I may be overlooked, but I’m blessed

A recent online article spoke of our prime minister’s proposal to build another refinery on the West Coast because the high cost of gasoline was making B.C. residents suffer.

At first, I thought that this could be a good idea, but after a little reflecting and speaking with others, I find that I have more than a few questions.

The first question I was asked when I brought up this topic was, “Who is going to pay for it?”

“Will the prime minister’s proposal include a multimillion-dollar incentive?”

If so, did he ever stop to think that other Canadians might not agree with his donation to a province that is determined to stop any increase in Canadian crude oil?

But then, it is an election year.

Where ever did these unco-operative provinces learn that Alberta crude is so much dirtier than any other crude? Was it done with American influence? With American money? Face it, all — and I mean all — oil is dirty, so why pick out one as more so?

Kudos to Premier Jason Kenney for attacking the instigators of the move to declare Alberta’s oil as so bad as to be avoided at all costs.

Having said all that, we have to admit that Alberta is still the richest province in Canada, with the lowest personal tax rate and the lion’s share of $100,000 earners in the country.

I found this out as I was researching the transfer payments to the provinces. According to the reports, Alberta, because of its economy even now, receives 0.02 per cent of the total transfer payments. But only in the past four years; prior to that, we received nothing.

The report also likens transfer payments to welfare, so I feel that we should thank God for what wealth we do have.

The three western provinces, plus two East Coast provinces, receive the least of any of the transfer dollars, most of which are generated by Alberta, about $32 billion.

Because of that, a lot of dissatisfaction is voiced throughout the West, but again, we have to remember to count our blessings.

Largely because of the unco-operative resistance of two provinces, Alberta’s economy shrank by 33 per cent, but we are still rated as a “have” province.

That being said, we should fight like pitbulls over a bone to demand the compliance of the two holdout provinces, as well as some of the current resistant leaders.

One of these two provinces is a major welfare province. We know that over a short period of time, we have to reduce, if not eliminate, the excessive production of carbon-based fuels, but until equitable solutions are found, let’s try to meet the demand that is growing, not shrinking.

In an article in the Advocate on July 24, “Drilling forecast goes from bad to worse,” mention is made of the federal government’s bills C-69 and C-48.

If that is not an absolute slap to the face for Alberta, I don’t know what would be. C-69 makes it four times harder to obtain approval for any energy project, and C-48 bans increased tanker transport on the north West Coast.

Is this really a government that is fighting for our well-being? Nothing will shut down an industry faster than what is happening right now.

It is painfully obvious that we do not have enough votes in Alberta to have a say in Canada’s policy making, leading many Albertans to feel that we are being blatantly overlooked.

If Alberta loses its resource-based income, we will no longer have the money to give Quebec the 30 per cent of all transfer dollars that it currently receives.

Having griped about these inequities, I feel I am still able to relax in my own home sipping a cup of coffee and looking at the verdant park across the street.

Blatantly overlooked, maybe, but still blessed.

Chris Salomons is a retired Red Deer resident with a concern for the downtrodden.

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