Dear Canada: Happy birthday!
With hugs and kisses from Ms Soapbox.
PS: You may have heard some silly talk to the effect that Alberta wants to separate from Canada because Albertans don’t think Canada appreciates their contribution to Confederation. They’re being egged on by a silly little man, our Premier, who’s issued warnings about rising western separatism and threatened to use “every tool in the legal and political tool box” to defend Alberta’s interests.
(When did politicians turn into mechanics ready to whip out the old tool box when they don’t have anything concrete to say?)
Anyway, it’s your birthday, feel free to ignore this nonsense.
It’s true that a recent Angus Reid poll found 50% of Albertans would support separation.
While this sounds alarming, what it really means is if the separatists are successful, the rest of Alberta would be heading for the lifeboats. For every Albertan leaving Canada, there would be another Albertan leaving Alberta, effectively reducing the population of Indie AB to that of Vancouver.
This puts Indie AB in a precarious position when it comes to negotiating separation from Canada.
The western separatist dream is based on the naïve assumption that Indie AB would come out on top in its negotiations with Canada, the US and the rest of the world in resolving the problems it created by turning itself into a land-locked country totally dependent on foreign countries to get its goods and services to market. Some would call this shooting oneself in the foot.
As Britain discovered with Brexit it’s easier to say “Leave!” than it is to actually leave.
The challenges facing Indie AB would be formidable as it negotiates the repayment of Alberta’s share of the federal debt (roughly $71 billion), national defence, currency, border policy (open or closed) as well as replicating international trade and security agreements under NAFTA 2.0, WTO, NATO etc.*
The hubris of the Premier and his western separatists is staggering.
They’ve assumed the 45 First Nations in Alberta and other western provinces would join them in this frolic, and if full independence became too difficult, everyone would be agreeable to a bait-and-switch that results in Indie AB joining the United States.
Are the separatists ready to trade the political influence that comes with being the richest province in Canada for the influence, such as it is, that comes with being the 25th richest state in the US with a population somewhere between that of New Mexico and Oklahoma depending on how many Albertans agree to become Americans.
More importantly, have the separatists figured out how to replace key public services, particularly access to universal healthcare, that would go poof when Indie AB becomes the 51st state?
Western separatists assume the economy would boom if they freed themselves from Ottawa’s interference. They’ve forgotten that capital markets want certainty. Investors won’t stick around for two or more years while Indie AB sorts itself out. They’ll shift their investments to other jurisdictions that offer certainty in the laws and policies governing resource development, interprovincial and international trade, environment, health, safety, taxation and labour.
Canada, here’s the last thing you should know.
Albertans wonder whether their premier really has their best interests at heart or if he’s just posturing to pump up his political profile.
Mr Kenney had plenty of opportunities to protect Alberta’s interests when he was a federal MP in the Harper government but failed to do so. Now that he’s no longer in Parliament he’s telling Albertans they’re being victimized by Ottawa. Unbridled anger is dangerous and difficult to control. It results in billboards like the one in Edmonton that said, “Is Trudeau Leading Us to Civil War?”
Mr Kenney may be fine with this, but most of us know that if anyone is leading us astray it’s Mr Kenney, not Mr Trudeau.
So this Albertan wants to wish Canada a Happy Birthday and tell her fellow Canadians that she, like most Albertans, is grateful to be a citizen in the country ranked on the World Index as the best country in the world for quality of life.**
Happy Birthday Canada!