Cross Country Checkup

Despite calls of 'Western alienation', the Liberal Party will bring prosperity to Alberta, says Hajdu

Liberal Party candidate Patty Hajdu took calls from Cross Country Checkup listeners during the recurring Ask Me Anything segment and answered questions about Western province alienation, electoral reform and the Liberal Party's commitment to reconciliation.

'Many people are struggling ... but Alberta is struggling in a very profound way,' she says

Liberal Party candidate Patty Hajdu took calls during an Ask Me Anything segment Sunday on Cross Country Checkup. (Andrew Lahodynskyj/The Canadian Press)

Liberal Party candidate Patty Hajdu says under a Liberal government, Alberta will not be alienated from economic growth in Canada and that her party is committed to building the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. 

"Ultimately we ended up buying the pipeline so that we could get shovels in the ground," Hajdu said Sunday on Cross Country Checkup. 

In a half-hour Ask Me Anything segment, Hajdu took calls from listeners across the country.

Callers told Hajdu that the country's Western provinces were under-represented by the Liberal government during their previous mandate. 

Kevin Olsen, calling from Calgary, asked Hajdu to comment on what he feels is a growing sense of Western alienation and described job losses in the oil sector as "extreme economic distress" felt in Alberta. 

The Liberal Party campaign has promised to use all tax revenue resulting from the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project to invest in their plan to plant two billion trees. 

WATCH: Patty Hajdu and Conservative Party candidate Erin O'Toole take listeners' calls on Cross Country Checkup

Hajdu told Olsen that the Liberal Party has had "Alberta and Saskatchewan and the Prairies on our mind since we've been elected." 

"Many people are struggling all across the country, but Alberta is struggling in a very profound way," she told Olsen. 

Hajdu added that the Liberal party is going to continue to work to build the pipeline. 

"The pipeline was first approved and then challenged in court. We fought the challenge as a government to continue to move forward with the pipeline," she said. 

When Checkup host Duncan McCue said that Trudeau had only visited Edmonton once during the 2019 campaign and asked whether Alberta has been "written off" for this election, Hajdu responded "absolutely not."

"The construction is underway [and] there are 4,200 jobs being created this year to build the pipeline," said Hajdu. 

Hajdu says the Liberal Party remains committed to building the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. (Dennis Owen/Reuters)

Electoral reform 

Calling from Edmonton, Josh Neary asked Hajdu whether Trudeau's 2015 promise for electoral reform might still be on the table. 

Hajdu said that there are no plans to change the voting system in Canada. 

Neary told McCue that the promise of electoral reform was a motivation for him during the 2015 election. He added that "Western provinces and Maritime provinces are widely under-represented" under the current voting system.

Hajdu said the previous consultation with Canadians, including an all-party committee in the House of Commons, gave no consensus on how to change the system. 

"The prime minister decided that given that the range of challenges that we're facing as a country ... we would not implement democratic reform and choose a new way to vote," she said. 

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau waves to supporters as he boards his campaign bus in Richmond Hill, Ont., on Oct. 1. Checkup requested Trudeau take part in an Ask Me Anything segment. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

Supporting Indigenous communities 

Will Morin, an Indigenous teacher and former leader of First Peoples National Party of Canada, asked Hajdu about the Liberal Party's plans to include more Indigenous people in government decision-making. 

Hajdu told Morin that the next four years won't "be perfect" but says the Liberal Party will be taking "large strides towards true, nation-to-nation relationship building." 

Speaking with McCue earlier in the program, Hajdu explained that her party has committed to co-creating legislation for health and for languages with Indigenous peoples. 

Part of the Liberal's platform, she says, includes revenue-sharing "so that Indigenous communities directly benefit from major resource projects in their own region of the country." 

Cross Country Checkup requested the leaders of the Liberal, Conservative, Green and New Democratic parties take part in an Ask Me Anything session. Read and listen to our previous AMA segments with federal election candidates:

Written by Ashley Fraser. Produced by Samantha Lui. To hear the full Ask Me Anything segment with Liberal Party candidate Patty Hajdu, download our podcast or click Listen above.

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