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 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

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said growing COVID-19 case numbers continue to be a concern in the province. (Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta announces 1,077 new COVID-19 cases Thursday

There are currently 14,052 active cases in the province

File Photo
Sylvan Lake Town Council asks for a mask bylaw to be brought forward for consideration

The bylaw would require face coverings in all indoor Town-owned and operated facilities

The Sylvan Lake Food Bank with fully stocked shelves. File Photo
Sylvan Lake Food Bank to open for donations in lieu of Stuff-A-Bus

The annual stuff-a-bus event has been postponed until sometime in the new year

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said the 500 deaths from COVID-19 in the province are a tragic milestone. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta hits ‘tragic milestone’ with more COVID-19 deaths

Province up to 500 COVID-19 deaths, adds 1,265 cases

Photo Submitted
Sylvan Lake Grade 2 students in Holiday Healing Campaign

Students in Nicole Eleniak’s class worked to share love and joy with other children this holiday

The corporate headquarters of Pfizer Canada are seen in Montreal, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved in Canada next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Health Canada expects first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved next month

Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine,

People wear face masks as they pose next to a Christmas display in Montreal, Sunday, November 22, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
How to tell family their Christmas gathering is too risky and you’re not going

Dr. Hurst says it’s best to frame the conversation from a place of care, stressing safety precautions.

A sign instructs people to wear masks in downtown Calgary on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Pub and restaurant owners are trying to figure out how to comply with a stricter COVID-19 measure in Alberta that dictates only six people from the same household can sit at one table. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Brewpub owner pleased Alberta not closing sit-down dining as COVID-19 cases soar

Alberta’s caseload of COVID-19 infections has been growing for weeks

This undated photo issued by the University of Oxford shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
Canada can make vaccines, just not the ones leading the COVID-19 race

Canada has spent more than $1 billion to pre-order seven different developing COVID-19 vaccines

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at B.C. campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

A pedestrian wears masks while out walking in front of the Alberta Legislature as the COVID-19 numbers spike in Edmonton on Tuesday November 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Doctor says Alberta restrictions not enough to reduceCOVID-19 strain on hospitals

Mithani notes people are still allowed to gather indoors at large places of worship and in bars,

Most Read