Prior to serving as a MLA, I structured many commercial partnership agreements. I have been a member in a law partnership myself. It is apparent that fiscal federalism is a rigged partnership, resulting in perpetual, structural welfare payments from Alberta businesses and families, primarily to Quebec, a partner whose actions unfortunately, regularly undermine the interests of Alberta, the rainmaker partner, and the partnership as a whole.
The unfortunate truth is, in real world, Quebec would be kicked out the partnership.
This week I stood in the legislature and made the following member statement which reflects the feelings of many Albertans:
Sir Thomas More was Lord Chancellor of England. King Henry wanted Thomas to recognize him as the Supreme Head of the Church. Thomas said no. The King beheaded Thomas for treason.
While Thomas was executed for treason, was he disloyal? No. He was so loyal to principles that he gave his life for them. In adult relationships, loyalty is not conferred, it is earned, as adults are principled with each other, acting in good faith and with mutual respect.
The Quebec premier said one of his favorite things about Canada is equalization. Ponder that, Quebec’s loyalty to Canada is founded upon what it takes from other provinces?
What happens when the welfare ends?
To protect the status quo, Quebec gets a de facto veto on changes to Canada’s constitution, a constitution it never signed.
How will a referendum to remove equalization from the constitution be received, if Quebec’s transactional loyalty to Canada is founded upon it?
It is not right to require Alberta businesses and families to have unconditional loyalty to a fiscally and morally bankrupt partnership that plunders and oppresses them.
Unconditional, blind loyalty to imperfect individuals and partnerships will ultimately fail. Loyalty to the truth and to its principles will, in the end, always prevail. Security is found in a shared loyalty to truth, trusting in the peace of its principles.
Jason Stephan is the MLA for Red Deer-South.