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Alberta’s Fair Deal fix amounts to scuttling federalism, equalization

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Amid a drastically changing economic, public health and environmental milieu, the drafters of Alberta’s recent Fair Deal report — along with its 25 recommendations — seem to have turned the mantra “the West wants in” into something akin to “Alberta wants more.”

No one is doubting that the province of Alberta is hurting at the moment — what with slumping economic growth and resource revenues, cancelled oil sands projects and shrinking capital investment and job losses and home foreclosures. Times are tough in the oil patch these days.

But does rectifying the situation reside in pitting one region (or province) of the country against another? Does attenuating the current economic troubles in Alberta require weakening the bonds of Canadian federalism? How will that lead to a fairer Canada?

From the very outset, in the executive summary, the panellists don’t hold anything back: “A substantial majority of Albertans do not believe they are receiving a fair deal from the federal government. Many are angry and want the Government of Alberta to reassert its position in Confederation and minimize Ottawa’s overreach.”

The driving force underpinning this push for a “fair deal” is the current systemic inequity in the existing federal structures and the fact that other provinces are benefiting handsomely........

© The Telegram

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