WATCH: Most pressing issue after federal election is status of Alberta

Rex Murphy interviews Premier Kenney

High rate of suicide, unprecedented crime wave and opioid addictions, family break ups, people losing their homes and young people leaving the province

Premier Jason Kenney said many Albertans feel fear, anger and often despair with the deep recession in the province and the oil and gas resources being blocked from getting to market.

“The human costs of this are vast,” said Premier Jason Kenney.

“The per capita rate of suicide in Alberta right now is 50 per cent higher than Ontario,” added Premier Kenney. “The U of C school of public policy economists have estimated for every additional point in unemployment rate we see 17 additional suicides. We have an unprecedented wave of opioid addictions, which is connected to an unprecedented crime wave, a 400 per cent increase in property crimes in many parts of rural Alberta, family break up people losing their homes their hope young people leaving the province.”

READ MORE: Alberta contributes $240B to Canada in transfer payments, takes nothing in payments

In Edmonton alone, every day 11 people attempt or commit suicide.

In Edmonton alone, every day 11 people attempt or commit suicide. CMHA Click To Tweet

According to Ione Challborn, executive director for the Canadian Mental Health Association’s (CMHA) Edmonton region, those numbers are from research that utilizes hospital visitations, police interventions and other types of reporting that document suicide.

Inspired by Living Hope, Edmonton launched 11 of Us, a suicide prevention, education and awareness campaign to prevent deaths by suicide. The campaign is a joint project with efforts from Alberta Health Services and the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Earlier this month Premier Kenney announced the launch of the Fair Deal Panel to consult Albertans on how best to define and secure a fair deal for Alberta. The panel will also look at how best to advance the province’s vital economic interests, such as the construction of energy pipelines.

The province will look into establishing a provincial police force and pulling out of the Canada-Alberta Tax Collection Agreement.

The province is opening offices in Ottawa, Quebec, and B.C. to defend the province’s interests and is introducing an act to give Albertans power to petition for referenda on matters of widespread public concern.

He said he’s concerned Albertans will see this big package of initiatives as kind of abstractions that do not relate to the province’s economic challenges.

But today Premier Kenney said all of these things are to collectively maximize leverage with the government to get a fair deal for Alberta, which means pipelines, TMX and Energy East.

“They are related to our immediate economic challenge,” he said during an interview with Rex Murphy.

We are taking a page out of Quebec’s playbook while remaining loyal to Canada. – Premier Jason Kenney Click To Tweet

Premier Kenney said the Alberta government is taking a page out of Quebec’s playbook while remaining loyal to Canada.

“Quebec has been so effective at maximizing its leverage in the federation.

What we are saying to Ottawa is we will be quiescent no more. We’re not simply going to pay the bills in the federation unless we can get a fair deal and there will be real consequences if we don’t.”

Premier Jason Kenney

“What we are saying to Ottawa is we will be quiescent no more. We’re not simply going to pay the bills in the federation unless we can get a fair deal and there will be real consequences if we don’t.”

Updated Nov. 20 10 a.m.

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