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

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta identifies 1,516 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday

Central zone has 1,849 active cases

A damaged unicorn statue is shown in a field outside of Delia, Alta. in this undated handout photo. It’s not often police can report that a unicorn has been found, but it was the truth Saturday when RCMP said a stolen, stainless-steel statue of the mythical beast had been located in a field not far from where he’d been taken. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Mounties get their unicorn; stolen statue of mythical beast found in Alberta field

Police are still looking for suspects, and have called in their forensics experts to help

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
Dr. Wayne John Edwards, 66, died Tuesday at Chinook Regional Hospital. (Cornerstone Funeral Home)
Lethbridge doctor becomes 7th Alberta health-care worker to die from COVID-19

Dr. Wayne John Edwards, who was 66, died Tuesday at the Chinook Regional Hospital in the southern Alberta city

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole to vote against Conservative MP’s private bill on ‘sex-selective abortion’

Erin O’Toole said he supports a woman’s right to choose and will personally vote against the private member’s bill

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

A vial of some of the first 500,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Canada’s 2nd blood clot confirmed in Alberta after AstraZeneca vaccine

The male patient, who is in his 60s, is said to be recovering

The funeral of Britain’s Prince Philip in Windsor, England, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Philip died April 9 at the age of 99. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)
PHOTOS: Prince Philip laid to rest Saturday as sombre queen sits alone

The entire royal procession and funeral took place out of public view within the grounds of Windsor Castle

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Doses of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine in a freezer trailer, to be transported to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pfizer to increase vaccine deliveries in Canada as Moderna supply slashed

Moderna plans to ship 650,000 doses of its vaccine to Canada by the end of the month, instead of the expected 1.2 million

Most Read