Opinion: It’s too soon to talk of separation

Opinion: It’s too soon to talk of separation

By David Marsden

Albertans have good reason to be dissatisfied with their treatment by the federal government, but it can’t be assumed that separation is the answer.

Since the Oct. 21 election, which resulted in the province electing all but one Conservative MP, interest in fringe groups has exploded.

It’s clear that Albertans have cause for discontent. All the political parties, with the exception of the Conservatives, have made no secret of their desire to shutdown the oilsands.

All but Tory Leader Andrew Scheer are transparent in their determination to abandon fossil fuels, despite the important role they play as a generator of national wealth and employment.

The politicians pay no attention to the fact that renewable energy, while contributing to our needs today, is still very much a work in progress when it comes to fuelling a modern, industrialized economy.

The Liberals bought the Trans Mountain pipeline after they scared private investors away, but they show little interest in the project. When the pipeline’s expansion was challenged in court, they didn’t bother to hire lawyers to represent Canadian taxpayers’ interest.

The Liberals have banned tankers carrying Canadian bitumen from the B.C. north coast, while allowing other fuels to be transported without restriction in the same region. They have shown no desire to stop oil tankers from plying the waters off the East Coast, where a number of aquatic species are at risk.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau undermined the justice system in an effort to help the Quebec engineering company SNC-Lavalin, but throws western Canadian energy corporations under the bus. The movement of Encana’s headquarters to the United States is a national shame.

Encana was once the pride of the nation, with roots extending back to the oilpatch’s earliest days, but Trudeau’s attack on the industry proved too much. The company’s executives have decided to move its head office south of the border, where investment is welcomed.

Still, despite all of this, the argument for separation hasn’t been made. Alberta has representation in Parliament today, just as it has always had. And more Canadians voted Conservative last month than cast ballots for the Liberals.

Those who argue in favour of separation may have emotion on their side, but they can’t rely upon the facts.

Every Canadian pays the same amount in federal tax. So when people talk about Albertans contributing more to Confederation than other Canadians, such as Quebecers, they are referencing the reality that our incomes and the number of hours we work exceed the national average.

As a result, Albertans deposit more in the federal treasury than workers in other provinces do. Equalization payments, which have been wildly twisted for political purposes, are an attempt to ensure public services are equally funded across the country.

There is clear reason to be chagrined at our treatment in Confederation, but creating an independent state wouldn’t provide access to tidewater for our energy exports, which is usually cited as the biggest grievance.

If Alberta wants to do more than complain, it should exert its authority in areas it already has control over. It could collect its own income taxes, form a provincial police force and establish its own pension fund.

As other commentators have pointed out, these measure are attainable and would demonstrate a determination to better control our destiny.

That’s a good place to start to test the political will of Albertans.

David Marsden is managing editor of the Red Deer Advocate.

Just Posted

A representative for the office of Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Kaycee Madu says the new Red Deer drug treatment court is expected to be operational by the middle of 2022. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer drug treatment court expected to be up and running no later than mid-2022

The Government of Alberta expects the new Red Deer drug treatment court… Continue reading

Environment Canada says rain Tuesday evening will turn to snow. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Expect wet snow Tuesday night central Alberta

Heavy wet snow could accumlate with the potential for broken tree branches

FILE - In this Thursday, April 29, 2021 file photo, giant bucket-wheel excavators extract coal at the controversial Garzweiler surface coal mine near Jackerath, west Germany. A report by the International Energy Agency on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 says immediate action is needed to reshape the world’s energy sector in order to meet ambitious climate goals by 2050. This includes ending investments in new coal mines, oil and gas wells. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)
Energy agency: End new fossil fuel supply investments

IEA report sets out 400 steps to transform how energy is produced, transported and used

A man inspects the rubble of destroyed commercial building and Gaza health care clinic following an Israeli airstrike on the upper floors of a commercial building near the Health Ministry in Gaza City, on Monday, May 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Strike from Gaza kills 2 as Israel topples 6-story building

Latest attack from Gaza on Tuesday hits packaging plant

The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police “E” Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on Friday April 13, 2018. A review by the national spy watchdog has found inconsistencies when it comes to federal efforts to ensure information sharing with foreign agencies does not result in torture. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Spy watchdog calls for changes to ensure information-sharing does not lead to torture

Differences in federal departments stances when dealing with the same foreign agency creates concern

Red Deer musician Curtis Phagoo is glad the Alberta government is investing $2 million to help the province’s live music industry, but he would have liked the criteria to be expanded, so the money could be used as relief to cover revenue shortfalls. (Contributed photo by Cory Michaud)
Red Deer musicians welcome $2M in grants to help live music, but would have preferred relief program

The money is for future projects and can’t be used for retroactive expenses

Sheffield United’s Daniel Jebbison celebrates after scoring his side’s opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Everton and Sheffield United at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England, Sunday, May 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Alex Pantling/Pool via AP
Canadian teenager Daniel Jebbison turns heads with Premier League goal

Jebbison, 17, is the youngest player in Premier League history to score on his first start in England’s top tier

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Nathalie Emmanuel, left, and Vin Diesel in a scene from “F9.” (Giles Keyte/Universal Pictures via AP)
The blockbuster movie makes a comeback this summer

Last year, summer earnings were $176 million, down 96% from 2019

FILE - In this Feb. 3, 2021, file photo, exile Tibetans use the Olympic Rings as a prop as they hold a street protest against the holding of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, in Dharmsala, India. Groups alleging human-rights abuses in China are calling for a full boycott of the Beijing Olympics, which is sure to ratchet up pressure on the International Olympic Committee, athletes, sponsors, and sports federations. A coalition of activists representing Uyghurs, Tibetans, residents of Hong Kong and others, issued a statement Monday, May 17, 2021 calling for the “full boycott,” eschewing lesser measures like “diplomatic boycotts" and negotiations with the IOC or China. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia, File)
AP Exclusive: Full-blown boycott pushed for Beijing Olympics

AP Exclusive: Full-blown boycott pushed for Beijing Olympics

Canada's Eric Lamaze riding Fine Lady 5 during the CP International competition at the Spruce Meadows Masters in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. Canada's most decorated show jumper has withdrawn from consideration for the Tokyo Olympics. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canadian show jumper Eric Lamaze withdraws from Tokyo short list

Canadian show jumper Eric Lamaze withdraws from Tokyo short list

Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse questions a foul call during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday, April 26, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. Nurse says it was the COVID-19 outbreak in March that spiked his team's chances for a post-season run.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Chris O'Meara
Nurse faces a busy off-season, much busier if Canada qualifies for Tokyo Olympics

Nurse faces a busy off-season, much busier if Canada qualifies for Tokyo Olympics

Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Danielle Goyette speaks to reporters during a press conference in Toronto on Friday, November 10, 2017. Goyette has been named director of player development for the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs and their American Hockey League affiliate. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov
Hayley Wickenheiser, Danielle Goyette together again on Toronto Maple Leafs staff

Hayley Wickenheiser, Danielle Goyette together again on Toronto Maple Leafs staff

Most Read