Alberta’s “Fair Deal Panel” is making its way across Alberta, holding a town hall in Calgary on Tuesday night.
The panel is made up of current and former politicians along with business, Indigenous and legal leaders.
They have been tasked with finding ways to “give the province a bigger voice within the federation, increase power over areas of provincial jurisdiction and advance vital interests,” according to the Alberta government’s website.
On Tuesday night, 39 people stepped up to the microphone to share their ideas with the panel.
Donna Kennedy-Glans, a former MLA, said the panel’s job is to give Albertans a chance to speak out about how decisions that impact Alberta are made, especially during a tough economic period.
“There’s a lot of anger. I don’t want to feed the anger; that’s not what this is about,” Kennedy-Glans said. “It’s about giving a voice to people. They have emotions, ideas and perceptions of what’s fair.”
While the panel is exploring nine areas the Alberta government has put forward, panellists are also open to new ideas.
Kennedy-Glans explained how the group processes suggestions.
“We listen to them, they’re shared with the group in the room and… we talk about them as a panel,” Kennedy-Glans said. “We compare notes, we follow up where we need to get more information and we make sure on the website we’re creating we answer some of the questions that are raised.”
Kennedy-Glans said the ideas are then compiled into a report with recommendations.
While many of the suggestions put forward during the town halls will be passed along to the government, Kennedy-Glans said not every idea makes the cut.
The “Fair Deal Panel” will stop in Lethbridge on Dec. 11 and Grand Prairie on Dec. 18.
Town halls are also planned for Fort McMurray on Jan. 8, Fort Saskatchewan on Jan. 9, Lloydminster on Jan. 13, Airdrie on Jan. 16 and Medicine Hat on Jan. 17.