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The Alberta Freedom Alliance (AFA) is not an official political party in the province, but they’re working on it. The interim leader of the alliance was in Edson on April 28 and the Edson Leader sat down with Sharon Maclise to discuss the plans of the fledgling movement. Currently, AFA officials are collecting signatures so it can register as a full-fledged party. They need 8,000 signatures to do so. After about 90 days they have between 1,200 and 1,500 signees. Maclise said the alliance is hoping to gather its required signatures by sometime in the fall.
The Alberta Freedom Alliance’s mandate includes:
1. To return our province from party politics to people politics, where legislation closely aligns with the will
of the people.
2. To institute the principles of Initiative, Referendum and Recall.
3. To work towards an immediate end to equalization and redistribution of Alberta taxes.
4. To build support and sponsor a referendum for Alberta Independence.
“We have had quite a few people who have said they will run,” said Maclise. The Trudeau government has spurred the current independence movement, Maclise said. “We are threatened because we’re told we’re not going to let you get your oil and gas to the world market – we’re
going to lock you in and we control you.” The current pipeline impasse is hurting Ottawa, B.C. and the rest of the country as much as it’s hurting Alberta, Maclise said. “They’re cutting off their nose in spite of their face by obstructing Alberta’s ability to make money.” Independence would help Alberta achieve its goals, said Maclise. “There is nothing to lose by going this direction.” Alberta has looked at independence before, back in the early 80s with the Western Canada Concept Party. Gordon Kesler was elected in a provincial bylection to the Alberta Legislature as the party’s lone MLA for Olds-Disbury. In the general election that followed the party took 11.8 per cent of the overall vote but Kesler lost his seat and no MLAs from the fledgling party were elected. Maclise was involved in the Reform Party in 1989 and for the Separation Party of Alberta in early 2002, and was
party membership chairperson for the Wildrose Party in 2004. Quebec separation was based largely on culture but Alberta has a very distinct culture of its own, said Maclise. “We’re been, for a long time, the most conservative province. So conservatism has been bred into us – it’s part of our culture – oil and blue collar culture.” Maclise said Alberta is surrounded by hostile political parties, plus the province has a carbon tax and soon could be
looking at a federal carbon tax.
“They [the feds] have electoral control over our country – a stranglehold. We’re put at a disadvantage and the disadvantage has become doubly apparent.” On top of this the United Conservative Party has failed to bring anything home, Maclise added. Although Alberta is not yet a have-not province Maclise is concerned that we could become that way. “Our province is being poorly run right now.” On the other hand it’s good for Alberta to rethink its status – but the province remains very much an oil and gas economy, Maclise said. But she remains optimistic. “We can adjust to it – we can deal with it as long as we’re not actually locked into the rest of the country.” Maclise said Alberta has had to deal with environmental concerns but she feels that, in many ways, we have adapted. While our economy is changing Maclise doesn’t think it’s a bad thing. “We’re a more nimble economy than people see us,” This includes, she said, seeing more companies emerging that are linked to the current oil and gas economy and others that are environmental in scope. Being an independent country would allow Alberta to make their own deals, stated Maclise. She worries about the province’s mounting debt and the impact it not only will have here but to the rest of the country.
“If Alberta’s debt rises any more than it is – what will Canada do?” said Maclise.
For a more detailed look at the Alberta Freedom Alliance and its policies visit the alliance website at
www.albertafreedomalliance.ca or call 1-780-455-2204. The alliance can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.