Fundamentally, Fairness Alberta is motivated by the desire to ensure that future generations of Albertans have the opportunity to work at good jobs, generate wealth, and have a good quality of life. It is also important that Albertans have the respect they deserve for all that they have contributed to Canada.
The people who came together to form Fairness Alberta passionately believe it is incumbent upon Albertans to work to inform the rest of Canada about the importance of Alberta’s contributions to Canada, and about the unfair nature of various federal policies, actions, and decisions from Ottawa. In the 1980’s the National Energy Program caused enormous economic pain in Alberta. This set of economic policies, along with other federal trade, fiscal, and procurement policies, made it difficult to move forward in Alberta. This was certainly exacerbated by the decline in commodity prices but the damage was done earlier and apart from global price changes. Youth unemployment was over 20% and there was massive migration of educated young people out of Alberta to places such as Toronto, Vancouver, and the United States.
The Alberta economy has been weak since 2015 with youth unemployment and economic pessimism rampant, similar to the 1980’s. Domestic, as well as multinational companies, have cancelled planned investments, and even pulled out equipment, personnel, and head offices – all to the benefit of communities in the U.S. and overseas. Recently Russia announced $155 billion of oil and gas investment plans – roughly an identical amount to the energy investments that have been cancelled in Canada over the last 5 years.
Fairness Alberta’s mandate was clear before COVID-19 and the recent crash in oil prices. However, the relationship with the federal government now has the potential to be more strained. Despite Albertans having contributed so massively to Canada over the past many decades, the federal government has given little indication that Alberta’s economic crisis is worthy of the sort of financial assistance provided to the auto sector in 2009 and to other groups over time.
Fairness Alberta is the only group focused on showing Canadians how much Alberta’s prosperity has benefitted the rest of Canada, while informing them about how we can reduce or eliminate many of the barriers and inequities Alberta faces while strengthening Canada. These necessary steps include changes to fiscal, trade, procurement, energy, infrastructure, and other economic policies, as well as federal government failures to meet its obligations to First Nations and Indigenous peoples. Structural constitutional changes may be required.
We are dedicated to making these difficult improvements possible by presenting a clear analysis of these issues, developing solutions, and sharing that message effectively across Canada.