Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his new cabinet at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Wednesday. Thirty-six ministers were sworn in for the minority Liberal government — with zero ministers from Alberta.
While Trudeau and the Liberals were unable to win a single seat in the province, and the Liberal victory renewed talks of Alberta separatism, concerns loomed about how the prime minister would reflect Alberta’s interests moving forward.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney responded to Trudeau’s cabinet, citing concerns about the portfolios that would affect the province.
“With no ministers from Alberta, I hope that ministers with portfolios of especially urgent interest to our province will listen to Albertans, take our concerns seriously, and work constructively with the Alberta government to address them,” said Kenney in a statement.
Kenney also outlined a number of frustrations held by Albertans, such as high taxation, as well as expectations of the federal government moving forward.
“Ottawa has maintained an arbitrary low cap on payments owed to Alberta under the Fiscal Stabilization Program (FSP), the federal program that is supposed to help provinces when they face a severe year-over-year economic decline.
“That is why we are asking Ottawa for an ‘equalization rebate’ of the $1.73 billion we should have received under the FSP, which we will use to get Albertans back to work,” said Kenney.
He also specifically called out Bills C-69 and C-48, which he believes are damaging the energy industry in Alberta, as well as the constitutional division of powers agreed between the federal governments.
In his victory speech after the federal election, Trudeau addressed voters in Alberta and Saskatchewan, calling voters in those province an “essential part” of the country.
“I have heard your frustration and I want to be there to support you,” he added. “Let us all work hard to bring our country together,” said Trudeau.
Trudeau and Kenney are set to meet in person in Ottawa next month, where Kenney says he looks to lay out the province’s expectations moving forward.
“We have much to discuss with the prime minister and his new cabinet on these and other items we have already set out in letters and public communications since the federal election,” said Kenney. “I look forward to meeting with the prime minister in person next month in Ottawa to highlight Alberta’s expectations for a Fair Deal.”