Anyone in Calgary hoping to attend one of the Alberta government’s “Fair Deal Panel” meetings who doesn’t already have a ticket is out of luck, as tickets are all gone for the session set for Wednesday evening.
The panel was announced last month with the aim of finding ways to “give the province a bigger voice within the federation, increase power over areas of provincial jurisdiction and advance vital interests.”
Western separatist sentiment was at a high following the October election of a federal Liberal minority, with many Albertans saying the province needs to do more to make itself independent from Ottawa.
While Premier Jason Kenney said the idea of the province leaving Canada isn’t an option his government is considering, he did say the status quo wasn’t acceptable and change needed to happen.
The panel started its consultations in Edmonton earlier this month, hearing from more than 150 people who said Alberta needs a better deal, but the overwhelming sentiment was that it should be achieved through collaboration. The second session was held in Red Deer last week, but the government said due to bad roads, attendance was poor.
Tuesday’s panel town hall happens at the Commonwealth Centre from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. According to the government, about 450 people are expected at the meeting, with room for a small number of people to possibly get in without having reserved their spot.
Anyone interested who didn’t get tickets is encouraged to share their ideas and opinions online at FairDeal.ca. There will also be another Fair Deal Panel town hall in the neighbouring city of Airdrie in January.
The Fair Deal Panel is touring the province until Jan. 30 to hear from Albertans. The feedback heard at the sessions, along with the online submissions, will be put together in a report expected to be presented to government by March 31.
— With files from The Canadian Press