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Albertans vote for fair deal in confederation

A majority of Albertans want the province to negotiate a better deal in Canadian confederation.

Albertans voted “yes” to a referendum question Oct. 18 during the municipal election.

“Sixty-two per cent of Albertans are demanding a fair deal in Canadian confederation,” Premier Jason Kenney said.

The referendum question on Equalization asked electors: “Should section 36(2) of the Constitution Act, 1982 — Parliament and the government of Canada’s commitment to the principle of making equalization payments — be removed from the constitution?”

The question received 642,501 “yes” votes, representing 61.7 per cent of valid ballots cast.

The question also solicited 399,169 “no” votes, representing 38.3 per cent of valid ballots cast.

In Fort Macleod, the yes vote carried the day 481-200.

In the MD of Willow Creek, the yes vote also won by a count of 1,083-207.

Elections Alberta released the official results of the referendum last week.

Kenney said the Supreme Court of Canada in 1988 ruled the consitutional right of every participant in confederation to initiate change must be recognized.

“Albertans are and always have been proud Canadians,” Kenney said. “In many ways Albertans are big Canadians, generous Canadians.”

Kenney said Albertans are proud to have played a major role in Canadian prosperity.

Alberta taxpayers through their federal taxes have contributed $630-billion more to the rest of Canada country than they have received back in federal benefits and transfers since the mid 1960s.

“Even while we were going through a period of deep economic adversity — the recession that began in 2015 — Albertans continued to make a net contribution to the federation in the range of $20-billion a year,” Kenney said.

The referendum, Kenney said, supports the idea that Albertans want a fair deal in confederation.

“If Ottawa and our fellow provinces want to benefit from the hard work and the resources of Albertans then Ottawa must allow us to develop those resources, to grow our economy,” Kenney said.

Instead. Alberta has faced “an endless series” of discriminatory legislation and policies that undermined its economy and authority.

Kenney cited the federal government’s tanker ban, the no more pipelines law, the end of the Northern Gateway and Energy East pipeline projects and “the absolute surrender” to the U.S. government’s veto of the Keystone Pipeline, and other provinces vetoing pipelines while importing foreign oil as examples.

Kenney said it is hypocritical for the government of Quebec to receive $13-billion a year in equalization payments while blocking Alberta’s oil and gas pipelines and refusing to develop its own resources.

“This is a powerful statement today, a democratic statement, where Albertans are demanding to be respected,” Kenney said.

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