Albertans: “People of Destiny”

On Sept 1 Premier Kenney wished Alberta a happy birthday.   Not once in his video message did he mention Canada.  It was as if Alberta became a province in 1905 only to float around in No Mans Land for the next 114 years. 

He did, however, acknowledge Alberta’s connection to Canada in the official press release by noting Alberta became “a full and equal partner in the Dominion of Canada”, “Albertans have built a province that is the engine of Canada’s prosperity (actually it’s not the engine, it’s one of three engines, Ontario and Quebec both contribute more to Canada’s GDP than we do), and Alberta is “the best place in Canada to live, work, play and raise a family.” 

Both the video and the press release repeat the message that Albertans are “people of destiny”.  Given the ambiguity of the phrase (it can refer to anything from evangelical groups to pop stars) it’s important to note how Mr Kenney characterized the phrase. 

Mr Kenney said a “program” entitled “A People of Destiny” was printed to mark the day Alberta became a province in 1905.  He doesn’t tell us what the “program” said.  He does tell us that he believes generations of Albertans have lived up to the “notion of being people of destiny, that we have created something exceptional here, a culture of enterprise, of personal responsibility and strong communities.”  He asked us to remember those who helped build Alberta “while rededicating ourselves to live by the values of community enterprise and freedom in an Alberta that in the future will continue to be strong and free.”

Perhaps this is just feel good talk Alberta-style, but it’s troubling in the context of Mr Kenney’s misleading rhetoric that the feds are using the equalization formula to unfairly benefit other provinces at Alberta’s expense and his contradictory campaign promises about the purpose of a referendum—the UCP policy document says it’s to (a) remove equalization from the Constitution, and (b) use the threat of the referendum to demand changes to the equalization formula (do we want it removed from the Constitution or not?) if there isn’t substantial progress on a coastal pipeline and if Bill C-69 isn’t repealed, (so we’re okay with the equalization formula if we get Trans Mountain and Mr Scheer becomes prime minister and repeals Bill C-69?).

Mr Kenney’s sloppy language has led many Albertans to conclude that Mr Kenney will call a referendum on equalization and if the majority of Albertans say the feds should restructure the formula and the feds refuse that gives Mr Kenney the mandate to start working on Alberta’s independence.

Mr Kenney attempted to disabuse Albertans of this notion with an angry press release upbraiding Quebec Premier Legault for saying Mr Kenney was “starting to become a separatist” and reminding Albertans that it was he who insisted the UCP merger agreement include a principle of loyalty to a “united Canada” and for him “that loyalty is non-negotiable”. 

But it’s too late.

His supporters firmly believe that Mr Kenney will lead them to the promised land if the federal government fails to come to heel.

And goofy happy birthday greetings telling Albertans they are “people of destiny” without acknowledging how fortunate we are to be part of a diverse and wealthy nation called Canada only add to the confusion. 

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62 Responses to Albertans: “People of Destiny”

  1. Terry Korman says:

    As someone whose family was already here before 1905 (as though that lent ANY gravitas, much less general significance – compared to those whose occupancy is measured in millennia), I find it exceedingly difficult to applaud a “destiny” that has led to political dominance by a group of “people” who – having spent four decades squandering the “lottery win” found beneath our soil, are now busily attempting to dismantle the collective endeavors of the fruits of our “Civil Society” – those very Social Programs that define (and make possible) our togetherness.

  2. Well said Terry, well said!

  3. Bill Malcolm says:

    Albertans do seem somewhat less than fully Canadian. Seem to have a somewhat exalted view of themselves.

    50 years ago, I was a part of a batch of about 50 just graduated Canadian engineers from across the country who won the Athlone Fellowship to study in Britain for two years. Happened each year as a fresh batch lucked into it. After we’d been there a year, a bunch from my year who stayed around London got together, and we asked each other whether living abroad had made us feel more Canadian as distinct from feeling loyal to whatever province we came from. Only the Albertans claimed to feel Albertan before Canadian, which led to a lecture from a BCer to smarten up and join our country. Couldn’t change those people’s minds, otherwise normal nice people.

    Nobody in Blighty had a clue who or what any Canadian province was except for Quebec due to the FLQ and General Wolfe from antiquity, so wandering about in England feeling Albertan would be like adopting a cloak of complete anonymity.

    I have family in Calgary and visit quite often. Cognitive dissonance on environmental issues seems rife, and I suppose Kenney exploits that special Albertan feeling of rugged individualism. Me, I couldn’t hack it living there. It’s a bit of a one-horse place, oil and gas, and two if you count agriculture. Do we ever see Alberta tourists here in the Maritimes? Rarely. Place seems to exist in its own bubble of nonsense, and unwilling to fully join in confederation. Even Notley turned out to be a petro-warrior, disappointingly.

    Just my POV, take it as you will.

    • Edison says:

      Try as I might, a picture of Kenney does not pop into my head when attempting to imagine someone who possesses”…[an] Albertan feeling of rugged individualism”

    • Bill, my husband and I were talking about your observation about being a Canadian abroad this morning–when we travel outside of Canada we always identify ourselves as Canadians because that’s who we are. Anyone who lets the province define them is the epitome of “provincial” in the dictionary sense of the word, “an inhabitant of the regions outside the capital city of a country, especially when regarded as unsophisticated or narrow-minded, synonyms include churl, lout, boor, oaf, and clown”. That definition would suit many Albertans I’ve met, especially the churlish lout part that demands the equalization formula be changed to make the poorer provinces transfer funds to the richest province in Canada. .

  4. diamondwalker says:

    .. deary me Jason Kenney..
    ya carpetbagger out of Ontario and Saskatchewan..
    and more recently well over a decade in Ottawa
    How you faked being an Alberta ‘resident’ is a mystery
    or rather its a scandal waiting to erupt
    I was working and living in Alberta before you were even born..
    Many of our family live in Alberta and BC
    We farmed wheat In Manitoba, lost members in WW1 and WW2
    remind me of your military service eh .. Bone Spurs ?
    Our ancestors were here before the potato famine
    early 1800’s by boat.. dirt poor black Irish
    You arrived by hospital delivery scumbag
    You’re no more a prairie boy than Andrew Scheer
    another Ottawa boyo..

    What you have is a rented blue pickup truck
    That’s your ‘Alberta Advantage’ ..
    So shut yer gob.. mommy’s boy
    all hat.. no cattle.. and not an Albertan

  5. Keith McClary says:

    The engine is the part that emits the fumes and hot air.

    ( I think you previously mentioned that Kenney was in the Harper cabinet when it set the current equalization formula.)

    • Keith, Indeed. In Kenney’s UCP policy document he claims the “Trudeau-Notley alliance has taken numerous steps to harm Alberta’s long-term interests, including: …extending the unfair equalization program by five years without discussion.” This would be the same “unfair equalizatin program” he thought was “fair” when he was a member of Harper’s cabinet. Funny how that works. Even funnier that Albertans don’t care.

  6. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for another great blog: My ancestors started coming from Eastern Europe, to North America, in 1900. I have one grandparent who was born in Alberta, (with parents from Eastern Europe). The other three grandparents came from Eastern Europe. I do have some roots here. My maternal ancestors came through Ellis Island in the early 1900s, from Eastern Europe, but opted to come here. My maternal great grandparents were married in New York City in 1900, when they arrived in North America. They went to Alberta, after living there for a brief time. Their children were born in Alberta. My maternal grandad came to Ellis Island, in 1914, from Eastern Europe, then worked in Chicago, then Montreal, then went to Alberta, where his two older sisters and their husbands came to, several years before he did. My paternal great aunt and uncle came to Alberta, from Eastern Europe in 1900. My paternal grandparents and three of their children came to Canada in the mid 1920s, from Eastern Europe. I have family in many parts of Western Canada, and have family in Eastern Canada, but I like it in Alberta. However, I’m also a Canadian, and I like Canada. I also have famous relatives from Alberta. A world famous actor, an astronaut in training, and a few politicians, (included in that is a renowned MLA). My ancestors were proud to call Alberta, and Canada home. Alberta also has many famous artists and musicians in it, and who came from here. From the original drummer of the group Three Dog Night, Floyd Sneed, to the Stampeders, to Paul Brandt, among others.
    I see Jason Kenney is causing division, through misleading rhetoric. He was part of the CPC, when the present equalization payment formula was made up. He is grasping at straws, trying do deflect from the current R.C.M.P investigation against him. What is he trying to accomplish with this? His gullible base laps it up, like thirsty wildlife laps up water in a pond. Jason Kenney was also in the CPC, and part of a majority government. Triple digit oil prices were present. No pipeline was built, that went to the B.C coast, when this was happening. After this fact, Jason Kenney is upset that Rachel Notley and the federal Liberals did nothing about this. What did he help to do about this, when the conditions were good to get this accomplished? Nothing. He has the media conditioned to think he is Alberta’s knight in shining armour, helping Alberta from the big bad feds (Liberal), other provinces, like Quebec, and cleaning up the big mess from 4 years of Rachel Notley and the NDP. The Alberta PCs made the mess, by being fiscally reckless, since Peter Lougheed was not the premier, and oil prices took a nosedive in 2014, because of Saudi Arabia, and America, which reduced Alberta’s revenue streams greatly, but Jason Kenney will not tell Albertans this, nor will the media, whom he conditioned to go along with what ever he thinks. If you saw The Sun today, there was a column made up by their editorial staff, titled “Unhinged spending needs to stop”. It mentions that the Blue Ribbon Panel will have its report on Tuesday on the state of Alberta’s finances. It then blasts the NDP for 4 years of out of control spending. It blatantly ignores the fact the Alberta PCs, were the big money wasters, since Peter Lougheed was not the premier. Bad oil royalty rates, the drained Heritage Fund, the frequent multimillion dollar and often mega billion dollar debacles, the costly deregulation and privatization and deregulation schemes, the flat tax failure, the mega billion infrastructure debt, from year after year of neglect, and the $260 billion cost Albertans are left to contend with, from cleaning up oil industry related messes in Alberta. Nor does it mention Jason Kenney’s corporate tax cuts, and other very costly mistakes that the UCP did, which already lost Alberta billions of dollars. This is at least $15 billion, so far.(Cuts will be coming from this.) It also mentions Janice MacKinnon, a former NDP MLA, from Saskatchewan, is the head of the Blue Ribbon Panel. The column fails to mention how the NDP had to fix the PCs very costly wrongdoings in Saskatchewan. I’m sure the Blue Ribbon panel is conditioned to have horse blinders on, and see things they only want to see, and will blame the NDP and Rachel Notley for Alberta’s poor fiscal state, (which is still much better than Saskatchewan’s, under their Conservative government). Whatever very costly mistakes the Alberta PCs did, since Peter Lougheed was not the premier of Alberta, and the already very costly mistakes of Jason Kenney and the UCP will be swept aside.

    • Dwayne, thank you for your comment. It sounds like your family has deep deep roots in Alberta but you’ve managed not to become unhinged like some (ie. Kenney) who bounce in the door and think they own the place. You mentioned the Sun editorial which sounds like another attempt to prepare Albertans for deep cuts which will come in the budget (when we finally get to see it).
      I notice whenever Kenney talks about Janice MacKinnon he makes a point of saying she’s a former NDP MLA, as if that’s going to make everything all right. She may have called herself a New Democrat but she sure didn’t act like one. She’s like Christy Clark who calls herself a Liberal but is in reality a Conservative. Now that we’re on the topic of labels, the only way Kenney can call himself a “conservative” is if he puts the modifier “extreme right-wing” in front of his label.
      Wouldn’t it be fascinating to hear what Peter Lougheed, the first progressive conservative premier, had to say about Kenney?
      Let’s face it, in Alberta the Wildrose/United Conservatives pulled politics so far right that Notley’s NDP had to become centrists to stay on the political spectrum.

      • Dwayne says:

        Susan: I think Peter Lougheed would be irked at Jason Kenney and the UCP. The neo-Stalinist comments would be one thing, and Jason Kenney’s federal government bashing would be another. Also, the UCP won’t reign in, or better yet, let go of controversial MLAs, like Grant Hunter. There are other controversial MLAs in the UCP too. That Sun column/editorial was way off the mark. It’s The Sun, and nothing less can be expected from them. It will be really bad with the UCP, just like with Doug Ford in Ontario and with Scott Moe in Saskatchewan. People will be suffering. Especially those who are not well off. I do not see oil prices returning to triple digit levels. Let’s see how The Sun, and Postmedia tries to twist things further, with the UCP and their off base ideologies.

      • Interesting point Dwayne…how willThe Sun, the Calgary Herald and the other Postmedia papers describe the impact of deep cuts in public services without actually admitting Mr Kenney’s faith in trickle-down economics was misplaced? And if the Conservatives are elected federally there will be absolutely no one left to blame but Mr Kenney and the UCP. It will be an interesting and bumpy ride.

  7. Edison says:

    Susan when you wrote that he used the word ‘destiny’, flags immediately went up for me. This is similar to what I felt on learning that ‘Patriot’ has now become a go-to favourite in the Canadian alt-right lexicon which, let’s face it, is code for white supremacist

    Kenney is following to a T the playbook written by his mentor former Dear Leader Harper, who since being given the pink slip by Canadians has chosen to forego the life of a respected elder statesman in favour of slinking around proffering unsolicited advice and encouragement to populist political parties in Europe, as well as here in Alberta and the ROC

    For those familiar with the historical reference points of this kind of terminology, there’s more than plenty to be concerned about in our current political milieu

    • I share your concern Edison. Timothy Snyder, the Yale historian, calls this politics about “being” not about “doing”. He says populist politicians mobilize their supporters by convincing them they deserve better simply because of who they are. Albertans, who already live in the richest province in Canada, are being told they deserve even more because they’re “people of destiny” and have been victimized by the “Notley/Trudeau alliance”. And anyone who dares point out Albertans spent the last 40 years squandering the wealth that lay beneath their feet is a “hater”.
      The angry tweets flying around in response to recent polls that show the Liberals ahead of the Conservatives in the Atlantic provinces and Quebec illustrate this pathetic thinking. These Albertans are furious that people from the Atlantic provinces came to Alberta to work in the oilsands and then dared turn their backs on the Conservatives.
      This is such muddled thinking. Corporations, not the federal Conservatives, created the oilsands jobs (and are now taking them away), Easterners were paid for their labour, their wages weren’t charity from a beneficent Alberta, and Canadians live in a democracy so no one, not the corporations nor the people who voted for Kenney’s UCP have the right to tell anyone else how to vote in the next Federal election.
      These people have lost their tiny minds.

  8. Claudette Whiting says:

    Thank you for again Ms Soapbox.
    ‘People of destiny’ sounds alarmingly similar to ‘I am the chosen One’, another leader with an outsized ego running amuck.

    • Judy J. Johnson says:

      Yes, Claudette, alarmingly similar to Trump’s bombast. If most Albertans believe Kenney’s claim that we are a “people of destiny,” I suggest the entire province has the Narcissistic Personality Disorder, writ large. Upon further reflection, I believe most Albertans would find his assumption naive if not abhorrent.

      • Judy, I certainly hope Albertans would find the “people of destiny” claim to be abhorrent. Why anyone would think they’re something special just because they’re “Alberta born and bred” is beyond me (whenever I hear that phrase I think of cattle).

    • I agree with you Claudette 100%. In addition to our own mini-Trump we have a pack of mini-Trumpistas who can’t get it through their heads that when Kenney’s budget is tabled, they will end up with poorer healthcare, education and social services, unless they’re among the lucky 1% who can afford to buy private education and private healthcare, but all the wealth in the world won’t help them if they have a heart attack at 2 a.m. and are stuck in ER for hours waiting for the next available doctor.

    • Dwayne says:

      Claudette Whiting: It’s like a cult type of mentality. I have seen a movie, on T.V, many years ago, about Jimmy Jones. I also recall David Koresh. When people blindly follow someone, without looking at the bigger picture, it will likely have bad consequences. The person they follow has charisma and charm on the outside, but on the inside they are like rotten fruit. They promise you the sun, the moon, the stars, and anything glittering, but they give you the exact opposite.

  9. David says:

    Janus faced Mr. Kenney seems a bit confused these days. I think his initial plan was to use the Premiership of Alberta as a stepping stone back to Ottawa in his relentless pursuit of ever higher political postions in his long political career. However, I think he is beginning to realize being the perpetually aggrieved Premier of Alberta will not go over so well in the rest of Canada, so perhaps he has decided to burn some bridges now.

    Or perhaps he is beginning to realize he is really no Ralph Klein and his stealthy plan for cuts may not go over so well, especially when this time there is no expected rise in gas and oil prices to soften the blow.

    In any event, I think there is the beginning of the realization the honeymoon is over and Kenney’s boundless political ambition may have taken him as far as he can go. The rest of the ride may not be so smooth for someone who has enjoyed being the Conservative golden boy for years.

    Probably a referendum on equalization is in the cards soon to distract us from the pain of the cuts, but as the Premier of Quebec could probably explain to Kenney, being perpetually agrieved can only take one so far. Eventually Alberta voters will want something better than just more impotent anti-Ottawa vitreol and anger.

    • David, these are very good points. Kenney’s campaign slogan was “jobs, economy, pipelines,”. He said Notley was personally responsible for killing jobs, the economy and pipelines (he did allow that her “ally” Trudeau was in cahoots with her on that last point). Albertans are expecting a dramatic improvement on all these fronts now that there’s a new sheriff in town. But he can’t deliver for the same reason Notley couldn’t deliver: jobs depend on the economy, Alberta’s economy depends on the global price of oil and pipelines depend on the NEB, the federal government and the Supreme Court of Canada, so good luck changing that. Kenney knows this but his supporters don’t so now he and his team are working to cushion the blow. His finance minister just said it will take 4 to 5 years for Kenney’s corporate tax cuts (which blew a $4.5 BILLION hole in the budget) to result in “noticeable” effects. I don’t think Albertans are prepare to wait that long (God help those that mess with the people of destiny) and when their public services start circling the drain they’re going to get really cranky. Kenney can rail against the feds all he wants but that won’t help him here in Alberta when the people of destiny finally figure out who “victimized” them.

    • Ingamarie says:

      Perhaps they’ll even want someone who understands that equalization payments are a Federal jurisdiction….and that even if a federal conservative government decided to do away with them, Albertans, with an average annual income of 85,000 will still pay more in federal taxes than Quebec, where the annual average is 60,000. Catering to the folks who don’t understand that the part of Alberta’s federal taxes that goes to equalization…would not be coming back to us, if we formed some independent western Gulag.

      A people of destiny should be able to understand that….and not fall thrall to politicians who don’t.

  10. Nancy Dudley, Harry Dudley says:

    We thoroughly enjoyed this dialogue, Thank you, Susan, for this blog, and all others for the thoughtful responses.

  11. We would have had a much better ‘destiny’ if we had decided to work together as a collective instead of buying in to the rhetoric about competition being the way to go. When the lottery win beneath our feet was discovered we could have built a publicly owned company to profit from it instead of giving the proceeds to foreign capitalists. We could have put aside funds to clean up the messes created by extraction of our fossil windfall. We could have begun preparing for the transition off of fossil fuels years ago. We could have built a social democracy strong enough to withstand assaults by demagogues like Kenney.

    • Carlos Beca says:

      Very smart Reynold except that in their eyes you are a communist – do not feel lonely because I am the same.

      What we did in Alberta, like you mentioned, was equivalent to a person winning a 60 million dollar lottery and screw it all in a year by giving it way to friends in foreign nations.
      That is what the UCP calls capitalism. They also call Norway, with more than a trillion dollars in the bank, a bunch of socialists.

      We are definitely a people of bankrupt destiny but by that time Jason Kenney will be back in Ontario with his 19 million dollar fortune and laughing to the bank because I am sure his reduction of taxes to the poor Oil Companies to 8% will have some fat dividends.
      We will for sure be in the history books as ‘People of Destiny’.

      • Dwayne says:

        Carlos Becca: Anyone who disagrees with what the Conservatives do and say is called a communist. This is regardless of how bad the Conservative policies are, and what damage they do, which is usually long term. Let’s see how the R.C.M.P investigation against Jason Kenney works out.

      • Carlos and Dwayne, isn’t it peculiar that conservatives who want to shut down discussion about a better or different way to manage the economy always stoop to throwing around labels they don’t understand. I’ve noticed that young people who are not enamored with capitalism have no problem saying they’re social democrats. Like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez they don’t see it as a personal slur but something to be proud of. History looks back on Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal and regulation of financial institutions and support for unions as a wise and courageous leader. It won’t look so kindly on Stephen Harper or Jason Kenney.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        I do not believe there will be anything coming from the RCMP in regards to Jason Kenney. If it does it will be inconclusive.
        Everyone around him has been fined for illegal behaviour. Nothing has changed.
        Just imagine the same had happened around Rachel Notley.

    • Reynold: you and Carlos make a very good point. It brings to mind Norway which didn’t nationalize the oil industry but was smart enough to ensure it owned 67% of the shares in Statoil which dominates the industry. Norway has amassed over $1 trillion in its sovereign wealth fund which equates to about $195,000 per citizen. Alberta’s heritage trust fund is worth $17.2 billion or $4,150 per person. Norway taxes oil up to 78%, Alberta collects royalties on oil and taxes oil companies but I don’t know what the combined impact of that is.
      In any event, my point here is even if Alberta didn’t want to go as far as nationalizing the resource under our feet it could have done one heck of a better job by simply emulating Norway.
      Here’s the link: https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2017/09/19/norway-s-oil-fund-hits-1-trillion-meanwhile-in-alberta_a_23215451/

      • Edison says:

        It still makes me sick to my stomach. A new F-150 or Lexus every couple of years versus a huge national surplus in the bank. My god, how stupid can one province be?

  12. We may have earned the sobriquet ‘people of destiny’ if we had built an economy based on collectives instead of buying into the rhetoric of capitalist competition. We could have had public ownership of the lottery win beneath our feet. We could have laid aside money to clean up the mess left by extractivism. We could have planned for the transition at the end of the age of fossil fuels. We could have build a social democracy strong enough to withstand assault by demagogues like Kenney.

  13. jerrymacgp says:

    Thank you for giving voice to my own discomfort with that term, “Albertan”. My wife & I have lived here for over a third of a century, raised three children (including one born out East who came as a babe in arms) to healthy, happy, productive adulthood here, and welcomed the arrival of two grandchildren—so far—and yet, we both refuse to claim that status. Instead, we continue to feel far more at home back in Nova Scotia, our shared province of origin, due to the more amenable, welcoming and friendly lifestyle and culture. We just don’t fit in here—we both loathe rodeo, and feel that the only day when wearing cowboy hats is OK is October 31st—and if it weren’t for our grandkids, we’d probably have gone back by now.

    • jerrymacgp: I certainly empathize with you. I’ve lived in Saskatchewan as a child and BC, Ontario, Alberta and Pennsylvania as an adult. Albertans will tell you they’re very friendly people, that’s a myth. We were more warmly welcomed in Pennsylvania than we’ve ever been welcomed here. Furthermore, Albertans’ belief that they’re rugged individualists is overblown as we can see from this incessant whining about equalization and pipelines–it’s not rugged individualism to blow your stack when you don’t get your way, it’s a temper tantrum.
      My husband and youngest daughter visited the Maritimes last year and were so impressed they’re going back again this year. They were delighted with the warmth of the people they met and said they’ll be bending over backwards this year to demonstrate that not all Albertans are entitled jerks who believe the rest of the country owes them a living.
      One thing is for certain, if Alberta decides to separate from Canada, our family will separate from Alberta.
      We’re Canadians first and always.

  14. Mike Priaro says:

    On a per capita basis, Albertans ARE the economic engine of Canada.

    • Mike, nothing in this comment has convinced me that it is “obvious” to “all” Westerners that we’ve been shafted and must exit the country if we don’t get our way, let alone that Wexit will be successful. With respect to the suggested language for the referendum not only is it outside Mr Kenney’s mandate (I’ve provided a link to it in the post) and it’s unconstitutional.

    • I believe the metric for measuring the “economic engine” of Canada is provincial GDP not per capita GDP. Alberta’s GDP contribution to Canada is 17%. Quebec contributes 19.5% and Ontario contributes 38.6%. Economist Trevor Tombe says Alberta is not a victim of unfair treatment, “rather much of what is lamented today is a side effect of Alberta’s economic strength, especially when it comes to equalization.”

  15. Mike Priaro says:

    It is obvious to all westerners that anything outside Ottawa, Metropolitan Toronto, and the Golden Horseshoe is generally considered the great hinterland to be exploited, or ignored, or exploited and ignored, or “phased out” as seems advantageous for the economic advantage of central Canada or for the personal ambitions of eastern politicians.
    The recent passing of Bill C-48 (Oil Tanker Ban), Bill C-69 (Impact Assessment Act/Canadian Energy Regulator Act), and Bill C-88 (Mackenzie Valley Act) by Justin (“We can’t shutdown the oil sands tomorrow, we need to phase them out”) Trudeau’s federal Liberal government has only fueled Albertans’ and other westerners’ resentment, anger, frustration, and alienation.
    That’s in addition to Trudeau’s imposition, or threats to impose, a national carbon tax, and his government’s unlegislated regulatory overkill, along with Quebec’s opposition, that helped scuttle the Energy East pipeline project.
    Premier Jason Kenney has said, “If the federal government continues its attacks through the National Energy Board (NEB) and the federal carbon tax, then Alberta should take a common-sense approach and hold a referendum demanding the removal of non-renewable resource revenues from the equalization formula”.
    Since Quebec is the overwhelming beneficiary of federal equalization, largely funded by Albertans’ tax dollars, while at the same time refusing to allow Albertans pipeline access to east coast tide water, there is even more justification for a referendum on equalization.
    Many Albertans, fed up with yet another Trudeau’s attack on our jobs, resources, and prosperity, are also contemplating separation according to a recent Abacus Poll.
    Equally-dissatisfied Saskatchewan would likely join Alberta in secession from Confederation, as may Yukon, Northwest Territories, and the northern, eastern and central regions of B.C. If separated by more than a thousand kilometers from the rest of Canada, B.C.’s Lower Mainland may have little choice but to also consider secession.
    Even Manitoba and parts of northwest Ontario may consider joining with Alberta in a sovereign northwest entity.
    The re-election of Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada on October 21, 2019 as a majority government, or as a majority or minority governing coalition with the support of the NDP, Bloc, and/or Greens, must trigger a two-part Alberta referendum:
    “DO YOU AUTHORIZE THE ALBERTA GOVERNMENT TO IMMEDIATELY WITHOLD NON-RENEWABLE RESOURCE REVENUE FROM FEDERAL EQUALIZATION?”
    “DO YOU AUTHORIZE THE ALBERTA GOVERNMENT TO START NEGOTIATING SECESSION FROM CONFEDERATION?”
    The fact is that the west doesn’t need eastern Canada for anything. Many more westerners would support separation if they were aware of the enviable economic viability of a sovereign northwest entity:
    POPULATION: 10.65 million
    LAND AREA: 2,627,000 sq. km. — 10th largest on Earth
    GDP: $701 billion
    GDP PER CAPITA: $67,400 — rest of Canada: $54,900
    POPULATION DENSITY: 4 per sq. km. — southern Ontario: 91 per sq. km.
    RESOURCES: Oil and Gas, Refining, Petrochemicals, LNG, Mining (uranium — largest reserves on Earth, potash — largest reserves on Earth, aluminum – third largest producer on Earth, nickel, gold, coal, sulphur, diamonds, etc.), ammonia fertilizer — largest plant in Canada, Forestry, Agriculture, Ranching, Tourism, Hydropower, Software, Trade — easy access to western U.S. and southeast Asia markets, Clean air and water, Highly-educated and skilled workforce
    OIL AND GAS RESOURCES:
    • Oil-in-place; 2,582 billion barrels — largest on Earth; depending on oil sands and bitumen carbonates recovery factors, oil reserves are the largest on Earth, by far
    • Natural gas-in-place; 8,203 trillion cu. ft. — among largest, if not largest, on Earth depending on shale gas recovery factors (note that not all known Alberta/B.C./Yukon shale gas formations have been evaluated)
    • Natural gas liquids-in-place; 157 billion barrels
    RESOURCE POTENTIAL AND DEVELOPMENT: Barely tapped
    CLIMATE: Improves with global warming
    GEOGRAPHY: Temperate rain forest, wine making/fruit growing region, forested montane/plateau, continental plains/grain lands, boreal forest, mineral-rich Canadian Shield, sub-Arctic, and Arctic
    CAPITAL OF NORTHWEST CANADA: To be determined
    LEGAL: Import Canada’s existing laws and institutions intact — amended only as necessary
    PENSIONS: Create a pension plan exactly as Quebec has done with its QPP.
    We can do it!

    • GoinFawr says:

      I find it hilarious that folk like Mike P. here, who in all likelihood don’t consider themselves to have a socialist bone in their bodies, write as if Albertans (collectively) still own any of all the non/renewable natural resources left.

      Newsflash Mike: it’s ALL been sold twice over to inscrutable private global interests by your alleged heroes in the the name of neoliberalism, regardless of all the warnings issued by the likes of me for decades on end.

      But best wishes in your quest for state ownership through appropriation!

      • Dwayne says:

        GoinFawr: It is mindboggling how many Albertans do not want to accept how the Alberta PCs made a big mess of things, since Peter Lougheed was not the premier. They also do not want to accept that the UCP is following that same bad path of fiscal ineptitude, and negligence. Oil prices plummeted 5 years ago, and oil booms are a thing of the past. When Peter Lougheed was the premier, the oil belonged to Alberta. That changed when he was not the premier. His successors (actually big failures), gave our resources away to others. For extra irony, there are people who accuse Justin Trudeau of treason, (when they don’t know the actual meaning of the word), and then support Alberta and Western separation, which would define what they claim the Prime Minister is doing.

      • GoinFawr, we should also remember that the private interests who own our natural resources have no intention of creating more jobs just because they’ve been given a huge corporate tax break, they’re busy investing this windfall in share buy backs, paying down debt and issuing dividends to their shareholders.

    • Carlos Beca says:

      I respect your point of view but I am sorry to say that I do not agree with it.
      You have many points I could debate back, but just two I think are very important to me.
      1) Your statement

      ‘Many more westerners would support separation if they were aware of the enviable economic viability of a sovereign northwest entity’

      First of all, like GoinFawr has mentioned, none of it is ours anymore. Even if it was, with the policies we have in place we will just continue pissing it all out to foreign interests.
      We cry Baby about Quebec getting our money but we seem to be perfectly alright with the billions that fly out of this province everyday.We have been subsidizing Oil companies from the US, Europe and China and he does not seem there is any concern about that. If you look closely to the numbers you will have a stroke.
      We are getting nothing for our oil and with the cleanup coming up we will be bankrupt because 17 billion in the bank will barely clean up anything at all. The estimate is around 270 billion. So much for your statement of how rich we are.
      Furthermore, we are Canadians until we find out that we are rich and we can separate? Is that what citizenship means to you? Is that how important being Canadian means to you? Amazing to me and here we are complaining about all the immigrants that take our jobs. Well some of them are way more proud to be Canadian than you.

      2) Quebecers pay the same amount of Federal taxes we do. If you make 50 thousand here or in Quebec you pay the same Federal Tax. The equalization program is money that comes from those taxes. Alberta is not giving anymore than anybody else in real terms. We contribute more simply because we have better salaries and we have a very high percentage of people working. You may not like the equalization formula and I am not sure I do, but to change that we should be acting at ministerial level to make sure we getter a better formula not just cry for separation. Interestingly enough it was Harper than changed it the last time with approval of his ministers including Jason Kenney so I am not sure I understand what the complaint is about. To me it is simply political posture. The guy does not have a brain but continues gambling with our money using ideologies that would probably serve better companies like Wall Mart and Exxon than Albertans.
      The blue panel is just an obvious example – if he wanted that advice he could have asked any Albertan with half a brain. He wanted a study only for reducing taxes. OK well if the province is in debt than of course the solution is cuts. What else does he need to know? The study of course, just like for 43 years blames expenses. We waste too much. They have had 43 years to fix that. They never did. Now what about the level of taxation? The report does not care about that of course. Here is why – If we had the same level of taxation as Saskatchewan (the Conservative paradise now in Canada) we would have a surplus of at least 2 Billion dollars – not bad.

      Anyway more could be discussed but frankly I am on the ropes as far as trying to have a decent discussion in this province. It is a total waste of time and not worth it.

      SUSAN this failed the first time so I will try again – if there are two I apologize but I cannot see the first one I posted

      • Carlos, thanks for your post(s). It did come through twice, lord knows why, but that’s OK, your points are well worth making so twice is a bonus! I was especially taken with your point about citizenship. You make the excellent argument that being Canadian isn’t something one throws away because they think they’ll be financially better off leaving Canada. If that was the case we should follow the “advice” of the fellow I met when I was campaigning for my local NDP candidate. He told me he’d told his kids: move to the US, make a pile of money (because they pay lower taxes) and then come back to Canada because it’s the greatest country in the world. There was no point in discussing it further, we agreed to disagree and left it at that.

    • Dwayne says:

      Mike Priaro: Stephen Harper was at a global climate summit and mentioned that the oilsands had to be phased out. He also endorsed a hefty price on carbon. The CPC had a majority government, and had triple digit oil prices, and did not help get a pipeline built, that went to the B.C coast. Oil prices went downwards in 2014. This is because of Saudi Arabia and the United States. We are not likely to have triple digit oil prices ever again, no matter who is in power. There are other errors in what you mentioned, but that has been covered by others. I politely disagree with what you mentioned.

  16. Dwayne says:

    Susan: In a future blog, I would like to see what you have to say about the Blue Ribbon Panel and their conclusions and what they recommend. Thanks!

    • Dwayne I’m trying to put something together on the Blue Ribbon Panel for this weekend. I’m also working on something else that’s due this week and packing for a holiday in Europe so things are a little hectic around here.

      • Dwayne says:

        Susan: It’s okay. I hope you have a good holiday in Europe with your family. I still have a lot of family in different parts of Eastern Europe, but have only been to London, England.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Susan have a great trip – if you are looking for a new book to take with you (I am sure you will) I suggest ‘Poetry from the Future’ – Srecko Horvat

      • Thanks Carlos, we leave today. We’re very excited about getting away. Yes, I’m taking a bunch of books, I’ll see if I can find the Horvat book as well.
        I’ve posted a new blog on the Blue Ribbon Panel. I don’t know if I’ll be able to answer comments while I’m away but I look forward to seeing what my regulars have to say. All the best.–Susan

  17. Carlos Beca says:

    well it is not working as a Reply to Mike Priaro so I will try it as a separate message

    I respect your point of view but I am sorry to say that I do not agree with it.
    You have many points I could debate back, but just two I think are very important to me.
    1) Your statement

    ‘Many more westerners would support separation if they were aware of the enviable economic viability of a sovereign northwest entity’

    First of all, like GoinFawr has mentioned, none of it is ours anymore. Even if it was, with the policies we have in place we will just continue pissing it all out to foreign interests.
    We cry Baby about Quebec getting our money but we seem to be perfectly alright with the billions that fly out of this province everyday.We have been subsidizing Oil companies from the US, Europe and China and he does not seem there is any concern about that. If you look closely to the numbers you will have a stroke.
    We are getting nothing for our oil and with the cleanup coming up we will be bankrupt because 17 billion in the bank will barely clean up anything at all. The estimate is around 270 billion. So much for your statement of how rich we are.
    Furthermore, we are Canadians until we find out that we are rich and we can separate? Is that what citizenship means to you? Is that how important being Canadian means to you? Amazing to me and here we are complaining about all the immigrants that take our jobs. Well some of them are way more proud to be Canadian than you.

    2) Quebecers pay the same amount of Federal taxes we do. If you make 50 thousand here or in Quebec you pay the same Federal Tax. The equalization program is money that comes from those taxes. Alberta is not giving anymore than anybody else in real terms. We contribute more simply because we have better salaries and we have a very high percentage of people working. You may not like the equalization formula and I am not sure I do, but to change that we should be acting at ministerial level to make sure we getter a better formula not just cry for separation. Interestingly enough it was Harper than changed it the last time with approval of his ministers including Jason Kenney so I am not sure I understand what the complaint is about. To me it is simply political posture. The guy does not have a brain but continues gambling with our money using ideologies that would probably serve better companies like Wall Mart and Exxon than Albertans.
    The blue panel is just an obvious example – if he wanted that advice he could have asked any Albertan with half a brain. He wanted a study only for reducing taxes. OK well if the province is in debt than of course the solution is cuts. What else does he need to know? The study of course, just like for 43 years blames expenses. We waste too much. They have had 43 years to fix that. They never did. Now what about the level of taxation? The report does not care about that of course. Here is why – If we had the same level of taxation as Saskatchewan (the Conservative paradise now in Canada) we would have a surplus of at least 2 Billion dollars – not bad.

    Anyway more could be discussed but frankly I am on the ropes as far as trying to have a decent discussion in this province. It is a total waste of time and not worth it.

    • Dwayne says:

      Carlos Beca: Exactly! Since Peter Lougheed was not the premier of Alberta, the Alberta PCs blew and lost exponential amounts of money on the worst scandals, repeatedly, from accepting poor oil royalty rates for our oil, and from draining the rainy day, Heritage Fund to practically nothing. The flat tax failure, privatization and deregulation of essential services, like utilities, magnifying their costs greatly, the massive infrastructure debt, caused by decades of neglect, and the $260 billion bill handed to Albertans for cleaning up messes made by the oil companies in Alberta, also did not help. Then, we see the blame Quebec, and blame Ottawa game being played, using the equalization payment excuse, (which many people still don’t know how it works, and Jason Kenney helped redo, while he was in the CPC). There are those who think Alberta, and the West separating are the answer, when this is illogical, and has many hindrances. Oil prices took a downward turn in 2014. It is unlikely that triple digit oil prices will return. Albertans who are blind, by forgetting the Alberta PCs poor fiscal track record, since Peter Lougheed was not the premier, and who forget how bad Conservative governments were in places like Saskatchewan, and federally, have returned to a horror show with the UCP. They will have to realize the UCP’s fiscal ineptitude sooner or later. The complacent media will have to wake up too.

      • Interesting comments Dwayne. I think Kenney opened Pandora’s Box when he fanned the flames of western separatism, now I’m getting emails from a retired tax lawyer telling me our own version of Brexit will succeed, complete with maps of the new homeland which includes the Yukon, the NWT, BC, Alberta and Sask. Talk about presumptuous. Not only are we telling Canada they’re shafting the richest province in the country, but we’re marching out the door and taking these provinces and territories with us. 25% of Albertans support leaving Canada. 75% support staying. Apparently the separatists think (1) polls don’t count and (2) the remaining 4 provinces and territories will fall into line. Here’s my question, who is going to lead the separatist charge given that Kenney said he is loyal to Canada and that is “non-negotiable?” I wouldn’t follow these nuts across the street let alone out of the country.

  18. carlosbeca says:

    well now it is there twice – I am sorry Susan

    • Carlos, I chuckled when I saw this note…the computer has a mind of its own sometimes, I think it’s sole purpose is to drive us mad!!

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Gosh I could not believe last night – I saved everything and it was as if absolutely nothing happened. I could not see my post at all
        Then tried again and the same – of course now it is duplicated.
        LOL

  19. Dwayne says:

    Susan: These separatists are quite misguided on the matter of separation. I have heard this before, well over a decade ago. It did not gain any traction then, and will not gain any traction now. There are too few of them to get this foolish notion enacted. Maybe they can be given a small parcel of land in some remote part of Canada, and leave the rest of us alone.

  20. Dwayne, that’s a great suggestion…but I don’t think they’ll be happy anywhere.

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