems of rebates growing an even more bloated Ottawa bureaucracy, it’s time to scrap the federal government’s imposed carbon tax.
Provinces have been leaders in reducing emissions in the past across the country. It’s time to let them implement their own plans based on their unique economies, industries, and roles in our federation, rather than one blunt overreaching federal tax that will only cause more pain for families and job creators.
In order to renew a nation as large and diverse as ours, more freedom and authority must be granted to provinces.
One size does not fit all in Canada. Each province is unique and should be treated as such – and as equal partners in our federation.
Together we can restore balance, faith and hope in our federation.
Thank you for your time and willingness to serve. We are counting on you.
CC Hon. Candice Bergen, Leader of the Official Opposition Conservative Party of Canada’s Members of Parliament