Former Saskatchewan premier sees 4 ways to reduce increasing western separation sentiment

Former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall has a few ideas for things the federal government can do right away to cool the increasing separatist sentiment coming from the west.

On Tuesday, results of an Ipsos poll were released, suggesting more and more Canadians feel the country is more divided, especially in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

READ MORE: Separatist sentiment in Alberta, Saskatchewan at ‘historic’ highs: Ipsos poll

“There are a lot of things the federal government could do outside the need for constitutional change by regulation, by decision, by parliament,” Wall said while appearing on The Ryan Jespersen Show on 630 CHED.

Equalization

According to Wall, the federal government could move on what’s known as the fiscal stabilization component of equalization. It’s a mechanism that exists in the formula to help so-called “have provinces” when the formula itself isn’t helping them and when the reality in the province doesn’t match the fact that taxpayers in those provinces are paying into the program and aren’t seeing anything back.

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He said it’s similar to a rebate.

“Quebec gets $13 billion of the $18-billion program — I think those are the numbers,” Wall said. “But what they [the federal government] could do is say ‘Look, we’re going to give you some of the money back.’”

LISTEN BELOW: Former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall on the Ryan Jespersen Show

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He said the money would be well utilized if it is used to clean up abandoned wells in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

“There’s been a lot of abandoned wells that have not survived the downturn. There already were a lot of abandoned wells, so we could put energy workers back to work and put some money back into Saskatchewan and Alberta.”

Carbon pricing

When it comes to the incoming federal carbon tax, Wall thinks the Liberal government should look at the two provinces’ climate change plans.

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“The federal government could recognize the equivalency of climate change plans in Alberta and Saskatchewan, which do put a price on carbon. In fact, they focus on heavy emitters in both provinces.

“They could say ‘Look, we recognize that, and we won’t impose a federal carbon tax as a result of our recognition of your plan.’”

READ MORE: The West Wants Out: Alberta separatist group Wexit Canada seeking federal political party status

Bill C-69

Wall thinks the federal government needs to amend Bill C-69 — the bill prescribing environmental assessment processes for major construction projects like pipelines — to regain the trust of western provinces.

Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion

The final thing Wall thinks the feds should do is to finish the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project.

“Finish TMX,” Wall said. “Which I do believe the federal government is serious about. I don’t believe they bought it to not finish it.”

According to Wall, Premiers Jason Kenney and Scott Moe also need to come to the federal government with some specific asks that are more reasonable than some of the ideas that have been forwarded requiring amendments to the Constitution.

Can Wexit actually happen?

Can Wexit actually happen?

The poll, conducted exclusively for Global News, asked respondents to agree or disagree to varying degrees with statements such as “Canada is more divided than ever,” “My province would be better off if it separated from Canada,” and “I think the views of western Canadians are adequately represented in Ottawa.”

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LISTEN BELOW: Kyle Braid with Ipsos speaks with 770 CHQR’s Danielle Smith

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In Alberta and Saskatchewan, more than 75 per cent of respondents — 79 in Alberta, 77 in Saskatchewan — felt the country is more divided than ever, while 33 per cent of Alberta respondents said the province would be better off if it split from the rest of the country.

The full data for this poll can be found here.

Exclusive Global News Ipsos polls are protected by copyright. The information and/or data may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper credit and attribution to “Global News Ipsos.” This poll was conducted between Oct. 24 and Nov. 1, 2019, with a sample of 1,516 Canadians from Ipsos’ online panel. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. This poll is accurate to within +/ – 2.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled.

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– With files from Maryam Shah, Global News

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.