Listening to putative Green Party leader Elizabeth May and Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-François Blanchet prattle on about how it would be inadvisable for Ottawa to help the ailing energy industry in Alberta, it was not hard to conclude that federalism is dead.
After all, the foundation of federalism is that the constituent parts of the federation have both standing and equality.
May and Blanchet have no respect for Alberta. That much is clear. Both argue that even offering bridging loans so oil and gas companies can weather this pandemic and market downturn is wrong. The future is renewable both argue, let us hasten the transition.
It is a view shared by many Liberals, themselves, which explains why even though aid was promised more than a month ago by Ottawa, nothing of substance has been proffered.
This notion that the energy industry is a relic of the past, of course, flies in the face of reality. Oil and natural gas will be with us for many decades to come. Every projection of future demand shows oil remaining strong.
How could it not be the case. Virtually everything in our modern society uses oil in one form or another – from the internal combustion engine to the ubiquitous smartphone.
So why should we not endeavor to meet that demand with domestically sourced oil? Saudi Arabia, Russia, all the other oil exporting nations will be doing exactly that in the decades to come and they will be make trillions of dollars in the process.
That May and Blanchet cannot see the logic of that argument suggest that their reluctance to aid Alberta stems from an antipathy for the province and its people.
It is a feeling shared by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and, before him, by his father.
All of which, of course, has fueled the anger in Alberta and, once again, breathed new life into the cause of Alberta independence.
There are some who scoff at the idea of independence, dismissing it as a child’s petulant griping.
They are wrong. Many Albertans are not simply angry, they are determined.
That is what makes us a people. It is our defining characteristic. Once we set our minds on a goal, we will move heaven and earth to achieve it.
An Environics Institute poll found 56 per cent of Albertans and 53 per cent of Saskatchewan residents agree with the statement, “Western Canada gets so few benefits from being part of Canada that they may as well go it on its own.”
Fully 62 per cent of Albertans do not believe they receive there a real benefit from Confederation, says an Ipsos poll.
That is a foundation upon which Alberta patriots can build.
There is no question that independence would be difficult to achieve. The Alberta legislature would have to pose the question. The House of Commons would have to agree to the question. There would have to be a referendum. Then and, only then, would negotiations begin.
So difficult, yes, but not impossible.
The longest journey begins with the first step.
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