I was born into a working generation that was just 20 years old. Within our peaceful borders it may be difficult to believe that it was a bloody fight to get there. It caused arguments, heated debates, fist fights, threats and deep divisions among family’s. But ultimately it was the women that decided the vote. When the government of Canada promised mothers the child tax credit, money in your hand every month to feed your children, the choice was easy and obvious. It was a secret ballet and I suspect many of the women of the time never told their husbands, fathers and grandfathers where they placed their X, but shared a secret comforting smile with their children when they heard the results. I am obviously referring to the vote for Newfoundland, a country at the time, to join Canada. Looking back, it was one of the best decisions my parents as country of Newfoundland citizens ever made. Newfoundland was in economic turmoil and had few logical choices but with a vote of 51% to 49% it took heart and courage to make the decision to join confederation. A country that became a province, but what if the opposite occurred? What if a province became a country. What if Alberta was a country. Do we have the wealth and know how to make the choice that other provinces don’t have? Could we bring Saskatchewan and North Eastern BC all the way to the coast with us? Would they join us? Is it possible? Can it legally be done? Should it be done?
I don’t consider myself a separatist. I am loyal to the maple leaf, I have sworn to protect my country and I have proudly saluted my flag while serving my country. So, I will call myself a realist instead. I believe it is time for Alberta to start the open discussion on what life would look like without Canada. Relationships always end in a divorce when one side seems to give more to the relationship than is being received. Is that the relationship that we have with the rest of Canada? Do we give more than we receive? There is an energy east pipeline. Its apparently very efficient and stocked with Alberta dollars flowing directly to Ottawa for redistribution to the rest of Canada. The amount we sent down the one-way line last year is estimated at 21.8 billion. What do we get for that? When we get the invoice for services rendered from Ottawa, what in on the invoice besides, “pay this amount”. When I spend 20 bucks on something I want to know what I am getting. If I was to spend a 20 with the big B, that being a billion verses a buck, I would really want the know what I was paying for. Certainly, national defense and a federal police force quickly come to mind. Both very important from a safety and security perspective. |With a federal defense budget of 25 billion annually and a RCMP budget of less than half a billion, we may be over contributing. A federal transportation board for all the trucks we see on the highways moving oil to the rail and supporting our infrastructure come to mind. The railway to get our oil to the coast. Aviation. The dying CBC that we watch once a week for 8 months a year on Saturday nights or special events. Immigration, because that’s going so well. The federally financed Coast Guard isn’t so important to a land locked province. But we would give anything for a route to some beach front west coast property right now. The point being I can’t think of one thing that Canada does for us in our relationship with Ottawa that we can’t do ourselves. And do better. Trudeau did take a step towards building the Trans Mountain Pipeline by having the federal government owe it. By having ownership, he can declare it a project of national interest in the House of Commons, vote on it and push it thru no matter what the courts say. It is an option, one he has yet to exercise. My thoughts are he is waiting on cannabis sales. If that will sufficiently contribute to stock federal coffers to pay for the many social programs he has bouncing around between his ears, Alberta Oil revenue will not be required for re-election. I suspect Junior doesn’t have the same testicular fortitude of his father to force built the pipeline. He will not look into the camera and say the famous words of his father when discussing a few terrorists, “Just watch me”. Unless of course there is an opportunity for a selfie with a beaver, cannabis in hand while in a kayak. Then the caption could be just watch me and the beaver. But never said with the same intent, “pipe lined energy” or vigor.
So that leaves the people of Alberta 20 billion short with another invoice for 20 plus billion coming and a growing deficit to leave our children. Is it time for our leadership to nudge the federal decision making process or even test if there is serious decision coming by openly discussing options for Alberta. We could temporarily stop these transfer payments and have the discussion on what Alberta would look like without Canada. Can we make it on our own? We already attract some of the best and brightest to our university’s and schools to study and to do research. I believe that the options are endless for Alberta to attract people and to lead the world in science, research, clean energy and economics. There is nothing that Albertan’s, the ones born here and the ones who have earned the right to say that I am from Alberta, cant do. We just have a different attitude than our east / west cousins.We have the strong backs, minds and hearts. If we keep our own money, we have the time, resources and people to do it. I am all about helping my neighbor but when I need a helping hand and my neighbor turns his back on me, my desire to contribute to my neighbor’s hospitals, schools and general upkeep of his lawn diminishes. Alberta has attracted the best and the brightest from all parts of Canada for years. The question on Alberta job sites is “where do you live” the reply being, “I live in Edmonton, Calgary, Grande Prairie or Fort McMurray but I am from Nova Scotia, Saskatoon, Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver. This province was built by Canadians from all colors, backgrounds and beliefs but it may be better to have its future maintained and build solely by Albertan’s? Let’s have the conversation. Let’s send the message to our neighbors. Let’s have the plebiscite.