You can expect everything and the kitchen sink will be put on the table.
Everything, that is, except splitting from Canada since Premier Jason Kenney says he will always be a proud Canadian.
Kenney speaks in Red Deer Saturday.
His words are expected to be full of red-meat politics. The crowd will be hungry.
He has a game plan, organizing town halls across the province, some before Christmas. A panel will listen to what Albertans have to say in what will be the winter of our discontent.
By spring, Kenney wants a report on where Alberta should go from here.
Albertans expect action. Talk was cheap, now it’s worth squat.
The premier knows full well where the wind is blowing and how hard it blows.
Kenney says there’s a “compelling case” to do what Quebec did, exit the Canada Pension Plan and start an Alberta one.
Such a trial balloon went nowhere almost 20 years ago with another Liberal government hostile to Alberta.
The number crunchers say without Alberta in the CPP, other Canadians would have to pay more and Albertans would pay less in their own plan.
An exit would make the mucky-mucks in arrogant Ottawa sick to their well-fed stomachs.
You see, Albertans contribute more to CPP than Alberta retirees receive in payments.
From 2008 to 2017, what Albertans paid into CPP over and above what Alberta retirees scored in pension cash was almost $28 billion. That’s nearly four times higher than Ontario, the next highest contributor.
Kind of reminds you of equalization.
Kenney admits a lot of Albertans want a referendum vote on equalization now. They want to force Trudeau to negotiate with Alberta.
Kenney defends his position to hold the vote in two years.
He needs the vote to get the Trans Mountain pipeline built.
“If we blow all our ammunition right now what leverage do we have 12, 18, 24 months from now when there are New Democrats and Green party members chaining themselves to pipes and tractors in the war in the woods?
“What leverage do we have on the federal government to ensure the application of the rule of law for the completion of that pipeline?”
The premier doesn’t completely write off the NDP or Bloc Quebecois trying to scuttle the project.
Then there’s Trudeau, talking big in Quebec about standing up to the big oil companies. That still bugs us.
What did Kenney tell him?
“If you want to stand up to our energy industry then why are you prepared to take the revenues it generates and the jobs it creates?”
But he does. The premier may also push Ottawa for an equalization rebate in these tough times. We shall see.
On Thursday, Notley and Kenney scuffle on the premier’s fight-back stance but the NDP leader played palsy-walsy with Trudeau. She’s not in the game.
Shannon Stubbs is a Conservative MP from Alberta. Stubbs calls it as she sees it. What she sees isn’t pretty.
Albertans have been kicked when they’re down.
Many folks are at the end of their rope and if they don’t see some light at the end of the tunnel soon they’ll start looking for an exit door from what has become an abusive relationship with Ottawa.
And please, don’t say Albertans are alienated.
Nobody says: You know, I feel alienated today.
As Stubbs puts it, people are furious. They don’t want special treatment. They just want the prime minister and the government to stop attacking them.
They see the election as “the rest of the country vindicating the prime minister.”
What’s going on is not just blowing off steam.
“It’s not ranting over a couple of beers or getting all carried away with your friends at the 6 a.m. coffee before you go out for another frustrating day in this disastrous harvest.”
“It’s a grave crisis” and “it’s absolutely appalling the prime minister seems completely unaware of that and it’s a direct result of him.”
If Trans Mountain doesn’t get done, “people will be apoplectic.”
An Alberta Pension Plan might get Ottawa to pay attention.
Equalization is the hot button. Others want to hold Alberta back but they want our dough at the same time. Stubbs almost spits out the words as she speaks of the “galling double-standard and hypocrisy.”
Kenney says this fight is a marathon, not a sprint.
Earlier this week one of his team, Airdrie’s Angela Pitt, asks a good question.
“What does this government say to those struggling to wave a Canadian flag in this beautiful province?”
The clock ticks and, unlike a marathon, the finish line is unknown.