Be one of the 250 people who contribute to the climate conversation this month

Subscribe today with our Earth Day special (only a few remaining at this price!)
Goal: 250
50

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi is willing to help bridge the current divide between western Canada and the federal government, but called speculation about him being appointed as a representative of — or adviser for — Alberta in federal cabinet "silly."

"No job has been offered, nor no job has been contemplated," Nenshi told CTV's Question Period in an interview aired Sunday.

"Probably it's wrong, but I am enjoying all this speculation because it's so silly."

Nenshi said he'd be prepared to aid the Trudeau government in gaining a better perspective on Alberta issues in an informal way, but appeared to lay down a few ground rules for his cooperation.

Calling separatist rumblings in Alberta "very real," Nenshi said he spoke with Trudeau about a range of issues seen in the West as irritants in a call he received from the prime minister on Wednesday.

"Of course the (Trans Mountain) pipeline has to get built, of course we need to re-examine Bill C-69 which my premier calls the No More Pipelines Bill, but is actually much more dangerous than that," Nenshi said.

The popular three-time mayor warned that Bill C-69, known as the Impact Assessment Act, would make it much more difficult to build not just pipelines, but other infrastructure projects as well.

The Trudeau Liberals were shut out of Alberta and Saskatchewan in the Oct. 21 election amid growing frustration with federal policies affecting the oilpatch, leading to questions about how the prime minister would provide representation of the two provinces in his cabinet, which is to be sworn in Nov. 20.

Comments made by Trudeau since the election triggered speculation that he might turn to Nenshi to be a voice for the West in cabinet.

Former Alberta premier Alison Redford has also been tabbed as a potential Trudeau confidant, and said she's willing to lend the federal Liberals a hand in addressing the gap in western representation.

"I haven't been asked. I am happy to help in any way," she told CTV's Question Period.

"This is something Canadians have been thinking about for a long time and I think the key is that there has to be a lot of voices at the table."

Bill C-69, designed to change the way the federal government reviews major projects, including oil and gas pipelines, became a key focal point of discontent expressed by Albertans during the federal election campaign.

Oil industry executives have warned the legislation will halt economic growth in Canada, particularly in the West as companies struggle to get bitumen to markets other than the United States.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 27, 2019.

Keep reading

No cancellation of any project environmental assessment law or building any pipeline will stop the world from slowly, incrementally and insidiously moving away from fossil fuels over the next decade. The best advice that Alberta received by some very smart, well-meaning people over the past 40 years is diversify, diversify, diversify. That was then. Now the best advice would be to use all the angst generated in Alberta from failing to heed that past advice to ignore the politics of division and move directly into a transition planning.

“.... as companies struggle to get bitumen to markets other than the United States.“ The Westridge Marine Terminal, Alberta’s access to tidewater in Burnaby, has gone largely unused this year. Only 9 tankers have been loaded so far, four to Asia and five to the USA. Its capacity is over 100 large tankers or over 200 small tankers a year.