Is Alberta heading off in Quebecs foot steps

Did Harper have a bigger picture in mind as he turned Canada on its heels with his Quebecois as a Nation stunt?

Alta.'s new leader asserts same rights as Que.
Jason Fekete and Archie McLean, CanWest News Service; Edmonton Journal

Published: Tuesday, December 05, 2006
EDMONTON - Alberta premier-designate Ed Stelmach stressed Monday that Alberta will flex its political muscle on the national scene, vowing to fight for the same rights as the Quebec nation and to oppose encroachments on the province's wealth.
In his first official press conference since his stunning victory Saturday in the Progressive Conservative leadership race, Stelmach was both emotional and assertive in a nearly 30-minute appearance in front of the media at the legislature.
The affable 55-year-old blinked back tears as he thanked his campaign team at his first press conference since being elected leader.
"It's still an emotional ...'' Stelmach explained as he fought to control himself.
"They were there through thick and thin, always positive and said 'Ed we're going to do this.' And that's what got me up a lot earlier every morning.''
But Stelmach, who was sworn-in as Alberta's 13th premier on Dec. 15, also delivered a strong message to the rest of the country.
He said he's particularly concerned about a handful of intergovernmental issues, including the ongoing debate about a new equalization formula and the fiscal imbalance, as well as the notion that Quebec is a nation within Canada.
''I'm going to fight for the same rights and privileges that may be assigned to this nation within a nation,'' Stelmach told reporters.
''I'm going to be very careful. We're watching this.''
He also promised to review Alberta's oil royalty structure, to ensure the province is getting the most from its precious resource.
"That's what came forward from Albertans on the campaign trail," he explained.
Stelmach spent Sunday resting with his family and chatting on the phone with 33 of his MLAs. He said he was hoping to talk to the rest by the end of Monday in an effort to heal the party after a brawling leadership race.
He also talked to Prime Minister Stephen Harper Sunday, who he says he is looking forward to working with.
"We're going to do whatever we can to work together,'' he said, adding that he'll have a meeting with Harper either later this month or in early January.
Stelmach also warned newly crowned Liberal Leader Stephane Dion and anyone else who would harm Alberta's oil and gas industry that, "any damage to Alberta's economy is going to severely hurt Ottawa and their treasury as well.''
Dion said Sunday he wants to find ways to achieve more sustainable development in the booming oilsands by reviewing ''the advantageous tax treatment'' offered to oil and gas companies.
''I'm going to tell them right off the bat that they have to be careful as to the kind of policies they start articulating,'' Stelmach said. ''Any damage to Alberta's economy is going to severely hurt Ottawa and their treasury as well.''
When asked about the federal Grits planning a possible raid on Alberta's energy wealth, he tapped his chest and said: ''They're going to be dealing with me.''
The 55-year-old MLA and farmer defied the odds to win the leadership race Saturday. He defeated frontrunner Jim Dinning and maverick Ted Morton.
Edmonton Journal, Calgary Herald
All I can say is that I believe some form of significant decentralisation is on the horizon and that it won't only be triggered by Quebec...

Similar Threads

Think twice before heading to Canada
by Paranoid Dot Calm | Dec 1st, 2004
Is America heading toward fascism?
by moghrabi | Nov 27th, 2004