July 12, 2021
Albertans are fed up with the way they are being treated by Ottawa, an internal federal survey shows.
But people in Manitoba seem happy with their lot in life, says Blacklock’s Reporter.
The poll on Western alienation was done just days before Liberal MP Jim Carr was appointed as the prime minister’s “voice in the west.”
“Asked to provide three words that would best describe the current relationship between their province and the Government of Canada, participants’ responses varied greatly by province,” said a Privy Council Office report.
The focus groups were conducted last October 19 and 20 with residents of unnamed cities in Manitoba and Alberta.
Jim Carr (Winnipeg South Centre) on was appointed the Prime Minister’s Special Representative for the Prairies on November 23.
“Many Western Canadians are feeling frustrated,” Carr said at the time.
Records indicate the Privy Council Office specifically asked researchers with the Strategic Counsel to poll voters on Western alienation. Findings were part of ongoing, year-long focus group studies commissioned by cabinet aides at a cost of $1,618,838.
Asked if their province was treated fairly, “participants in Manitoba had little to say,” wrote researchers.
Most Manitobans “did not see Manitoba being treated much differently from other provinces. They described the relationship as ‘fair,’ ‘acceptable,’ and ‘cooperative’ but also as ‘polarized,’ ‘strained,’ ‘divided,’ and ‘secretive.’”
“Those residing in northern Alberta expressed more negativity and frustration, primarily related to the province’s economic performance and what they perceived as a lack of support from the federal government and influence in decisions affecting their province,” said the report.
“Most used descriptors such as ‘frustrated,’ ‘avoidance,’ ‘irreparable,’ and ‘lip service’ to describe the relationship.
“A common view existed among participants that the Government of Canada treats Alberta as a secondary and lesser province within Confederation,” said the report.
Albertans “felt the federal government did a bad job in following up on their commitments.”
Carr, in a January 15 Ministerial Mandate letter, proposed to “foster a vision for the Prairies.”
The Liberal Party did not elect any candidates west of Winnipeg to the Rocky Mountains in the 2019 campaign.