Alberta creates panel to study measures that would give province more independence

Alberta will open offices in other provinces, introduce an act to give Albertans the power to petition for referendums and create a panel to look at giving the province further independence, like pulling out of the Federal-Provincial Tax Collection Agreement or establishing a provincial police force.

Premier Jason Kenney made the sweeping announcement Saturday during a keynote address to close the Manning Conference in Red Deer, an event held by the Manning Centre, a Calgary-based right-wing think-tank.

Watch Jason Kenney’s speech live:

Reform Party founder Preston Manning will sit on the panel, along with Stephen Lougheed, son of late former premier Peter Lougheed, former MLA Donna Kennedy-Glans and three current MLAs, among others.

“Albertans aren’t asking for a special deal. We’re just asking for a fair deal. And our government will do everything within our power to get it,” Kenney said in an emailed release.

Some measures the new Fair Deal Panel will study include:

  • Establishing a provincial revenue agency by ending Alberta’s Federal-Provincial Tax Collection Agreement.
  • Withdrawing from the Canada Pension Plan and establishing a provincial plan.
  • Ending the province’s relationship with the RCMP and creating a provincial police force.
  • Opting out of federal cost-sharing programs.
  • Establishing a formal provincial constitution. 
  • Appointing a Chief Firearms Office for the province.

The panel will consult with experts and hold town halls, before completing a report to government by March 31, the release said. 

The province will be opening offices in Ottawa, Quebec and B.C. to “defend the province’s interests.”