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Buffalo Project pens open letter with renewed calls for 'fair deal'

FILE: The Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

CALGARY (CITYNEWS) – The Buffalo Project has released an open letter to Alberta and Saskatchewan Premiers Jason Kenney and Scott Moe in hopes of them taking action for a “fairer deal” within confederation.

The letter is also signed by seven citizen groups and over 60 people who manage or own crops in the provinces, lawyers, and other stakeholders.

“We know that the governments of Alberta and Saskatchewan have signaled their intentions to renegotiate some elements of the federal status quo, but we are calling for an accelerated approach,” said Dallas Howe, chair of the Buffalo Project.

The letter says, “The federal government continues to favour central Canadian provinces in policy decisions because it is to their political advantage,” and goes on to say, “The cumulative result is economic and social challenges fanning the flames of separation like nothing in our history. It is your duty to start taking steps towards a fair confederation immediately.”

There are five calls to action, including “a fair formula for national transfers,”–which refers to equalization payments and fiscal stabilization– and an Alberta pension plan or “Buffalo pension plan,” between Alberta and Saskatchewan.

READ MORE: Equalization: The UCP is seeking reform, but what does it mean?

It also calls on the federal government to create provincial tax collection plans, review trade and immigration policies to attract new people and investment in the prairie provinces, and lastly create “The Buffalo Corridor.”

The corridor would help create unobstructed port access for the two provinces through infrastructure like roads, pipelines, fiber optics, and transmission lines. The timeline for the plan for this call to action is spring of 2021.
“Together we can curb the risk of separation and ensure a solid economic and social foundation for our 5.5 million people and those across our nation,” detailed the letter.

A recent poll conducted on behalf of the Buffalo Project among members of the Angus Reid Forum from June 3-7, 2020 showed 75 per cent of Alberta people and 72 per cent of Saskatchewan people are dissatisfied with their province’s treatment by the federal government.

READ MORE: ‘Not a lot of public appetite’ for Fair Deal policies: data scientist

“Nothing short of structural change is acceptable and we can’t wait for another electoral cycle to take significant action,” said Howe. “We need to take every possible measure to assume control of our finances, services and job creation now or we risk greater calls for separation or missing the opportunity to repair a broken federation.”