Since 2014, Alberta has struggled with low commodity prices for our oil and gas.
In the years since then, Alberta has faced rising unemployment and tough economic times.
Every export pipeline project we had on the books was either blocked or canceled by other governments.
British Columbia opposed the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion. Quebec opposed the Energy East pipeline. And the federal government ended the Northern Gateway pipeline.
Moreover, the Trudeau Liberals blocked tanker traffic on BC's Northern Coast with the sole purpose of preventing Alberta from shipping oil from those ports (the only coastline in the entire country to have such a restriction).
Now, the Liberals are making it all but impossible to build any future pipelines through their Bill C-69, which establishes impossible regulatory requirements for businesses looking to build pipelines.
Taken together, these issues form what many Albertans believe to be an energy crisis - an exponential threat against not just our most important sector, but indeed our entire province.
It has left Albertans feeling abandoned during their hour of most need, and increasingly desperate about the future.
For decades, Alberta has been a proud member of the Canadian Federation. Alberta dollars, largely generated by our energy sector, have funded health and education spending in the Atlantic provinces and - to an even higher degree - in Quebec.
Our energy sector has created hundreds of thousands of jobs, both directly and indirectly, across the country, and attracted unemployed Canadians from coast to coast to our province in search of opportunity.
With our economic woes mounting and our energy sector under increasing attack, Alberta turned to its fellow provinces and asked for help to build new pipelines to deliver our resources to international markets.
In response, much of Canada - and the federal government - have turned a cold shoulder towards our province.
Prime Minister Trudeau and his Liberal government have done absolutely nothing to get new pipelines built, leaving the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion to languish. They've also saddled Canadian businesses, including our energy companies, with job-killing carbon taxes that put our sector at a competitive disadvantage to other jurisdictions.
The federal Liberals' response has been to announce $1.6 billion in taxpayer-funded handouts that will do nothing to get more of our oil to market.
As this appears to be hard for PM Trudeau to understand, let us be clear: Albertans don't want handouts - they want pipelines and jobs.
British Columbia and Quebec have waged active campaigns against Alberta oil. They've described it as "dirty" and "undesirable."
Particularly galling is the assertion by both Quebec Premier Francois Legault and Prime Minister Trudeau that there is "no acceptance" for Alberta oil in Quebec.
For Albertans, these developments are reminiscent of the darkest of days under the National Energy Policy which left Alberta beaten and bruised.
It has made Albertans begin to honestly ask themselves if our province might not be better off pursuing a new relationship with the rest of Canada - a relationship in which Alberta is treated with respect, not as a vassal to the rest of Confederation.
As we enter 2019, both Alberta and Canada will have general elections - an opportunity to fundamentally reshape the political landscape of our province and our nation.
In both of these elections, we must put our province first. Our needs, our priorities, and our values.
We must demand governments that will fight for our province and our energy sector - that will do more than offer fine words and empty promises.
2019 is the year where we must finally put Albertans first.
On behalf of our team at Alberta Can't Wait, we wish you all a very merry Christmas, a happy New Year, and an Alberta strong and free in 2019!
Alberta Can't Wait