Members of the UCP’s Fair Deal Panel were in Red Deer on Monday night to hear from residents on what they want to see in terms of a different relationship with Ottawa. 

This was the second stop on a provincial tour that will gather input from residents on their concerns moving forward. 

Panel member Donna Kennedy-Glans said she's heard a few familiar themes through the first two sessions, but also was reminded of how different the needs in our communities can be.

“What we’re hearing here tonight is how important the oil industry is to this community. I think sometimes we sort of say the oil industry is important to Fort MacMurray, it’s important to Calgary, it’s important to some of the service agencies operating out of Edmonton, but it’s huge in Central Alberta. I think it was a really good reminder of that here tonight,” she said. 

Kennedy-Glans said that there have been a few issues that have come up, speaker after speaker, including proportionate representation for the Senate (“Triple-E Senate”), examining how Quebec maintains individually as a part of the federation, and interprovincial relationships and redundancies. 

She added there have been quite a few people who have spoken out against pension reform, citing the damage it could have for Alberta residents if they removed themselves from the Canada-wide plan. 

Kennedy-Glans added that it’s important to hear people’s solutions as you take in their day-to-day living situations and understand their perceptions of Alberta and what it means to be a part of this province. 

“We’re hearing people’s stories about their real lives - what happens in their home, what happens in their family, what happens in their business and what happens in their community. These are real Albertans. These aren’t advocacy groups, they are real Albertans telling us their stories about the consequences of having, in their minds, an unfair deal with the federal government," Kennedy-Glans said.

"I think that’s really important. This isn’t some chart, this isn’t some statistic. This isn’t some government policy - this is what people’s lives look like. I think we need to honour that and we need to listen to it."

She said most importantly, aside from having the chance to hear people's problems, it is about hearing solutions.

"There are some people in the room tonight who don’t think there is [ aproblem]...The vast majority of the people in this room tonight that I’ve spoken to and that I’ve listened to think there is unfairness," she said.

Wetaskiwin resident Sandra Kim drove into Red Deer to share her thoughts on the Fair Deal Panel and to share her concerns with panel members. 

“Where almost every single one of these problems comes from is an insufficient constitution. Is Jason Kenney prepared to challenge and get support and get consensus from other Premiers to get support and say, “Hey, this constitution isn’t working, not just for Alberta but for all of Canada - let’s challenge it and re-work it”? No,” she said. 

“That’s where these problems are coming from. A badly written, ineffective, un-evolving constitution that isn’t working anymore.”

She said she hopes the Panel can work to create a less divisive environment between Alberta and the rest of the country, keeping ideas like Wexit far away from the policy-making table.

The next town hall will be held in Calgary on Dec. 11 and that event is full to capacity as of Tuesday, Dec. 10. 

Related Information:

- Kenney's Fair Deal Panel announced

- Fair Deal Panel