Bell: Alberta is shafted out of road cash by Guilbeault's Ottawa

Alberta has nine applications with the federal Liberal government for them to step up with cash for roads like the twinning of Hwy. 3 across the southern part of the province

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The man is loaded for bear.

He says being firm is important.

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He is willing to give Ottawa a piece of his mind if and when required.

And it’s required, like, now.

He talks about Alberta being 0-for-9 and the only sport he’s talking about is the blood sport of politics.

He’s talking about the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau once again leaving this province out in the cold while Trudeau’s out-of-control green guru Steven Guilbeault is running around on some Fantasy Island in his mind.

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The man is Devin Dreeshen, the roads boss, the pull-no-punches point man on pavement for the UCP government of Premier Danielle Smith.

Alberta has nine applications with the federal Liberal government for them to step up with cash for roads like the twinning of Hwy. 3 across the southern part of the province.

After all, Alberta does kick in a lot of dough to this thing called Confederation.

The response of the Liberal government? The square root of squat.

“You know, 0-for-9, that’s pretty absolute when it comes to not getting what we deserve.”

Dreeshen has met with Trudeau’s transportation guy Pablo Rodriguez.

Dreeshen told the federal Liberal “if we were a hockey team and our power play was 0-for-9 we’d be asking some tough questions.”

Devin Dreeshen
Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors. Photo by Shaughn Butts /Postmedia

As it turns out, the road bosses from the provinces and territories will meet next week in Montreal with Rodriguez.

First things first.

Dreeshen wants Rodriguez to show him the money. No more 0-for-9. He also wants to hear about some new Ottawa fund for construction, a pot of money that doesn’t exist yet.

Dreeshen also wants to hear Rodriguez in no uncertain terms tell the group Guilbeault is not speaking for the federal government.

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Then he’d like to hear an apology for all the uncertainty and confusion and frustration in the extreme created by the meandering and often incoherent antics of Guilbeault.

Of course, Trudeau should also punt Guilbeault out of his inner circle but that’s up to the prime minister who sees his support slip-slidin’ away but isn’t ready to give the heave-ho to the green guru who is just so much embarrassing excess baggage.

Guilbeault, who this week tells us there will be no federal money for new roads and then says there will be no money for large roads.

This is the minister of mirages, a trader in illusions, who now tells us electric vehicles are not the be-all and end-all.

That would be “a false utopia.”

Psst … Guilbeault, all utopias are false.

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For Guilbeault, as well as buses and trains, we have walking and cycling and scooters and snowshoes and rollerblades.

By the way, does the UCP government have a fund for bike lanes?

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“We do not. No,” says Dreeshen.

The cities have put in bike lanes so Calgary and Edmonton could be cool like Amsterdam and Copenhagen and bicycles would fill the streets and Mother Earth would say Amen.

“Our cities were designed by civil engineers to have an adequate roadway for vehicles and when lanes get taken out due to bike lanes it inevitably will cause disruptions in the flow of our traffic patterns which just makes quality of life go down,” says Dreeshen.

“You’re spending more time stuck in traffic. I have no problems with bicycles. I think we have beautiful scenery and paths where you can go out and enjoy riding a bicycle.

“But when it comes to an efficient and effective mode of transportation, vehicles are that.

“We’re not a small European country. This is Canada. This is Alberta. We need to have vehicles.”

Besides …

“I’ve seen Liberals who say they would love to ride a bicycle but they have a private chauffeur driving them around everywhere. I think there’s a little hypocrisy.”

Calgary bike lane
Pictured is where the bike lane on 5 Street S.W. ends south of 17 Avenue S.W. Photo by Azin Ghaffari /Postmedia

Getting back to roads, why does Alberta again end up with the short end of the stick?

He points to a Trudeau cabinet minister who suggested the West should elect more Liberals.

I tell Dreeshen no one could accuse him of being a Liberal.

He laughs.

“There are few things to hurt me Rick, but that would be one of them.”

What does he think many Albertans are feeling as they look at yet more evidence the floundering Trudeau government has it in for Alberta?

Dreeshen says folks are actually moving past anger to hope.

Hope there could be an election soon.

Hope Canada doesn’t have to be this way.

[email protected]

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