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Alberta MLA takes shot at feds and Quebec over equalization

Last Updated Jun 12, 2020 at 8:51 am MDT

EDMONTON (CityNews) – An Alberta MLA takes aim at Ottawa and Quebec in a fiery address on equalization, warning about a rigged partnership, but his comments come as Albertans lean heavily on the feds and CERB during the Pandemic.

“In the real world, a partnership agreement providing structural welfare payments to hostile, parasitic partners would never survive,” said Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan.

“Canada is marching to bankruptcy, taking Alberta down with it. Canada is rudderless, under the control of individuals out of their depth. The socialist Trudeau/NDP block undermines our ability to compete and succeed in the real world. In the real world, Quebec would be kicked out of the partnership.”

Stephan later apologized for using the word parasitic in his address.

Political Scientist Lori Williams said Stephan’s comments don’t represent the views of ordinary Albertans.

“A lot of ordinary Albertans would have recognized that Alberta is vulnerable, particularity economically vulnerable.”

Albertans have relied heavily on the federal government’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Williams explains whether this shows if the current system works or shows policy decisions have made things tougher than they should have been from the beginning.

“There are some policies that have helped Alberta, have helped cities have helped industry. We’ve also, however, seen policies in Ottawa that certainly have made things for difficult for the industry.”

The comments also come as we wait for the release of Fair Deal Panel report.

It looked at Alberta’s relationship with the rest of Canada, including equalization, but hasn’t been made public because of the pandemic.

Williams said while it may not be top of mind for Albertans right now, the thought of separation is still present.

“There’s been a long history in Alberta of policies that favoured central Canada at the expense of Alberta. Nevertheless, support for separation or even greater autonomy is below 50 per cent, significantly below, in most polls.”