Alberta Premier Danielle Smith and her new special envoy to Ottawa are encouraging other provinces to join them and set up shop in the nation’s capital.
James Carpenter has been appointed as Alberta’s senior representative to the federal government as the province reopens an Ottawa office for the first time in nine years.
In a press conference Monday morning, Smith encouraged other provinces to follow Alberta’s lead.
“You could probably talk to any premier. I don’t think any one of them has a very positive or constructive relationship with the federal government right now for the same reasons that we do,” Smith said from Ottawa. “It doesn’t matter what the political stripe is.”
Carpenter echoed the premier’s calls for more provinces to join him, saying that Quebec is the only other province with an office in the capital, even though it’s just across the river.
“If Quebec needs to have an office in Ottawa, it would make you wonder a little bit why Alberta hasn’t had one for a while,” he said in an interview with True North.
Smith said the office will seek to strengthen the province’s relationship with partners on Parliament Hill, other parts of Canada, and help Alberta stay informed on emerging decisions. It’s also one way her government is delivering on its promise to stand up for Alberta within a united Canada, she said.
“This office is going to play a key role in sharing Alberta’s story as widely as possible through (Carpenter’s) work here,” she said.
Carpenter, from Olds, previously served as chair of the Central Alberta Economic Partnership. He described his position as an advocacy role.
“Basically, we’re going to be building relationships and working with the bureaucrats and the elected officials, stakeholders, and interested parties in regards to Alberta issues on a federal level,” he said.
He said energy and the environment will be top priorities along with agriculture, childcare, and health.
“The hope is to get into rooms that we normally wouldn’t get into and find pathways to settle issues and find solutions to further Alberta interests.”
For instance, Carpenter is hoping to advance major First Nations projects by getting them in front of decision makers and stakeholders.
Smith is expected to meet with several federal ministers while in Ottawa, including Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan, Innovation Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne and Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc.
During her press conference, Smith also publicly accepted an invitation from the Parliamentary Natural Resources Committee chair George Chahal to appear before his committee to explain Alberta’s renewables policy.
Chahal wrote on X on Sunday that he hoped Smith would explain to the Natural Resources committee “why she’s putting clean energy investments at risk.”
“As a proud Albertan I want to know why she’s stranded $33 billion in renewables projects as our province struggles to keep the lights on,” he wrote.
Smith said her phone is on.
“And if he would like to invite me to that I’d be more than happy to come. And this is part of the reason why we’re here — is to be able to explain Alberta’s position and be able to collaborate with our federal partners.”