Ideas for Alberta independence would increase costs, Nenshi says

Province has formed panel to examine how to get what a ‘fairer deal’ from Confederation

Calgary’s mayor says ideas being floated to give Alberta more independence from the federal government would be costly.

Naheed Nenshi says wresting control from Ottawa over things like pensions and policing would have to come with a big enough benefit to justify the expense.

He says his focus in running the city is making sure services are delivered as efficiently as possible.

Premier Jason Kenney’s United Conservative government has formed a panel to examine ways for Alberta to get what he calls a fairer deal from Confederation.

The panel is to consult with Albertans on ideas like establishing a provincial revenue agency, withdrawing from the Canada Pension Plan and replacing the RCMP with a provincial police force.

Resentment and even calls for separation have been roiling in Alberta since last month’s federal election that saw the Liberals re-elected, but with a minority government.

Kenney, who says he does not support separatism, has lambasted the Liberals for policies he says have hurt the provincial oil and gas industry.

Calgary Chamber of Commerce CEO Sandip Lalli said the ideas being weighed by the panel don’t offer much to a city that faces a property tax crunch as businesses empty out of the downtown core.

“It’s not adding greater certainty or clarity to what we’re doing here in Alberta to be more competitive.”

The Canadian Press

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