Kenney Promises Referendum on Equalization Reform

June 17, 2020 Updated: June 17, 2020

EDMONTON—Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says he will call a referendum on pushing Ottawa for a better deal on equalization payments as well as explore the province cutting ties with the RCMP and leaving the Canada Pension Plan.

Kenney made the comments as he released recommendations from his Fair Deal panel, which he created last year to gauge the mood of Albertans and determine better ways the province can assert itself in Confederation.

Kenney says Albertans are getting an unfair deal on equalization, sending far more money to Ottawa than they get back.

He says a referendum will be held next year to give him a mandate to force federal officials to discuss reform.

The panel also urged Kenney to create an Alberta Pension Plan, similar to Quebec’s model, saying that Alberta’s young population would mean lower contribution costs and returns on par or better than the federal plan.

Kenney says his government will study that idea further, along with a recommendation to create an Alberta police force.

The panel suggested the RCMP is becoming too bureaucratically inflexible and smaller communities aren’t getting enough front-line officers.