This is a month or so old, but I stumbled across it and found it interesting, especially since Mrs. Animal and I drove across the province in question only last March. Have a read: Alberta’s Coming Declaration of Independence? Excerpts, with my comments:
The Northwest (of Canada) remained a colony of a colony until 1905 when two new provinces, Alberta and Saskatchewan, were created. Neither was a full-fledged province because, unlike every other province, they did not control the chief sources of revenue, namely public lands and natural resources. James Mallory once said they were provinces “in the Roman sense,” by which he meant that, like Trans-Alpine Gaul, the West would be ruled by a new Rome, Ottawa, as a conquered territory. In return, like Roman provincials, Westerners were compelled to pay tribute—taxes—to Laurentian Canada. This legal subordination lasted until 1930 when the prairie provinces were granted control of their natural resources.
Laurentian Canadians still thought the West and its resources existed to benefit them. The resources changed, from fur to wheat, potash, uranium and today: hydrocarbons. Accordingly, when the Yom Kippur war drove up the price of oil, Ottawa instituted a “made in [Laurentian] Canada” price that subsidized eastern consumers. As the federal energy minister, Marc Lalonde, helpfully explained, he wanted “to transfer wealth from Alberta to central Canada.”
Sound familiar? Here in the States, blue urban areas just casually assume that red rural and small-town areas will continue to supply them with things like food and water, along with a surprising amount of their manufactured goods.
But note the blank statement about the “transfer of wealth.” While it’s unusual in these days to see the term used so casually, it’s still a whitewash; the “transfer of wealth” is theft, pure and simple, wherein the property of one group is taken by force to be distributed to members of another group, who did nothing to earn the increment.
It gets worse:
In September 2019 the Trudeau government passed Bill C-48, which prohibited Canadian-based oil tankers from sailing the north coast of BC while permitting US tankers to ship Alaska crude to 17 refineries in the lower 48. The combined effect of these laws has been to ensure that any new production in Alberta will be transported by expensive and relatively dangerous rail cars, mostly to American refineries on the Gulf coast at discounted prices.
Another attack on the economy was a carbon tax. The result has been to drive investment away from Alberta to less expensive (mostly American) jurisdictions. Since 2015 about $100B in proposed capital investment has disappeared. The Alberta oil industry collapsed when business was booming in Texas and North Dakota, which is why so many Alberta companies moved south. Trans-Canada Pipelines even renamed itself TC Energy to be more at home in Texas and Mexico. Encana, which began life as the Alberta Energy Company, is now headquartered in Denver.
This is reminiscent of President Biden(‘s handlers) putting the kibosh on the Keystone pipeline while lifting sanctions on the Russians to green-light their pipeline into Europe. Prime Minister Zoolander‘s policy here is capricious and stupid, and it’s punitive to Albertans.
The current Alberta government has plans to hold a referendum next fall on the continued acceptability of transfer payments. Just about everybody expects the vote to be heavily in favour of ending the policy of equalization. Then what?
Premier Kenney is of the view that such a vote will strengthen his hand in re-negotiating the program. Alberta Patriots fully expect Laurentian Canada to reject any proposals out of hand, thereby precipitating a major political crisis
Alberta’s 1776 is fast approaching. Stay tuned.
What are Alberta’s options? While the Canadian constitution allows provinces to secede, what would be their options were they to vote to leave Canada? Alberta is a landlocked province. They could possibly petition to join the U.S., but that would be an uncomfortable union; what is right-of-center in Canada is decidedly leftish in the U.S., which wouldn’t appeal much to the state to the south – Montana – and Albertans would likely not find our Imperial City any less batshit crazy and stupid than Ottawa.
Sometimes there just aren’t many good solutions. The best thing Alberta can hope for is to do away with the moronic policy of transfer payments. But I wouldn’t bet a nickle on it.