The future of ‘Saskberta’ - Maclean's

 “I’m not a separatist at heart but I’m starting to run out of ideas”

 .. Both [Alberta and Saskatawan] demand reform to Ottawa’s equalization formula—and after [Premier] Kenney announced a panel to study replacing the Canada Pension Plan and community RCMP branches with Alberta-only versions, [Premier] Moe said his province may pursue similar forms of autonomy.

Nearly two decades ago, when Alberta last entertained these so-called “firewall” measures, Saskatchewan was uninterested (and NDP-led). It was also less enthused than Alberta by western separatism in the 1980s, when Pierre Trudeau and his detested National Energy Program gave rise to the short-lived Western Canada Concept party (the Saskatchewan PCs were in charge, back then). Now, Saskatchewan’s economic fortunes are more in sync with its western neighbour’s. Booms in oil and potash liberated Saskatchewan a decade ago from economic “have-not” status. It gained an Alberta-like swagger it never before possessed. Where Alberta once felt left out of decision-making but didn’t mind because it was strong and confident, Saskatchewan felt left out and too poor to do much about it, says Andrew Parkin, executive director of Environics Institute for Survey Research. The oil bust and the loss of a western-based Conservative federal government changed things for the provincial siblings. “They’re now feeling both politically and economically left out. Alienated and aloof,” ...

Brad Wall, the former Saskatchewan premier, now works as a law firm adviser in Calgary. He’s also a key figure behind the “Buffalo Project,” an executive-heavy group pushing for greater national clout for Alberta and Saskatchewan; Buffalo was the proposed name of a single province that was actually formed as two in 1905. He’s discussed the grievances with each current premier, and says he backs the two forming a common front. The frustration, as ever, is hotter in more oil-reliant Alberta, Wall observes. “But I’ll say this: the intensity is greater in Saskatchewan than it’s ever been.” ...

Newman [an Albertian who] was at the Wexit event and [likes the proposed idea for an] Alberta Pension Plan [speaks for many when he says] ... “I think we need to do that because we cannot control federal politics ... We might as well control what we can control.”

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