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Alberta’s ‘Fair Deal Panel’ submits report; public won’t see it until ‘worst’ of COVID-19 is over

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney delivers his address to the United Conservative Party annual general meeting in Calgary on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney delivers his address to the United Conservative Party annual general meeting in Calgary on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

The province said Saturday that its “Fair Deal Panel” has submitted its final report, which contains an assessment of viewpoints on Alberta’s role in the country, but it will not be released “until the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is over.”

The government initially said the panel had to submit a report by March 31, but the deadline was extended because of the pandemic. Christine Myatt, press secretary for the premier’s office, said the panel submitted the report on May 5.

READ MORE: ‘Fair Deal Panel’ wraps up provincewide tour in Airdrie

Premier Jason Kenney created the panel in November 2019 to hear from frustrated Albertans on Western alienation and propose recommendations on how to advance the province’s economic interests.

People make statements to a panel representing the Alberta government during a town hall on fair deal ideas in Edmonton on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019.
People make statements to a panel representing the Alberta government during a town hall on fair deal ideas in Edmonton on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

With input from tens of thousands of Albertans through town halls and surveys, the report “deals with how best to define and secure a fair deal” for Alberta in Canada’s Confederation, the province said. Ideas included establishing a provincial pension plan and a provincial police force.

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“I look forward to giving this report and its recommendations the proper attention it deserves once we have safely started to implement our relaunch strategy,” Kenney said in a news release on Saturday.

READ MORE: Former Reform Party leader Preston Manning talks Western alienation in Calgary

Panel chair Oryssia Lennie said connecting with people across the province on strengthening Alberta’s voice in the national conversation has been the experience of a lifetime.

“The members of the panel are incredibly proud of the work we have done together. We fully support [the] government’s decision to postpone its assessment and response to the report until we are safely through the current public health crisis,” she said.