The Buffalo Project has released a letter to Premier Scott Moe, Premier Jason Kenney and leaders across Alberta and Saskatchewan, signed by seven concerned citizen groups and over 60 high profile people from the two provinces.
The letter calls for immediate and decisive action to strike a new, fairer deal within confederation. Leaders in the oil and gas sector in both provinces are among those to sign the letter.
Dallas Howe, a businessperson from both Saskatchewan and Alberta, is the chair of the Buffalo Project.
“We are pleased the governments of Alberta and Saskatchewan have signaled their intentions to re-negotiate some elements of the federal status quo, but we are calling for an accelerated approach.”
The most important initial steps are a fair formula for national transfers, with an end to programs such as equalization and fiscal stabilization; an Alberta pension plan similar to the one in Quebec; provincial tax collection plans; a review of trade and immigration policies to attract new people and investment to the provinces; and what they call the Buffalo Corridor.
The latter would create unobstructed port access for landlocked Alberta and Saskatchewan with fiber optics, transmission lines, roads and pipelines.
“Hostile government policy has restricted our constitutional right to tidewater markets and threatened our way of life,” the letter states.
A recent poll conducted on behalf of the Buffalo Project among members of the Angus Reid Forum from June 3-7 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.
Further, roughly three in five – 58 per cent in Alberta and 57 per cent in Saskatchewan – support a new arrangement where their province would have more autonomy from the federal government within Confederation.
Of those in support of greater autonomy, roughly half want action immediately and do not want to wait until the pandemic situation or economy stabilizes.
“Our polling found overwhelming dissatisfaction with the status quo and people wanting action now, not later,” said Howe. “There are several ways the provinces can unilaterally, and in a responsible way, pressure the federal government for change while obtaining greater autonomy within Canada.”
“Nothing short of structural change is acceptable and we can’t wait for another electoral cycle to take significant action. 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.”
The Buffalo Project is a group of concerned citizens fighting for a new deal for Alberta and Saskatchewan.