Alberta is not, and has never been, an equal participant in Confederation. This is something people in our province know, but Ottawa continually ignores. Justin Trudeau’s government has only exacerbated the problem by attacking our economy, calling our jobs dirty, and with his dismissive attitude to our province writ-large.
Our federation has reached a crossroads at which Canada must decide to move forward in equality and respect, or people in our region will look at independence from Confederation as the solution.
Michelle didn’t stand by and watch while our province suffered. Canadian federation is deeply broken, and inherently unjust. Michelle fought for our community and pushed for change that would permanently correct inherent inequities that privilege some at the expense of others.
Michelle stood up to the Liberal government’s punitive policies and the perpetual unfairness Western Canada experiences when she authored the Buffalo Declaration, the first policy piece in Canadian history that addresses and works to correct the systemic equities that our province faces in Confederation.
This list of concrete policy actions was bold, and courageous. Michelle calls upon the federal government to:
1) Recognize Alberta is not an equal partner in Confederation.
2) Balance representation in Parliament to ensure unique regional interests, like those in Alberta, are safeguarded. Whether it be through Senate reform or otherwise, we must balance the current representation by population with an elected element of regional representation to create fairness in the federation and ensure all parts of the country know their voice will be heard no matter who is in power.
3) Recognize Alberta – or Buffalo - as a culturally distinct region within Confederation. Promote awareness of the same.
4) Acknowledge, in the House of Commons, the devastation the National Energy Program caused to the people of Alberta.
5) The status quo of the Equalization program is fueling western alienation. Many are asking for the elimination, or the phase out, of the Equalization program in addition to retroactively lifting the cap on the Fiscal Stabilization Fund, which is already supported by all provinces and territories. An immediate change to the Equalization program should include treating all resource revenues in each province/territory the same under the program. These changes would acknowledge that programs like the Canada Health Transfer and the Canada Social Transfer already provide equitable stable funding for provincial social programs, would ensure all regions are treated equally, and would serve to remove disincentives for provinces to improve their fiscal situations.
6) Retrench and clarify free-trade provisions in Canada in the Constitution.
7) Constitutionally entrench resource projects as the sole domain of the provinces.
8) In the event Alberta begins to collect its own taxes, enable the province to also collect federal taxes and remit the federal share to Ottawa.
9) Enact structural change within Canada’s federal government to ensure all regions have a voice within its political and justice system, including:
10) Mandate regional balance in all federal infrastructure funding programs.
11) Mandate equitable regional distribution of funding to arts and culture as part of federal spending programs. Ensure Western art is prominently displayed in national museums.
12) Recognize rural areas of Western Canada are isolated from the power structures of urban Eastern Canada and face unique challenges. This means creating a formal consultation requirement to ensure their voices have equal import in policy related to economic development, rural crime, and firearms ownership. Repeal any policies with detrimental impacts regarding the same.
1) Restore investment stability in Alberta’s energy sector by formally acknowledging and promoting Alberta’s energy sector as a source of sustainably produced energy.
2) Immediately table a plan to see the reversal of agricultural trade restrictions with countries such as China, India, and the United States that have had a disproportionate negative impact on Western Canada.
3) Immediately table a plan to protect the integrity and essential services provided by Canadian infrastructure such as rail, pipelines, and highways to ensure Canadian commodities have access to global markets.
4) Table a plan to restore confidence in our agriculture and agri-food sector by exempting agriculture and agri-food from carbon pricing and provide producers credit for their carbon sequestration and conservation efforts.
5) Enable greater access for Western-based journalists to the Parliamentary Press Gallery to ensure widespread coverage of issues facing Alberta within the national news narrative.
You can read the entire Buffalo Declaration here:
Through the Buffalo Declaration, Michelle brought national attention to the severity of the alienation that Western Canada, and specifically Alberta face.
Many in our community have voiced their concern to Michelle that the rest of the country may not understand the extent of people's frustrations or feelings of western alienation. This is why Michelle has done a number of videos on the impact of alienation and the unity crisis our country is facing. These videos reach a national audience. You can view her most recent videos on this topic here.
Since publishing the Buffalo Declaration, and bringing national attention to the mistreatment Alberta experiences in Confederation many policies that Michelle Rempel Garner put forward have made progress and some have been adopted by the Conservative Party of Canada as official policy.
Because of Michelle’s constant pressure, and her continuing to fight for Albertans it was announced that a Conservative government would create an Equalization Rebate and improve the fiscal stabilization program. This is a huge step forward, as we see elements of the Buffalo Declaration being adopted and made into policy proposals.
You can watch Michelle’s video on this here:
You can read Michelle’s statement on this policy announcement here:
In addition to publishing the Buffalo Declaration, Michelle has used every opportunity in the House of Commons to advance the rights of Albertans and stand up against the government’s “Ottawa knows best” mentality.
In the previous Parliamentary session Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government began looking at provincial autonomy and the constitution in relation to Quebec. Michelle quickly used this opportunity to advance components of the Buffalo Declaration, and how it could impact Alberta.
Michelle supported a motion in Parliament regarding the rights of every province to assert its autonomy.
You can view Michelle’s statement on this vote here:
You can view Michelle’s videos on this topic here:
The jobs crisis in our province needs real solutions. That’s why in addition to bringing attention to the inequities that Albertans face in Confederation, Michelle has brought national attention and fought for the Liberal government to address the economic and jobs crisis in Alberta.
In January 2021, Michelle published the following statement to bring attention to the severity of the jobs crisis shuttering our communities:
As this Liberal government has failed time after time to provide adequate support to address the economic recession in our province Michelle called on Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government to immediately compensate and support Alberta families and workers through the implementation of Alberta specific economic revitalization programs and strategic support to train and retrain skilled workers who have been unemployed and underemployed as a result of punitive policies against Alberta’s energy sector.
Michelle also vocally fought against the Liberal government’s 2021 Budget that failed to recognize the severity of Alberta’s economic situation and did not provide any meaningful support to Albertans. Michelle posted the following video with her thoughts on the 2021 Budget and its impact on Alberta here:
Michelle also released the following statement on this issue here:
For 6 years under the Trudeau government the rights and needs of Albertans have been disregarded and stomped on. Michelle has fought against the punitive policies of the Liberal government, brought national attention to the jobs and economic crisis our province faces and worked hard to advance the rights of our province.