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Finding middle ground in the western alienation problem

with Mark Milke, policy analyst

Original premiere date: 22 May 2020

Alberta and the prairie provinces have been hammered like everyone else by the shutdown of their economy by the coronavirus.

It is another blow to an already beleaguered region. Oil and gas revenues tanked over the past few years when the price of a barrel of oil plunged.

Add in a chorus of voices, both domestically and internationally, calling for the demise of the Canadian energy sector and the current federal government’s mixed messages about the development of resources in Alberta in particular.

The combination of hits fueled feelings of alienation and growing support for separation. Premier Jason Kenny, in reading the mood of Albertans, commissioned the “Fair Deal Panel” in an attempt to get feedback on ideas that would provide Alberta with greater control of its destiny.

Then in the midst of the pandemic that is affecting the entire country, Green Party outgoing leader Elizabeth May warned the Prime Minister to not put money into supporting the oil and gas sector because, as she put it, the industry is dead.

All indications are that Ms. May is wrong. The Energy Information Administration says the demand for oil will remain strong for decades to come. Her comments and those of the Bloc Quebecois leader are one of the many elements fueling a growing interest among Albertans to leave Canada.

We invited Mark Milke to join us for a Conversation That Matters about Alberta and the western provinces’ contributions to Canada and how to find a path back to a calmer relationship. This is the first in a series of interviews focusing on alienation and a push toward separation by Alberta that will be published on the Conversations That Matter YouTube channel.

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