So, what exactly do Albertans want from Ottawa?

An economist, an author, a public opinion researcher and other experts gathered to debate what Albertans want from the federal government and how that could help ease some of the frustration and anger Albertans have directed at Ottawa and even some of the provinces.

The forum was part of a CBC federal election discussion at the Glenbow Museum Thursday evening. Some suggestions drew applause and even a few moans from the roughly 170 people who filed into the museum's theatre.

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Najib Jutt, an Edmonton-based political strategist, suggested the country's electoral divisions be portioned off based on a province's economic output.

"In the short term, what we have to do is change the way our power is structured," said Jutt.

"Instead of making seat allocation based on population, why don't we make it based on something like GDP, you know, something that is actually tied to our economy," he said.

"I know, it's not democratic," he said after some people in the audience seemed to grumble and groan over the suggestion.

Jutt said it's time for some "big ideas."

He also questioned why more Albertans aren't talking about electoral reform.

Justin Trudeau promised that the 2015 federal election would be Canada's last under the current first-past-the-post electoral system. He promised to study several different options of electoral reform, including ranked ballots, proportional representation, mandatory voting and online voting.

The main objective of proportional representation is to make a party's share of seats in the House of Commons equal to their share of the popular vote.

The CBC Poll Tracker has suggested Albertans are poised to send as many as 32 or 33 Conservative MPs to Ottawa on Oct. 21, but Jutt said not everyone in the province votes conservative. In 2015, 604,000 Albertans voted for the NDP, which formed government for the first time in Alberta.

"At least we can say having an NDP government shows that Albertans do have an appetite for something different," said Jutt.

That's why he wants to see more Albertans start talking about electoral reform, including proprotional representation.

'Emissions equalization'

Public opinion researcher John Santos suggested something he dubbed "emissions equalization," a federal program that would recognize the challenge Alberta faces in reducing industrial CO2 emissions. Instead of penalizing the province, he said Ottawa would provide help.

Bryan Labby/CBC
Bryan Labby/CBC

"Maybe Alberta should get some help in dealing with that transition. If it's so important to get away from fossil fuels, then why don't we help Alberta instead of continuing to kick Alberta while it's down?" said Santos.

"Incentivize instead of penalize," added Jutt.

Uncertain outcome

With the polls suggesting Canadians might elect a minority Liberal or Conservative government on Monday, the executive director of the Arc Energy Research Institute said the day after the election will only add more uncertainly – not only for Albertans, but many Canadians.

"The dominant issue is confederation, right? That's what we're going to be talking about on Oct. 22," said Peter Terzakian.

"The scenario that every Albertan fears is a Liberal minority with the NDP holding the balance of power," said Santos.

He said, as an example, such a coalition or arrangement could bring in additional environmental regulations that could hurt the province's fragile economic recovery.

Santos said if Canadians elect a Conservative minority government, he would question the benefits for Albertans because he would doubt the government would survive.

"In a perverse kind of way, a Liberal majority is actually the most stable thing for Alberta," said Santos.

He said that would provide more certainty around the future of the TMX pipeline expansion, which the Liberals purchased in 2018.

Jutt predicted a minority government, possibly a coalition between the Liberals and the NDP.

What may be harder to predict is exactly what that would mean for Alberta.

"It's hard to say," he said.

Bryan Labby is an enterprise reporter with CBC Calgary. If you have a good story idea or tip, you can reach him at or on Twitter at @CBCBryan.