Alberta Separatism Rears its Goofy Head

Ms Soapbox was thinking about the fog of words when she received a mass mailout letter from someone she’ll call Mr X urging her to join him and thousands of others (who shall remain nameless because their names were not provided) in an effort to motivate Canadians to make the federal government treat Alberta better.

Mr X makes his argument in full caps, heavily bolded and liberally sprinkled with exclamation points; he claims Alberta’s relationship with Canada is a travesty.  The only solution is for Alberta to separate unless we are given what is rightfully ours.

armoiries_alb-alberta_arms

If we leave can we take this with us?

Ms Soapbox immediately thought of Harold Evans’s book Do I make Myself Clear? in which Evans tears a strip off those who intentionally or unintentionally use words to create a fog of misinformation to goad people into doing something stupid.

The argument  

Here’s an outline of Mr X’s argument.

The oil price differential has narrowed, but only because the Alberta government imposed a 9% reduction in production. 

The Notley government’s decision to cut production has indeed narrowed the differential, but many other factors impact oil prices.  We may think Alberta is the centre of the universe but it’s not.

Canada has a ridiculous energy policy.  We can’t build pipelines because we’re stopped by special interest groups largely funded by US groups and we’re forced to import evil Saudi oil instead. 

Canada’s energy policy is entwined with its environment/climate policy and its investment policies so it’s unclear what Mr X is referring to here.  Also, the reference to US funded special interest groups is a Kenney conspiracy theory lacking substance.  More specificity please.

Saudi Arabia supplies 10% of our oil imports and all of it goes into Irving Oil’s massive refinery at Saint John, New Brunswick.  Alberta oil sands oil is more difficult to process than Saudi oil and transportation costs are high because of the distance it has to travel.  This is why Alberta oil is sold at a discount to Saudi oil.

Peter Tertzakian, an economist well versed in the industry, said a west-to-east pipeline was considered and scrapped in the 1940s because it was cheaper to import foreign oil by tanker than pay the additional cost of domestic supply.

Encana just bought Houston-based Newfield Exploration, Trans Canada Corporation just announced it will change its name to TC Energy and is investing in projects in the US and Mexico.  Is Alberta going to lose its largest head offices?    

Is Elvis still alive?  Who knows, there’s no factual response to this comment, it’s speculation.  However, if Mr X is worried about the influence of Americans on Canadian energy and pipeline companies, he may be surprised to learn Americans already have a significant voice in the future of Trans Canada and Encana.  Trans Canada’s board is made up of 6 Canadian directors, 4 American directors and one from the Arab Emirates.  Encana’s board is comprised of 5 Canadian directors and 5 American directors.  Directors have a statutory obligation to act in the best interests of the corporation.  If they think it’s in the best interests of the corporation to move its head office to Timbuktu, they’ll do it.

Let’s be clear, shifting a corporation’s head office to the US won’t stop it from investing in Canada. Nova Chemicals was an Alberta company that moved its head office to Pittsburgh.  The company was eventually bought by International Petroleum Investment Co, an Abu Dhabi state-owned company.  It recently invested $1 billion to expand its polyethylene plant near Red Deer.

The Trudeau government sent 126 people to the UN Global Warming Conference in Poland.  These conferences are fake!

Oh dear.  The fact 126 people went to the UN Conference is interesting but does not support the conclusion that these conferences are fake.  This sentence alone destroyed Mr X’s credibility.

For the first time in three decades Alberta’s unemployment rate is relatively high compared to Canada. 

This is true. Mr X’s numbers are slightly higher than those provided by the Alberta government, but he identified the trend correctly.  What he failed to explain was why this statistic is relevant to his main point which he presented in a crescendo of bold print, scare quotes and exclamation points, namely…

…Canada is broken…

Wow.

Canada is close to the top in any survey of country performance.  For example, the US News Best Country report ranked Canada second (Switzerland came in first, the US was eighth).  The Economic Freedom survey ranked Canada ninth, the US was ranked eighteenth.  If Canada is “broken” the US must be pulverized beyond recognition.       

…Jason Kenney’s referendum on equalization, if approved, will force the provinces and the feds to renegotiate equalization, and Alberta must put independence on the table as part of the negotiation process. 

Even if Kenney’s equalization referendum passes with an overwhelming majority, Alberta can’t unilaterally force the feds and the provinces to renegotiate anything because the equalization program falls under the fed’s jurisdiction.  All Alberta can do is influence the outcome.  This must be where Mr X’s independence argument comes in, but his suggestion that Alberta gets leverage by threatening to leave Confederation is akin to Alberta holding a gun to its head and saying give me what I want or I’ll shoot myself.

This is not an effective negotiation strategy, it’s insanity (on the upside we could hold a referendum on our new name, Ms Soapbox is partial to Bert).

Fog

Mr X is an educated man, but he’s succumbed to sloppy political language that, in the words of George Orwell, have as much substance as a prefabricated henhouse.

Mr X’s letter cobbles together words and phrases that are whipping through Alberta political environment like a virus.  He thinks his letter is a call to action, but it’s a chimera, a delusion that enflames the emotions while offering nothing of substance.

2019 is an election year.  Surely, we can do better than this.

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51 Responses to Alberta Separatism Rears its Goofy Head

  1. Graham McFarlane says:

    “Surely we can do better than this….”, wishful thinking, Susan, but I don’t share your optimism.

    • I understand, Graham. There are so many people out there who echo Mr X’s views that it’s hard to stay optimistic. I wrote this post so we’d have some responses to their short sighted positions. They may not listen, but others might.

    • Keith McClary says:

      “UCP spokesman Matt Solberg said ‘voters rendered their decision on Mr. Donovan during the floor-crossing and the 2015 election that followed. Albertans are ready to move beyond the past.’ ”

      So, “floor-crossing” = Bad, “unity” = Good ???

      • Interesting point Keith…what’s the difference between Danielle Smith leading the WR to join Jim Prentice’s PCs vs Jason Kenney leading the PCs to join the WR. Could it be that Smith’s move was a shift to the centre while Kenney’s move was a shift to the right?

    • Thanks for this Douglas. Ian Donovan certainly didn’t mince words when he used the
      “D” word in connection the UCP MLAs walking out en masse to avoid debating the abortion bubble-zone bill. Donovan said: “It might be a contentious issue, but as an MLA you need to pick a side. To tell your MLAs, ‘You’re leaving the house and not voting on this issue at all,’ it reeks a little bit of dictatorship stuff to me.” I’ve heard from others that other constituency associations are unhappy with the oppressive command and control structure of the UCP as well. It will be interesting to see whether Donovan’s decision to quit the party inspires others to do the same.
      What’s even more worrisome is Kenney said early on that his MLAs will be able to vote their consciences on social issues.

  2. “Mr X is an educated man, but he’s succumbed to sloppy political language that, in the words of George Orwell, have as much substance as a prefabricated henhouse.” That’s clear,Susan. But I thought a (liberal) education cleared scholars’ minds of biases, prejudices, and the universal disorder of stupidity? Mr. X is hardly educated – he may be trained in right-wing political ideology, but I beg to differ that we should label that an “education”. Folks often confuse “education” and “training” , but the key difference is the goal of one or the other – (from “keydifferences.com), I submit this differentiation . . . Objective Training: To improve performance and productivity. ( a very narrow scope of knowledge, in my mind) – Education: To develop a sense of reasoning and judgement. Mr. X clearly lacks, by this definition, an education. Thanks again, Susan, for sharing great politically analytical thought, and the gift to make it so clear . . .

    • Rockymountainpictureshow: thanks for the definitions which demonstrate the difference between education and objective training. Based on what I know about Mr X, he is a professional who has had the benefit of much “objective training” and it has paid off for him; he appears to enjoy a very nice lifestyle.
      These definitions are very useful in that they explain how a man like Mr X who does not belong to the class of people who have been left behind by technology and globalization still feel aggrieved by the world in which they live out their gilded lives.

  3. deadair says:

    hashtag berta.
    Make Alberta Great Again

    yeeesh.

    Unfortunately I live here.
    I’m told daily that “ “our oil” is the cleanest in the world”

    I’m also told how immigrants are ruining our country.

    My wife is an immigrant…

    • Deadair, I take your comments to heart, especially the one about immigrants. My husband is the child of immigrants from England. I’m the child of immigrants from central Europe. Too many Albertans have forgotten that except for our indigenous population we’re all immigrants. I suspect those who complain about immigrants ruining the country pulled up the ladder after their forebears arrived.

      • deadair says:

        agreed, I liken it to closing and locking the door behind them.

        I find it ironic, that an Italian acquaintance of mine is whinging and moaning about refugees coming here without the proper paper work (ie: With Out Papers… cough)

        I’m of Irish descent, my people were supposedly going to ruin civilized society.

        Just look up “no Irish signs” to be surprised/disgusted

  4. jerrymacgp says:

    “ …Also, the reference to US funded special interest groups is a Kenney conspiracy theory lacking substance.” Well, in fact, there is just a teeny, tiny sliver of fact behind this … as with many conspiracy theories. The US Tides Foundation, which funds a number of human development and aid projects all over the world, also supports environmental causes, and has recently been revealed to have been donating to Progress Alberta. This is indisputable fact.

    Where the conspiracy theory goes with this information, though—without so much as a modicum of evidence—is to allege that Tides and similar progressive foundations get funding from the American oil & gas industry to try to take Alberta oil out of the North American market as a competitor.

    When it comes to pipelines and the price of oil, Canada has a completely binary choice to make: to build TMX, or not to build it. No other outcome is possible. And, there is therefore no middle ground to be found between the advocates for either outcome.

    From the point of view of pipeline opponents, from John Horgan to Elizabeth May to David Suzuki to every environmental action organization in North America—not to mention indigenous communities in the Lower Mainland and on the Island—there is no path to acceptance of the Trans-Mountain Expansion project. If it ends up getting built, the approval process will have been shown to have been fatally flawed by virtue of getting built: the only evidence the process is flawed would be any answer other than “No!”.

    On the other hand, for those in favour of TMX, from Jason Kenney to Rachel Notley to Justin Trudeau, the exact opposite yet mirror image situation exists. Our infrastructure project approval process will be deemed “broken” unless this project proceeds and the pipeline gets built & product starts flowing through it. This outcome, and that desired by the first group, are so completely, mutually incompatible and contradictory that someone is going to end up unhappy no matter what happens.

    And, as a crass political calculation, pissing off Alberta by not building it, is less likely to cost the federal Liberals seats than pissing off BC by building it.

    • Jerrymacgp: Agreed, while there’s a “sliver of fact” to the conspiracy theory it falters when Kenney et al argue it’s driving by American energy companies.
      Firstly, funding Canadian anti-pipeline protesters hurts the industry on both sides of the Canada-US border. If protesters stop a Canadian pipeline, their success inspires protesters fighting US pipelines. A classic example of feeding the hand that bites you.
      Secondly, American energy companies like Exxon, Phillips, Chevron, Koch and BP own refineries on the US Gulf Coast and are happy to buy cheap Canadian bitumen from the oil sands. They’d be cutting their own profits by killing Canadian oil sands producers and being forced to rely on other suppliers like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
      The beauty of a conspiracy theory is it provides a simple answer to a complex question and makes the tin-foil hat brigade feel like they know something the rest of us don’t know.
      PS: I thought your analysis of binary nature of the pipeline debate was spot on. Thanks.

    • deadair says:

      I live in ‘berta.
      the Klanbertan set here are a confusing bunch.

      They wanted the pipeline and were ready to take heads if they didn’t get it.

      They got it, became confused, and now hate the govt for giving it to them.

      This is the same group that will decry immigrants and eat pho or shawarma at the same time.

      The rest of us here scratch our heads and wonder.

  5. Sam Gunsch says:

    A recent Bloomberg article sets out the unusual and varying array of factors influencing prices for AB WCS. I attach a reporter’s observation about our scenario.. James Wilt’s observations from his twitter. He’s researched a number of articles on AB’s industry and politics. We’ve experienced a perfect storm of complexity of industry issues, hyper-partisan politics, economic decline/swings, misinformation/conspiracy theories for a few years now. Perfect storm for propaganda campaigns to bamboozle the citizenry, IMHO. I support the NDP, but having to resort to chiming in on nonsense like that Scotia Bank report – $80M loss/day… it’s really embarassing to see that oil’s dominance of politics in AB are so bad that it’s lead to this.
    James Wilt
    ‏ @james_m_wilt
    10h10 hours ago

    you can’t make this up. the oil price differential, which applies to ~20% of oilsands supply and has been the main focus of industry propaganda for months, is now “not big enough to cover the cost of rail or most pipeline shipments to the U.S. Gulf Coast.” https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-11/saudi-and-canadian-cuts-are-leaving-world-hungry-for-heavy-crude

    • Sam Gunsch says:

      more Wilt twitter about oil politics corrosiveness to public policy debate, that I have to agree with:
      James Wilt
      ‏ @james_m_wilt
      10h10 hours ago

      if only our politicians had refused to regurgitate industry talking points to the public, instead opting to explain that heavy oil always sells at a “natural discount” due to quality & distance from markets, and that a combo of refinery outages & pipeline spills exacerbate that.
      1 reply 4 retweets 6 likes

      • Thanks for these links Sam. I too am an NDP supporter and agree it’s a shame our government felt it had to go this far to demonstrate its support for Albertans. I worry that the NDP is allowing itself to be drawn further into the Kenney narrative (where the NDP will always be on the defensive) instead of creating its own narrative and allowing Albertans to choose between the two. This reminds me of the last federal election when Mulcair said he’d balance the budget. I think he lost a lot of support because his promise just wasn’t credible.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Sam our politics are so dominated by the oil industry that it will take a very special politician in the class of Churchill to fix this disgrace. The NDP waited 43 years to fall in the same bag. Same crap different flies. So judging by the politicians we have and the fact that politics is today a profession that attracts those that want the same and behave the same, it is only through the decline of oil that we will be able to escape this negative gravity. Then we will have the tailing ponds to clean up. It is really a failure that will be in our history but only after we have people doing a proper evaluation of what went on here. Until then Ralph Klein is an hero and Jason Kenney is our great candidate. In the meantime I have a laugh with another UCP leaving the circus. Hopefully there will be no clowns left for the election. For the last 50 years Alberta has been governed to benefit multinational corporations and not its citizens PERIOD. But hey I am a communist just for saying this so I wonder if it is possible to do anything in this province.

  6. Keith McClary says:

    “The current equalization formula was created in 2007 by the Conservative government of Stephen Harper in which Kenney was a minister.”
    https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2017/09/27/Jason-Kenney-Snake-Oil/

    Also, did you mean “west-to-east pipeline”?

    • Keith, thanks for the excellent article. The author’s conclusion said it all: “As with Trump, this type of politics sprays so much nonsense and magical thinking into the conversation that facts are unknowable and rational choices aren’t possible.”
      And yes, you’re right, I did mean “west-to-east”, thanks for pointing that out.

  7. ed henderson says:

    Nobody ever explains the full process that would be required for Alberta to separate. Everybody just accepts that Alberta would be better off if separated from Canada much the same as most people in Quebec felt they would be better off separated.
    Look at Alberta separation this way and maybe you won’t sleep for a while…
    Think of a divorce between a married couple who have been married 150 yrs where the husband, the Province of Alberta, is divorcing his loyal loving wife of 150 years who still loves husband Alberta. The 9 other provinces of Canada and the NWT are the loving wife.
    Alberta makes the money and the wife, the 9 other provinces and the NWT depends on Alberta for a certain standard of living. Now Alberta wants to dump the 9 provinces and NWT so Alberta can keep the money Alberta makes.
    How does that work in divorce court these days??????????? Guess what..if Alberta gets the divorce Alberta will still have to keep the rest of Canada at their standard of living. Not only will Alberta keep on paying after the divorce, income from assets in Alberta, like Oilsands, will have to be split evenly with the ex.
    Actually the people of Quebec would be better off if they separated but if Alberta separates the people of Alberta will be paying their ex forever.

    • Ed what an interesting analogy! I think you nailed when you said Alberta will have to keep paying the rest of Canada one way or another. Unless Alberta joins the US it will have to come up with a way to pay for all the services it gets from the feds, the list is huge: tax collection, the court system, the parole board, CSIS, international treaties, national defense, air traffic control, oversight of interprovincial pipelines and rail roads, food inspection, managing intellectual property and patents, our relationship with First Nations. etc, etc, etc. to say nothing of creating our own money and figuring out how to repay Canada for our share of the national debt and covering CPP and old age security. We’d be broke before we started.

  8. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks again for another great blog. This nonsense from people who think that Alberta should separate from Canada, because Alberta is being unfairly treated by the federal government, (and other provinces), is here again. As I recall, this issue was brought up around a decade and a half ago. It did not get far either. If I recall, Ted Morton, (the Alberta PC MLA who denied any involvement with the Alberta PCs wasting $35 billion, in total, on a bitumen upgrader), was behind it. Many Albertans were smart and rejected it. Peter Lougheed, the only sensible Alberta PC premier, was against federal government bashing, and firewalls. He dealt with issues as a Canadian. There are foolish people who think Canada is broken. It is not. Another irony is that Jason Kenney wants to try and fix the current equalization payment formula. He is unhappy with it, yet he approved of it, when he was in the CPC. Jason Kenney was also in the CPC, and when they had a majority government, and greater oil prices, they did nothing to help get a pipeline built, that went to the B.C coast. Jason Kenney also favoured the government purchasing the pipeline, and supported shutting down Alberta’s oil productions, to help increase the price of our oil. Alberta’s fiscal woes were not caused by Ottawa. They were caused by decades of poor planning and fiscal mismanagement, by the Alberta PCs, starting when Peter Lougheed was no longer the premier of Alberta. I still see letter writers, mainly to The Sun, who foolishly think that Alberta sends a cheque to Quebec. These letter writers also foolishly think that the NDP caused Alberta’s fiscal woes, when they did not. Then, they believe that the NDP and the federal Liberals want to destroy Alberta’s oil/energy industry, when this is also false. The Alberta NDP and the federal Liberals do not control the price of oil, which went down in 2014. Nor can they stop cheaper Saudi Arabian oil from flooding the world market, or American shale oil productions from having an impact on things. With separation, there are obvious obstacles in the way, which these separatists miss. First of all, Alberta is a landlocked province. It has no access to shipping. It is not like New Jersey, which also has an agricultural base and oil productions. New Jersey borders the Atlantic Ocean. So, how will Alberta’s goods get to other markets, since it is not near the ocean? Second, there are multiple things that are under the domain of the federal government. How will these things be replaced, and what will the cost be? Somebody who just hit retirement age, has CPP. It is gone, because Alberta has separated. If another person lost their job, and needs EI, what do they do? They can’t get help from something which does not exist anymore. If someone wants to mail a letter to their aunt Jean in Nova Scotia, what will they do? Canada Post does not exist anymore. With rural policing, what happens, when people need the police? The R.C.M.P is an acronym for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The military is also a federal government matter. What happens to these air force bases in Alberta and the military personnel in them? Where do they go? The icing on the cake, pertains to a group of people who are under federal domain. That is the First Nations. They have signed treaties that were put into effect, when Alberta was not even a province. These can’t be tampered with. The Cree are Canada’s, (and North America’s) largest tribe. They go from one end of Canada to the other. They, and the other different tribes in Alberta will not support Alberta separating. A very good book to read is Alberta Politics Uncovered, by Mark Lisac. It also covers the Alberta separation issue quite well. Alberta, nor any other province or territory in Canada can’t separate. It would have happened already. I am now reminded of that song from the 1970s, with the lyrics. For united we stand, divided we fall, and if our backs should be against the wall. We’ll be together, together, you and I.
    I still am not back on Twitter, as my account has been knackered for around 7 months. Hope you have a Happy New Year.

    • Dwayne, thanks for this excellent overview. Like you I can’t understand why anyone would think Alberta would be better off going it alone. I had lunch the other day with a work colleague who suggested Alberta, Saskatchewan and BC should split off from Canada. I said even assuming Alberta and Saskatchewan went for it (that’s a big if), I doubted BC would go along. He said everyone who lived outside of Vancouver and Victoria would embrace the idea. Clearly he’d forgotten that BC’s population is about 4.8 million and 3.1 million of that live in the Greater Vancouver area and Vancouver Island.
      Where do people get these stupid ideas?
      PS Thanks for the lyrics from that ’70s song. It made me smile!

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Yes the question is what would Alberta do without oil and outside Canada ?
        Nothing – absolutely nothing – we have had access to relatively easy money for a long time and we think we are better than everyone else because we are wealthy!
        Shut down the oil and we would be stuck just like the Maritimes are now.
        Lots of propaganda that is what this is all about.
        Jason Kenney accomplished nothing while a Federal Minister other than be one of the people behind the Hijab controversy – they felt women that wear a Hijab are controlled by their husbands and should be freed and so ban it. In the meantime thousands without it have to take refuge in Battered Wives Centers and have to get Domestic Violence Orders to protect them from their wonderful non-controlling husbands. Just pathetic.

      • Carlos your comment is spot on. The most recent ATB Financial report says the median after-tax income in Alberta was $70,200 in 2016. This is significantly higher than the rest of Canada and (controlling for inflation) is 51% higher than it was 20 years ago, but 4% lower than in 2014. I’ve seen other charts representing how well Alberta is doing vis-a-vis the rest of Canada. They all confirm your point that Alberta is a very wealthy province. Our problem is too many Albertans think the boom times are the norm then have a tantrum when the boom goes bust and we have to live like the rest of Canada.

  9. Gerald Pilger says:

    Hello Susan Thank you for sending out your weekly opinion pieces. I find them very well written and well thought out.

    Yesterday’s post illustrates well the propagandizing that is occurring in Alberta and across western Canada. I wanted to make you aware (if you are not already so) of a Facebook portal that posts multiple times a day attacking Trudeau, Notley, and eastern Canada in general. It is filled with innuendo, misleading information, and downright hate speech. I have complained to Facebook about multiple postings; but to no avail.

    This site makes all western Canadians, including most Albertans, look like idiots. And if such propaganda is allowed to flourish and grow I truly think it is dangerous.

    Anything that legally can be done to end this libellous site should be done and so I wanted to make sure you were aware of the site. It is Saskatchewan Canada Campaign on Facebook

    Gerald Pilger gpilger@syban.net 780 672 4394

    • Gerald, I wasn’t aware of the Saskatchewan Canada Campaign Facebook page and will check it out. I can’t figure out why stuff like this is allowed to stay in the public domain, but then again I can’t understand why politicians aren’t held to the same standard as corporations that advertise their goods and services to the public. Susan Delacoourt says politics has shifted from being a public service to something more like a business. If so politicians should be held to the same standard as businesses when they lie to the public. False advertising results in fines. False statements could be fined as well. I’m not saying we would censor politicians, they could make all the promises they want, but they would not be allowed to say things like Canada is facing an illegal immigration crisis when it’s simply not true. Just a thought.

  10. J.E. Molnar says:

    Oh how I long for the days when “fuddle-duddle” was the most vitriolic invective in our daily political discourse.

    Is it just me…or am I the only one who thinks many of the folks on the right have gone completely bat-sh*t crazy since Jason Kenney was catapulted into the leadership position of the UCP by the raging right. There definitely seems to be a correlation-cause dynamic occurring there.

    It’s hard to pick up a paper or go online these days without some conservative bozo eruption playing out in the media or some gang of yellow vest renegades threatening the prime minister of Canada. Angry conservatives behaving badly — getting up in everyone’s face — has sadly become the norm, simply because the anarchists on the far right are unwilling to accept democracy.

    • Beautifully said J.E., beautifully said. I’ve noticed the same thing and wondered whether the Kenney conservatives want to wear us down to the point where we’re so jaded and apathetic we won’t do our part (donate time and money and show up on election day). If so it won’t work.
      Unfortunately, the part that is working is the right-wing lunatics are getting angrier and more dangerous. This is bad for democracy, but the dog-whistlers don’t care as long as they get into office.

  11. George Rigaux says:

    Well this was a fun story. Thanks

  12. Blair Backman says:

    Having retired to Vancouver Island from Sask I was painfully aware of the different attitudes displayed on the west coast. No longer was it necessary to have jacked-up 500 hp diesel 4WD pickup to pick up the mail. Somehow people didn’t think it cool to sit all day in the local beer parlour and then drive said pickup home from the bar. Rather than a 40 ft gooseneck toy hauler to either haul snowmobiles or 4 wheel drive atv’s (depending on the season) to a wilderness area to leave tracks proving they had been where no one else had gone before, they would walk on the beach or enjoy an old growth forest. And no one complained that the govt was stealing there wealth and freedom.

    Now I am aware that not all the people from Sask or other east-of-the-mountain provinces were anti-social ignoramuses but the evidence strongly suggests that they are heavily weighted that way.

    First of all you will notice that on the westward migration, the real macho know-it-all types refused to ask for directions and never made it over the mountains, but are doomed to forever ride highway 2 between Edmonton and Calgary.

    The religious crackpots fared a bit better, fully have of them made it past Revelstoke but followed a false god and declared the Okanagan their promised land not noticing it was drier than southwest Sask, water was just as rare and it never beheld a prairie chinook in the winter. But evangelical fever to embolden a Trump supporter took root but never bore fruit other than bigotry.

    This left only the wisest and smartest in the caravan that eventually made it to the coast. And we like to spread all kind of rumours about the constant rainy weather to discourage too many more from following us out to paradise.

    So it is in BC interest for Alberta to separate-Albertans will never be able to figure the way out west and a barren province populated by savages will discourage Canadians from further east from coming and despoiling paradise.

    With tongue firmly in cheek I want to wish all theist in 2019!

    • Blair, this was delightful! When I was young I spent a year in the Okanagan before moving to Vancouver Island. I loved the weather, summers were warm, spring and fall were breathtaking and winters were rainy but no one cared (we discovered this magical device called an umbrella). What I find fascinating is how Albertans who would have a fit if Alberta introduced a sales tax have no trouble paying it after they retire and move to BC.

  13. Carlos Beca says:

    Any person writing like X man is not educated. He may have a degree of some kind but nothing else and it is even doubtful that he has a healthy brain.
    Alberta has a reputation down East and I have to admit that many times I have to accept they are right. We are one of the richest provinces but our levels of real life experience are pathetic. No wonder they call us rednecks.
    When the money is flowing everyone consumes to exhaustion. When bad times come we blame the Federal Government, Equalization and whatever else. It does not take much to realize that we are our own worst enemies. For 43 years we talked about diversification and the Heritage Fund and nothing has ever been accomplished. If there is anything left, it is crumbs. We have not been able to manage our economy at all. Now of course it is the NDP’s fault. Those darn communists is the top propaganda logo..
    It is embarrassing. We need to grow up now that the party seems to be definitely over. Regardless of any solution, the days of easy money and calling ourselves hard working are over. We have now to start working on what is left and make the best we can instead of praying for another boom just like we did before to only behave worse than the previous time.
    Instead of talk against the Federal Government lets practice good politics instead of garbage like this. This is weak cowards ‘ behaviour.

    • Carlos, you wouldn’t believe how many comments I get from people who think they can refute my post by accusing me of being a communist. I don’t publish them because these commentators don’t know what they’re talking about and it’s pointless to engage with them.
      I agree with you that Albertans need to grow up. The boom is never coming back. The days of easy money are over and we need to figure this out before we turn into Newfoundland (sorry Newfoundland). The Grand Banks suffered from overfishing since the late 1950s but the feds didn’t declare a moratorium on Northern Cod fishing until 1992. That doesn’t bode well, does it.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        I can easily imagine what kind of mail you get. I have been called a communist many times before. In fact I think that this obsession with this anti anything that is not Me Me Me type attitude has damaged our well being and our opportunities immeasurably, especially in Alberta.

      • Good comment, Carlos . . . Albertans are pretty much short-sighted when it come tpplitivs and the economy.

  14. Don Andersen says:

    I really enjoy your columns.
    Three points:
    1) the oil going into any pipeline is not owned by Albertans. It is owned by the producer. Alberta may get a royalty. Let the owners sort out tbe problem.
    2) Alberta sold 21 trillion dollars of resources and we are 10 billion in debt.
    3) Over the past 50 years, as best as I can figure, Alberts has had 9 right of center political
    parties and that doesn’t include the KKK who are headquartered in Calgary

    • Carlos Beca says:

      My goodness Don do you want to form a party with me – we can get Susan as well
      I loved your short and intelligent post. Right to the darn point.
      Thank you for this post I loved it

      • Don Andersen says:

        No reason for any more parties.
        The Alberta Party, the Liberal Party & the NDP seem stable without the “ I don’t like this game of marbles and I’m going to find new guys to play with” problem that plagues the right of center bunch.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Fair enough – I was just joking

    • Carlos Beca says:

      Don where can I confirm that Alberta has sold 21 trillion dollars of oil? Where did you get this number?
      Thank you

  15. Don Andersen says:

    Take the barrels of oil produced forever and apply a fdnge factor of $50/bbl. whether or not that is correct, I haven’t a clue. Oil has sold in 1960 for $6/bbl. to $150/bbl. on occasion. What must be realized – the oil revenue was huge and GONE.

    • Don Andersen says:

      I shoulda added, I got tbe 21 Trillion from another site.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        I do not doubt it at all I just would like to know so I can use that number in future posts confidently
        Thank you

    • carlosbeca says:

      Well yes it was huge and not gone – it is in the accounts of the oil companies in tax free areas around our melting planet. It could be that they will end up having to use it as a replacement for salad.

  16. David says:

    You can’t say we didn’t get plenty of warning. There was talk of carbon tax Federally way back in 2008 and a while after that the northern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline was cancelled under President Obama.

    It seems like the response of Alberta Conservatives was first to ignore and dismiss various concerns about the environment and climate change, which people in the rest of the world are still becoming increasingly worried about. Now there is almost panic here and the current Alberta Conservative strategy seems to be more anger and shouting louder. I really don’t think threats of separatism will work. First, Alberta will still be landlocked and if you think BC was difficult to deal with as another province, it would be much worse as another country. Second, I also suspect having 25 or so fewer reliably Conservative MP’s in Ottawa would greatly help the Federal Liberals stay in power for a long time, which would be a nightmare scenario for both Alberta and Federal Conservatives. Their current leaders might not be the brightest strategy wise, but I am sure even they can connect these dots.

    I think all this wacky talk these days is the product of the disorienting hangover for some in the province that got so drunk on our own mythology during a long boom. Sorry folks, but that party is over.

    • carlosbeca says:

      The Conservatives never believed in climate change because it is not something that God gave to them like the theory of the invisible hand of the market. So now that the Artic and Antarctic are disappearing fast they are desperately trying to see if they can give God a call but it has not worked so far. God is too busy with more serious people. Too many meetings with other desperate people.

      Not that they are interested in our safety but because they are not sure they can or not get in power without stopping being silent about the issue. Unfortunately this is not unique to the Conservatives but they certainly carry the front row flag.

      Justin Trudeau cannot articulate whether or not he supports oil and reducing emissions at the same time. He wants the jobs but again expects a miracle so that everything gets resolved in time to win the next election. Gosh those darn elections. It would be so much easier to just end that complicated process.
      Furthermore his talk is full of hum and hum and nothing comes out very good. A friend of mine suggested that for sure he has had help to get rid of the hums but I was told that that kind of speech training only works with reasonably smart people.

      • jerrymacgp says:

        “ … The Conservatives never believed in climate change … “ Interesting how Conservativism has de-evolved since the 1980s, when it was a PC government in Ottawa, headed by none other than the Rt Hon Martin Brian Mulroney—aka “the Jaw That Wlaks Like a Man”—that successfully negotiated an acid rain treaty with the Excited States of ‘Murica. There once was a time when Conservatives valued conservation… look how far they have fallen.

        Read “Not My Party”, by Hon. Tom McMillan, once PM Mulroney’s Environment Minister. It’s long … he was not well-served by the editors at his publisher … but it’s a revealing deep dive into the history of Progressive Conservativism in the latter half of the 20th century.

  17. jerrymacgp says:

    That should be Walks …

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