David Staples: Kenney faces twin threat of Justin Trudeau and Alberta separatism

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Kenney also pointed out the Liberals’ new regulatory scheme for major resource projects, Bill C-69, is now being applied in an aggressive new way to projects that were formerly under provincial regulatory authority, including three new mining ventures, a Suncor oilsands expansion, a coal mine near Hinton and another near Blairmore.

Will those mines, investments and jobs vanish under a mountain of Trudeau red tape?

The federal government has to respect Confederation, not attack provincial jurisdiction as the Trudeau Liberals are doing, Kenney said. “In terms of respecting provincial jurisdiction, the first Trudeau government in the 1970s was like a walk in the park compared to the gross interference in the exclusive jurisdiction of provinces.”

Despite such apparent federal overreach, Kenney continued to stress that Albertans are committed to Canada, that they’re not inward-looking provincialists.

We are, as he put it, “big Canadians.”

“We believe in the promise of the economic union. … We are proud to have contributed more than $600 billion net to the rest of the country when times were good here and bad elsewhere. … We are proud to have welcomed hundreds of thousands of Canadians who went from poverty in their home provinces to opportunity in Alberta. We are big Canadians.”

Big Canadians? Hmm. We have been. Maybe we will be again but many struggle with this just now.

This past week has seen Jack Mintz, Ted Morton and Tom Flanagan, senior leaders of Alberta’s conservative movement, argue that Alberta’s best plan is still Kenney’s plan to fight within Confederation for a better deal but they didn’t rule out separation.

“None of us favour separation as a first option,” they wrote. “But we also see it as a viable last resort if all else fails.”

How does this end?

Other Canadians will likely become fed up with Trudeau when unemployment remains high and a ballooning deficit devours our federal budget. But current trends also add up to an ever-louder and angrier explosion of Alberta separatism.

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