Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi speaks to reporters in Calgary, Alta., Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. Nenshi says speculation about him being appointed as a representative or adviser for Alberta in federal cabinet is “silly,” but adds he is willing to help bridge the divide between western Canada and the federal government. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Calgary mayor, former Alberta premier willing to help PM bridge western divide

Trudeau Liberals were shut out of Alberta and Saskatchewan in the Oct. 21 election

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi is willing to help bridge the current divide between western Canada and the federal government, but called speculation about him being appointed as a representative of — or adviser for — Alberta in federal cabinet “silly.”

“No job has been offered, nor no job has been contemplated,” Nenshi told CTV’s Question Period in an interview aired Sunday.

“Probably it’s wrong, but I am enjoying all this speculation because it’s so silly.”

Nenshi said he’d be prepared to aid the Trudeau government in gaining a better perspective on Alberta issues in an informal way, but appeared to lay down a few ground rules for his cooperation.

Calling separatist rumblings in Alberta “very real,” Nenshi said he spoke with Trudeau about a range of issues seen in the West as irritants in a call he received from the prime minister on Wednesday.

“Of course the (Trans Mountain) pipeline has to get built, of course we need to re-examine Bill C-69 which my premier calls the No More Pipelines Bill, but is actually much more dangerous than that,” Nenshi said.

The popular three-time mayor warned that Bill C-69, known as the Impact Assessment Act, would make it much more difficult to build not just pipelines, but other infrastructure projects as well.

The Trudeau Liberals were shut out of Alberta and Saskatchewan in the Oct. 21 election amid growing frustration with federal policies affecting the oilpatch, leading to questions about how the prime minister would provide representation of the two provinces in his cabinet, which is to be sworn in Nov. 20.

Comments made by Trudeau since the election triggered speculation that he might turn to Nenshi to be a voice for the West in cabinet.

Former Alberta premier Alison Redford has also been tabbed as a potential Trudeau confidant, and said she’s willing to lend the federal Liberals a hand in addressing the gap in western representation.

“I haven’t been asked. I am happy to help in any way,” she told CTV’s Question Period.

“This is something Canadians have been thinking about for a long time and I think the key is that there has to be a lot of voices at the table.”

Bill C-69, designed to change the way the federal government reviews major projects, including oil and gas pipelines, became a key focal point of discontent expressed by Albertans during the federal election campaign.

Oil industry executives have warned the legislation will halt economic growth in Canada, particularly in the West as companies struggle to get bitumen to markets other than the United States.

READ MORE: ‘Havoc and chaos:’ Alberta separatist group gains support

Terry Pedwell, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Over 440 complaints issued in 3 months about Central Kootenay governments: B.C. Ombudsperson

Most common complaints were about decisions and bylaw enforcement in local governments

Nakusp store launches delivery service by donation for those in need during COVID-19 crisis

Hilltop Convenience Store has been getting up to three calls a day for the service

Castlegar hospice director says COVID-19 measures make serving the dying heartbreaking

Social distancing brings big challenges to offering support

Slocan Valley craft distiller wading through obstacles to help fight COVID-19

From raw materials to licences to bottles, getting production ramped up has been a challenge

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

General exposure to public low after inmate tests positive for COVID-19: Interior Health

The Okanagan Correctional Centre inmate is receiving appropriate care

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Most Read