The Buffalo Tribune had the fortunate opportunity to interview maverick MLA Drew Barnes. Check out an abridged account of the interview (or the video itself) below:
Mr. Barnes, when it comes to representation, you don’t drink the 'party Kool-Aid.' Why is this?
For me, it’s clear that free enterprise, fiscal conservatism and family values make us the freest and most prosperous place in the world. We need to trust local communities and free enterprise to create wealth for all Albertans. That’s where my message lies. I try hard to stay in touch with the interests of my constituents in Cypress-Medicine Hat, which I represent; this is easy because our values and my values line up easily. I’m also not part of Cabinet, and although I'm elected under the same banner as Kenney, my job is to make Alberta free and prosperous, and to help those in Cypress Medicine Hat to share in this vision. If the [Alberta] government should create problems and oppose this vision, my job is to help my constituents [first].
How do you think the 2020 election in the US will affect Alberta’s relationship with the US going forward. For example, our trade relations, or our energy sector. Montana is right next door to your district, after all.
As you know, Medicine Hat is 'Gas City.' If Biden ends up being victorious, he's pledged to not allow Keystone to go ahead, and this means thousands of jobs in Alberta won’t be developed; that’s a big concern. Trump’s been more pro-free enterprise overall. I think that just like Trump, we need to put ourselves [Alberta] first. With Japan and China crying out for natural gas and oil, we should be prioritizing getting these places off coal and onto natural gas. And yet, here in Canada, we’re bottlenecked by Ottawa, which doesn’t have direct control over our resources. They've found out how to fiddle in our ballpark through carbon taxes (under Trudeau and the [Alberta] NDP through Notley) and Bill C-69, whereby emissions have to be counted against a project. Yesterday, Trudeau passed a bill about zero emissions by 2050. Again, this gives them further license to 'play in our ballpark.'
You’ve been under scrutiny for wanting Alberta to come first. As a result, you've gotten criticism from the NDP for bringing up issues pertaining to referendums.
The NDP opposition criticizes me for sticking up for Alberta first; they say Alberta should never consider anything but strong ties with Ottawa. That’s not what Albertans tell me; rather, my constituents tell me that we need a fair deal. Many have given up on Canada, due to the Laurentian elite who will never give us the constitutional reforms we need, from equitable representation to a reformed Senate. Do we give Canada loud signals and one more chance to offer us the end of equalization to Ottawa? 670 billion has left Alberta since 1960; that money could’ve gone far to help our families and free enterprise. The media and resources pick up my message and call me a separatist, but all I’m focused on is Alberta and Alberta families. We have brilliant risk takers, intelligent people, and great communities - but we've been weighed down by bad government policies.
Watch the interview below: