COLUMN: MITCHELL’S MUSINGS: Staying together through thick and thin

COLUMN: MITCHELL’S MUSINGS: Staying together through thick and thin

Columnist understands Alberta’s frustrations with Ottawa but wants them to say as part of dominion

Dear Alberta:

Just an old-fashioned letter saying we understand your frustration and that you’re hurting, but maybe it’s something we can talk about over an Okanagan Spring brew or a Mission Hill pinot grigio.

You see, we like having you around over there on the other side of the Rockies and to think we’d need a passport to get to our prairie cousins is not a pleasant thought, although a decent excuse for those annoying family reunions when you think about it.

Maybe 750 people at a Wexit separation rally in Edmonton shouldn’t worry us so much, or your premier talking tough with Ottawa, or the media fixation with the concentration of Conservatives in central Canada, after all it’s all talk at this point.

But it’s understandable, too. The rest of the country voting Liberal, especially Newfoundland where half the province’s population now has a postal code that starts with T, seems like a betrayal at a time when you need a hand up, not a hand out.

Don’t they know since the price of oil dropped a few years back the jobs have been disappearing, the downtown buildings have been emptying and the confidence of a province is on the wane?

To be honest, they don’t. Just like British Columbians have no idea what’s going on in New Brunswick, unless there’s a big storm on the Weather Channel, and Prince Edward Islanders’ only concern with fossil fuels is how much it costs to fill their Prius?

That’s not to say we don’t care about each other. Well most of us. It’s easy to blame Ottawa.

We keep giving, in the form of equalization payments and taxes, and they keep taking, and taking and taking. And not only do we not get respect, we get ridiculed and ignored.

I’m using the collective “we” cause B.C. often feels the same way, and we’re even further from Ottawa.

If Trudeau put as much time and passion and apparently skulduggery as he did into the SNC Lavalin affair into the Trans Mountain Pipeline, that project would be operating by now.

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However, before I talk myself into joining your separation movement, we need to look at this a little more realistically. It’s not Trudeau’s fault the pipeline isn’t built yet, at least not entirely.

He approved it and liked it so much he decided to buy it for the rest of us. Now whether that was a good idea can be debated a billion times, but it’s not the actions of a man who’s against the project.

The courts have held it up the most, after abandoning the concept of the common good, and yes, this province hasn’t helped any with our premier using our tax dollars to fight against what’s best for the Canadian economy.

Obviously, he’s heavily influenced by the cappuccino crowd on the Island and Lower Mainland who think jobs literally grow on trees and doesn’t consider anyone else in the province beyond Hope.

We in the Interior understand resources are what built this country and we need to get them to market in the most economical and environmentally friendly way possible while we still can.

However, climate change is real and fossil fuels are in the sunset of their careers, demand and price will continue to go down, so a more diversified economy is in order for all concerned.

You have three options in my book — stay and make the best of it, go independent and never get your oil to market, or join the U.S.

We’ll help you with the first one, the second one is dumb and the third will have to wait until they impeach their president.

And we’re willing to help even though your hockey teams are better than ours, your football teams are way better than ours and the boats and trucks you bring by every summer are definitely nicer than ours.

But we’re not jealous that you have way more oil than us and no sales tax and, ahem, we’re in this together.


British Columbia

Glenn Mitchell is a columnist and former editor of the Morning Star